At yesterday’s A Course in Miracles meeting we discussed the purpose of the Course and I concluded that the main goal of the Course was to learn to be at peace with oneself and the world about. This is, of course, my opinion that has been derived from twelve on-and-off years of study and discussion. I look at the people about me and to world in which we dwell and it seems that so many are not at peace and do not know what it might feel like to be at peace.
I know people who are so unhappy because their circumstances are not what they believe was meant for them. Their car is not nice enough, their house is not big enough, their bank account is not fat enough, and their job is not powerful enough. It is impossible task to find peace in the face of all the not enough’s that creep into the thoughts and dreams of those running the maze that is often referred to as the rat race.
There was a short time in my youth where I was at peace with who I was and where I was going but then I was seduced by the dark side of life – overwhelming ambition and devotion to career. I was a chain-smoking, coffee-guzzling, accountant who became an Accounting Services Manager for Xerox at the tender age of twenty-six. I was not at peace and I did not even realize it until I met the teacher who had been waiting for me to take tutelage with him. Graham was a man who had found peace with himself and with the world around him, which is not to say he was perfect for he was a man like any man and had his vices and foibles like White Owl cigars and tall cans of Budweiser’s. Yes, Graham became my Peace Tutor and the best friend I ever had.
Graham died of lung cancer in 1982, the year my world went into a spiral so violent that by the end of 1983 my marriage had ended and I walked away from Xerox to accept a Corporate Vice-presidency. At that time of my life I remembered Graham’s lessons but failed to practice them and for the next two and a half years I suffered with the undulating economy until the day of my rebirth in September of 1986 when I was given the opportunity to be let out from my employment contract. It was as if the weight of the world had been lifted from off me. I went on to become a Senior Consultant for a small consulting firm and spent the next twenty years creating software solutions for companies about the United States. In that capacity I was at peace with who I was and mostly at peace with the world about me.
Yesterday’s message in the Course was: To have peace, teach peace to learn it, and yesterday I had the opportunity to practice a real-time lesson with one of our co-students who is having a very difficult time finding the peace within himself. One of the exercises many of us engage in is focusing on the good and beautiful aspects of our world thereby limiting the negativity that is the destroyer of peace. I opened the window shades of the hall in which we meet, which overlooks a garden area between the hall and the church, and asked him what he saw. His reply was the aged wall of the church and the ugly power lines draped between them. Had he lowered his eyes into the garden he would have seen a variety of green plants and a single red rose that was tucked among them. I believe peace may be found in the petals of a flower should one choose to focus there.
Peace is such a powerful desire that much of the world’s population uses it in greeting one another in much the same way American’s say How’s it going and Catch you later. Peace, you can look for it everywhere and find it nowhere or you can look for it within and find it everywhere.
As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu.
(May Allah’s peace, mercy, and blessing be upon you.)