Excerpt from Chapter 6 (p. 169)
Jesus also said, Ask and you shall be given. (Luke 11:9) This directive is repeated in hundreds of self-help books. What stops people from following this guidance is they do not know how or what to ask. This is why the Law of Attraction is so popular; on the surface it seems to provide immediate gratification and remove the need to inspect and study one’s life.
There is no getting around introspection. If What to ask (for) means you are going to be granted it with precision, you had better know exactly what you want. What do I want? may be the hardest question of all. My list includes happiness, success, great family and friends, and peace on earth. But these are basic life objectives that most people want. In this broad-brush, communal expression, there is danger in still not getting to what I want. I may be stepping over what I really desire, deep down inside, based on my individual life. For example, peace on earth for me includes a sub-list of desires like noticeable respect for my ancestral and ethnic community and banning handguns. The role I would play in making any of this happen is still unclear, and this is how I know these general and sub-list desires are not really what I want to help me be me.
WHO WANTS TO KNOW. The teachers and gurus tie What do I want very closely to Who am I. Who I am is a person living life in such a way that my sub-lists are being achieved incrementally, for example, with the activities and organizations I support. My general list had included a permanent home health aide for my mother, which, once I realized it was possible, became a reality. Who I was, that is, as the asker of life, was a caregiver in need of help. After years of part-time workers and dealing with agencies, I identified the hours and type of person I needed and the right person appeared and fit perfectly.
The broad list was narrowed down to fulfill an urgent demand. In this way I learned that to the extent that I appreciate where I am, what I already have, and what my life is asking of me in the moment, getting what I want is simple and attainable. In Unify, recall that the exercise was to find out who you are and what you want by knowing who we are first. Who the we are in your life is critical to you. The question is not Who Am I, but Who Are We? The Key says: “we” ask and guide “us.” The you that you are is integrated with the we that you come from. This we-ness has to be incorporated into any request. This is what Solomon did when he asked to be appreciative of his parents. This is what Jabez did in his request for protection from possible harm. Jesus also asked, Who wants to be a submitter like me? This locates his request squarely in the we arena.
You are part of a people, be it a family, club, group or nationality. Strive to be at peace with this. Like Name, it helps define and situate you. Grammatically, The Key gives a hint in that the prayer is in the first person, objective case. This underscores that life is not a purely subjective experience. There is no me without us, as Unify (Chap. 4) explained, so asking is always on behalf of a greater good, one influencing many more than one single person. The work, as President Kennedy said, is to “ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
You really want to know the actions you can take to facilitate your quest for loving living. Ask yourself questions like, What Types of People Give Me Joy When I’m Around Them? What Types of People Inspire Me to Be Creative? If answers are not already apparent, searching for them will shed light on your uniqueness and why you matter.