To be without conflicting goals in life is a wonderful blessing. Most of the time, I feel stressed out with conflicting goals. I want to exercise but I have a deadline to meet for work. I want to spend time with my friends but my favorite TV program is on. And so on. When I am able to realize that my only function is the one God gave me—forgiveness, or simply being happy instead of being angry or upset—things become marvelously clear. My goal becomes to be at peace, to be happy, to be serene and unaffected by what surrounds me. “What to do, what to say and what to think” (1:4) simply come to me. Perhaps I realize that it makes no real difference whether I exercise or write. Perhaps I realize that one or the other can wait. Remembering my one and only true goal somehow sorts out everything else.
I used to think that when I had a conflict, the only way to become peaceful again was to make a decision, to resolve the conflict. It rarely worked. Usually, when I made my choice, I felt some distress at what I was leaving undone, or some loss at what I could not do because of my choice (e.g., watch TV or be with my friends; one or the other had to be “sacrificed”). Lately I’ve begun to realize that if I put becoming peaceful at the top of the list, if I choose to be peaceful first, before making my decision (perhaps taking a minute just to close my eyes and be quiet, remembering Who is with me), the decision becomes simple, and there is no sense of sacrifice. When I put peace first, I just know what to do.
This is the way to be happy. My function is one with my happiness. If I can be at peace, letting go of my grievances, the little demands I constantly make of life, I am happy. Like forgiveness, happiness is a choice I can make at any time.
I notice today that the examples given of different ways to apply the ideas in specific situations seem to emphasize a kind of negation. They stress that the situation, or the way we perceive it, can not affect us if we so choose. The way I perceive this doesn’t change my function, give me a different function, or justify selecting a goal other than the one God gave me. No matter what I see, no matter what happens, nothing will alter the fact that the only way I will find happiness is if I fulfill my function of forgiveness, blessing, and peace. There is no happiness apart from my function, and I am deceived by an illusion whenever I think there is. Do I expect to find happiness by indulging worry, justifying my anger, indulging my appetites, or licking my wounds of pain? It will never happen. Only in forgiveness, only in releasing everyone and everything from all my demands and expectations, only in quiet peacefulness of mind will I ever find my happiness.