- Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2002
- 6431 words
GF: Welcome to our Fourth of July chat. All over the US today people are celebrating Independence Day. We will honor it too, only not with fireworks that sparkle for a few moments and then fizzle out. Tonight we will work to realize the true nature of Freedom and what it takes to not just ignite this Living Flame within us, but to have its Life become as our own. To this end, to help all of us better understand the nature of real Freedom, I have written a short new piece on the True Nature of Peace.
There can be no true Freedom for us without knowing true Peace, even though these sublime states are basically two wings on the same dove. Nevertheless, as we shall see, before we can enjoy the spiritual freedom for which we are intended, and whose heart already beats within us, this Peace we speak of must be realized. A moment's reflection shows us the truth of this eternal order.
Peace is the foundation, freedom the form built upon it. We must never forget this relationship. To do so is to spend our lives searching for freedom through our relationship with forms -- an act that effectively builds prisons of our own making we then struggle to escape! Who can be free, at any level, who has not Peace? "Seek ye first," states the eternal adage.
This Peace, its Truth, does not belong to any culture, tradition, race, creed, or religion. Its nature transcends all temporary fashions and forms of time; it is to the conditions it is found within as are the artesian waters of a perennial spring to the earthen walls of the well from which these waters are drawn.
No one may convince another that this Peace exists, and the very attempt to do so vexes not only those souls involved, but also proves that the one who feels the need to push his peace has not the Peace he presents himself as having. One should be highly wary of people who are aggressive in the name of Peace! Here are a few good reasons why:
True Peace is not the effect of a pact, neither can it be produced by any plan of ours. It never flowers in opposition to anything. Its goodness cannot be manufactured, even from the finest of parts. No group or organization can grant another its Grace. Those who claim to be its keeper only keep others from finding it. Where then is this Peace to be found? This Peace is the natural radiation of a Living Now; it is one with that Light whose Life is the Eternal Present Itself, even as the emanations of light and warmth are one with the sun from which they radiate.
If we perceive that these ideas are at all based in Truth, then we should be naturally moved to ask the following question: If this Peace is inherent in the Now, and is so perfectly present, what is it that prohibits us from coming to know, directly, the fulfillment of its promise within us? Let's look.
Through even casual observation we can discern that the governing body of our present nature is primarily a mental construct created mostly from its ongoing considerations of "what was" and what "will be." Its sense of "peace" is, at best, a precarious one because the fabric of its life tapestry is always in one stage or another of either just coming together or having just unraveled.
As our own experience proves, this is the body of a highly uncertain self. Its "peace," if it can be called that, is built upon the ever-shifting sands of divided, comparative, and competitive thought. What this level of self has yet to realize is that its own blind struggle to win some peace for itself is the disturbance it seeks to end!
But we have another Nature, one whose Life and whose Peace are the same Character because this order of Self, and the Now that is the backdrop of its Being, are as the branch is to the life-giving vine. No True Peace can survive apart from this relationship, and any other form of peace is its expression.
This Peace confounds the lower level of mind that only knows gentleness and clarity by what it imagines these qualities to be. The mind asleep to itself cannot conceive that its own images of life deny it the very Life it would embrace. To know Peace and its Promise, we must release ourselves from the false self that strives to put pieces of peace together in the vain hope they stay united!
At the end of the chat I will pass along some special insights and ideas about what each of us can do -- on a moment-to-moment basis -- to help awaken ourselves to the presence and practice of this Peace.
Now it's your turn. Please try to keep your questions personal as opposed to merely theoretical or philosophical, the reason being that we best learn from one another when we study from honest questions based upon discoveries born from our own inner work. What would you like to discuss this evening? What is on your mind?
Glenn: Thank you for sharing your insights. I am finding inner peace simply by "seeing" what appears to be myself. The Light which shines through shows me what "I" need to see.
