Lesson 200 2021

Lesson 200 

There is no peace except the peace of God. 

1. Seek you no further. ²You will not find peace except the peace of God. ³Accept this fact, and save yourself the agony of yet more bitter disappointments, bleak despair, and sense of icy hopelessness and doubt. ⁴Seek you no further. ⁵There is nothing else for you to find except the peace of God, unless you seek for misery and pain. 

2. This is the final point to which each one must come at last, to lay aside all hope of finding happiness where there is none; of being saved by what can only hurt; of making peace of chaos, joy of pain, and Heaven out of hell. ²Attempt no more to win through losing, nor to die to live. ³You cannot but be asking for defeat. 

The peace of God is my one goal. Finally, I understand that I have always been looking for peace but I was confused about where to find it. I thought I would find it in special relationships and it was not there. Each special relationship seemed to be love and peace but turned to ashes in the end. I sought it in more money and nicer things and that brought only a fleeting sense of peace followed quickly by a feeling of emptiness. It has been the same for all other attempts, striving for recognition and status, a better, healthier body, and many other attempts to find peace have all failed me. 

3. Yet you can ask as easily for love, for happiness, and for eternal life in peace that has no ending. ²Ask for this, and you can only win. ³To ask for what you have already must succeed. ⁴To ask that what is false be true can only fail. ⁵Forgive yourself for vain imaginings, and seek no longer what you cannot find. ⁶For what could be more foolish than to seek and seek and seek again for hell, when you have but to look with open eyes to find that Heaven lies before you, through a door that opens easily to welcome you? 

Even after I started practicing A Course in Miracles, I still looked outside my mind for peace for a long time. But finally, I accepted that I was looking in the wrong place and began to lay each idol aside. Strangely enough, some of those idols were ideas that were directly opposed to peace, such as fear and guilt. Fear promised to save me from future pain if I would only defend myself from what had happened in the past. But this only preserved the past as the future became what the past had been. Guilt brought me only suffering and yet I clung to it as if it were my savior. Finally, though, I saw the light and I followed it instead, sloughing off what didn’t bring me the peace of God. 

4. Come home. ²You have not found your happiness in foreign places and in alien forms that have no meaning to you, though you sought to make them meaningful. ³This world is not where you belong. ⁴You are a stranger here. ⁵But it is given you to find the means whereby the world no longer seems to be a prison house or jail for anyone. 

5. Freedom is given you where you beheld but chains and iron doors. ²But you must change your mind about the purpose of the world, if you would find escape. ³You will be bound till all the world is seen by you as blessed, and everyone made free of your mistakes and honored as he is. ⁴You made him not; no more yourself. ⁵And as you free the one, the other is accepted as he is. 

The world has always been a place where those who want illusion can find them. It is a place where we can seek peace and find disappointment but do so on our own terms, making choices endlessly that lead nowhere and so we keep the world in place. But at what cost? The longer I stayed true to my course, trying time after time to prove that our little experiment could work, the more depressed and anxious I became. 

I thought I was this body, this character. I thought my purpose was to learn and do better and better until I succeeded. I wasn’t sure what qualified for success, but there were therapists and shelf after shelf of books that promised to show me what to seek and how to win at this game of life. Absolutely nothing worked. Oh sure, I did well at some things and failed at others, sometimes failing spectacularly, but I never found peace and happiness that I could depend on. 

When A Course in Miracles came, I finally found what I had been seeking. Instead of using the world to reinforce the belief in separation and thereby promote suffering, I started using it to undo the separation idea in our mind. I started forgiving everything that was not conducive to joy and peace. I helped myself and at the same time, I was helping the entire Sonship. 

6. What does forgiveness do? ²In truth it has no function, and does nothing. ³For it is unknown in Heaven. ⁴It is only hell where it is needed, and where it must serve a mighty function. ⁵Is not the escape of God’s beloved Son from evil dreams that he imagines, yet believes are true, a worthy purpose? ⁶Who could hope for more, while there appears to be a choice to make between success and failure; love and fear? 

