This is taken from a post I made in July 2014. Also included below are two podcast episodes on the Third and Fourth Obstacles to Peace:
As a reminder we are in Text, Chapter 19, Section IV. The Obstacles to Peace. First, we had “the desire to get rid of it” where we see that we are always looking for peace to be escaping us, thus we are always looking for some sort of conflict in our mind. Secondly, we explored “the belief the body is valuable for what it offers” and how we focus on the self we have made instead of what God created. We believe the self we made will get us what we want. It doesn’t. This week we took our focus to the Third Obstacle – The Attraction of Death. Here we are focused not only on the death of the body, but anything that is a symbol of death, which in and of itself is the symbol of fear. Anything that is not of love is death. Any limitation we sense within is death. We focus on death so that we may not live.
I’d like to mention what Thursday night’s group focused on which was the aspect of forgiveness. We spent quite some time sharing personal examples on forgiveness. Sometimes it seems that it is a process that we consciously choose. Other times students noticed that it just seems to happen and the miracle appears. We came to an agreement that with our consistent study of ACIM we have decided upon an intention of healing. We may not always recognize this yet somehow and somewhere we have made the decision, “There must be another way.”
With this discussion we hauled out the Rules for Decision in Chapter 30, focusing mainly on the point “we can decide we do not like what we feel.” What we feel, if it is not peaceful, is a death. We have placed a limit on ourselves or one of our brothers. We can hide all we care to but we have made a decision for death. We have the secret wish that we would just go away or they would just go away or the problem would just go away! Take it away! PLEASE!
It is because we feel as a victim. When we can remember that this fear and the form it appears in our lives is just a mere symbol of fear, we can choose to join with the Holy Spirit and learn how we can allow this transform from an obstacle to peace but an opportunity in facilitating the way of peace in our lives. Jesus tells us to use the following:
Remember the holy Presence of the One given to you to be the Source of judgment. Give it to Him to judge for you, and say:
Take this from me and look upon it, judging it for me.
Let me not see it as a sign of sin and death, nor use it for destruction.
Teach me how not to make of it an obstacle to peace, but let You use it for me, to facilitate its coming.
Isn’t it peace that you would rather have? Why look for an exit that will only lead you once again in the maze? The exit is in acknowledging and owning the symbol of fear before you. It’s just a symbol it cannot hurt you. We are only hurt by our own interpretations of the symbol itself. It is always the interpretation that distresses us. We have spoke so much in the classes this month on my chapter “Just the Facts” in my book “I am Entitled to Miracles!” It gives us the power to face these dark and deathly symbols and realize life instead. I will be teaching a class next year on “Just the Facts” and I hope you will join me for it. Actually I hope you will join us much sooner for all the classes we offer.
The last aspect we spoke about last evening was “consistency.” This time of year students tend to take it more easily, not attend weekly sessions, forget to do their workbook lesson in the morning or meditation time, or pick up the latest novel instead of their Course book. Not that there is judgment on this. It is certainly okay to enjoy the sun and sand, go on vacation and give yourself a break. However, in my many years of working with ACIM students it has been observed that when the “forgetting” starts it can easily become a slippery slope. One missed lesson or session leads to two, then three or more. Then a startling experience is thrust in our face and we do not know where to turn.
The consistency of practice helps to alleviate any uncomfortability we may feel. It’s seems like practice slips away and then the turmoil just appears. Yet when we are practicing daily and joining with others who are mighty companions regularly, the forgiveness is easier. As was said in our group last night as we talked about how new AA members are encouraged to attend meetings every day for 90 days. It then becomes a habit, a part of your life and you are not as tempted to go down the path of pain as before.
Take an assessment right now. Have you been sliding down that slippery slope? If so, it’s time to re-engage. Your spirit is worth it. You are worth it. It may be the lazy days of summer, but don’t take it literally! It’s good to rest and have a respite, but there is a fine line. That fine line could push you off the edge. Practice, practice and more practice. Every thought that comes in, every person who gets in your face, and every situation that occurs is fodder for you to practice the principles of ACIM. As you know I always say that it is not about the insightful words in our dear blue book it is so much more than that. When we can use it in every situation, and I mean every situation, peace then flows freely. No more obstacles!
As one of my students came to this week: Slow down, observe, be willing to ask for Guidance and choose again. So stop where you are now and ask the same. Ask for the recommitment in your life to your spiritual path with A Course in Miracles. Take the time to commit to joining with your local group or one of ours. What is an hour or so a week in joining with others? It will pay for itself one thousand times fold. And, what about those 5 minutes in the morning and evening, once again, thousands of minds will be made glad when you become still.
Let nothing be an obstacle to your peace. Do not allow the thought of fear keep you from peace. It’s your choice.
3rd Obstacle to Peace on our Radio Show
4th Obstacle to Peace on our Radio Show