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A Prayer for This Day

A Prayer for This Day

I was hurt in the past. I have been betrayed. I made mistakes. Am I good enough? Am I worthy? Will I ever feel safe? Am I doing the right thing?
The constant ping pong game of the I against what is.
Exhaustion. Heavy heart. Nausea in my stomach.
But then, a sight like this: a splendor of light greeting me at sunrise, and all I had to do was open my eyes.
And suddenly, it’s game over for the ping ponging of the I against what is, even if only for this moment.
Can the sunbeam separate from the sun? Could a ray of light even exist without its source?
What is this elusive I that thinks it’s separate from life? What am I, if not a ray of light that temporarily forgets, over and over again, its untethered nature and unity with the sun?
I am an effect. God, All That Is, the Source is the cause. And the cause is unbound love.
I, therefore, must be an effect of unbound love.
This is my prayer for today:
I of myself can do nothing.
May this elusive I surrender and surrender deeper yet to the immutable wellspring of power and beauty that’s within and without and everywhere, for it is all that is and ever was.
Knowing that I’m an effect of unbound love, may my thoughts and actions reflect that truth.
Amen.

ACIM Study Group Notes — What God did not Create does not Exist

What God did not create does not exist. (W-14.1)

The world is full of suffering. Even for those who can say that their lives have been pretty smooth and trauma-free so far, there is still at least a slight sense of unease that permeates our human existence. The fact that the body does not last forever is reason enough to live in fear. We are born to die, it seems like. And between birth and death we are trapped in a world full of violence, ignorance, poverty, abuse, war, envy, jealousy, anger, depression…There is beauty in this world, of course, but if we are honest with ourselves, we can’t ignore all the ugliness that seems to be everywhere around us, if not in our own lives.

Could a loving God have created a world of suffering? The even more perplexing question is: Why would a loving God create a world of suffering?

Traditional religion basically teaches that God created the world, but that we messed it up. This is why we spend our lives trying to get brownie points with God so that he doesn’t send us to hell. Can a life lived in this way be a life lived from love? Or is it a life lived from fear? Is a loving God happy when his children are afraid of his wrath? How can a loving God even be capable of being wrathful? And is a loving God capable of loving some of his children (and granting them heaven) but hating some of his children (and banishing them to hell)?

A Course in Miracles teaches us that God did not create this world. We did. Many Course students have a difficult time digesting this idea — because we have been conditioned by ego to think otherwise — but it is Jesus’ fundamental teaching and one that is absolutely necessary for understanding the Course and learning, or rather remembering, true forgiveness.

God created us as an extension of his mind. God, being love, can only extend itself and we are the result of that extension, which the Course calls Christ. So Christ is our true identity, and Christ is not separate from God or different than God. The course calls this non-dual state Heaven: perfect and complete unity with God, where there are no degrees, levels or hierarchies, and where there is no individuality, but only endless love that is beyond our limited human comprehension.

Residing in this perfect state of oneness, the Son of God (which is all of us) had a thought that he could separate himself from God and create unlike God creates. The Son of God basically wondered what it would be like to go out on his own and play God, much like children sometimes think they know better than their parents.

But how could that happen? How could a part of eternal, perfect love just cut itself off and become separate? Does that mean that the Son of God has more power than God does? God had no say in this and just let it happen? How could the impossible happen?

It didn’t. The thought of separation had no consequence whatsoever. But the Son of God thought that it did. We forgot to laugh at the silly and impossible thought that we could separate from God. We basically took this ridiculous idea so seriously that we’re still trapped in the illusion that it happened.

Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. (T-27.VIII.6:2-3)

The separation never happened, but we got so entrenched in that idea that we’ve been believing ever since that it did happen. The Course tells us that “illusions are as powerful in their effects as is the truth.” We have been dreaming a dream of separation. The instant we had the thought that we could ditch God, we also felt an enormous sense of guilt for abandoning God and fear that God would punish us for having such an evil thought. So to escape God’s punishment for our “sin,” we thought into existence this world in which we would hide from God. This “tiny, mad idea” in the mind of the Son of God was the birth of the ego. The ego is nothing but a thought that separation from God is real and that return to God would result in God’s wrath.

