Chapter Twenty Seven
T27.4 The Quiet Answer
In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved. In conflict there can BE no answer and no resolution, for its purpose is to make no resolution possible, and to ensure no answer will be plain. A problem set in conflict HAS no answer, for it is seen in different ways. And what would be an answer from one point of view is not an answer in another light. You ARE in conflict. Thus it must be clear you cannot answer anything at all, for conflict has no limited effects. Yet if God gave an answer, there must be a way in which your problems are resolved, for what He wills already has been done.
Thus it must be that time is not involved, and every problem can be answered NOW. Yet it must also be that, in your state of mind, solution is impossible. Therefore, God must have given you a way of reaching to another state of mind, in which the answer is already there. Such is the holy instant. It is here that all your problems should be brought and LEFT. Here they belong, for here their answer is. It must be pointless to attempt to solve a problem where the answer cannot be. Yet just as surely it must be resolved, if it is brought to where the answer IS.
Attempt to solve no problems but within the holy instant’s surety. For there the problem WILL be answered and resolved. Outside, there will be no solution, for there is no answer there that could be found. Nowhere outside a single, simple question is ever asked. The world can only ask a double question, with many answers, none of which will do. It does not ask a question to be answered, but only to restate its point of view. All questions asked within this world are but a way of LOOKING, not a question asked. A question asked in hate cannot be answered, because it is an answer in itself. A double question asks and answers, both attesting the same thing in different form.
The world asks but ONE question. It is this: “Of these illusions, which of them are true? Which ones establish peace and offer joy? And which can bring escape from all the pain of which this world is made?” Whatever form the question takes, its purpose is the same. It asks but to establish sin is real, and answers in the form of preference. “Which sin do you prefer? That is the one which you should choose. The others are not true. What can the body get that you would want the most of all? It is your servant and your friend. But tell it what you want, and it will serve you lovingly and well.” And this is not a question, for it tells you what you want, and where to go for it. It leaves no room to question its beliefs, except that what it states takes question’s FORM.
A pseudo-question has no answer. It DICTATES the answer even as it asks. Thus is all questioning within the world a form of propaganda for itself. Just as the body’s witnesses are but the senses from within itself, so are the answers to the questions of the world contained within the questions. Where answers represent the questions they add nothing new, and nothing has been learned.
An honest question is a learning tool which asks for something that you do NOT know. It does not set conditions for response, but merely asks what the response should be. But no-one in a conflict state is free to ask this question, for he does not want an honest answer, where the conflict ends. Only within the holy instant can an honest question honestly be asked. And from the meaning of the question does the meaningfulness of the answer come. Here is it possible to separate your wishes from the answer, so it can be given you, and also be RECEIVED. The answer is provided everywhere. Yet it is only here it can be HEARD.
An honest answer asks no sacrifice because it answers questions truly asked. The questions of the world but ask of whom is sacrifice demanded, asking not if sacrifice is meaningful at all. And so UNLESS the answer tells “of whom” it will remain unrecognized, unheard, and thus the question is preserved intact because it gave the answer to itself. The holy instant is the interval in which the mind is still enough to hear an answer which is not entailed within the question asked. It offers something new and different from the question. How could it be answered if it but repeats itself?
Therefore, attempt to solve no problems in a world from which the answer has been barred. But bring the problem to the only place which holds the answer lovingly for you. Here are the answers which will solve your problems because they stand apart from them, and see what CAN be answered; what the question IS. Within the world the answers merely raise another question, though they leave the first unanswered. In the holy instant, you can bring the question to the answer, and receive the answer that was made FOR you.