V. 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 Holy Spirit is guiding each step I take. I wind up in just the right place, talking to just the right person. I find 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 stand 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 is a reflection of how much of my faith is still directed to separation.
I must be further along in my understanding than I think, though, because 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. I do this through action, through words, and through my writing.
The Manual for Teachers says this: “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 I am motivated to choose peace 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 Ghandi who taught change through non-violence. He played out his role on a really big stage and so affected the way many thought. The many little changes shifted the mind that we are.
We have as a whole, moved from believing everything our governments tell us, and from believing that war is our patriotic duty, to believing 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 question this, 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 peace makers 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 our self, and to desire for another only what we would want for ourselves. We are learning that peace is all we want.
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. 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.