GF: Very well put. I'll tell you a secret known by virtually none: Light is self-organizing. What we bring into it, what we permit it to enter, is changed and reorganized in a higher fashion in the instant of that relationship. This is why, in part at least, all of the great teachings profess the importance of "mindfulness, watchfulness, awakedness." These are all words synonymous with the conditions that permit Light to work within and upon us.
bluerose: I have heard you speak about attraction, that anger attracts anger and so on. How then can I attract peace?
GF: Light begets Light. Silence begets Silence. The high mountain pine attracts the white dusting of snow. If we want relationship with what is True, Light, bright, and peaceful, we must do our part to dwell within ourselves where these celestial forces reside. Practice placing your attention above your own negative states. Remember Peace and Peace will remember you.
Bjor: How can I bring something into the "Light" and permit the "Light" to enter?
GF: Come awake right now. Know without thinking what is going on within you mentally and emotionally. At the same time, be conscious of your physical body, its posture, and various pressures in its limbs. This awareness is an act of Wholeness. Self-Wholeness is the only thing that reveals where we are divided. Work at this. You might try reading The Lost Secrets of Prayer. It has helpful insights to your question.
David: When I determine to Do the Good I Want To Do (DGIWTD), the desire to Do the Evil I Don't Want To Do (DEIDWTD) arises. I either relax and DEIDWTD, or resist and DGIWTD. I suffer either the consequences of the evil act, or the exhaustion of fighting. How do I effortlessly DGIWTD without the opposing desire to DEIDWTD?
GF: The strength of any opposing forces within us is proportionate to the degree that we don't understand their nature and operation within us. Certain strong, mechanical habits that are self-destructive must be met not with the attempt to overcome them but to bring the Light of Awareness into their operation. No man conscious of himself will harm himself unconsciously. Our inner work, which includes wrestling matches with what makes us miserable at the outset, is all about literally outgrowing (rising above) negative characters at work within us. This contest is tiring only for awhile when we think it is we who must overcome what has been overcoming us. As we awaken, we realize within the whole of our realization that these "evils" are indeed without power in the presence of Truth.
Jonathan: It has been a long time since I have even thought about anything spiritual. In the meantime, I have become apathetic about almost everything. What is the cause of this, and what, if anything, should I do about it?
GF: It is to the credit of the Life that still lives in you that you are aware of this creeping apathy in you. Such a negative withdrawal from life's relationships is the "natural" outcome of a person who sees no reason to persist trying to fulfill the promise of himself. The world cannot give us life. Only what is Spiritual provides Life through its Light. Start over! Go back to work.
Jonathan: I think the reason I lapsed in my spiritual work is because I became disheartened by seeing all the realizations and insights people were having while I had never had any myself. Is it normal to work for years spiritually and make no progress?
GF: Ask yourself: If you were lost in the desert, would you ask yourself "What's the point of walking out, knowing how long it's going to take?" The comparative mind is a monster that creates the very condition it decries. See the Truth of this and forget everything else. Start walking.
bobbivr: I would like to know how to get out of the money rut. I've been working hard on my own personal development for 18 years, and though I make more now than I did then, I'm still dealing with the same issues! It doesn't matter what I read, how much body work I get done, or how much I affirm, pray, or curse!
GF: It's impossible for me to comment about the dynamics (or absence of them) in your personal financial condition, but I can tell you this much: If we overspend, it's because we are trying to fill a bottomless basket. Where we live and what we own only seems to be as important as it does to us because of how we want to be seen by others. There is no money rut in Reality. The rut is in our own mind and its desires.
bobbivr: If the rut is in our own minds and desires, then are you saying that there is no rut? It is only my perception of continuous "emptiness" because I'm looking for something that has nothing to do with money?
GF: Let me state that no rut exists apart from the psychological lines that are carved into our consciousness by repeating behaviors that don't work while hoping they will. Real Life is New. There is no moment in the Now that is ever the same. Our present self meets this life through who it has been hoping to escape into what it dreams it can be. That's a dead-end. And when we walk it a thousand times, there's the rut.
shubha: These days, when I consider the questions that arise in my mind, they seem to be superficial and insincere and they kind of disappear. I feel confused.
