Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the Peace of God.
I have studied long enough to realize that when I encounter stress, I am looking at a place within that needs healing. It is resistance to what is. It is fear. It is lack of trust. Yesterday, as I once again found myself stressed out over money juggling, I sat in my discomfort knowing fully well that I was staring at illusion. Still, I get sucked in by the nuts and bolts of money and although I have enough (I always have enough), that doesn’t mean I didn’t hoard a little. You know – just to hedge my bets; just so I wouldn’t get caught short.
[Like, I trust you and all God, but just in case you are going to be too busy to help me out, I’ll put this part aside. You know, just in case.]
Just thinking about it raises my blood pressure. Cortisol courses through my body. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach.
I am looking at the places that need healing. I am being given the opportunity to notice where I am not fully trusting. Fear is my responsibility. “The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about. These conditions always entail a willingness to be separate. At that level you can help it. You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind’s miscreations. The particular result does not matter, but the fundamental error does. The correction is always the same. Before you choose to do anything, ask me if your choice is in accord with mine. If you are sure that it is, there will be no fear.”
I’ve heard that passage hundreds, possibly thousands of times (from Chapter 2; the CD I’ve listened to in my car more than any other). I can no longer get away with believing my misery-inducing thoughts. If I find myself in stress-monkey mode, I need to stop and question them. I can’t possibly be thinking the thoughts of God; I can’t possibly be in alignment if I am feeling this miserable.
There is nothing wrong really.
I watch myself and my old victim habits. In some ways, just noticing how bad I feel stirs shame within me. I keep looking for circumstances to shift and then I’ll feel better. Then they shift and for a nanosecond I do feel better, but only for a nanosecond because in truth I haven’t corrected the cause of the “problem.”
I am the source of feeling bad. I did it to myself. Shit, shit, and triple shit!
In my humanity, I want to run away. I am distraught over the state of the country and the state of my life professionally. I renew my real estate license this month and I keep wondering if I want to do that – only I don’t have a backup plan and I’m not old enough to retire. And the truth is that running away would solve nothing and I know that. I am looking at the places that need healing. I am seeing where I have trust issues. And I find myself wanting to feel sorry for myself. I find myself wanting to cry.
“Until we question our stressful thoughts, we remain victims of the images in our head.” – Byron Katie
Peace isn’t something that I find “out there.” Peace is something within me when I decide to claim it. But I can’t get there and entertain fear simultaneously.
Moment by moment, life is an exercise in forgiveness. Daily, sometimes even hourly, I find myself needing to forgive myself for how fucked up I am. Instead of being grateful that I have more than enough food and a roof over my head and bills that are at least mostly paid (remember the money-juggling I mentioned earlier), I find myself shrouded in shame for the fruit that I am throwing out this morning because we failed to eat it before it went bad. I feel bad that I need to remind myself to be grateful. I feel like a fraud because I seem like a very positive person and I am, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle, too.
I have my class (A Course in Miracles) tonight and I am grateful, grateful, grateful. Often the folks that attend will thank me for having the study group, but it is I who needs to thank them. It is the Course that brings me back to sanity. It is the Course that reminds me I cannot harbor guilt or fear or anger, I cannot hold onto a grudge (for that I ever really could!) and find peace.
I am searching for the Peace of God “out there” when it was inside me all along.
It’s a decision – the decision to choose peace over victim-hood.
“The power of decision is your one remaining freedom as a prisoner of this world. You can decide to see it right. What you made of it is not its reality, for its reality is only what you give it. You cannot really give anything but love to anyone or anything, nor can you really receive anything but love from them. If you think you have received anything else, it is because you have looked within and thought you saw the power to give something else within yourself. It was only this decision that determined what you found, for it was the decision for what you sought.”
What I am bumping up against is my resistance towards being responsible. It is my reluctance to relinquish my victim story. Who will feel sorry for me?
It is shocking how often I find myself slipping into the role, in some perverted attempt to garner sympathy, as if I am this small, helpless being. Of course, by now, I recognize that ego’s attempts (“Seek but do not find”) to keep me on the hamster wheel.
So, I am learning to be with the discomfort. I am learning to look at what I do not want to see. And I laugh. My ACIM group helps me remember to laugh. I tend to take it all so seriously and that is how the illusion of separation was born.
“Let us return the dream he gave away unto the dreamer, who perceives the dream as separate from himself and done to him. Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.”
The Peace of God was never missing. It was only I who, for a small moment, forgot to look for it is the only place it can reside: within.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.