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As I was thinking about this topic, and what it truly means to attain the peace of God, it occurred to me that we already are the peace of God, but the majority of us haven’t accepted it yet. This is because there is a very loud voice we are listening to that we’ll call the ego, or the thought of separation. This voice is an illusion, but the ego doesn’t want you to know that. It has drowned out the other voice we can choose, the voice of the Holy Spirit, that is also in our minds. These two voices are mutually exclusive. One leads to pain, the other to peace. Whichever one you choose will determine the experience you have.
Attainment of peace is the goal of the spiritual masterpiece, A Course in Miracles. I use the word “masterpiece” literally, as the Course was given to us, in fact, by a Master, Jesus. He showed us the way 2000 years ago, and is teaching the same thing today through the Course, pure non-dualism. He teaches us that the mind has become split once the idea of separation was given belief. The ego further roots us in the dream of separation whereas the Holy Spirit, the right part of our minds, will lead us back to God, our true home in Heaven.
In order to attain peace we need to prepare ourselves for the journey back up the ladder separation led us down. This means we need to understand the basics of the ego thought system that got us into this mess of feeling separated from God in the first place. The Course says that there is only one problem, and that is that we took the thought of separation seriously, and chose it over the correction principle that says nothing happened, and we are still at home in God. In fact, we’ve never left.
So this is why we are innocent in reality. But the ego part of the mind felt terrible guilt over having chosen the separation, and then became fearful that God was going to punish us. It made a God in its own image, which had nothing to do with the truth. The ego felt so terrible that it had to project a world of time and space, including bodies, as a hiding place to hide from what it thought was the wrath of God. What you project you disown, and therefore don’t believe is yours. So, all these bodies/people we see are just a part of the projection coming from the one ego mind that has split up into thousands of bodies. The Course says that ideas do not leave their source, so the thought of the world, separation, bodies, etc, is still in the mind. We are literally dreaming all this up.
So now that we find ourselves in a world of time and space, how do we get to peace? We need to essentially retrace our steps that we’ve walked before, but now we can learn to do it with the Holy Spirit as our teacher instead of the ego. We also need to understand what the blocks are and where they come from. The blocks take the form of the grievances we hold against ourselves and others, which is a product of the guilt we all felt over the belief we actually separated from God.
The ego, in its twisted form of the truth, believes that it is cause and not effect. The ego, the idea that we are separate from God, wants to hold on to attack thoughts to validate itself. One might ask, “Why would the ego need to validate itself?” The answer lies in the ego’s need to defend itself against the truth of our oneness with God. If there is God, there is no ego. The ego doesn’t want us to know we are minds, and that we can choose against the ego at any given moment. This would mean its annihilation.
The way to true peace is true Forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the key to peace and happiness. True forgiveness means that we are forgiving others or ourselves for what we haven’t really done in reality as explained above. True forgiveness is overlooking the errors/sins we see in other people, and recognizing that nothing outside of us is the cause of our upset. There is no exception to this. Forgiveness is about forgiving the content in our minds that comes from the ego thought system of separation.
This doesn’t mean we don’t take responsibility for our actions in the dream and just do whatever we want while we appear to be here in the world, but when we remember we are always choosing between the ego and the Holy Spirit, we realize that if we choose the Holy Spirit’s Love in our minds, then our experience with ourselves and others will be peace. The ego leads to conflict, and the Holy Spirit leads to peace.
The first step in forgiveness is to identify the cause of your upset, remembering that the cause of your upset is the choice you made to think with the ego, instead of the Holy Spirit. Remind yourself, “I’m never upset for the reason I think.” Once you are clear that the cause is the way you are thinking about things, then the next step is to forgive yourself for your projected images and forgive yourself for dreaming them. Your thoughts are images that you have made.
Once you are clear about that, you can let it go, which means letting go of your interpretation of the problem. The Holy Spirit takes the final step, which removes the guilt from the mind. Part of this step on our parts is to just trust that the Holy Spirit will do its job, and that we can continue to choose its strength instead of investing our faith in the ego.
What makes forgiveness hard to practice is that most of us still believe that when we are forgiving someone, we are really forgiving what is true. We make their mistakes and errors real instead of forgiving illusions. What we want to do is recognize that we are forgiving the illusions of separation. When we truly see others as Sons of God, totally innocent, and perfect Spirit, forgiveness wouldn’t be so difficult.
Undoing the ego is a process that occurs over time and we need to be gentle and patient with ourselves as we move through some very difficult lessons. This takes practice. The more forgiveness is practiced in one’s life, the more peaceful one becomes. You may notice signs of progress, such as you don’t stay upset as long as you used to. Or, things that used to push your buttons, don’t anymore. We can’t see the Holy Spirit’s part in all of this, so this is why we need to trust Him. Each time any one of us practices forgiveness, it benefits the whole mind, because all minds are joined.
Attaining the peace of God also means that we admit that we really don’t know or understand anything we see. If we assume we already know everything, then we’ve stopped learning. When we are willing to give up the idea that we have learned everything already, the Holy Spirit can step in and take over. We need to allow room for the Holy Spirit to do its part. This is not easy to do at first, because the ego wants to be right. There is a line in the Course that says, “Would you rather be happy or right?” This is a good question to ponder, and can help you make the shift from ego to Holy Spirit pretty quickly if you are being honest with yourself.
How can this be practiced more consistently? For starters, we need to catch ourselves when the ego takes over. Then, we need to stop thinking with the ego and start thinking with the Holy Spirit. When you are not at peace, remind yourself that you must have decided wrongly, with the ego as your teacher, and you can choose again. Slowly work your way up to remembering that you only want peace, that is your goal. As this mindset, along with forgiveness, is practiced every day, you are gradually undoing the ego, and will start experiencing more moments of peace. It takes willingness and motivation to want peace above all else.
Ultimately, the day will come when you are in the “real world” which means you have forgiven the world for what you thought it did to you. You will no longer see the world as attacking you, but will see it as calling out for love. This is when you are truly free, as the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence have been removed. You’ve let go of your grievances and judgments. You will know that everyone is worthy of love because we are all the same, and on the same path home to God. No one will be excluded from this love. Then, words can’t speak of what lies beyond. You will just understand.
Cindy Lora-Renard is an international speaker on A Course in Miracles, and the author of A Course in Health and Well-Being. In addition, she is a visionary musical talent, and spiritual life coach, with a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She has been traveling the world with her husband, Gary Renard, in addition to her solo events, helping to introduce the teachings of A Course in Miracles to many countries. She uses her knowledge of A Course in Miracles, as well as in music and psychology, as “healing” tools to help others awaken into the “higher” octaves of life.
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