GF: It is a strange thing, isn't it (and all of us understand it), that there is something in us that actually wants to worry over the fact that we are no longer fascinated with mechanical streams of thought and fearful emotions that used to wreck us without intervention. Do not fear emptiness. Do not fill emptiness with fear. Leave yourself alone. Remember yourself and God. That Light will fill any void it creates.
James1: Could you share some physical (breathing) exercises used for quieting the mind or point in the direction of such a resource?
GF: The proliferation of breathing exercises today, available from every so-called master and guru, do more harm (as a rule) than good. Mechanically stilling the mind or stimulating the emotions is a dead-end unseen by the traveler headed down that path. Watch yourself breathe as you read what I'm telling you. Use your awareness of your own breath to keep you present to the movement of your own thoughts. Work with this simple exercise.
Shadow769: Can you explain the harm that one can encounter with breathing exercises?
GF: There is nothing in the universe known or yet to be that does not "breathe." Even sub-atomic particles contract and expand on a timetable of their own, as does the entire Universe. One's breath is linked to the whole of these movements, and only someone who has direct knowledge of the effects of changing such patterns should ever offer breathing exercises. He alone knows as he alone has done.
Faust: I have received the blessings of "dying to my many selves" it works! It just never made sense to me until you explained it. Such a freedom comes with doing it. Thanks!
GF: I'm glad that you are learning more about your own interior and the multiplicity of these characters running through your consciousness. But we must never fall into the trap of thinking that we have "achieved" anything, because to do so is simply to have fallen into the hands of another false self that claims credit for some attributed new becoming. Drop it (and all other judgments) like a stone.
Faust: Here is another Freedom you've told us that when we have a fear, to "go meet it!" I've been doing that lately, and it works! So much of what I think I fear has no existence whatsoever. Thanks for making this so clear to us.
GF: Every discovery that we make that shows us how the nature of a fear before us is secretly a projection of a fearful self within us, empowers us to move closer to being in relationship with the truly Fearless Life. Keep working. Good things ahead
Eric: Is it possible to do this Work with the aid of books and audio/video tapes only? Does there come a time when we need help of another kind? For instance, how would I know whether or not it is right for me to move to Oregon to be closer to your foundation?
GF: In short, there is no substitute for keeping the company of those whose intention in life is the Celestial Course. There are some conditions that can only be met in the presence of certain energies. Come visit when you can and taste the atmosphere. Then you'll know if being and working here is the right thing for you at this time.
Faust: You've stated that most of us are blind to the fact that we seek continuous pleasure. This has been the case for me, and I hate that I've been spending my time on "me." How can I "give of myself"? Should it be grand, or should it be simple?
GF: Forget the idea of "grand" giving. I'll tell you what would be grand: Start simply. Here are some ways to simply give of yourself: Don't be cruel to anyone. Complain about nothing to anyone (or yourself). Don't defend yourself psychologically when others pounce you. Never argue with anyone over anything. Don't answer irritable emotions with irritable actions. These are simple, but they will help shake you awake.
NancyW: Recently I have been struggling with health problems. Is it possible to have a physical healing by discovering the true self?
GF: I tell you: "With God, all things are possible." This has more meaning than meets the eye. Certainly the body and mind go through dramatic changes the further one awakens to what is True. But apart from actual physical changes, the more important change is that we are less interested in the "matter" of ourselves because now we are vested in the Spirit of ourselves.
bluerose: In the Scriptures, I've read that one needs to live in the spirit and not the flesh. What does this mean?
GF: There are many parts of us that by their very nature are literally tied to the earth. It may be said that these qualities of "flesh" actually serve the earth and her needs. A spiritually asleep person serves these material opposites and the negativity inherent in them. But we also have Spirit within us. It is a creature of Light born of the Light. It serves the whole of creation for the purpose of its positive transformation.
bluerose: What other parts of our nature are also tied to the earth which are the qualities of the "flesh"?
