I rest in God.
This Lesson in one I love and takes me into a place of peace as I breathe into the experience of just resting in God. Certainly, in this world, we experience
"turmoil born of clashing dreams." (W.109.1.2) When we can step back from the challenges, problems, and conflicts of our lives and release our attachment to how things should be for us in this dream to feel at peace, we can sink into the place of complete rest with no dismay about anything in this illusory world. Jesus tells us that this place of rest in us is a sanctuary where we invite our brothers to rest with us and join with us, as we release the turmoil of our clashing dreams. As we rest our minds, we open to the healing always poised in readiness when we are willing to accept it. When we do, the peace in our minds extends to all minds. We take this temporary withdrawal from the world in our meditation time, so when we reenter the world we bring the peace in our minds to every person and every situation we encounter. It is a way of living in the world, while not getting caught up in the conflicts of this world.
Meditation is not a withdrawal into drowsiness, although that can be a big temptation for us. This is why Jesus suggests that we not lie down when we meditate. It is an alert kind of meditation where we stay aware of our thoughts, but we don’t engage with them. When distracting thoughts show up, we can see them as passing clouds and continue to rest the mind. Our focus in meditating on the Lessons is on awakening rather than withdrawing. The purpose is not to escape from the world but to bring this peace into our everyday lives. The everyday events of our lives are what trigger reactions in us. We are constantly being tempted to respond with fear or anger. Now, through this lesson, we are given a practice to bring all fear thoughts to this inner altar in the mind, this quiet place of rest, where our distressing thoughts are quietly dissolved within the light.
So many things in our lives seem to need our attention. In the midst of all the fear, guilt, and pain, where we
"seem to look on danger and on sorrow," (W.109.1.3) the Holy Spirit gently brings our attention to the reality that there is a place in our minds where peace, happiness, and safety constantly abide. We are reminded to learn to see past appearances. In each circumstance, we can choose peace, but if we don’t do well with whatever situation confronts us, we will always have other opportunities presented to us to choose again. In this choice, we are renewed and are born again.
To be born again is to die to the ego. With the choice for the ego came the choice for death. Now, we can choose life, which has no end but speaks to our eternal nature. It requires that we see the illusion for what it is. When we look beyond appearances, we look beyond what the body's eyes show us to be true. We recognize that we are deceived in what we see. It is all illusory. Our reality and that of every brother is one of perfect stillness and peace, which is the only reality. Behind all forms in this world is the content of love.
You may feel it is selfish to take this kind of time for yourself when there seems to be so much to be attended to. It may seem self-indulgent to take time for rest. I know for me, sometimes taking time to do the meditation during the day seems to be taking me away from what I think is important to get done in my day. The ego can get very raucous and demanding, telling us there are more important things to attend to than taking time for stillness. We may feel guilty for taking this time for ourselves. Yet Jesus is telling us that we are doing immense good for the world and for all those who suffer and experience lack of hope, as we take time to rest. The rest he is talking to us about is the
"rest of truth." (W.109.4.3) In this place in our minds where the Holy Spirit dwells, there are no
"cares and no concerns, no burdens, no anxiety, no pain, no fear of future and no past regrets." (W.109.5.1) We increasingly recognize, through our practice, that nothing in the world can affect the love and the peace within.
Taking time for rest may be unproductive from the perspective of the world, but Jesus says this thought alone can carry us through
"storms and strife, past misery and pain, past loss and death, and onward to the certainty of God." (W.109.3.2) It is so very powerful! Yet, even more, the peace that comes from our rest in God has the power to solve every problem and address every concern, anxiety, pain, fear, and regret that we are holding onto.
"There is no suffering it cannot heal. There is no problem that it cannot solve. And no appearance but will turn to truth before the eyes of you who rest in God." (W.109.3.3-5)
When there are difficulties and problems in my life, I always feel like I should get into action and do something; yet Jesus urges us to stop the doing and rest in God where everything is resolved. The one that is doing is the false self. It has no answers for us that will resolve any problem. Peace is always in the mind, and when we connect with it, all issues are quietly addressed. This is where the miracle is given birth. When I stop the activity and go into this quiet place of rest, the answer comes. Yes, this serves me, but it also serves those who came and are yet to come because there is no linear time. The body is now used in the service of the Holy Spirit as a communication device. We become a conduit of love. It is not about denial of the problems we face or what we see in the world, but when we look at them with the Holy Spirit, we see with vision, and now we are seeing everything differently. It does not mean we don't see the problems, nor deny their effect on us, but we bring our misperceptions to truth so we can truly look beyond what things appear to be. Now our minds can rest on a foundation of God's Love, rather than on the ego's interpretations.
Peace is our natural state. It is not something to seek. It is something to uncover and discover in ourselves. Frenzy, on the other hand, is unnatural. In Chapter 29,
"The Changeless Dwelling Place," we are reminded of this place in us where we find our rest.
