We usually think we need above all to know what the solution is. But this lesson has a slightly different take: We need to know what the problem is. Our problem, which is separation, has in fact been solved. “Yet the solution is not recognized because the problem is not recognized.”
This is actually pretty common in receiving answers from God. You ask a question and the answer you get back doesn’t seem to fit the problem. We think we lack money, but then in answer to our problem God says “forgive.” How does that fit the problem? As the Text says, “What you hear may not resolve the problem as you saw it first.”
So the crucial thing is to see the problem differently, to realize what the problem really is. If we do that, this lesson says, we will see that there is only one problem. We don’t all have our special problems. We have our special forms of the one problem.
What he has been describing is our situation. We actually have the answer; we just don’t see how it fits the problem. And we don’t see how it fits because we think our problems are all different. Thinking this, we apply solutions that fit their special forms, but that do not address their common core. And so they just keep coming. They never end, because we are not addressing the real substance of the problem. So what’s happening is that our one problem just keeps rearing up in different forms; it just keeps growing new heads.
One of the great things about this lesson is that it so accurately describes how we experience our problems. Then, after meeting us right in our daily struggle, it gives us this completely different interpretation of what’s going on. It’s not that life is actually dishing up for us this endless parade of problems. It’s that we refuse to solve the common substance of all the problems, the content that they all share. So it’s just one problem reappearing, because we have avoided solving it.
The complexity of our problems seems like an objective fact. But it’s actually “a desperate attempt to not recognize the problem,” so that it can’t be solved. We are actually hiding the one problem in a series of deceptive forms, which are designed to disguise the actual nature of the underlying problem.
But if we could instead accept that underlying problem as the problem within all our problems, we see the relevance of God’s answer, and we would use that answer.
INSTRUCTIONS (paragraphs 7-10)
Longer: 2 times, for 10-15 minutes
- Try to free your mind of your perception of your problems. Do your best to “entertain some doubt about the reality of your version of what your problems are” (8:3). Try to realize that the many-ness of your problems and the difference between your problems and those of others is all a smokescreen, hiding the fact that you have only one problem. Do not, however, define what this one problem is.
- Then ask what your one problem is and wait for the answer. Even though the lesson has said your problem is separation, set that aside and listen for an answer that genuinely comes from within you. What you will probably here is a personal version of the problem, the most relevant form that separation takes for you.
- Then ask what is the answer to the one problem. In asking about the problem and the answer, apply your training in how to listen to the Holy Spirit: wait in mental silence; wait in confidence (“we will be told”-7:6); and periodically repeat your request while you wait.
Response to temptation: whenever you see a problem
- Recognize that this is simply the one problem showing up in disguise. Say immediately: “Let me recognize this problem so it can be solved.”
- Then try to lay aside what you think the problem is. If you can, close eyes and ask what it is. You will be told.