What could God give but knowledge of Himself? What else is there to give? The belief that you could give and get something else, something outside yourself, has cost you the awareness of Heaven and of your Identity. (T-18.VI.1-2)

We dreamed this physical world into being so that we can “prove” to ourselves that our “tiny, mad idea” actually worked, although, of course, it didn’t. In this dream, we have created a world unlike God would create: it’s a world of time, where things are born and die, and where, instead of perfect oneness, there seem to be separate beings living in their private little worlds (bodies) and having their own separate interests. Jesus calls the idea “tiny” because it’s inconsequential and “mad” because it’s impossible. How can a dream ever affect reality?

Are you telling me that this life I’m living is a dream?! It’s seems so real! This is where many people reject the Course. But consider this: When you’re having a dream at night, you never doubt that what you’re experiencing is real. You may fly, or maybe you’re 20 years younger, or maybe you’re even speaking a foreign language — and you never, for even a moment, doubt that what you’re experiencing is real. Until you wake up, of course. Then you see that the experience, however real it seemed, was just a creation of your own mind. This is why self-realization, or enlightenment, is also called awakening or waking up.

Dreams show you that you have the power to make a world as you would have it be, and that because you want it you see it. And while you see it you do not doubt that it is real. Yet here is a world, clearly within your mind, that seems to be outside. You do not respond to it as though you made it, nor do you realize that the emotions the dream produces must come from you. It is the figures in the dream and what they do that seem to make the dream. You do not realize that you are making them act out for you, for if you did the guilt would not be theirs, and the illusions of satisfaction would be gone. In dreams these features are not obscure. You seem to waken; and the dream is gone. Yet what you fail to recognize is that what caused the dream has not gone with it. Your wish to make another world that is not real remains with you. And what you seem to waken to is but another form of this same world you see in dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality, and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it. In your waking dreams, the special relationship has a special place. It is the means by which you try to make your sleeping dreams come true. From this, you do not waken. The special relationship is your determination to keep your hold on unreality, and to prevent yourself from waking. And while you see more value in sleeping than in waking, you will not let go of it. (T-18.II.5)

Do you wake up from a dream in which your friend is mean and call your friend to tell him that you don’t appreciate his behavior? Of course not. You know the friend didn’t do anything in reality, but you dreamed he did. Understanding this is the basis of true forgiveness. The Course does not teach ego forgiveness, which it calls “forgiveness to destroy,” (I’ll forgive you because I’m a better person than you are), but true forgiveness, which releases your brother and you as you realize that what your brother seemingly did to you was just a part of your own dream. Forgiveness, in a true sense, is the remembering that this world is just a dream the Son of God is dreaming for a while, until he remembers that he never left God because his “tiny, mad idea” never happened.

As lesson 14 tells us: “What God did not create does not exist.” (W-14.1) This is a statement of release. This world of suffering is not real! How can that not be great news? And there’s a real world beyond the one we think we have created, one that was created for us out of perfect love, rather than fear, which is what we dreamed we built this world upon. We never left our true home; we have been safe with God this whole time.

You dwell not here, but in eternity. You travel but in dreams, while safe at home. (T-13.VII.17:6-7)

In each one of us there’s a sense of longing to connect with a reality other than this world we seem to experience with our physical senses. Ever since I was a child, I felt a longing to go home, never knowing where that home was. This section from lesson 182 is a beautiful description of that longing, and the sense of unease we all feel despite the material things we accumulate in vain hopes to build ourselves that perfect home.

This world you seem to live in is not home to you. And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true. A memory of home keeps haunting you, as if there were a place that called you to return, although you do not recognize the voice, nor what it is the voice reminds you of. Yet still you feel an alien here, from somewhere all unknown. Nothing so definite that you could say with certainty you are an exile here. Just a persistent feeling, sometimes not more than a tiny throb, at other times hardly remembered, actively dismissed, but surely to return to mind again.