GF: Think of ones "appetites" and other related forces that work through and upon us, impacting our relationships with others and this planet -- fiery anger, the drive behind sex, the way the thought nature can only comprehend what it does through division, and how divided thinking creates enemies.
Eric: Did God Himself place the false self within us for the specific purpose of testing whether or not we can overcome it?
GF: Our presently divided mind has trouble grasping the idea that if it weren't for darkness, then what would the light reveal and transform? The true spiritual life has no competition at its root. It is all about congruence, complimentary forces, and their continual marriage dance for the purpose of raising new and higher forms.
Dave: The things that we must "fear" -- or tend to with caution -- (i.e., making sure the mortgage gets paid, not knowing how to handle the setback that could ultimately lead to losing the home, other bills, etc.) get in the way of my ability to "let go." We always speak of reality, but when these fears are present, they "congest" the ability to see clearly, and anxiety sets in and rules.
GF: I know this fear over what "may be" seems natural for now, but try to understand that without negative imagination working in the unseen depths of one's self, no such fears as a psychological punishment could pop onto the screen of the mind and darken the heart. Learn to do what is in your power and refuse to do what is not. Do not give fear power. It has none apart from what we loan it in our sleep.
Shadow769: Fear can be a great motivator for change.
GF: Try to understand that while exterior conditions may be altered through the avoidance of what we fear, on the other side of that change we will always find that what didn't change is our fearful nature. This is what must change if we hope to reach the point where we need no longer run from anything to reach what we hope will be shelter.
Faust: If the spirit of fear is not from God, is it wrong to worry about a loved one?
GF: The dark fears we have are truly self-created even though they present themselves to us as being other-born. There is a difference between natural concern and overreacting in undo worry. You must see the difference. Real concern punishes neither the one holding it, nor the one it is held for. Worry of the negative nature wrecks whatever it touches regardless of how valid it gives for its reason.
Bjor: I have read many self-help books, some of them by you. I don't seem to acquire the knowledge I need to have peace and order my life. What should I do?
GF: If you are attracted to these teachings, and my books do not "reach" you as you would hope, I strongly suggest you get ahold of at least a few audio cassettes and listen to them. Sometimes some of us hear Truth more easily than we can read it. This has to do with the operation of certain centers and what dominates what. Order the new "Heart and Soul of Freedom" tapes. If they don't help, if they don't work, simply return them -- no problem.
Roy: In the context of worrying about our loved ones, you said real concern does not punish the one holding it. But if I don't worry, then something in me tells me that I'm insensitive and uncaring. How do I express this Natural Concern without the emotional pain that seems so natural a part of it?
GF: I understand your question. However, can you not see that what is truly Caring in life cannot be caring on one side and conflict-causing on another? Love, real Love, does not harbor any form of self-destructive negativity. It's impossible. Our task is to discern the difference within ourselves and to dismiss any identification we have with what hurts us "in the name of another." This can be done.
obwatch: I struggle with skepticism and doubts about the spiritual path. I am enriched by these teachings, but I find myself questioning them. How do I know that when I watch and observe myself, it isn't another false self?
GF: Have you ever had good homemade soup? Could you ever mistake it for Campbell's? The proof of any teaching is in the taste of the pudding. But one must taste this Truth and not fear seeing how the rest of life and its "feasts" pale in comparison. The skepticism does not belong to you. It belongs to those parts of you that want you to continue eating empty calories.
Eric: Why is it that when I try to meet God within, I feel (sometimes) like I'm wasting my time, like I should be doing something else, like I'm trying to obtain something that is unobtainable?
GF: I often hear questions like this from students here at the Foundation in Southern Oregon. Ask yourself this question the next time you catch this voice in you that calls into question the possibility of relationship with the Divine: Would God tell you in any way, shape, or form that you are wasting your time with your wish and work to know Him? Obviously the answer is no. Say an emphatic NO! to the parts of you that are trying to pull you away from a life in God, in Truth.
