"Now will I seek and find the peace of God."
(See Part II Practice Summary, and also Part II Introduction)
"In peace I was created. And in peace do I remain" (1:1-2). Jesus, in his Course, never tires of reminding us that we remain as God created us. He repeats it often because we so obviously do not believe it. We may believe that God created us in peace. How, indeed, could we believe otherwise? Would a God of Love have created us in pain and agony, in turmoil and confusion, in conflict and strife? So the first sentence isn't really a problem to us; we can accept that God created us in peace.
The problem arises, in our minds, with the second sentence: "In peace do I remain." Quite simply we don't believe it. In fact we are firmly convinced that we know otherwise. Perhaps this morning I am distraught by something that happened yesterday, or worried about what may happen today, or next week. I can look back on a lifetime that, in my experience, has had very little, if any, peace. Some days it seems as though life is conspiring against me to rob me of peace. It seems as though, in most of my busy days, that I rarely have a moment of peace. So how can I accept this statement: "In peace do I remain?"
It seems incredible to us, unbelievable, when the Course insists that since God created me in peace, I must still be in peace. God's creation of me took place, the lesson says, "apart from time, and still remains beyond all change" (2:2). It tells me, "It is not given me to change my Self" (1:3). My experience of life in this world tells me otherwise.
The question is, which one will I believe? God's Voice, or my experience? One of them must be false. And it is earth-shattering, mind-blowing, even to consider that my entire experience of this world has been a lie, a mistake, and an hallucination. Yet what is the alternative? Shall I believe, instead, that God is a liar? Shall I believe that His creation was flawed, and capable of corruption? Shall I believe that what He willed for me was overcome by my own independent will? Yet this is what I must be believing if I insist that I am not at peace, in this very moment.
If God is not a liar and His creation is not flawed, then what must be true is that my own mind has deceived me and has manufactured an entire lifetime of false experience. If I am willing to listen, this is not as far-fetched as it sounds at first. In fact, if I simply watch my mind, I can catch it in the act of doing that very thing. I can watch and observe how I see what I expect to see. I can notice how different people perceive the same events quite differently. I can remember times when I was quite sure I understood things clearly, only to have the whole situation turned on its head by some new fact that I had been unaware of. I need only watch the sun rise, move across the sky, and set, to realize that my perception is faulty. It is not the sun that moves; it is me, as the earth turns. When night comes and the sun is "gone" in my perception, the sun shines on; it is my part of the world that has turned its face from the light.
What if my apparent lack of peace does not mean what I think it means? What if the peace of God has never left me, but shines on, while I have turned my face from it? In the holy instant I can find that this is the truth. Simply by turning my mind away from its mad belief in unrest, I can discover the peace of God shining in me now.
What is Forgiveness? (Part 10)
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