"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God." This is how A Course in Miracles begins...

Many years ago...my Dad brought home a math puzzle to share:
3 men rent a room for $30...each pays $10.Bellboy is told the room is only $25 and gives each man back $1. They tip him $2. Then, the puzzle offers us a combination of numbers: with the returned dollar, each man paid $9...3 x 9 is $27 and the busboy had $2.  $27 + $2 = $29. Where is the other $1.

I remember working with this information, when I was 12 years old, and didn’t realize the problem, until I took the puzzle apart and actually questioned the wording the puzzle gave to me. At that point, I found that the problem, as presented, was a trick and a joke...
This puzzle cannot be worked out, until we discover the error in thinking, by questioning the information we have been given.

And, as in life, it would seem we occasionally find ourselves living in such cosmic puzzles. If we use the information or thoughts we have about a situation, person or idea, we keep finding that something is not right. We can work with it over and over and it just never comes out correctly. There is always something that seems to be missing.

Next time you find your self in that loop, stop for a moment and question the very thoughts and thinking that have been part of this mind loop. Only then can we begin to see the errors that have us trapped on the path leading to erroneous conclusions. See if you can think about this situation differently. What faulty premise are you using that needs to be reconsidered?

We each carry within us premises––thoughts about how life is. These may have come from parental or authority input, or faulty conclusions from our childhood experiences. As adults, we each have to, at some point, confront those premises which are not based in truth and seem to keep messing with our lives.

One of the challenges of dealing with a very old idea, is that it is so much a part of our thinking, that we may have never questioned it. It is part of the box we have grown up within, it is part of the air that we have breathed. It is part of the filter through which all of life makes itself known to us.

How does one even begin to look for such a particle of untruth in this very foundation of our lives?

One way to tackle the problem, is to try and be non-judgmental to all thinking coming towards us. If something is said, which seems to be in direct conflict with our thoughts, pause for a moment. Reflect and take apart the thinking that has brought you to the position you now hold. Could there be any faulty thinking in our basis for judging these words as unconstitutional/heresy/or just plain wrong. Is there anger at the opinion of another, because they can’t see the correct truth? Why are we holding on so tightly to this opinion? Because it was never about their opinion. Everything that comes to us is for our own growth--to clarify what it is we believe and to help us know ourselves from a deeper, more thoughtful place.

Blessings,  Joann Turner

(Answer to puzzle: $25 for the room, plus $3 back to the men and $2 for the bellboy= $30--there is no missing dollar.)