Dave: I've been divorced for about three years now. My part of the responsibility for the breakdown -- some of the embarrassing things I did --have stuck with me and project their place in my mind. Ultimately, I judge myself to the point of not being worthy of another relationship. Part of me wants one desperately; part of me fears the whole thing.
GF: It can be very difficult to let go of one's own past, especially when one's past nature has caused pain to others. But you need to understand that the nature active in you that revisits these fears does not do so to protect you from them, but to involve you in its conflicted life. Let it go. Drop this kind of concern and be conscious instead of yourself in action. Trust Truth by leaning upon it in the moment needed.
Truition: It is amazing how the false self can only create reasons for discontent, even in it's "jubilation." It appears that this dynamic exists simply because it is missing "third force."
GF: True enough. These false parts of ourselves can only exist and sustain themselves through the invisible workings of the opposites. This is partially why the Work, these teachings, are so vital for those of us seeking self-victory. We must have a new modifying force at work in us that takes the place of our personality who can only pursue the powers of this world.
Cindy: Could you comment on the see-saw of mood changes that occur from time to time while doing inner work?
GF: Everything in life fluctuates, everything vacillates. The whole point of our work is to reach the parts of ourselves that these vacillations move through instead of becoming their victim through being identified with them.
Dave: Since my divorce I've had one 8-month relationship. I did everything to not make the same mistakes. I OVERDID it. My emotional involvement backfired, and it was a real "slap in the face." I still have not been able to shake the experience. The emotional ties won't go away. I realize that we have the ability to detach, but is that ALWAYS what it amounts to? What about the love one has for family members?
GF: Here again, we do not understand that the Truths we study are in scale and on levels. This may surprise you, but it isn't until one is truly detached that one can truly love. So you see, one has nothing to do with the other as you have outlined. Work to understand this by working to quiet these surging thoughts and feelings whose very movements create the separation that you call out as being the problem.
Faust: You have made it very clear that when we give a problem to God, that we are not supposed to just sit back and wait. All my life I've been told to sit back and wait via my Baptist upbringing. I see now that it just doesn't work when I sit back. Can you explain this new concept to me a little more fully even though I have the basics now?
GF: In the Koran it states: Put your faith in Allah (God), but tie up your camel!
Straydog: The world is full of injustice. Besides "not letting it build a nest in our hair," what do we do/not do when it happens to us personally?
GF: We may either learn what it means to be the masters of events in our lives, or they will master us. There is no gray here. Who you are in Reality cannot be injured by word or glance. Find this Self before the self now active in you sees that you sink in its misplaced misery.
James1: My understanding of this world's despair has increased substantially recently. I'm not referring to global matters but more of a personal scale. Seeing our interpersonal pettiness or greed is now much more frequent. Are we so consumed by fear? So few of us demonstrate any real character.
GF: You must not fear seeing what is True no matter what inside of you brings to you to bear. There is no such thing as a harmful Truth for the one who loves Truth. These Lights along the way that reveal the depth of darkness within and around us transform not only what the Light enters, but ultimately the world that would deny this same Light. Stay close. Keep working.
Nowdweller: I know that we need to experience what we aren't in order to truly know what we are. I tire of the moments of not being one with truth. I want more moments of being aligned with my soul, but those moments are so far and few between. How can I align with my soul more often?
GF: Stay as true as you know how to, as you can muster the will to remain working towards your wish for a God-centered life. Meditate, remember God in the midst of any pain or pleasure, drop self-considering, and do certain works you don't want to do for the purpose of helping to keep you awake, like slowing down while eating, or agreeing to shoulder something not your own.
kevinb: Many are called but few are chosen the chosen being few makes sense, but why aren't ALL called?
GF: You would have to take this question directly before God for an answer. Christ himself indicated that some seed never has a chance because of certain reasons known only to the Ground. On the other hand, Mr. Howard used to tell his students, "Choose to be chosen!"
Faust: Is John 3:16 for Now or for when we die? What happens when we die? Please consider this question from a Baptist who's seeking reform from harmful indoctrination.
