In navigating life’s inevitable and at times startling changeability and flux, over time my go-to mantra has become simply ‘I could see PEACE instead of this’ – from A Course in Miracles Workbook Lesson 34. ‘I could see peace instead of this’ settles me right back into that place of calm and surety, right back into remembering my path and my goal, and that I do not walk it alone. It assists me in getting back to my centre, from where I am best able to handle things.
What I am choosing to do is to hold in my mind an awareness of peace despite what appears to be presenting in my field of vision, but more than that, I am choosing to replace what arises in my mind as a result of my conditioned interpretations of form. I could see peace instead of this which is arising.
In effect, by choosing peace I am choosing the Holy Spirit as my ‘go to’ – or as my teacher – and this quietly nullifies the ego’s default reaction (that contraction we are all so familiar with). In so doing the stressful situation diminishes in its stressful nature, because it was never a stressful situation in the first place. An event is always neutral. It is what comes up in the mind as a response that is not neutral, and certainly not peaceful if it be anxiety, impatience, annoyance, self-attack or fear in its myriad disguises.
‘I can replace my feelings of depression, anxiety or worry (or my thoughts about this situation, personality or event) with peace.’ – Workbook Lesson 34
When we choose ‘to see peace instead of this’ we’re expressing our little willingness to allow the Holy Spirit’s interpretation replace our own; an Interpretation that is always neutral, always loving, always peaceful, always sure and safe in this present moment. As we choose peace it’s as if we’ve opened the windows and doors and allowed the Light to rush in. Love waits on our welcome! There is a spaciousness replacing contraction. Anything fearful cannot remain; it is released and replaced with love.
And if I am feeling fearful.. well, it’s likely I forgot to choose peace.. to choose love. It goes a little like this:
‘Perfect love casts out fear. If fear exists, then there is not perfect love.’ T.220.127.116.11
So, I can choose peace instead of the impatience that arises in me at the sight of the lengthy supermarket queue. I can choose peace instead of the anxiety that spikes when I hear that a loved one is ill. I can choose peace instead of the clamour of judgments that burble up when I observe familial or even political conflict. I can choose peace instead of the annoyance that arises within me as someone cuts me off in traffic. I CAN choose peace instead of the ego’s knee-jerk and often raucous response! Yes, I can choose peace instead of that, and my choice is for everyone, not just for myself – ‘I am alone in nothing. Everything I think or say or do touches all the universe.’ – W.54.R.I. Those around me will feel (albeit unconsciously) my peace.
And if I forget which I do because I am learning, I am gentle with myself and I simply choose again.. and next time I can choose peace and when I do that the transformation occurs within. ‘Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter’. Yes it is. There is no changing the world, but as the Course tells us ‘seek to change your MIND about the world‘.. and the world you see will change. I have experienced that the world may not necessarily change, but my experience of it certainly changes. I ‘see’ a different world! What was previously a button-pusher is no longer experienced as such, but seen simply as an unfolding in form.. perfectly on track and just as it is. With acceptance and allowance of it there is felt a heart-centred spaciousness.
This has taken practice and time, but we’re assured in the Course that what it offers us is practical – not just ideas to be pondered, but exercises that when applied, again and again, lead to an experience.. an experience of living in the world doing all we need to do, and navigating whatever presents, with a flow and an ease that comes from deep within us.
Peace starts with me.. with my choosing it. ♥