"There is a place in you where this whole world has been forgotten; where no memory of sin and of illusion lingers still. There is a place in you which time has left, and echoes of eternity are heard. There is a resting place so still no sound except a hymn to Heaven rises up to gladden God the Father and the Son. Where Both abide are They remembered, Both. And where They are is Heaven and is peace." (T.29.V.1.1-4) (ACIM OE T.29.VI.31)
No matter what stories we have made up in this dream or how we experience ourselves, we can't change what God created. We are still a thought of Love in the Mind of Love. In the unhealed places in my mind, I experience unhealed wounds of the past. While they don't feel good, when I don’t resist them but welcome them as opportunities for healing, the process does not bring more suffering. I know that as I release the grievances and place them on the inner altar, more and more peace is given me. There is nothing for me to do or fix, for there is nothing I can fix. The false self has no power to do anything. All that is needed is to bring awareness to the blocks to love and welcome in the truth.
It reminds me of the Section in Chapter 18, where Jesus talks of our "busy doings" while our minds are at peace. It is a way of living in this world where we attend to what is in front of us to do, but all the time, we carry the peace, love, and joy that we are into every circumstance. The goal of this Course is peace. Jesus reminds us,
"Yet there will always be this place of rest to which you can return. And you will be more aware of this quiet center of the storm than all its raging activity. This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly." (T.18.VII.8.1-4) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.70) From this place, the experience of "burnout" would be impossible, as everything is done without any effort on our part.
Now we call to all our brothers to rest with us.
"You rest within the peace of God today, and call upon your brothers from your rest to draw them to their rest, along with you." (W.109.8.1) Our sacred mission and our reason for being here is to bring peace to everyone. We were born for this purpose. Our peace can then extend from us to all the world because there is only One Mind. What we give, we receive. The peace we offer is the peace we receive as we offer it. By the same token, when we attack, we are hurting ourselves. As we rest, we draw in our brothers because this rest embraces all brothers as one Son of God. This experience is sacred. Jesus tells us we enter a
"holy sanctuary." (W.109.8.2)
"Open the temple doors and let them come from far across the world, and near as well; your distant brothers and your closest friends; bid them all enter here and rest with you." (W.109.8.3) This is how we might approach this holy time of resting in God.
It is our desire and devotion at the center of our minds that will bring us home. It is the desire for our true home where we rest in God. We are reminded in Lesson 182 of this place in us where we yearn to know the Self we are.
"It is this Child in you your Father knows as His Own Son. It is this Child Who knows His Father. He desires to go home so deeply, so unceasingly, His voice cries unto you to let Him rest a while. He does not ask for more than just a few instants of respite; just an interval in which He can return to breathe again the holy air that fills His father's house. You are His home as well. He will return. But give Him just a little time to be Himself, within the peace that is His home, resting in silence and in peace and love." (W.182.5.1-7)
I feel this so poignantly today. The Child is crying out for rest. It is a deep rest of the mind that we are crying out for, where there are no cares, no concerns, no anxiety, no pain, no fear of the future and, in fact, no time. In this state of timelessness, we can know the truth, feel totally safe, and yet not feel alone. We can know this state when we know we are everything and have everything and that all that swirls and distracts from outside this sanctuary, no matter the appearance, is not real.
"This thought will bring to you the rest and quiet, peace and stillness, and the safety and the happiness you seek." (W.109.2.2)
"This thought has power to wake the sleeping truth in you, whose vision sees beyond appearances to that same truth in everyone and everything there is." (W.109.2.4) It is a thought that puts us back on track, reminding us of God's peace and power in our lives and how the truth within us helps all minds. Others will accept this peace as they are ready.
"Each hour that you take your rest today, a tired mind is suddenly made glad, a bird with broken wings beings to sing, a stream long dry begins to flow again. The world is born again each time you rest, and hourly remember that you came to bring the peace of God into the world, that it might take its rest along with you." (W.109.6.1-2) These are beautiful symbols of the power available to us all, in the quiet center of our minds where truth abides. It is our divinity. It is what we are.
Today, bring your pain, anxiety, depression, sadness, frantic fantasies, and fearful thoughts to the place of rest within. If we truly desire a quiet mind, we must release thoughts that bring suffering. They are thoughts of the false self. We need not identify with these thoughts, as they do not define us. To forgive is to release the false. Without forgiveness, the beauty of the words of this Lesson won't truly serve you. We are meant to use these thoughts to remind us that peace is available to us in every moment. We suffer because we hold onto untrue thoughts that we give meaning to. Use the time today to bring them to His loving presence, and know you are safe. You are engaging in a sacred experience. This is about letting grievances go and entering into the temple of your mind where peace abides.
For the longer practice period of five minutes on the hour, say
"I rest in God." (W.109) Repeat these words slowly to yourself right now. Don't you feel more at peace? The words "I rest in God" put us in a state of willingness and receptivity. Now sink into the kind of rest where there are no cares and no concerns and the turmoil of the world can't touch you. In this state, call to
"your distant brothers and your closest friends," (W.109.8.3) and welcome them into your holy temple where you rest in God.
Love and blessings, Sarah