GF: Any answer I give to this question will only become yet another indoctrinating influence. Do your inner work. Awaken to God's Life and His Light will answer things you can't even dream to ask!
TIPS 1: How do you know when you are in the "Now"? How do you actually know what "Now" is?
GF: The self that thinks towards the present moment excludes itself from being one with Now by its very considerations. The awakened moment in the Now holds not two parties, but all within it.
TIPS 2: I have many of your books and tapes. Is there a benefit to studying with you in person that could not be achieved by studying your books and tapes? If so, what are the benefits?
GF: There is an ancient and true statement that attends most truth teachings. It goes, "it takes a lighted candle to light a candle." And this is true.
TIPS 3: If we receive what we perceive, please clarify! How do we change what we perceive to change what we receive?
GF: This is the question that we must eventually meet on the Path. The issue is that the perceiver cannot change himself, anymore than a tape machine can change its own reel. This Work is about realizing that what we want we cannot give ourselves, and then dying to the self that insists it will succeed anyway. Then a New Life comes to the forefront of us, and seeing our world through its eyes, we have the new perceiver and receive the fruits of being within that Light!
TIPS 4: Since early life I have gladly accepted the responsibility to protect and provide for the key people in my life. Life changes and I now need to move on and leave some of those people behind. How do I give up this image of protector and provider and get on with living my own life? How do I get past the feelings of guilt and of being selfish? Can you recommend one of your books or tapes to expand your answer?
GF: I would recommend "Only the Fearless are Free," or I would listen to the newest of tape albums available, "The Heart and Soul of Freedom." Both of these products will help you strengthen your wish and will to be free.
TIPS 5: Sometimes I feel as though this work has me compartmentalize my thinking I resist becoming "robotic" and miss the animation so characteristic of my personality. What has me so bothered?
GF: If you are feeing "compartmentalized" it is because you have misunderstood the purpose of these teachings. The whole issue is to "not take thought for tomorrow," but to be whole and awake to oneself in the act of being compartmentalized by thought itself.
TIPS 6: Is "instant recovery" what one must work at when one feels distracted during meditation?
GF: Yes, our work to come awake and drop thought along with any negative emotional baggage it has brought aboard us is something we should always be working at, so that our meditation is our mindfulness wherever we are and whatever we are doing.
TIPS 7: How can we tell the difference from sad, angry, or happy emotion coming from the darkness or the light? I get tripped up when I feel different emotions.
GF: Do thunderbolts come out of blue skies or dark clouds? Self-destructive states confuse us because they promise pleasure and deliver us to pain. Learn what it means to "see" to be aware of your states instead of trying to think about what they are. Seeing is freeing!
TIPS 8: In the moment when a bad event happens, how do we realistically experience the pain, take time to successfully grieve, and move on? Are you saying that through the spiritual work, life can be a pain-free/lessoned journey?
GF: Everything, no exceptions, has its time and life. Our task is to become aware of the difference between a natural grief born of a loss, and the unnatural clinging of the self to this sadness because it keeps that sad sense of self alive.
TIPS 9: Why is anger such a difficult emotion to let go of?
GF: For one thing, anger is a powerful negative emotion that provides, through its "heat," a very definite and strong sense of self, not to mention the direction this state always brings with it, as in what one must do now to exact revenge.
GF: Our time is just about up for this evening, and I want to pass along the special points I promised I would give to you at the close of my earlier opening comments. To refresh your memory, we discussed the nature of True Peace: what it is and what it is not, its dwelling place, as well what is required of us if we are to enter into its perfectly present Life in the Now. If you are sincere in your wish for a Peaceful life that transcends the disturbances of self, then a close review of these timeless ideas will prove them to be invaluable.
To pick up where we left off, before we can realize True Peace and its inherent Freedom, we must be released from that lower level of self that is forever struggling to put pieces of peace together -- hoping against hope they will hold together long enough to set us free! Clearly, this approach has proved itself hopeless.
