There is no will but God’s.
Purpose: To realize that you cannot be in conflict, because your will and every will is really God’s Will. To experience the peace that comes from this fact.
Longer: Two times, for ten to fifteen minutes.
- Say, “There is no will but God’s. I cannot be in conflict.” Repeat these sentences in a special way: “several times, slowly and with firm determination to understand what they mean, and to hold them in mind” (3:1).
- Then for several minutes let related thoughts come. Remember your training in this.
- If thoughts intrude about conflicts in your life, quickly dispel them by saying, “There is no will but God’s. These conflict thoughts are meaningless.” If a particular conflict keeps intruding, single it out. Briefly identify the person(s) and situation(s) involved and say, “There is no will but God’s. I share it with Him. My conflicts about _____ cannot be real.” You’ll probably need to keep your eyes open for this part to consult the sentences you need to repeat.
- At this point, your mind should be clear and ready to turn inward. The rest of the exercise is a meditation in which you sink down and inward, into the peaceful place where God’s Will is your will. If you are succeeding, you will feel an alert, joyful peace. Do not let yourself slip off into a drowsy pseudo-peace. Repeat the idea as often as you need to in order to draw yourself back from this.
Remarks: The comments in paragraphs 5 and 6 are among the most important remarks on meditation in the Workbook. You should carry their counsel into every meditation. On the one hand, they tell you not to mistake meditation for withdrawal from life’s conflicts into a mental fantasyland. On the other hand, they urge you to do everything in your power to avoid such withdrawal. This means: Do not let yourself float off into that sleepy pseudo-peace that meditation can so easily turn into. Real peace is alert and joyful, not sleepy and sluggish. When you start to go off into withdrawal, repeat the idea to draw your mind back. “Do this as often as necessary” (6:4). It is better to do this over and over, and never find the peace you seek, than to drift off into that drowsy haze (see 6:5).
Frequent reminders: At regular intervals that you predetermine (suggestion: every half hour), for one or two minutes.
- Say: “There is no will but God’s. I seek His peace today.”
- Then do a brief meditation in which you try to find that peace, with eyes closed, if possible.
The lesson states that this idea “can be regarded as the central thought toward which all our exercises are directed” (1:1). The Course makes similar claims about ideas that seem quite different from this one, for instance: “There is no world!” (W-pI.132.6:2). All of the ideas so identified, however, boil down to what we can call “nondualism.” That is, God is unopposed; nothing apart from Him and His creations exists. There is no devil, no power that opposes God, nothing that exists independent of Him and therefore capable of having a differing will.
To say that nothing can have a will that differs from God’s must include ourselves. The result of believing this is that conflict leaves our minds. How could our mind be in conflict if we have no will that can conflict with God’s?
What, though, can we say of our common experience of wanting things that we think are opposed to God, or of wanting to do what He does not want us to do? Or even more down to earth, the experiencing of being torn between conflicting desires? If there is no will but God’s, how is such experience possible?
The real answer is, it is not possible, unless there are illusions involved: “Without illusions conflict is impossible” (2:4). Conflict exists only between two illusions. In reality there is no conflict, and reality does not conflict with illusions, either:
The war against yourself is but the battle of two illusions…There is no conflict between them and the truth….Truth does not fight against illusions, nor do illusions fight against the truth. Illusions battle only with themselves. (T-23.I.6:1-2; 7:3-4)
When there seems to be a will opposed to God, whether outside of us or within us, we are seeing illusions.
“There is no will but God’s. I cannot be in conflict” (3:2-3). This is the truth. I have often found that conflict thoughts in my mind can be defused simply by recognizing that they are meaningless, and that the conflict cannot be real. No peace is possible if I believe that my mind can be in conflict, but when I realize I cannot be in conflict, incredible peace results.
There is a very interesting observation in paragraph 5 about discerning the reality of peaceful feelings as opposed to false peace resulting from withdrawal and repression. According to 5:4, true peace brings “a deep sense of joy and an increased alertness,” while false peace brings “drowsiness and enervation.” In our attempts to enter the quiet and feel our peace, we are admonished to avoid withdrawal and to pull ourselves back to alertness by repeating today’s idea. “There is definite gain in refusing to allow retreat into withdrawal, even if you do not experience the peace you seek” (6:5). From this we can surmise that even conscious conflict is better than repressed conflict, although the goal is to realize the unreality of the conflict and thus experience peace.
Another thought: These are really very detailed meditation instructions, and they demonstrate that students are really expected to be trying to do these exercises for ten or fifteen minutes twice daily.