4. Healing and Peace: Workshop 4 of 12 based on "A Course In Miracles."
I have stated that we each have a superhero power; our power to forgive this illusion of separation and return our mind to the state in which God created us; a state of total love and peace. This is the purpose of forgiveness: to attain permanent peace. Currently, every separate thing we see around us with our bodily eyes represents our choice to separate from God. Therefore, logically speaking, the only way to undo the separation is to forgive what we see.
So what does it mean to be in a state of total peace? We really have no idea... Our minds are rarely thinking about anything but this world, and this world is the opposite of peace. A clue lies in lesson 200 of A Course In Miracles, which states: "There is no peace except the peace of God."
What does this mean? Here is the lesson in part:
200. There is no peace except the peace of God.
"This is the final point to which each one must come at last, to lay aside all hope of finding happiness where there is none; of being saved by what can only hurt; of making peace of chaos, joy of pain, and Heaven out of hell. (2.1)
Forgive yourself for vain imaginings, and seek no longer what you cannot find. (3.5)
Come home. (4.1)
This world is not where you belong. You are a stranger here. (4.3-4)
There is no peace except the peace of God, because He has one Son who cannot make a world in opposition to God's Will and to his own, which is the same as His. (7.1)
Peace is the bridge that everyone will cross, to leave this world behind. (8.1)
For peace is Union, if it be of God. We seek no further. We are close to home, and draw still nearer every time we say:
There is no peace except the peace of God,
And I am glad and thankful it is so." (11.6-9)
Ahhhh, so peace is union, if it were of God. There we have it! God's peace is the experience of total union with all living things as He created them. This is our natural state of mind, the state we are striving to return to. We cannot be at war when we are One. We cannot hate what is part of us, and we must learn to see everyone as part of Who We Are. This state is what's called "living in a state of grace."
ACIM T.pg.136 Chapter 7 XI. The State of Grace
"Grace is the natural state of every Son of God. When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well. Everything he does becomes a strain, because he was not created for the environment that he has made. He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him." (2.1-4)
"You who could give the Love of God to everything you see and touch and remember, are literally denying Heaven to yourself." (3.11)
"I call upon you to remember that I have chosen you to teach the Kingdom to the Kingdom. There are no exceptions to this lesson, because the lack of exceptions is the lesson. Every Son who returns to the Kingdom with this lesson in his heart has healed the Sonship and given thanks to God. Everyone who learns this lesson has become the perfect teacher, because he has learned it of the Holy Spirit." (4.1-4)
This is God's plan for us; to return to a state of grace, and grace is an aspect of the love of God. The ego knows deep down that we want to go Home, and so it has a plan for us as well. Its plan is for us to strive for everything we can see outside of us, under the pretense of thinking it will bring us happiness. You may not be aware that you have within you, only these two plans for happiness. You are also not aware from which parts of your mind each plan stems. One plan comes from the ego, and the other is the plan the Holy Spirit holds for your happiness. It is up to you to decide which plan you will follow. These two plans are completely opposite from one another. And only one plan will work.
The ego's plan for you is to search the world over for happiness. You are to look in every place, person and object you can possibly think of. The ego says to you, "If this person treated me different, if I could live in this place or be this successful, then I would be happy." The ego wants you to believe that if external circumstances were different, you would be happy. According to the ego's plan, you are to demand changes in everyone and everything outside yourself.
Now, if everyone is following this plan for happiness at the same time; if everyone is demanding that people around them behave a certain way and that their circumstances conform to specific ideals for happiness; you can imagine what this manifests. Chaos and unhappiness rules our experience. The exact opposite of happiness manifests for everyone. We all pull against one another in conflict and end up feeling like miserable failures at life. Because of this, no one ends up being happy for any length of time. Through the ego's plan, we are each following a different plan for happiness in which some must lose in order for others to win. Each of our individual plans for happiness conflict and steal from everyone else's.
The Holy Spirit has a completely different plan for our happiness, and I assure you, it is the only plan that will work. It is this: rather than seeking to change the unlimited number of things outside yourself; over which you have no control anyway; why not change one simple thing? Change where you're looking for happiness. Why not look within and realize nothing outside of you can bring you the eternal happiness you seek? Do not despair over this. This shift in thinking is where many become depressed and hopeless. Move past the thought that everything outside of you is pointless and embrace a new thought: you already HAVE and ARE everything. This is the one thing you haven't considered yet, because you've been following the ego's plan for happiness. God's plan is found within you. Within you, is where your full release from suffering lies. Your freedom, joy and happiness lie in the idea that there is nothing outside you that you really need at all.
The ego would have you seek and never find; moving from one failure to the next in an endless external distraction from where the real source of happiness lies: within. The ego wants you to keep searching where you will never find peace. It's time to change sides. Stop listening to the ego's long list of reasons why you are not happy or at peace. There is only one reason: you are seeking for it where you will never find it. You must still your thoughts about the world, forgive it its failures and move into the Light within. There is where your peace and happiness abide. You need nothing else. When the ego is silent, you feel happy. And instead of chaos, you will experience peace.