No one but knows whereof we speak. Yet some try to put by their suffering in games they play to occupy their time, and keep their sadness from them. Others will deny that they are sad, and do not recognize their tears at all. Still others will maintain that what we speak of is illusion, not to be considered more than but a dream. Yet who, in simple honesty, without defensiveness and self-deception, would deny he understands the words we speak?

We speak today for everyone who walks this world, for he is not at home. He goes uncertainly about in endless search, seeking in darkness what he cannot find; not recognizing what it is he seeks. A thousand homes he makes, yet none contents his restless mind. He does not understand he builds in vain. The home he seeks can not be made by him. There is no substitute for Heaven. All he ever made was hell. (W-182)

ACIM Study Group Notes — I see only the Past

I see only the past. (A Course in Miracles, Lesson 7)

How many of our present moments do we actually spend in the present? Most of our now moments are colored by our memories of the past. We’re seeing what is not here because the past is not here. When we mentally wander off into the future, all we are doing is project our past experiences into the future. Again, we’re seeing what is not here because the future is not here. We’ve created a double illusion: we use something that is not real (the past) to create something else that is equally unreal (the future). Where is the present moment in this whole mental maze of illusions?

I see only the past because everything I see now, I am seeing through the filter of the past. From Lesson 7:

Look at a cup, for example. Do you see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for your past learning. Do you, then, really see it? (W-7)

Let’s say you see someone today you have not seen in 10 years. Your picture of that person will be based on what you know about him from 10 years ago. But is this who he is now? How do you know who he is today if you see him through your filter?

Now let’s say you see a stranger, someone you’ve never met before and know nothing about. But she looks just like this other person you know! Your evaluation, you picture, of this new friend will be colored by your experience with the woman she reminds you of.

How many times have you judged someone wrongly by assuming he was just like an old friend of yours because he looked like your friend, was related to him, or was from the same country your friend comes from? What is your current evaluation of people who have hurt you in the past, or those whom you remember as being kind in the past?

Every encounter we have with someone else is colored by our own judgment, by our own evaluation, of that person. This is why we only see the past, and do not see our friends as they really are. The instant I see someone, whether I know him or not, I color him in with my own opinions, beliefs and judgments. How can I see him as he truly is when I do that? I can’t.

We always evaluate people based on how they were at some point in the past, and not how they are now. The ego’s favorite thing to say is: “Of course they are the same way now as they were back in high school because people don’t change. I don’t trust anyone.” Or, another one of ego’s favorites is:  “I don’t care if she’s saving a million babies from starving every day. What she did to me way back then was horrible!”

‘Now’ has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it were the past. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past, and although the past is over, the ego tries to preserve its image by responding as if it were present. It dictates your reactions to those you meet in the present from a past reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego’s dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognizing him as he is. And you will receive messages from him out of your own past because, by making it real in the present, you are forbidding yourself to let it go. You thus deny yourself the message of release that every brother offers you now. (T-13.IV)

Everyone you meet offers you an opportunity to release yourself from the past by seeing the other person as he is now, and not how he was then. Your release of him is your release of yourself.

When we hold onto the past, we choose to do so. It’s not an automatic or natural response, but a conscious choice. It is, however, a conscious choice of the ego, which is not the real you. But as long as you identify with the ego, you will think that the ego is you, and you will keep listening to its insane reasoning.

Does holding onto past grievances make you feel liberated and at peace? No? Then why do you do it? We justify holding grudges by this insane idea that we deserve justice and that this person needs to pay for what he did. But what he did is not real now because whatever he did, he did in the past, which is not here anymore. You are bringing this hurt into the present and therefore making it real for you now. The only question you need to ask yourself is this: Does bringing the past into the present bring me peace?

The ego has a strange notion of time, and it is with this notion that your questioning might well begin. The ego invests heavily in the past, and in the end believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Remember that its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of paying for the past in the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present. For the ego regards the present only as a brief transition to the future, in which it brings the past to the future by interpreting the present in past terms. (T-13.IV)

We mentally live in the past, while, in reality, we can only live in the present. By using the present to stuff it with past experiences and future anxieties (and all anxieties are projections of the past into the future), we obliterate the present and are ultimately residing nowhere, since now is the only time there is. Why do we wonder, then, why the future turns out to be just like the past? We made that choice by bringing the skeletons of the past into the future. The ego will say that history repeats itself. Of course it does, because we allow the ego to bring history into the future.

