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Finding the Peace of God
Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace. Given this state the mind is quiet, and the condition in which God is remembered is attained
A Course in Miracles®.T-24.in.1.
Below you will find selections from A Course in Miracles® which will help you to return to the peace of God. They are intended as reminders to what you have studied and practised in the Course.
1 - Purpose of your day
As you awake in the morning set the purpose of your day to find the peace of God in all situations you encounter. For example, if you need to talk to your boss about a pay rise you think you deserve the first priority is to try and be at peace with your boss and the outcome of the interview - whether you get a raise or not. Thus in all situations that require some practical steps to be taken you approach on two levels. Level one, the first priority, is to seek and find peace in the situation. Level two, the second priority, is achieving the goal - if possible.
The peace of God is everything I want. The peace of God is my one goal; the aim of all my living here, the end I seek, my purpose and my function and my life, while I abide where I am not at home.
Another example could be sickness. You try different ways to get better (second priority) but seek, with the help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit, to remain at peace (first priority) no matter if you get better or not .
Attaining and the keeping of peace now becomes the PURPOSE of everything you do during the day. It does not matter what happens to you as you now view all happenings as classrooms where you can learn forgiveness, truth and therefore peace. You could even find yourself in disastrous circumstances (according to your ego) such as a car crash, but with the purpose of peace as your first priority you could turn that situation into a blessing. This is not easy to do as your ego will encourage you to view such a situation as a justified victim.
It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful. M -4.I.4:5
This is the message of the crucifixion (Text - 6.in). Jesus was not upset about what happened to him and would like us to use his example to encourage us to find peace in less demanding trials.
2 - Start the day with God
.... as soon as possible after waking take your quiet time, continuing a minute or two after you begin to find it difficult. You may find that the difficulty will diminish and drop away. If not, that is the time to stop. M -16.4.7:9
This section in the Manual asks you to join with God and foster quiet thoughts about Him. In four below Jesus stresses that remembering three things about ourselves is particularly important.
1 - That God has created us peaceful
2 - That God has created us joyful and
3 - A thought of limitless release
Thus in your quiet time with God you can remind yourself of who you really are - joyful, peaceful and without limit, and that you have an ever present source of help in Jesus or the Holy Spirit. It can be a time of joining with God in gratitude for what He created - an eternal, formless, loving Christ, and for the Help to return you to that realisation. After this period of quiet thinking it may feel natural for your mind to remain relatively quiet and receptive to God's love for you.
3 - End the day with God
.... just before going to sleep is a desirable time to devote to God. It sets your mind into a pattern of rest, and orients you away from fear. If it is expedient to spend this time earlier, at least be sure that you do not forget a brief period,--not more than a moment will do,--in which you close your eyes and think of God. M -16.5.6:8
Here you are being asked to repeat two above but now at the end of the day.
4 - Remember God throughout the day
There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day. It is a thought of pure joy; a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release, limitless because all things are freed within it. M-16.6.1:2
Jesus is encouraging you to maintain the current of remembering Who you are and joining with God that you started the day with. Remember you are fully protected by God's love in all situations today and that a Guide accompanies you in all situations you have dedicated to peace, truth and forgiveness.
5 - Guidance
The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. W-pI.48.3.1
If the presence of fear is felt during the day it is showing you that you must be relying on the ego's guidance and not the Holy Spirit. Whenever you lose your peace Jesus asks you to consider the following:
I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.
It is not necessary for you to ask for guidance on every detail of your day. Instead ...
If you have made it a habit to ask for help when and where you can, you can be confident that wisdom will be given you when you need it. Prepare for this each morning, remember God when you can throughout the day, ask the Holy Spirit's help when it is feasible to do so, and thank Him for His guidance at night. And your confidence will be well founded indeed. M-29.5.8:10
6 - Understanding Anger
Throughout your day irritations and anger will often arise to take your peace away. When this takes place, unhealed and unforgiven aspects of yourself are being mirrored back to you from your environment. For example, if you get upset about someone's seemingly unfair treatment of yourself, then the situation is showing you that you are capable of treating others unfairly, albeit perhaps in different forms.
