ACIM Chapter 6. V. B. To Have Peace, Teach Peace to Learn It, P 8, 9. The second step, then, is still perceptual, although it is a giant step toward the unified perception that reflects God’s knowing.
B. To Have Peace, Teach Peace to Learn It, P 8
8 This is still a preliminary step, since having and being are still not equated. It is, however, more advanced than the first step, which is really only the beginning of the thought reversal. The second step is a positive affirmation of what you want. This, then, is a step in the direction out of conflict, since it means that alternatives have been considered, and one has been chosen as more desirable. Nevertheless, the term “more desirable” still implies that the desirable has degrees. Therefore, although this step is essential for the ultimate decision, it is clearly not the final one. Lack of order of difficulty in miracles has not yet been accepted, because nothing is difficult that is wholly desired. To desire wholly is to create, and creating cannot be difficult if God Himself created you as a creator.
I have chosen peace as preferable to chaos and I really do want peace.
I want it more than I ever have before because now that I have had some sustained peace in my life, I cannot tolerate its loss. This is good. It is through contrast that we learn what we really want, and deciding on a thing is how we get it. So now that I know I want peace, I can have it. I have it not because of anything I do; I have it because I truly desire it.
And yet, I don’t always choose peace. I still sometimes choose conflict. This is how I know that I am still confused. I still need the Holy Spirit to heal my mind because I do not wholly desire peace. It is important to remember that if I did wholly desire peace, I would have it. I am a powerful creator, and so it is not difficult to choose peace and have peace.
It feels difficult sometimes because I still want other things as well as peace. What do I want more than I want peace? What do I want so much that I am willing to tolerate a conflicted mind? I suppose that I must still want to be right. It seems I must still want a personal will, a personal self. And I still want to defend against God. I can hardly believe this is true, but here I am.
It is different now, though.
I notice a judgmental thought, and for a moment, I follow that thought into a story. But then, I change my mind. It is not always an instant change, but it never lasts more than a few moments. Evidently, I am changing my mind about judgment. I am not concerned about these lapses because I know I will not give in to judgment. Judgment is a limiting mental habit, and I am learning to disrupt it. Instead, I am forming a helpful mental habit of loving thoughts that lead to peace.
Another limiting thought habit I have not released is the tendency to project into the future. I have made great strides toward disrupting that habit because I have noticed that I am happier and more peaceful when I don’t worry about what might happen. But like judgments, I sometimes entertain these worry thoughts before letting them go.
For instance, this morning, I was listening to the ego chatter about getting everything ready for my cruise. But it was not time to do this, so it wasn’t really about getting it done. It was fear that I would forget something or run out of time. I returned my mind to the present moment rather than to some imagined chaos of the future, and all became peaceful again.
Sometimes, I become impatient with myself.
I wonder how it is that I could still be choosing fear over love again, but then I remember that there is no order of difficulty in miracles. All that I need to do is to desire peace wholly, and it is mine. And until I do, I will continue to be vigilant for the thoughts that need to be corrected, and when I become aware of them, I ask for the Atonement. I don’t care how often I must do this because I trust that my mind is being healed. I do what needs to be done, and I do it for the entire Sonship.
B. To Have Peace, Teach Peace to Learn It, P 9
9 The second step, then, is still perceptual, although it is a giant step toward the unified perception that reflects God’s knowing. As you take this step and hold this direction, you will be pushing toward the center of your thought system, where the fundamental change will occur. At the second step progress is intermittent, but the second step is easier than the first because it follows. Realizing that it must follow is a demonstration of a growing awareness that the Holy Spirit will lead you on.
I see many signs in my life that the Holy Spirit guides each step I take. I wind up in just the right place, talking to just the right person. Suddenly, I discover the next idea that I am ready for. Sometimes I foolishly believe that I did these things on my own that I can explain logically how I got from step A to step B. But when I step back and look at my life, I see that this is an illusion. It was all planned for me by One Who cares for me.
The first step, “to have, give all to all,” was hard to understand.
Even now, I have to stop a moment and remind myself why this is true. It completely turns the separation idea on its head, and my inability to hold onto the idea reflects how much of my faith is still invested in separation. What I love about this step is that it completely undoes the belief in lack and loss, which is a lesson I came to learn. More than that, it is truly pushing toward the center of my thought system. “To have, I must give all to all” completely undoes the belief in separation if fully accepted.
I must be further along in my understanding than I think. As it happens, I completely understand and accept the second step, “To have peace, teach peace to learn it.” This makes perfect sense to me. I do this all the time. I teach, and in my teaching, I learn. Also, I do this through action, through words, and through my writing. When I am operating at my highest level, my life teaches peace.
Here is what the Manual for Teachers says.
“The course, on the other hand, emphasizes that to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same.” It also says of the teachers of God, “They are not perfect, or they would not be here. Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it.”
And so, this is what I do. I teach to learn. I teach peace to learn peace. Every time I choose peace, I see the results and am motivated to choose this joyful experience again. As I teach peace, others are affected by this lesson, and they become motivated to choose peace. And on yet another level, as this choice is played out in our world, the mind shifts, and we all are affected by this shift.
We can see the effects of this shift, this desire for peace within the mind, as we look at the world. There have been some outstanding teachers of peace, such as Mahatma Gandhi, who taught change through non-violence. He played out his role on a really big stage and affected the way many thought and acted. Martin Luther King is another example of creating change through non-violent protest. The many little changes shifted the mind that we are.
Overall, change is happening.
As a whole, we have moved from believing everything our governments tell us. We are not so quick to believe that war is our patriotic duty. Many believe that peace is a better choice. It is not a complete shift, but the direction of the shift is clear. When I was a child, we learned that we should follow our political leaders without question and that going to war was the only way to protect our country and ourselves. We didn’t inquire as to whether this was the best course, and those who did so were considered unpatriotic and were looked on with suspicion.
Later, as a teenager and a young adult, all of this shifted. We rebelled against this idea and embraced the idea that peacemakers were the real heroes. Through teachings like A Course in Miracles, we are accelerating this shift as we learn to see each other as an extension of ourselves and to desire for another only what we would want for ourselves. We are learning that peace is all we want.
What is happening right now, unrest all over the world, it seems, the effects of global warming becoming so apparent that one can hardly ignore it anymore, speaks against a shift into peace. But sometimes, it takes a major upset for people to shift into a different way of thinking. It is like this for most of us on an individual level, too.
For example, I didn’t find the Course until I became disillusioned with religion.
And while it was a painful period of my life, I am so grateful that it happened. It was as if I were a baby bird being pushed out of the nest so that I could discover I could fly. Maybe we are being nudged out of the nest for the same opportunity. Maybe it is time we made that discovery for ourselves.
For most of us, teaching peace to learn peace is happening on a much smaller stage. We find ourselves being attacked in some small way at work, and instead of rallying our “troops” and going to war against our antagonist, we choose forgiveness. Maybe there is not enough money because it is time for us to learn that lack is an impossible idea. It only appears possible because we choose to believe in it. And maybe we are ready to embrace abundance now.
Don’t think that because the stage is smaller, it is less important in healing the mind. Each time any of us choose peace over attack, the mind responds to this miracle. Because Jesus is directing this chain of Atonement, our choice is more effective than we could ever know. Each choice for peace lightens the mind we all are, and more light in the mind makes the next choice for Atonement obvious.
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