Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
PEACE AND UNITY
What God calls one will be forever one, not separate. His Kingdom is united; thus it was created, and thus will it ever be (T- 26.VII.15:7-8).
The unity of all living things in God is the fundamental principle of A Course in Miracles, as it is in many of the world’s spiritualities. Any perception of the individuals or peoples of the world as being somehow separate from each other is thus a violation of this principle: perceived conflict is inimical to an authentic spirituality. The uniqueness of the Course lies in its emphasis on recognizing the unconscious blocks to the awareness of this unity, and our need to maintain the illusory belief of separateness as the means of sustaining our separated, ego self. The Course therefore urges us not to trust our good intentions (T-18.IV.2:1], because they very often belie the underlying thoughts of conflict and hatred that are beneath the surface of our conscious mind.
Socrates taught “Know thyself,” and the Course teaches us to remember our real Self as a child of God. At the same time, the Course urges us to recognize our strong unconscious investment in war and conflict as the means for blocking our awareness of our unified Identity as part of God’s creation. The practice of forgiveness is the means for undoing these blocks, and can be defined as the willingness to bring the darkness of our ego’s world of hatred and separation—our misperceptions of others—to the light of the Holy Spirit’s healing love within our mind:
Only God’s Comforter can comfort you. In the quiet of His temple, He waits to give you the peace that is yours. Give His peace, that you may enter the temple and find it waiting for you.… You cannot enter God’s Presence with the dark companions beside you, but you also cannot enter alone. All your brothers must enter with you, for until you have accepted them you cannot enter. For you cannot understand wholeness unless you are whole, and no part of the Son[ship] can be excluded if [you] would know the Wholeness of [your] Father (T-11.III.7:1-3; 7:8-10).
Thus, world peace is impossible without there first being a shift in the minds of individuals, for as we see ourselves is the way we will see others: Projection makes perception (T-13.V.3:5). Regardless of the conscious peaceful intent of our words and deeds, if our underlying thoughts are not loving and unifying our message will be ambivalent at best, and murderous at worst. That is why A Course in Miracles emphasizes that we should not seek to change the world, but rather to change our mind about the world (T-21.in.1:7). Its goal is peace: “Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace” (T-24.in.1:1). And this peace can only arise from within:
Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises (W-pI.34. 1:2-4).
Following the principles of the Course, therefore, any person or organization dedicated to unity and peace would not focus on the study of world conflict as such, but rather on isolating, understanding and undoing through forgiveness its [world conflict’s] cause: our underlying need to perpetuate a thought system of separation which inevitably becomes expressed through world conflict. It is our unconscious self-hatred that is the real problem, not the “enemy without,” onto whom we have projected our hidden guilt. As this internal cause is identified and brought to the truth of God’s Love, also within our mind, the peace which was always present is allowed to be itself.
The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness. The means of war are not the means of peace, and what the warlike would remember is not love. War is impossible unless belief in victory is cherished (T-23.I.1:1-4).
The quiet gentleness of the vision of forgiveness allows the reality of unity to once again dawn upon our minds and extend throughout the minds of the peoples of the world, bringing peace to all who are ready to accept it:
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 bringing everyone into the boundless circle of your peace, the holy sanctuary where you rest. 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-pI.109.8).