The holiday season is always a time of renewal for me. My friends are composing New Year's resolutions: diet, exercise and yoga.
But I've already been back at my morning meditation practice for several months, since the darker days of winter made me bring out my light box and sit in front of it for 15 minutes each day, to stave off the seasonal affective disorder I suffer from here at a latitude of 42-plus degrees in Ashland.
I've been a student of "A Course in Miracles" for about three years. Ashland has at least three weekly study groups, and we're starting a new one on Monday evenings. We will start on Page 1 in the textbook and read it aloud.Some parts I will probably never understand completely.
At home, I read a lesson from the Workbook each day. Today I'm on Lesson 33 (again): "There is another way of looking at the world."
Yes, there is another way and it is as easy for me as reaching for it, away from the rugs that need vacuuming, the Christmas tree that is ready to take down, the Visa card statement, and the upcoming layoffs at work.
In the moment when I repeat, "There is another way," my judging mind pauses for a moment, and leaves a space where the Holy Spirit can slip awareness in: a sense of a deep, cool pool of peaceful water, which extends me out everywhere. I feel my breath and it whispers to me: peace.
"A Course in Miracles" provides a vehicle for a modern person to step back from the world and find an answer to all longings, a sense of peace, and an unfolding sense of connection with the deep rivers of life, energy or spirit that we all share. At the heart of the teaching is the practice of forgiveness, which is an active process of opening to see things differently.
We remember that we can't see the whole picture, and we really don't know enough to judge anyone or any occurrence, anything. We invite God to help us see the peace right now, in this moment.
In the dualistic world view, we see ourselves apart from God, but in the nonduality of "Miracles" we are one with all and that each of us harbors the Christ (spirit) within because we are all equal sons of God.
We learn to look for that essence in our brothers. And, meanwhile, we keep going to work each day, feeding pets and family, losing our temper when we are in the shower and someone flushes the toilet.
I must say it is much more fun these days at the gas pump when I can see the holiness in the fellow who's filling my tank, and on the freeway when I can smile when my ego invites me to judge that "gas guzzler" in the Jeep who zips around me, doing 80. It feels so much more peaceful when I'm not judging.
"The world is too much with us," so Wordsworth warned his generation, and so it is today.
Yet in every moment I can take a breath and remember to adjust. There is another way to look at the world.
I sneak a peek at tomorrow's lesson from "A Course in Miracles": "I could see peace instead of this."
Well, I'm not waiting till tomorrow.
Yes, I could choose peace right now, it is just a matter of letting go for a moment and inviting the Holy Spirit to step in, between my eyes and my perception of the world.
Marcia Pinneau and Brad Whitmore are facilitating a new study group for "A Course in Miracles" from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays beginning Jan. 7 in the Heartsong Nutrition meeting room, Market of Choice shopping center, 1461 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. The course is free. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For more information on "A Course In Miracles," visit www.miraclecenter.org/wp/about/a-course-in-miracles.
Send 600- to 700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Sally McKirgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.