I could see peace instead of this.
Have you ever wondered where peace is? What is her address? If we personify an inanimate object as peace, I would say it is like the mysterious sock that gets lost in the dryer. You know you had a pair of socks in there but one somehow went missing, peace. Where did it go? It has to be somewhere. You know it exists. You wore it a time or two. Peace is like that very elusive missing sock: you hear about it, people seem to achieve it, even you have a few times, but for some reason you feel like you are the only one who doesn’t know the secret code to get into the party of eternal peace.
In tough times, I know I often say, “Where are you peace?” I’m usually frustrated and look all around me and look up the sky wondering why I am being tortured, as if peace is outside of me taunting me like a kid on the playground. Its funny when you think about it, being angry or frustrated and looking for peace. Does that sound like a crowd peace would want to be a part of? How could such angst in search for peace bring the comfort of peace upon us? Luckily, we get flustered enough, search enough, and try every trick in the book enough to exhaust all potential addresses for peace except one, ourselves.
Peace is not exclusive or elusive, it shows itself in the bright of day and welcomes all. In Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Peace is Every Step, he states that “Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it (5).” Notice that in the title of Hanh’s book, he does not state that peace is in every step but indeed is every step. We do not have to go looking in each step, it is the step, it is here, right now upon us. Today, the Course highlights that step that is available to us and the choice that we have to take it.
We still have free will, thus peace is always a choice, something we must choose to see. We don’t wait for it to tap us on the shoulder and say “Here I am!” We look with soft eyes and see it already there waiting on us, within. The key for today is in the statement, “I could see peace instead of this (ACIM Lesson 34).” As we scan the mind, we do not have to see peace nor must we see it. The Course prompts us to merely recognize that we could see it. We are free to keep our anger, depression, sadness, and guilt. All we are asked to do today is notice that there maybe, could, possibly be another way of looking at our world. It is like sitting in a dark closet with the door slightly cracked letting in a small sliver of light. You could either decide to focus on the darkness or recognize that you do see a little light coming through. Knowing that peace is a possibility in each moment is saying “yes” to the light. And the more we say “yes” to peace, the more light comes shining in us and through us.
Today’s lesson is a must for the spiritual tool box. This statement can be taken anywhere, be applied to anything, and used in any circumstance. Imagine traveling in New York City in the hustle and bustle of the subway system. No matter what is happening around you, you can quietly repeat today’s statement over and over again. No one has to know what you are doing. No one has to do anything at all for you to put this into practice. No one even has to know you or notice you for you to apply today’s lesson. Because peace waits on no one else, just you.
Did you get that? Peace waits on no one else, just you. That means peace does not wait on your friend to say she is sorry or your bank account to have more money or your family to recognize the good job you are doing or until the dishes are clean. Remember our relationship with cause and effect, if it is more peace in the world you want to see, you must first see the peace that lies within you. In order to see peace reflected in the mirror, you must first be that peace.
“Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises (ACIM Lesson 34 1:2-4).”
I know from personal experience that this can seem impossible in certain instances. One can reach a level of despair where peace doesn’t seem like it could be remotely an option. The suffering is insurmountable and the weight of the world is bearing down, how could there be room for peace? I promise you there is. There is always a small crack for the light to come through.
“I can replace my feelings of depression, anxiety or worry [or my thoughts about this situation, personality or event] with peace (ACIM Lesson 34 6:4).”
Be kind with yourself. Exercising your choice for peace is like starting any other sort of exercise program, it takes a while to build up the muscles that you haven’t used in some time. And like a new exercise regime feels odd, so will attempting to choose peace, at first. Recognize that you have lived your life seeing so much suffering and that it will take a few times for peace to feel like a viable option. Just like running a 5K feels tough the first few times yet after a while it begins to feel effortless, so is it with peace. See how the lessons we learn with our body mirror our journey in accepting more love and peace into our existence? The body is a beautiful tool in that way.
Thus, love yourself enough to keep giving peace a try. Be patient with yourself as well. Peace will not leave you and loves that you are wanting a relationship with it. You are choosing a noble practice. It is not a one time deal, choosing it once and your done. Peace requires your vigilant commitment. But the good news is that peace is guaranteed if you keep allowing its presence as an option. The more you choose it, the more you will experience it. So why not start now? Why wait? Its like procrastinating on that project you have to do, the longer you wait to start it, the longer will take to get done. If peace is what you desire, see it now, in this very moment. You are free to look back and wish you had chosen peace sooner but why not start now? I know you can because I see the peace that is in you. Do you know why?… (Hint, a mirror)
Peace be with you. Namaste.
Hanh, Thich Nhat. Peace is Every Step. London: Rider, 1995. Print.