Our current goals:
- Widen the horizons of our vision
- Take direct approaches to uncover the blocks that keep our vision narrow
- Lift those blocks, however briefly, in order to experience the sense of liberation that comes when the blocks are removed
- Intensify our motivation for freedom
Before commenting on today’s workbook lesson, I’d like to say something about the practice we’ve used for the last two days, repeating the Name of God.
There are many things that we do each day that have become well wired into our brains, so that we do not need to pay full attention in order to complete the task. Examples include showering, housework, exercising, and even driving. Because these activities do not require the full attention of our brains, our minds tend to wander a lot when we are busy with these types of activities.
If it feels helpful to you, you can replace mindless mind wandering with the Name of God mantra when you are engaged in activities (or non-activity) that do not require the full attention of your brain. This is not a new assignment for the Gentle Healing Group, but some of you may recognize value in this practice and may want to add it to your other practices. If that’s the case, you may find it helpful to read, “Instructions for Using the Mantra” from The Teachings of Inner Ramana.
Now, let’s look at today’s lesson:
“I want the peace of God. To say these words is nothing. But to mean these words is everything. If you could but mean them for just an instant, there would be no further sorrow possible for you in any form. … To mean you want the peace of God is to renounce all dreams. For no one means these words who wants illusions, and who therefore seeks the means which bring illusions. He has looked on them, and found them wanting. Now he seeks to go beyond them, recognizing that another dream would offer nothing more than all the others.”
“Today devote your practice periods to careful searching of your mind, to find the dreams you cherish still. What do you ask for in the heart? … Consider but what you believe will comfort you, and bring you happiness.”
I’ve just done that. I looked and found one dream remaining in my heart. It’s not a new dream. When I was around twenty years old, I created a book of dreams by cutting out pictures from magazines and putting them in a photo album. I spent hours looking at the book of dreams over the next several years. Most of those dreams have come true in this lifetime. I suppose I attracted them by staring at that picture album hour after hour, day after day, year after year. In fact, today’s workbook lesson says, “And dreams will come as you requested them.” And so they did.
However, there is one dream left. It is very close to me now, almost in reach. All I have to do is give up everything else, and I can have that one final dream. For me, this dream seems like the ultimate. It seems that if I just had that, I could die happy.
Is it true?
This is what we are asked to look at today: Do we really want our dreams or do we want the peace of God, which is awakening from dreams entirely? What is it that we truly seek?
I pulled up a picture that represents my one remaining dream, and I looked at it. I could feel the dream burning in my heart. I could feel how much I seem to want it. And with all of that happening within me, I looked at the picture and asked, “Why do I want this? What do I think I will get if I can achieve this one final dream?
The answer that came is, “Unending peace, true heart-fulfillment, joyous rest, and meaningful communion, all resulting in absolute satisfaction.”
Next I asked myself, “So what is it that I truly want? Do I want that dream because of what it is, or do I want that dream because of what I think it will get me?”
I looked at the picture of my dream again, and I asked, “Would I want that if it did not give me unending peace, true heart-fulfillment, joyous rest, meaningful communion, and absolute satisfaction? Would I want that even if I knew it meant there would be new problems to resolve, one after another until the day I die? Is it actually that that I want, for better or for worse, or do I really want the peace of God, also known as unending peace, true heart-fulfillment, joyous rest, meaningful communion, and absolute satisfaction?”
It became clear that the picture is not what I actually want. The picture, the dream, merely represents what I want. As today’s lesson says, “You want the peace of God. And so do all who seem to seek for dreams.”
After seeing this clearly, I sat and looked at the picture of my dream. I recognized it is just a symbol for what I truly want. I do not need that object, because it isn’t really the object that I want. I want the peace of God.
Our lesson today says, “No one who truly seeks the peace of God can fail to find it. For he merely asks that he deceive himself no longer …”
We deceive ourselves when we think we want the object or circumstance that we dream of. That isn’t what we want. We want what we think that object or circumstance will bring us. So why dream about an object or circumstance that is an imagined intermediary for what we truly want? Why not ask for what we truly want directly?