In essence, stop thinking about the world, and you'll find peace.
So does this mean we should give up every worldly pursuit and material gain? Does the Holy Spirit expect us to reject the world and all its offerings and live like destitute people who own nothing?
No. Not at all! In fact, we are asked to make absolutely no sacrifices, for to "sacrifice" or give up something is to give it power in the opposite way of attachment. If you think you need to give anything up in order to be happy, you're giving the "something" importance and reality. The illusion is made real by two ways; either by according it the power of need or the power of feeling like you should "do without it." Neither is what the Holy Spirit wants us to do. All that is being asked of us is to give up our attachments to the world. It isn't that we need to get rid of everything in sight, but rather, give up our obsessive thoughts about everything in sight. Stop thinking about the world. Stop thinking about all its endless problems and conflicts. Your time is wasted in trying resolve them, because what happens in dreams is never resolved. We know this even from our sleeping dreams and when we wake from them, we only wake to yet another dream.
We can escape dreams altogether through looking at the world through the eyes of this new state of emotional freedom. You can really start to enjoy life once you have let go of your attachment to outcomes. Now at last, you can enjoy everything you see, because you know the truth of your reality; this isn't your Home. None of this is real. In truth, your reality is as Spirit, at Home in God and there is no reason to live dispiritedly any longer. Enjoy this reality but do not need anything in it. The only need you have is to know you have no needs and forgive the conflict you see all around you. You could see peace instead of this. Remember, there are only two ways of seeing the world: through the eyes of conflict or peace.
ACIM T.pg.175 Chapter 9 VII. The Two Evaluations
"It is perfectly obvious that if the Holy Spirit looks with love on all He perceives, He looks with love on you. His evaluation of you is based on His knowledge of what you are, and so He evaluates you truly. And this evaluation must be in your mind, because He is. The ego is also in your mind, because you have accepted it there. Its evaluation of you, however, is the exact opposite of the Holy Spirit's, because the ego does not love you. It is unaware of what you are, and wholly mistrustful of everything it perceives because its perceptions are so shifting. The ego is therefore capable of suspiciousness at best and viciousness at worst. That is its range. It cannot exceed it because of its uncertainty. And it can never go beyond it because it can never be certain." (3.1-10)
"You, then, have two conflicting evaluations of yourself in your mind, and they cannot both be true. You do not yet realize how completely different these evaluations are, because you do not understand how lofty the Holy Spirit's perception of you really is. He is not deceived by anything you do, because He never forgets what you are. The ego is deceived by everything you do, especially when you respond to the Holy Spirit, because at such times it's confusion increases. The ego is, therefore, particularly likely to attack you when you react lovingly, because it has evaluated you as unloving and you are going against its judgment. The ego will attack your motives as soon as they become clearly out of accord with its perception of you. This is when it will shift abruptly from suspiciousness to viciousness, since its uncertainty is increased. Yet it is surely pointless to attack in return. What can this mean except that you are agreeing with the ego's evaluation of what you are?" (4.1-9)
"The Holy Spirit judges against the reality of the ego's thought system merely because He knows its foundation is not true. Therefore, nothing that arises from it means anything. He judges every belief you hold in terms of where it comes from. If it comes from God, He knows it to be true. If it does not, He knows it is meaningless." (7.6-10)
"Whenever you question your value, say:
God Himself is incomplete without me.
Remember this when the ego speaks, and you will not hear it." (8.1-3)
"Return your part to Him, and He will give you all of Himself in exchange for the return of what belongs to Him and renders Him complete." (8.7)
What happens to the world we see, when we give our mind over to God in exchange for the world we made?
It changes into Heaven the holy instant that we decide we want peace and only peace. This mental shift is the instant of our salvation as we decide for peace in everything we see or think of. In this way, we can give each day, each hour, and even every second to God as our gift to Him. This is the practice of not judging anything that occurs- not seeing any type of conflict in the world. There is no conflict and we are not in danger anywhere in the world, because this world is not real. The truth is, God's peace is with us and we are forever safe in Him. Since we are all contained within Him, to love Him is to love His Son. But without forgiving the illusions we see, we will still be blind to seeing Him within our brothers. Never forget that whatever suffers is not part of you. All it takes is forgiveness to end all suffering and loss in the world. Do not see yourself or anyone else as limited to a body. We are all limitless and free. When your mind shifts to thinking only of peace with all people, the real world will rise to bless your holy sight and life as you know it will substantially improve. Your living nightmare will shift to a life of loving abundance and happiness.
