I am in the process of reading Sonia Choquette’s book called Walking Home – A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed. It is the story of her pilgrimage to walk the Camino, an arduous journey of some 800 kilometres from the French border to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Whilst the journey seemed rather tortuous to her body, she found that her mind and spirit were freed of many burdens along the “way” (the usual translation of “camino”). As she encountered challenges on the Camino, she found lessons relating to her past, her relationships, and herself. Each day of her journey, the Camino seemed to hold up a mirror to her, in which she could see herself and her past more clearly. I snuck a peak at the afterword at the end, and discovered that the outcome for her was peace.
I began to wonder whether we all have to walk the Camino to find that same mirror and to find that same peace.
I knew that A Course in Miracles had already given me the answers:
Peace is an attribute in you. You cannot find it outside.
Last week I talked about getting out in nature and soaking up its peace. Could it be, however, that when we are out in nature, rather than soaking up its peace, it is just providing a mirror for our own peace?
Usually when we are out in nature, we do two things: we breathe more deeply, and we stop thinking and just enjoy the present moment. Could it be that this is all that is required to find the peace within – to breathe and be present? This is all that is involved in meditation, and here too, we find peace.
Teach no one that he is what you would not want to be. Your brother is the mirror in which you see the image of yourself as long as perception lasts. And perception will last until the Sonship knows itself as whole.
Rather than seeing our errors in thinking reflected in the challenges we face, as Sonia did, we can see those errors staring back at us in the face of those whom we would condemn.
“But wait,” I hear you say. “I haven’t murdered anyone lately, or started any wars. It’s been a while, too, since I caused an animal to suffer so that I can eat. Why am I seeing those attributes in ‘my brother’?”
Today, perhaps this is true, but remember that time and space are merely illusions which we created along with separation, and this is where perception lies. I may not have caused an animal to suffer today, but I did in one of my yesterdays. I may not have murdered anyone today, but I did in one of my previous lives. I may not have started a war lately, but I have been projecting war-like thoughts whenever I judge another person harshly.
As Sonia tells us, the Camino is known as The Way of Forgiveness. Perhaps the key to finding the same peace which Sonia found at the end of the Camino is to find forgiveness, not only for your mirrors – your brothers, but forgiveness also for the one whom they reflect – yourself.
As long as perception lasts, we need to understand that we have caused all the errors that we perceive, and forgive ourselves for them. In so doing, we can put those errors in thinking behind us, just as Sonia did, as she walked the Camino. If we would want to be someone who extends love to all of God’s creation, which is our natural function, then this is the person we need to see in the murderer, the war-monger, and the causer of suffering. As we do this, they are no longer any of those hated people, but our brother, an equal part of the Sonship in its wholeness.
What better time of year to see the Christ in every person on the planet? Once we can see the Christ, our holy brother, in everyone, it is not only nature which will reflect our peace back to us, but every person will, as well.
I watched a video of Wayne Dyer giving a lecture during his visit to Assisi in Experiencing the Miraculous. During his lecture, he quoted from the novel, St Francis, by Nikos Kazantzakis, in which St Francis declares that the leper he had just kissed on the mouth became Christ. This is what A Course in Miracles asks us to understand: that all of those whom we fear, all of those whom we hate, once we forgive them and give them love, they become the Christ, and in that moment, so do we.
Let us use this Christmas period to see every person as the Christ, and in forgiving all of our errors as we forgive theirs, let us create a world where our love and peace is our only reflection, a world of peace and goodwill for all.
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