The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must escape. They are not real, and have no hold over you unless you bring them with you. They carry the spots of pain in your mind, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of future pain. Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present. The ego would preserve your nightmares, and prevent you from awakening and understanding they are past. Would you recognize a holy encounter if you are merely perceiving it as a meeting with your own past? For you would be meeting no one, and the sharing of salvation, which makes the encounter holy, would be excluded from your sight. The Holy Spirit teaches that you always meet yourself, and the encounter is holy because you are. The ego teaches that you always encounter your past, and because your dreams were not holy, the future cannot be, and the present is without meaning. (T-13.IV)

Love is ever present because love is the only reality. But by seeing the present through the filter of the past, we can’t see love because our filter obscures it. Since all of our judgments are based on the past, we can release all judgments by being in the now. By holding a grievance, we bring the past into the present and ensure that the future will be like the past. But the past is not even real, so we’re making ourselves a future that is based on illusion. Who can find peace in an existence based on illusion?

Heaven, therefore, is a letting go of the past entirely. Once we let go of the past, we let go of all judgments and grievances, since they are always tied to the past. The past is the barrier to the love’s presence, which is our natural inheritance, as the Course says. The past is an illusion, and is therefore nothing. It is only a perceived barrier. There is actually nothing that keeps us from experiencing Heaven, or our true nature, right now.

The now moment is the closest we can get to eternity while we are still believing in time. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but no time. Eternity is a state beyond time. Time is a device of the ego, set in place to keep us tied to the past, ensuring that history will repeat itself. Remember that the ego is not your friend, but a parasitic fear thought that can only survive if you believe in it. The ego can only live in the past or in the anticipated future (which is an extension of the past) because the ego, being not real itself, can only reside in time that is not real. The Holy Spirit, which is your true self, teaches you to be in the present moment because the now moment is the closest you can get to eternity, which is your true home. The Holy Spirit uses time to reinterpret it, showing you that time is not a linear phenomenon, existing independently of you, but simply a teaching device. Once we have removed the barrier to truth (and the barrier is the past), time, like any learning device, will become unnecessary.

If you accept your function in the world of time as one of healing, you will emphasize only the aspect of time in which healing can occur. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present, and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to ensure a destructive future. And time will be as you interpret it, for of itself it is nothing. (T-13.IV)

 

 

ACIM Study Group Notes — I don’t know what anything is for

A Course in Miracles study group notes, May 10, 2013

I don’t know what anything is for.

From Lesson 25:

“You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals. These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you. This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for.

It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything. The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than “good” or “bad,” is the only way to accomplish this.” (A Course in Miracles, W-25)

The statement (I don’t know what anything is for) invites us to question our beliefs, values and opinions. Through our beliefs, values and opinions we assign meaning to things. Events in themselves are neutral and have no meaning until we assign meaning to them.

“Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” (Shakespeare)

Think of instances in your life where you thought for sure that something was going to be great for you, but it ended up being not so great. Or maybe you thought you were in the middle of a disaster, only to realize later on that this “disaster” brought on much needed learning, more love for yourself or a deeper understanding of someone else’s situation.

Again from Lesson 25:

“For example, you do understand that a telephone is for the purpose of talking to someone who is not physically in your immediate vicinity. What you do not understand is what you want to reach him for. And it is this that makes your contact with him meaningful or not.” (A Course in Miracles, W-25)

This telephone example reminds us that we may think we know what the purpose of something is, but that the deeper meaning of it escapes us. Why? Because we misidentify with the ego, we automatically set ourselves up for misinterpreting what anything is for. The ego is basically a thought of separation: when we identify with the ego, we see ourselves as separate beings with separate interests, living in our own little private worlds we call bodies. All ego goals are concerned with private interests, but since in reality there is no separation between you and me, these goals are concerned with an illusion. In other words, all ego goals are fantasies. They appear real as long as we believe they can have an effect, because our belief makes them real for us.

