How many of our spiritual leaders — from Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie, Marianne Williamson, His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Eckhart Tolle — tell us that when we quiet the mind we will attain inner peace? Do we want a quiet mind? If so, are we willing to go to the effort? Maybe the real question is: Am I worth it?

There are many methods but they all involve watching the antics of our thoughts and letting them go, rather than “attaching to believing” them. It can be a challenge, but the gain is indeed worth the effort. Inner peace can be fleeting, but the more and more the mind is quieted, it becomes more attuned and attracted to the gain. Like the mouse in the maze that discovers the sugar cube, we train ourselves. Thus mind-training or mind-watching brings the delightful rewards of snippets of inner peace.

One thing is sure — we can’t have a quiet mind if we are constantly judging people, events and the things we see or think we see. Judging is the ego’s primary goal and it keeps us in a state of estrangement, which leads to loneliness and the gift of guilt.

We will have more and more peace when we refuse to judge. You don’t have to! Just look, accept others — everyone — all of them, friends, relatives, the guy who cut you off in traffic and, if the mind seeks revenge (i.e. judgment), just say “uh uh, not today.” Drop the inclination — or maybe it’s a secret desire to go on a rapid judgmental rant? You ARE in charge of what/how/why you think. Peace will be prevalent when the separation and judgment cease.

One way to stop the judgments, once they have been made, is being aware and “looking” at them squarely. Above all — refuse to judge yourself for making the judgment. If you do, it is ego self-attack and the ego has you by the throat.

When you judge yourself (good or bad) you are making the error and the ego seem powerful and real. It isn’t! It isn’t real because it does not come from love. It is not WHO you are. If we continue to hang onto the judgment, hate, and grievance or upset, we are giving the ego power and keeping it engaged. Hate and judgment is war, the opposite of quietness and peace. What is the purpose of keeping the grievance ALIVE? What does it serve?

Judgment is purposive. It keeps us entrenched in the ego and, quite frankly in misery. With the ego and our judgments in the forefront, we are embedded in the world of division and we do it to keep the idea, the reality of love from arising in our holy mind.

It seems senseless, but the judgments only serve to keep love away. It boils down simply to being afraid to love. When we accept our identity as being love and spirit, then we are free. The need to assert our individuality would be nil. We keep the ego and our judgments in order to stay in the world and be FAR away from God … away from our reality, which is love.

World peace is attained by each of us looking and undoing the hatred (judgments) within. We expose the darkness by taking gentle steps. Joy is finally recognizing you have done nothing wrong with these false silly judgments and GUILT is GONE! You have a holy mind, whether you think you do or not. Let it shine outward and give the holiday gift of love and acceptance to all.

—Sally McKirgan facilitates the Tidings Inner Peace column and one of several "A Course In Miracles" study groups in the Rogue Valley. Contact her at innerpeaceforyou@outlook.com for more information.