7. There is no peace except the peace of God, because He has one Son who cannot make a world in opposition to God’s Will and to his own, which is the same as His. ²What could he hope to find in such a world? ³It cannot have reality, because it never was created. ⁴Is it here that he would seek for peace? ⁵Or must he see that, as he looks on it, the world can but deceive? ⁶Yet can he learn to look on it another way, and find the peace of God. 

For a long time I thought I needed to succeed as a daughter, a sister, as a student, as a wife, as a mother, as a salesperson, and so on. I tried and sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed but no matter what the outcome, I never felt satisfied. I was never at peace for any length of time. My mom said more than once that people don’t go to hell, they are in hell now, and I think she was more right than she realized. 

After studying the Course for a while, I realized that I had too many goals and that these goals often conflicted with each other. I needed to simplify so that I could have one purpose and work toward that. I decided that my goal would be the peace of God and that no matter what was happening or what I was thinking, I would ask myself if my present thoughts and my present effort were bringing me the peace of God. If it wasn’t then I rejected that effort and released the thoughts to the Holy Spirit for correction. ⁵Or must he see that, as he looks on it, the world can but deceive? ⁶Yet can he learn to look on it another way, and find the peace of God. Things began to really change as I learned to see the world differently. 

8. Peace is the bridge that everyone will cross, to leave this world behind. ²But peace begins within the world perceived as different, and leading from this fresh perception to the gate of Heaven and the way beyond. ³Peace is the answer to conflicting goals, to senseless journeys, frantic, vain pursuits, and meaningless endeavors. ⁴Now the way is easy, sloping gently toward the bridge where freedom lies within the peace of God. 

9. Let us not lose our way again today. ²We go to Heaven, and the path is straight. ³Only if we attempt to wander can there be delay, and needless wasted time on thorny byways. ⁴God alone is sure, and He will guide our footsteps. ⁵He will not desert His Son in need, nor let him stray forever from his home. ⁶The Father calls; the Son will hear. ⁷And that is all there is to what appears to be a world apart from God, where bodies have reality. 

I’m not saying that I should not have gone to college or got married, or had children. I am saying only that these things of themselves did not fulfill me or bring me peace. They were just the classroom in which my lessons appeared. I judged my progress and often found myself wanting because nothing I did made me feel any better about myself and often seemed to prove that I was bad or at least ineffectual.  

What actually changed is that now whatever I am doing, saying, or thinking, is measured against the peace of mind that is my goal. The doings of the world have taken on a new purpose. I am not trying to make myself happy by using the world in a better way. I am using the world to discover what needs to be forgiven so that I am happy and peaceful. 

10. Now is there silence. ²Seek no further. ³You have come to where the road is carpeted with leaves of false desires, fallen from the trees of hopelessness you sought before. ⁴Now are they underfoot. ⁵And you look up and on toward Heaven, with the body’s eyes but serving for an instant longer now. ⁶Peace is already recognized at last, and you can feel its soft embrace surround your heart and mind with comfort and with love. 

11. Today we seek no idols. ²Peace can not be found in them. ³The peace of God is ours, and only this will we accept and want. ⁴Peace be to us today. ⁵For we have found a simple, happy way to leave the world of ambiguity, and to replace our shifting goals and solitary dreams with single purpose and companionship. ⁶For peace is union, if it be of God. ⁷We seek no further. ⁸We are close to home, and draw still nearer every time we say: 

⁹There is no peace except the peace of God, and I am glad and thankful it is so. 

(ACIM, W-200.1:1–11:9

I can’t describe how much of a relief it is to let go of the burden of trying to find peace in the world. Looking outward to shift things around so that I can finally be peaceful was a fool’s errand. Marriage was no longer making me happy? Divorce must be the answer. Divorce leaving me feeling empty and alone, another marriage must be the answer. Same hopeless endeavors with all relationships and all attempts to find an answer where none exists. 

Turning inward to find the beliefs that are not true and becoming willing to release them is the answer I have been seeking all along. I keep doing this now that I have proven to myself that it works if peace is what I want. I have discarded so many idols that proved themselves false and I continue to watch my mind for any that are left. It is easy and happy work.