Guest opinion by Sally McKirgan

Having inner peace is as simple as changing your mind. Is there someone who causes you to feel discomfort? Sometimes the thought or memory of this person turns your stomach into knots. That is good! This means you are ready to change your mind. Here's one method that can help.

Can you say with complete certainty that you know everything there is to know, including the past and present about anyone? Do you know every detail of their lives, their fears, hurts, illnesses, challenges or successes? You don't. No one does.

The driver who cut you off in traffic, the slow clerk at the store, the talkative lady at the post office, the guy asking for money for food, the insecure relative or messy neighbor — all are fighting their own hard battles. We don't know what their life is like or what lessons they are here to learn.

If you can drop your judgments and change your mind, you are choosing peace "¦ right on the spot! To have peace, exclude no one from the compassion, understanding and kindness in your heart.

However, sometimes there are people who continue to annoy. For example, I hate to admit that the 43rd President of the United States has been one of those annoyances for me. I realized however, that disliking him did not make me feel peaceful. Every time I saw his face in the newspaper, a magazine, or being mentioned in a TV talk show, my internal barometer would begin to rise. I could feel the turmoil and judgments running rampant through my mind like scurrying rats at the county dump. To get to the bottom of it I had to look within.

I knew that I was projecting something unrecognized and disliked about myself onto someone else. What was it I disliked so intently? We separate the form of the problem from the content; i.e. the form is war, but what is contained in war? Have I ever gone to war, invaded another country, killing thousands, displacing millions (the form), wreaking havoc on people I don't know? No! Have I ever lied or been deceitful, blamed others or sought to control situations (the content)? This is where honesty comes in. Sure ... but I don't like to admit it. That is why it is called projection.

We project outside and onto someone else whatever it is we do not want to recognize within. "To thyself be true," to quote the Bard! It is not pretty, but next time someone annoys you look at what is contained in the annoyance, not the form it takes, and you will see the projection and then you will stop it and have peace.

Do I condemn myself? Yes, for my faulty thinking. But now that my mistaken projections have been brought to consciousness I can forgive. I must also forgive 43rd as well. In withdrawing my condemnation I am free. Forgiveness offers everything I want because only forgiveness offers inner peace.

Judgments always mean excluding someone from the comfort and reality of love, including yourself. When we condemn we are miserable. Give yourself the gift of inner peace, not only for this season but for six months, a year, and then a lifetime.

Like the Beatles song says, "All you need is love, da dahhh da da dah!" All you need is love, love ... Love is all you need!"

Ashlander Sally McKirgan is an artist, poet and life long student of "A Course In Miracles." The concepts of non-judgment, form versus content, projection and forgiveness are principals of the course and many spiritual paths.