If we are to succeed in our quest, then what we need is a New and Higher Understanding of ourselves, of our own being -- for this Peace that we seek resides within us and nowhere else. This means that our search for Peace requires that we become conscious of the myriad invisible worlds within us. But we are not asked to make this journey without a Guide. Before us goes the Light of Truth. It reveals the Way by opening our eyes to see, amongst other truths, that this Peace we seek is not a thing created by us. Admission into its Divine Domain is by mutual consent only. There is nothing conditional about this Peace except that it agrees to no terms other than its own.
For those of us who see eye to eye with these terms, this Peace reveals that it has always been present within us, and wastes no time proving its permanent Presence to us. In this Way, and all the rest of the Way Home, each step we will take away from being a self-appointed peacemaker gives us proof that we are headed in the right direction.
Slowly, but surely, we learn that True Peace is nothing personal. It is the possession of no one. Whoever tries to claim it, or otherwise contain it, sows into his self the secret cause of conflict and the sorrow of self-produced separation. Now we realize why, when people try organizing this Peace, that wars come in the wake.
Peace teaches perfectly, but few become wise. We must learn that Peace is a Gift given freely, but only as we give up our belief that we can give ourselves its silent strength. The presence of Peace within us may not be bound, but must be loosed by our growing realization that only in willingly losing ourselves within it can we hope to know its everlasting tranquility. And, as the next few ideas make abundantly clear, there is much to encourage us to do just that.
This Peace can neither be shaken, nor disturbed -- any more than a moth flying through the halo of a lamplight can in any way shatter the integrity of its glowing presence.
This Peace has no enemy. It cannot be brought to act against anyone for any reason -- any more than perfect silence assails the mind it descends upon to bestow its calmness.
This Peace is the Ground of strength, contentment, and kindness; the Now from which it springs is Newness itself. As such, it is not that this Peace itself must be renewed, but it is we who must learn what it means to renew ourselves in this abiding Peace. And here, in this one paramount Truth, lies the true nature of our inner work. In spite of appearances to the contrary, it isn't a question of where one loses this Peace -- as in the idea that someone or something can walk in from out of the blue and steal it. Rather, where is it that one unknowingly gives away their relationship with this Peace through an unattended attention that falls into identification with dark, disturbing thoughts and feelings?
With this idea in mind, the question becomes: How important is it for us to know this Peace? Because until we begin to understand how the thief of peace sneaks into us and steals our peace, we cannot begin to understand the absolute importance of inner diligence, of cultivating mindful vigilance, of how our work to stay awake heralds the coming of the Prince of Peace.
The next time, any time, something dark or disturbing tries to steal into you -- to wreck your contentment - do not consent to be drawn into its seemingly important considerations. Instead of sinking into its yawning abyss, remember that the Peace you long for also longs for you. Then, go to it! Here is how to start your ascent into the safety of Now and its Perfect Peace.
Think of the sun in the sky. Its place is above any disturbance going on beneath it. What it sees it embraces with its light, yet nothing it touches like this in turn touches it. In a somewhat similar fashion, we have a feature in us that is, itself, a kind of aperture into the Peace of Now. This yet-to-be-realized state of ours is called "Conscious Self-Awareness." Through its power, coupled with one's directed attention, we may learn to live in Peace far above any disturbing thoughts and feelings. With our awareness held steadily in the presence and Peace of Now, from this vantage point we are empowered to see storms move through us instead of our being drawn down into painful identification with their darkening movements.
Start simply. Start Now. Remember these lessons about Peace. Allow your heart to remind you what the mind so easily forgets. There is a Peace. There is a Shelter. There is a Timeless Place within you that no darkness can shatter or dispel. Spend your time there. Prefer its ever-present Presence to that of any promise of peace to come and watch how your life becomes happy and whole.
Be sure to join us on-line next month on Thursday, August 1st, for our next meeting. Until then, as John Lennon once implored: "Give Peace a chance." Now you know how to do just that! Stay awake. Never quit. Always remember yourselves and your God. You can do this. Good night.