In A Course in Miracles, it slowly but surely–like a wise prince was once told–paints a vivid and compelling argument that has changed my course in the platitudes of relationships and situations and the events of life. I thought I was on course but I am afraid not. My ship has still not left my harbor. At 47, I am thinking I should have gotten to the first channel marker by now. Nope.
Here’s why I am anchored.
On page 468 of the student workbook — that’s me, back in school — the book lays out seven words I have become quite attracted to. It states very clearly that “conflict is asleep and peace is awakening.” What does this mean? Well, it means that peace is here. How cool is that, right? Peace on earth? Uh-huh. How do we know for sure? Well, my studies and my experiences (experience is key) are that when I do peaceful actions, like look lovingly at the flowers in the garden, or when I forgive a family member for not living up to my expectations of who they should have been, Jesus! or when I find a lost dog (my own) and don’t berate her or use malice, or when I am patient in line at CVS waiting for the elderly lady to get her eight boxes of candy canes and her box of wine and don’t pass judgment because I don’t drink anymore–breathe, Ruth–all of these tidbits create peace. Even just thinking peaceful thoughts means that we are all awake to peace.
The sandman: conflict’s drug of choice. We all fall asleep in our consciousness when road rage appears, or that bristle in our stomachs churns when someone is anti-whatever-you-don’t-think is right. Any irritant is an example of how I (you) are asleep. When we fight against anything small or large, it is a way of showing that we have fallen asleep. Just the other day, I was talking to a friend who went on and on and on about how that person did this to that person and then she did this and then she did that on top! I just couldn’t believe it! Can you? I thought. Peace. Peace. Her racing thoughts and emotional vomiting were a prime example of what we do daily at the office. Sound asleep. Her actions and words were full of conflict and fear and jumpiness. Unconscious on the floor. I forgave her for her sleepiness. It was all I could do because that’s all I am suppose to do. Forgive and Love.
Nelson Mandela’s jailors were asleep. When Mandela invited his jailors to the front row at his Presidential inauguration, I am not sure what they were thinking or feeling. However, the symbolic gesture of forgiveness to invite your jailors is akin to me inviting Anita Bryant over for a glass of orange juice. In my world, at least. Mandela was released and so were his jailors…released from the sleepiness of conflict. Had he done anything untoward to his jailors, Mandela, too, would have been still asleep. Conflict breeds conflict. It lives in our sleepy unconscious minds even though it does not appear that way. Which, of course, is a whole other lesson.
For today, during this time if you can take seven words and apply them to your heart and mind. Conflict is asleep and Peace is AWAKENING. I will put it even better. Just live as if you were awake in peace every step of your day. Awake in Peace. Three simple ones.
We have seven billion people or more on this earth. Some are very sleepy. Some are awake, rowing their boats gently down the stream. Today, I untether my harbored boat and go gently down the stream in the hopes I won’t forget and begin to beat against the current…float, Ruth, float.
On a personal note, I’d like to say that Nelson Mandela was still in jail when I was twenty-two years old and had my first poem ever published in the VCU newspaper’s literary section. It was a poem about him. A spin on the Lord’s Prayer called, “A Man Dela.” I wasn’t sure if they would take it…when I opened the paper in 1988 to see my first poem published, Madiba released me from my shackles of writing fear.
I pressed on.
Merry Christmas. Peace on Earth — for everyone.