ACIM T.pg.254 Chapter 13 VII. Attainment of the Real World
"All that you need to give this world away in glad exchange for what you did not make is willingness to learn the one you made is false." (4.4)
"You will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it. Your first exchange of what you made for what you want is the change of nightmares for the happy dreams of love. In these lie your true perceptions, for the Holy Spirit corrects the world of dreams, where perception is. Knowledge needs no correction. Yet the dreams of love lead unto knowledge. In them you see nothing fearful, and because of this they are the welcome that you offer knowledge. Love waits on welcome, not on time, and the real world is but your welcome of what always was. Therefore the call of joy is in it, and your glad response is your awakening to what you have not lost." (9.1-8)
"Your Father knoweth that you have need of nothing. In Heaven this is so, for what could you need in eternity? In your world you do need things. It is a world of scarcity in which you find yourself because you are lacking." (10.2-5)
"Everything the ego tells you that you need will hurt you. For although the ego urges you again and again to get, it leaves you nothing, for what you get it will demand of you. And even from the very hands that grasped it, it will be wrenched and hurled into the dust." (11.1-3)
"Only the Holy Spirit knows what you need. For he will give you all things that do not block the way to light. And what else could you need? In time, He gives you all the things that you need have, and will renew them as long as you have need of them. He will take nothing from you as long as you have any need of it. And yet He knows that everything you need is temporary, and will but last until you step aside from all your needs and realize that all of them have been fulfilled. Therefor He has no investment in the things that He supplies, except to make certain that you will not use them on behalf of lingering in time. He knows that you are not at home there, and He wills no delay to wait upon your joyous homecoming." (12.1-8)
"Whenever you are tempted to undertake a useless journey that would lead away from light, remember what you really want, and say:
The Holy Spirit leads me unto Christ, and where else would I go? What need have I but to awake in Him?" (14.1-3)
"Then follow Him in joy, with faith that He will lead you safely through all dangers to your peace of mind this world may set before you." (15.1)
We will be safely lead by God through every illusion this world has to offer, if we will have the willingness to follow instead of lead. He will lead us through every sin we thought we made.
What is sin?
It is everything you see around you in the world. Sin is the error of this illusion and the decision to see each other as separate. You do not need anything in this world. You are in need of nothing but the truth. The truth is, you are not a body and therefore do not need anything the body needs. By all means, still feed, clothe and exercise the body, but do not see it as who you are. The Son of God is your Identity, and you are ruler of the universe. You rule the universe through the power of the Love of God, because Love is what you are, but you can only access that power by listening to His Voice, and His Voice alone. The voice of the ego can have no part of your thoughts, and any thought about the world is an ego thought. Do not want the world. God must be your only goal. Remember what your purpose here is: forgiving the world. Remember that your goal is God and there is no such thing as sin; it is all an illusion made by the ego. The ego gives us the illusion we exist in an autonomous state as bodies and we each appear to be alone. Remember the truth: that God created you and you are never alone. Only sin separates, and only forgiveness can heal the sin of separation through seeing unity.
We have intense subconscious guilt over our collective “sin” of separation.
And what is the perfect remedy for guilt, but perfect forgiveness? What is the remedy for a special kind of guilt; the kind where we dreamt of separation from God, and forgot all our memories of our Love for one another? It requires perfect forgiveness; a forgiveness that says the past is gone, and the separation never occurred; we remain as God created us; perfect, healed and whole. There is nothing to forgive, because I still love you, and you are mine: a part of my One Self. Nothing has happened to change that. Not even dreaming we are separated by bodies. We are One Love. And this thought brings us perfect happiness and peace. Because what is perfect happiness and peace, but to have perfectly forgiven the entire world? Forgiveness truly is the key to our peace. And there is only one test by which we can know we have forgiven the world. We will feel total peace. The only step we need to take to bring ourselves to this level of peace is to simply admit that everything we presently know about the world is false. In fact, we do not understand anything we see at all. Through this understanding, we let the world go in peace.
ACIM T.pg.296 Chapter 14 XI. The Test of Truth
"Yet the essential thing is learning that you do not know. Knowledge is power, and all power is of God. You who have tried to keep power for yourself have "lost" it. You still have the power, but you have interposed so much between it and your awareness of it that you cannot use it." (1.1-4)
"Be willing, then, for all of it to be undone, and be glad that you are not bound to it forever." (2.1)
"Nothing you have ever learned can help you understand the present, or teach you how to undo the past. Your past is what you have taught yourself. Let it all go. Do not attempt to understand any event or anything or anyone in its "light," for darkness in which you try to see can only obscure." (3.5-8)
"You have one test as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true. If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God's lesson, and not your own." (5.1-2)
"The absence of perfect peace means but one thing: You think you do not will for God's Son what his Father wills for him." (5.4)
"Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything that you have taught yourself. How would you know? Your part is very simple. You need only recognize that everything you learned you do not want. Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. 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." (6.1-11)
"Listen in silence, and do not raise your voice against Him. For He teaches the miracle of oneness, and before His lesson division disappears. Teach like Him here, and you will remember that you have always created like your Father." (11.4-6)
"If you want peace you must abandon the teacher of attack." (14.1)
"Make way for peace, and it will come. For understanding is in you, and from it peace must come." (14.7-8)
"Leave room for Him, and you will find yourself so filled with power that nothing will prevail against your peace. And this will be the very test by which you recognize that you have understood." (15.5-6)
So it is, that we understand at last, that all we want is peace and Heaven is ours.