Remember that an anorexic person thinks she’s fat, although it’s clear to the rest of the world that she is not. But because she believes she is fat, being fat is real for her. Most of our beliefs are real to us because we accepted them as such; not because they are true in reality. This is why this practice is so powerful: training your mind to let go of the meaning it has assigned to things, events and people is the only way to allow the true meaning to show itself.

Remember the story of the scholar, who was full of conceptual knowledge and opinions, and who came to a Zen master asking to be taught about Zen? The master refilled the scholar’s teacup, but did not stop pouring when the cup was full. Tea spilled out and ran over the table. “Stop! The cup is full!” said the scholar. “Exactly,” said the master. “You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can’t put anything in. Before I can teach you, you’ll have to empty your cup.”

By questioning our beliefs, values and opinions we start emptying our cups. Some beliefs are more easily questioned than others: I can easily question my belief that I shouldn’t pay higher taxes, but I can’t question my belief that we shouldn’t incarcerate criminals! The Course teaches us that there is no order in validity when it comes to beliefs because none of the beliefs is knowledge, and only knowledge is true. Knowledge can never come from the ego because they are direct opposites: knowledge is truth and ego is illusion. Illusion will never lead to truth, no matter how diligently the ego will plead its case.

Homework: To practice this idea, use  the statement when you feel yourself getting worked up over something or someone, when you start to worry, feel guilty, or when you find yourself judging someone else or yourself. I don’t know what (this situation; this relationship; this event) is for. Breathe deeply and get still, and then ask the Holy Spirit (which is your true self) to show you how to perceive the situation correctly. You will never not get an answer — the only question is whether you will insist on your ego’s answer instead of hearing the spirit’s.

Also remember that the part of you that gets offended when you say that you don’t know what something is for is your ego. But since the ego is not you (it’s a parasite!) this is good news. Offending the parasite makes it weaker the more you practice because the real you gets stronger. So be ok with not knowing. It’s the only way to bring your old thought patterns into light. Only when you let go of meaning you assigned to things and events can there be an empty space where spirit can write its true meaning.

These are the portions from the text I read during our meeting. (The T in parentheses means Text, after the dash is the chapter number, and after the period is the (roman) number of the section within the chapter.)

“The confusion between your real creation and what you have made of yourself is so profound that it has become literally impossible for you to know anything. Knowledge is always stable, and it is quite evident that you are not. Nevertheless, you are perfectly stable as God created you. In this sense, when your behavior is unstable, you are disagreeing with God’s idea of your creation. You can do this if you choose, but you would hardly want to do it if you were in your right mind.” (T-3.V)

“The Bible tells you to become as little children. Little children recognize that they do not understand what they perceive, and so they ask what it means. Do not make the mistake of believing that you understand what you perceive, for its meaning is lost to you. Yet the Holy Spirit has saved its meaning for you, and if you will let Him interpret it, He will restore to you what you have thrown away. Yet while you think you know its meaning, you will see no need to ask it of Him.

“You do not know the meaning of anything you perceive. Not one thought you hold is wholly true. The recognition of this is your firm beginning. You are not misguided; you have accepted no guide at all. Instruction in perception is your great need, for you understand nothing. Recognize this but do not accept it, for understanding is your inheritance. Perceptions are learned, and you are not without a Teacher. Yet your willingness to learn of Him depends on your willingness to question everything you learned of yourself, for you who learned amiss should not be your own teacher.” (T-11.VIII)

“Let us be still an instant, and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception that we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away.

“Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thoughts of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do you know him not. But you are free to learn of him, and learn of him anew. Now is he born again to you, and you are born again to him, without the past that sentenced him to die, and you with him. Now is he free to live as you are free, because an ancient learning passed away, and left a place for truth to be reborn.” (T-31.I)

“The world can teach no images of you unless you want to learn them. There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are. It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound. Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is. When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt. There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this:

I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not

know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look

upon the world or on myself.

 

Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.” (T-31.V)

What am I using time for?

