A Stranger to Inner Peace

Part of seeing special hate relationships clearly is making contact with my impulse to be in competition with various brothers and sisters. My perception that I am locked in a struggle for survival, and that there are only a few winners, is why I am a stranger to inner peace.

Because God’s equal Sons have everything, they cannot compete. Yet if they perceive any of their brothers as anything other than their perfect equals, the idea of competition has entered their minds. Do not underestimate your need to be vigilant against this idea, because all your conflicts come from it (T-7.III.3:3-5).

What does it mean that we have everything, you and I, equally? Not at the level of cheap philosophy, not at the shallow level of feel-good spirituality, but in reality?

Earlier today I flipped through Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation.

The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God (30).

I recognize this: the sentiment as well as the experience. It is why I am in the forest so often, so intimate with the wee hours, and rendering it all through the lens of wordiness. All that is truly the only church I know.

Yet the dogwood tree – or the wood ducks on the pond or the deer bounding away or the prismatic raindrops clinging to pine needles – are not in and of themselves God. Nor are they expressions of God.

They are reflections of inscape where one is either accepting or resisting God, that nameless and immeasurable isness that both infuses and contains perception.

This is why A Course in Miracles can say that “[T]o be in the Kingdom is merely to focus your full attention on it” (T-7.III.4:1).

This attention is not external – to blossoms, birds, dogs, trails. It is internal – to God or, when we are ready and willing, to our resistance to God. To look closely at one’s resistance to God is to remember God.

God has lit your mind Himself, and keeps your mind lit by His light because His light is what your mind is. This is totally beyond question, and when you question it you are answered (T-7.III.5:1-2).

Our perception of external beauty and holiness merely reflects the beginning of our identification with truth as God created it where God created it.

As this identification grows stronger and less fragmented and interrupted, our need for external reminders of God will diminish. There is no need to rush. Our exile becomes more and more lovely the nearer we get to its end.

It is not necessary to worry the metaphysical questions of what is real and what is illusion: that is what is given to us according to our readiness. What is necessary is simply to turn our attention in the direction of Love. No more is asked because no more could be asked.

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  1. I love to read about your walks through the forest, here in Yorkshire, England. Forests are magical places for me.
    Thank you for this. Especially the reminder of ” God has lit …”
    Best wishes

    1. Thanks for reading, Hazel.

      Yeah, there’s nothing quite like a good forest walk. I spent a couple months in England and Ireland in the late ’80’s and went on some incredible walks. For such a brief visit to that landscape, it absolutely imprinted itself on me.

      Thanks again for being here!


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