Learn this, and learn it well, for it is here delay of happiness is shortened by a span of time you cannot realize. You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own. Whatever form his sins appear to take, it but obscures the fact that you believe them to be yours, and therefore meriting a "just" attack. T-31.III.1.4:6
When a difficult situation arises in your life the ego is quick to draw on your past experience and immediately label the situation as negative. This provides the justification for anger and attack. However, Jesus reminds us:
Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. Regardless, too, of the intensity of the anger that is aroused. M-17.4.1:3
Whenever you lose your peace, a hidden and denied aspect of yourself is asking to be healed. If you can take back your projections of anger from the world and not judge yourself for finding the cause in your own mind, you open yourself to healing from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. T-14.6.1:5
Prayer is a way of asking for something. It is the medium of miracles. But the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything. T-3.V.6.1:3
7 - Humility
Little progress can be made along the path to peace unless humility is developed. Your ego mind is arrogant, believing it knows the best course of action in all events. It bases its judgement on memory, thinking that the more experience it has gathered the better it can judge present circumstances. In contrast, the Course reminds you that if you think you are a body, operating in time and space, you are insane! And how can the insane know what is best for them? Instead, Jesus counsels us to resign as our own teacher and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit:
You Understand Nothing
When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way,
say to yourself,
"I do not know what anything, including this, means.
And so I do not know how to respond to it.
And I will not use my own past learning as the light
to guide me now."
By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to Him. T-14.XI.6.6:11
8 - Rules for Decision
At the start of Chapter 30 in the Text will be found a set of very practical rules on how to achieve a peaceful day. Actually, only the first rule is needed and reminds you, once again, that you only have a choice of listening to two counsellors in your mind - the ego or the Holy Spirit. And only the Holy Spirit's counsel will give you peace.
Rules for Decision
Rule 1 - Today I will make no decisions by myself.
Rule 2 - If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given me.(peaceful)
To help reinforce your learning Jesus uses rule 2 as a reminder, to be used throughout the day.
Rule 3 - I have no question. I forgot what to decide.
A major problem to be avoided is setting up your own answers to a problem which you then ask the Holy Spirit to choose between. See the previous notes on humility.
Rule 4 - At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now.
Rules 4 to 7 are ways to return to your goal of a peaceful day if you have started listening to the voice of the ego again.
Rule 5 - And so I hope I have been wrong.
Rule 6 - I want another way to look at this.
Rule 7 - Perhaps there is another way to look at this.
What can I lose by asking?
9 - Don't fight yourself
I want the peace of God.
To say these words is nothing. But to mean these words is everything. If you could but mean them for just an instant, there would be no further sorrow possible for you in any form; in any place or time. Heaven would be completely given back to full awareness, memory of God entirely restored, the resurrection of all creation fully recognized.
Although one part of yourself is looking for another way to find peace and joy there is still a powerful identification with the mind of the ego - the desire to keep your specialness. By specialness is meant the attraction to being a separate, unique individual that is different from others and wishes to be self-sufficient and in sole control of its life. This is how the seeming separation from God began - the desire for specialness instead of the oneness of Christ.
As you attempt to follow these steps to finding the peace of God the desire to remain special will always act in opposition and attempt, often successfully, to draw you back to the advice of the ego which is terrified of the new direction you are undertaking. For as you move along on this journey eventually God's love will shine the ego, and therefore your specialness, away. Thus Jesus kindly states:
And if you find resistance strong and dedication weak, you are not ready. Do not fight yourself.
Instead, forgive yourself for not forgiving. Forgive yourself for not wanting peace and preferring specialness. You are not as far along the spiritual path as you perhaps once thought. From this the path of humility can open up and you can learn to smile at your ego and its desire to separate from God. This is wonderful progress as this approach will diminish the guilt that keeps you from finding God's peace.
Michael Dawson 28/3/02