[as it appeared in the May 2010 Newsletter]
When I think back on some of these times, I now realize that I was being guided but just didn’t know it. Of course, back then the word “peace” was not even in my vocabulary! Nevertheless, we’ve all had those gut feelings about things and learned to trust them. Anxiety or ill feelings in the gut are physical symptoms of the absence of peace.
Spirit guides and leads us with peace, and so it behooves each one of us to learn to be aware of the absence or presence of peace within our mind. NTI, The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament says this about it:
Peace is the guiding light that you must follow
as you learn to look within the mind.
For it is peace that leads you to recognition of truth,
and it is lack of peace that reminds you
that you are not following your way.
(NTI: 1 Thessalonians, 2:7-9)
I had an experience that at first glance seems like a silly example, but it has proved to be very instructive as to how we’re led by peace.
One night I was traveling to my office to give a talk on the Course and it was pouring down rain, consequently there was loads of traffic. I don’t know if you know this or not, but southern Californians cannot drive in the rain! Ha! I began to feel somewhat agitated because I was concerned about being late. I didn’t want to arrive to the meeting feeling that way because I’ve learned over the years that I cannot let Spirit come through me in a powerful way if I am irritated or angry. And so I gave the situation to Holy Spirit and felt an immediate sense of peace. A moment later I heard, “Take the 2”. The “2” is an offshoot of the freeway I was on. I had never taken that freeway to my office and wasn’t sure how to get there that way, nevertheless, being just moments away from the exit, I took the 2. To my surprise there wasn’t any traffic and I was able to get to my office in plenty of time.
I learned a great lesson from the experience: I was feeling anxious; I stopped in the moment and chose peace, and from this state of peace I heard guidance, I acted on the guidance, and consequently, I was led in a new direction.
We must come to understand that worry and fear cannot lead us in new directions. So what to do? Again, I defer to NTI:
“Lack of peace in any measure is an opportunity to be healed.
To look at the intrusion and to focus on it as a failure
is to continue to hold onto error.
Do not judge your own lack of peace.
Rejoice that the Holy Spirit has brought you
to another moment of healing.
Let Me change your mind about what you experience,
so you may use your experience to heal without delay.”
(NTI: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5)
So often, especially as people who want to grow in Love, we beat up on ourselves when we feel angry, guilty, and judgmental, etc. But here we are told that lack of peace is simply an opportunity to choose again.
The reason we aren’t healed overnight is because we are mesmerized by this world of form. For most of us, it takes many years to get to the point where we recognize a lack of peace for what it is, and then more time to grow into the desire to let Holy Spirit change our mind. As we are told in A Course in Miracles, the first obstacle to the flow of peace is the desire to get rid of it.
We can be an effective force for healing in this world when we let peace guide and lead our lives. Fear, worry and anxiety cannot lead us in new directions as these emotions only serve to keep the future continuous with the past. All healing occurs in the present. In the present we have the opportunity to choose peace.
See, when our mind is filled with thoughts of worry, anxiety and fear, we are unavailable to hear Spirit’s guidance, and thus we cannot be led in new directions. So often when going through difficult times, we let them be distractions to peace, and in fact, excuses to not even choose it.
“How can you expect me to be peaceful when I’m going through this!”
It is not the world that disrupts our peace; it’s a fearful interpretation of the world that disrupts our peace. A Course in Miracles says this:
How is peace possible in this world?
It seems impossible here! The world is but a fact.
You cannot choose what this would be.
But you can choose how you would see it.
Indeed, you must choose this.
God’s word assures you that He loves the world;
it is your judgment that says it is unlovable. Who is right?
In your judgment peace is not possible,
but the reflection of God’s love through you,
makes peace possible here.
It is not the world that makes peace seem impossible,
it is the world you see that is impossible.
Peace is impossible to those who look on war.
Peace is inevitable to those who offer peace.
A Thought of God can turn hell to Heaven merely by being what it is.
The question is no longer, “Can peace be possible in this world?”
But instead, “Is it not impossible that peace be absent here.”
(ACIM. M-11. paraphrased)
I believe with every fiber of my being that we live in a benevolent universe governed by a benevolent God. And yes, you may watch the news and wonder how this could be so. I am not privy to the big picture; there is much going on that I do not understand, nevertheless, I trust God, and in that trust I find that peace is here and now.
Trust in God has caused me to feel comfortable with not knowing what the future holds because placing my future in the hands of God now, facilitates peace now. Peace of mind helps me to let go of my plan for my life and be willing to be led into God’s plan.
Today, Let Peace be your Umpire
* Dr. Valentine has studied in the field of spirituality for many years and has been lecturing regularly on spiritual principles since 1993. You will find her book entitled, “Oh My God It’s Me” on our favorite books list.