How often do we spend time reminiscing about the past or planning for the future? We think of time as something that exists independently of us; something so limited and precious that we better use it wisely. By constant planning, we are living in fear that we won’t get enough, learn enough, or accomplish enough in the future. We fear that if we don’t plan, the future won’t be better than the past. But what does better mean? What are you trying to accomplish? What do you think the future has waiting for you that you don’t have now?

Rather than asking yourself what you know and what you still have to accomplish, and fearing that there is still so much more to learn and a great deal more to accomplish, simply ask yourself: What is my experience right now? What am I using time for? Am I using time to create peace for myself right now? If not, I must be using time to value something else more than I value peace.

I choose now to value the experience of peace more than I value anything else.

Often we get confused about what it means to be at peace. We think that if we suffer now by doing the job we despise, or if we deprive ourselves of something we would like to have now, that we will be rewarded in the future for our sacrifices today. We may say that being at peace is our highest priority, but we qualify that intention by saying that we’re choosing to be in some sort of conflict now so that we can have peace later. That makes no sense. It is no different than thinking that you can plant a weed in your garden and have tomatoes come up later. It really is like the saying: as you sow, so shall you reap: If you sow fear and sense of lack now, you will reap fear and a sense of lack later. Whatever you invest in, you will have more of.

So the question is: What am I using time for? Is the result bringing me peace right now, not just anticipated peace? There is no such thing as anticipated peace because it’s impossible to be at peace while anticipating anything. Anticipating simply means using time to value something that is not here. How do you expect to feel at peace when you’re valuing something that is not here, and is therefore an illusion?

But what do I do? I can’t quit my job? Who’s going to pay my bills?! If you decided you have to do something that’s currently not bringing you peace, can you change your thoughts about your situation and instead of seeing yourself as a victim, see yourself as a creator of your own experience? You are, in truth, the only creator of your experience. Nothing external to you has the power to disrupt your peace. Your peace is disrupted only when you value certain thoughts, which are in your mind, more than you value peace. So you can stay employed at the same place you’ve been unhappily employed for years — you will be in the same situation physically — but your whole experience will change completely because you decided to use time differently. When you decide to use time  to create peace for yourself, no matter what the external circumstances are, you will realize that no one ever had the power to create your experience for you, but that you mistakenly thought so.

The ego will tell you that your lack of peace or loss of peace is someone else’s fault. The ego will also tell you that being at peace is a luxury, experienced rarely and only when everyone acts in alignment with what you want and everything falls into place the way you planned. Remember that the ego is nothing but a fear thought, and as such it must be the complete opposite of peace. Don’t listen to the ego as your teacher because it has failed to bring you peace so far. Listen, instead, to the voice within that knows how to create peace simply because it was created from peace and as peace. That voice is your true self, the part of your mind that is not affected by any external circumstances because it does not reside in time. Past and future are meaningless to your true self, which always rests in the right now and right here — the now and here being completely independent of time and space.

Being at peace is your natural state. You, having been created by absolute peace, can’t be different from your creator. When you don’t feel at peace, you have chosen to use time to value an illusion about yourself more than you value peace, which is your true self. You can use time to perpetuate this illusion about yourself — that you are a body, limited by circumstances that seem to occur within time and space — or you can use time to show you your timelessness. When you choose peace in each moment, regardless of what seems to be happening around you and even to you, you are aligning with your true self, which is always at peace.

When you find yourself at work, surrounded by negative energy and bickering, or when you find yourself stuck in traffic but still choose peace, just ask yourself where the peace you’re experiencing came from? It certainly didn’t come from the bickering co-workers or from the angry stuck drivers. The sense of peace came from you, and it came from that part of you that is not swayed by any events that happen in time and space. These moments of peace within a conflict laden world prove to you that the essence of who you are is never dependent on circumstances that seem to be happening around you and even to you. Your own experience of choosing to use time to create peace for yourself teaches you that time exists only to teach us to heal our own misperceptions.

Through time, you learn that you are timeless. Through this body, which is in time, you learn that you are not contained by a body. And through experiencing peace because you created it for yourself, you learn that you are the only creator of your experience.