January 30, 2017
The primary objective of A Course In Miracles is to teach the lessons necessary for the attainment of peace, not world peace, but rather inner peace on a personal level. Among the key concepts used to achieve this goal is identifying the “obstacles to peace” so they may be overcome. The first such obstacle is the desire to get rid of peace.
At first blush, it may seem counter intuitive that we would harbor any desire to throw away an opportunity to experience peace. After all, who doesn’t want to be at peace? However, if we are not at peace, it is because we have chosen to not be at peace. Further, we have simultaneously chosen to invite in some other condition as an alternative to peace. In effect, we have said “no” to peace and “yes” to the alternative.
For example, if we choose to withhold forgiveness over some perceived grievance, we have chosen to value the grievance over peace. It is impossible to hold the grievance in place and still experience peace. We are either at peace; or, we are not at peace. If our peace is disturbed even in the slightest, it is disturbed completely. There really is no middle ground.
Opposing the Will of God
The potential to experience peace is present in every moment. However, like all spiritual gifts, peace cannot be accomplished until we first desire it above all other possible conditions. Until we extend an invitation to peace, it cannot enter into our consciousness and has no shot of successfully settling within and around us. Peace cannot come where it is not desired.
The continued desire to get rid of peace is our own meager attempt to oppose the Will of God. A part of us still yet believes that we can oppose the Will of God and have peace on our own terms. Yet, experiencing true inner peace requires that we give up any and all ideas of opposition of any kind, anywhere in consciousness. Peace depends on our capacity to love unconditionally, suspend judgment and to be dispositionally neutral in all matters.
If we are not experiencing peace, there is still yet a part of us that is attempting to oppose the Will of God, even by just a little. That little remnant is no small matter. Yet, we fervently hold to it as a symbol of our unwillingness to experience complete peace from rising from within our beings. If we are not experiencing peace, we are striving to keep our grievances in place, choosing to value them more than peace, more than the Will of God for our lives.
Peace Is An Effect, Not A Cause
At the center of our being, there is a deep stillness that abides all things without disturbance. In Unity, we view this stillness as a quality of the Indwelling Christ Presence that resides within each one of us. Charles Fillmore, Unity’s co-founder, describes this stillness as a “mental state of infinite peace, rest and tranquility where our senses are hushed and we abide in God.”
To reach this place of stillness and infinite peace, we have to choose to do so. Peace is always a choice we make. Yet, peace is really more like a goal that requires we make some antecedent choices before it can reveal itself. For example, A Course In Miracles posits that we are always choosing between love and fear. Choose love, peace abides. Choose fear, peace departs. In this way, peace is an effect, not a cause. Peace does not cause anything, rather, it is the inevitable effect or consequence of right choices, specifically, the choice to love unconditionally.
Peace unfailingly comes to those who are committed to the principles of neutrality, reason and unconditional love. The potential for peace is everywhere present at all times, always seeking a place where it may abide. Yet, we must invite peace to enter and to remain in consciousness. It does not happen automatically or by accident. Life itself offers no guarantee of inner peace, although peace is universally available to everyone who truly desires it.
The Greatest Asset of Peace
The greatest asset we have for experiencing inner peace is the Indwelling Christ Presence, which abides within each and every one of us. Each one of us represents a center point from which peace may potentially arise within and radiate outward into the world enfolding everyone it touches into the loving heart of peace itself.
In Unity, we teach that silent meditation is the channel through which we make contact with the Christ Presence within. Silent meditation is the practice of entering the silence in order to connect with the abiding stillness and surety that is the Christ Presence, the most overt spiritual symbol we have for unconditional love. Peace is the result of practicing unconditional love. Remembering that peace is an effect, not a cause, we could say that experiencing peace is to have chosen to express unconditional love.
A Course In Miracles reminds us time and again that, if we are not experiencing peace, we have chosen wrongly. If we desire to experience peace instead, we must choose again to align our consciousness with truth principles. In truth, we do not really choose peace, even though our prayer of intention, or our request for peace may be framed to appear so. In reality, what we choose is to love unconditionally and peace results. This process begins the instant we choose to extend an invitation to peace.