ACIM Lesson 34 I could see peace instead of this.
I could see peace instead of this.
ACIM Lesson 34
I could see peace instead of this.
1. The idea for today begins to describe the conditions that prevail in the other way of seeing. ²Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. ³It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. ⁴It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises.
It certainly seems like others affect our peace of mind, or that situations affect our peace. But this is never the case. It is the story we tell ourselves about what the other did or said that robs us of our peace. If someone says something that triggers me, I don’t chase that thought into some big story. I used to do that and it only caused suffering.
Chasing the Thoughts
Someone I love is an addict and when he would go on a binge I would think, “Oh, no.” Then I would develop this whole scenario in which he winds up in jail or dead. Sometimes the story would be quite elaborate in its awfulness. Naturally, I would suffer until this one passed and then I would follow that thought. I would wind up in another scary story about the future.
None of that was necessary. Sometimes his binges would get him into trouble but it was never as bad as my imagination had it. It was my own thoughts that caused me to lose my peace. If I had been able to at that time, I would have held him in the light of his true being and gone on with my day. The story would have unfolded in whatever way it did and I would have been at peace the whole time.
Now that I understand this dynamic, I don’t fall for the ego desire for drama like I used to and so my life is much more peaceful. If something occurs that triggers me, I might slip briefly into some story about it, but I don’t let myself get too far down that rabbit hole anymore. I value my peace too much for that, and I understand where the loss of peace comes from. I know that my thoughts are the cause let go of those thoughts
Peace in My Mind Means Peace in My World
2. Three longer practice periods are required for today’s exercises. ²One in the morning and one in the evening are advised, with an additional one to be undertaken at any time in between that seems most conducive to readiness. ³All applications should be done with your eyes closed. ⁴It is your inner world to which the applications of today’s idea should be made.
Our inner world, that is the world of our thoughts is the cause of our outer world. It is there that the work needs to be done. When my loved one was drinking, I at first tried to fix him. That was a disaster! It wasn’t until I came to my senses and used what I learned here that I was able to return to peace. If there is not peace in my world it is because there is not peace in my mind.
3. Some five minutes of mind searching are required for each of the longer practice periods. ²Search your mind for fear thoughts, anxiety-provoking situations, “offending” personalities or events, or anything else about which you are harboring unloving thoughts. ³Note them all casually, repeating the idea for today slowly as you watch them arise in your mind, and let each one go, to be replaced by the next.
4. If you begin to experience difficulty in thinking of specific subjects, continue to repeat the idea to yourself in an unhurried manner, without applying it to anything in particular. ²Be sure, however, not to make any specific exclusions.
The problem I had with the alcoholic in my life was that I had excluded him from this practice. My mind was in such turmoil and I was so afraid for him that I could not imagine being at peace in these circumstances. But eventually, after I tried everything else, I came back to choosing peace. Eventually, so did he, but I didn’t wait for him. I remembered that peace of mind was my goal, and chose that.
A Way of Life
5. The shorter applications are to be frequent, and made whenever you feel your peace of mind is threatened in any way. ²The purpose is to protect yourself from temptation throughout the day. ³If a specific form of temptation arises in your awareness, the exercise should take this form:
⁴I could see peace in this situation instead of what I now see in it.
6. If the inroads on your peace of mind take the form of more generalized adverse emotions, such as depression, anxiety or worry, use the idea in its original form. ²If you find you need more than one application of today’s idea to help you change your mind in any specific context, try to take several minutes and devote them to repeating the idea until you feel some sense of relief. ³It will help you if you tell yourself specifically:
⁴I can replace my feelings of depression, anxiety or worry [or my thoughts about this situation, personality or event] with peace.
These exercises are a lifesaver if your peace is threatened and who doesn’t need them? Jesus has been encouraging us to use the lessons frequently during the day. This not only guards our peace of mind but also helps us get used to being vigilant for peace. A Course in Miracles is not something you do once a day and then forget about it. It is a way of life. Using the lessons frequently during the day is a good way to instill that practice.
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