The Still Waters -- August 2003
             Setting Free Our Peace and Joy    
August 2003

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          "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you: let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (Christ Jesus, The Bible, John 14:27).

          "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." (Christ Jesus, John 15:11).

          "….and your joy no man taketh from you."(Christ Jesus, John 16:22).

          While today's world reels in conflict, a secret joy sleeps deep within each of us. Nothing in this world can touch it. Nothing in this world can disturb it. This is the joy born of spiritual realization, seeking only our awakened thought to be set free. It's the joy which nestles deep within the core of our true being and grows in the soil of perpetual peace. This innate joy is our soul's celebration of all the good that is really present in God's creation, and all the evil that is really absent. It's the joy of our true self and our divine, spiritual circumstances, untouched by any external environment.

          This joy springs forth from Immanuel, or God-with-us--our divine consciousness within--which contains all the spiritual realization of truth and knowledge that will ever exist. This spiritual realization allows us to throw off fear, because it knows that in God's creation, there is nothing to fear. It's the joy of knowing our spiritual safety in the face of whatever human threat presents itself to us. It's our deep conviction that, despite all appearances to the contrary, all is still well, because God is present and still reigns supreme over every person, place and thing in creation. It's our knowing that the seeming evil must vanish from our experience when the truth of God's authority fills our thoughts and rules our stand.

          To awaken this joy (and the dominion it brings forth over evil's pretence) involves a concentrated effort. It's hard not to take the world and all its conflicts at face value. We get drawn into some destructive drama every day. It's so easy to believe in the all-power and presence of evil, (due to some material law or human personality) and then let the depression creep over our consciousness, like a dark mist, until our innate joy is completely suppressed.

The Peace Not of This World

          If we're holding back our joy and denying our God-given peace until the world around us changes and all evils have been wiped out in the material scene, we're delaying the healing. The material sense of existence will always be a house divided against itself. Just as there's no such thing as material life and health (for life is spiritual and health is eternal) there will never be true peace in the material sense of existence. Any place where billions of individual minds have their own agendas and wills, all being acted out, unity and concord becomes impossible.

          The human condition is always presenting a mixture of good and evil to our view, so the shadow of evil seems never to leave. Even when unopposed, evils such as terrorism were present on this planet, working behind the scenes; so were hatred, greed, limited resources, poverty, envy, sickness and sorrow. Thus, it's almost automatic to believe in them. Evils appear to be solid realities which we must fight. And to make matters worse, we seem left at their mercy, with no divine help.

          But when speaking of that innate peace that accompanies our sleeping joy, Christ Jesus said, "…my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you." (See full quote above.) Here Jesus is making a point about peace. He's indicating that the peace we desire--our divine freedom from all fear--has nothing to do with what's going on in this world at any particular time. This peace has its source elsewhere.

          In claiming a peace 'not as the world giveth,' Jesus indicates that the peace and joy that sleeps within us doesn't come from a material sense of existence. It comes from a spiritual sense of creation, and all that dwells therein. It's derived from the perception that God's kingdom is ever present and the invisible reality of all things, and what's going on in the externalized universe of form, isn't reflecting that reality and must be healed.

          God's kingdom, our real kingdom, has never been 'of this world' (the physical view of creation). The material universe we behold isn't God's true kingdom--it's humanity's assessment of God's kingdom, and it is finite and wrong. It's a physical assessment that doesn't detect God anywhere. This physical assessment of God's creation presents a place where good and evil seem to exist together, producing an eternal battle for dominance. In this perception, the divine Intelligence doesn't appear to take sides, not even against evil. War is a natural phenomenon of such a place. It always will be. How can peace and joy ever make sense here?

The Underlying, True Creation

          Peace and joy make sense only when we perceive that God's true creation is spiritual and invisible, but ever-present to be acknowledged and called upon, to bring forth health, peace and harmony to the outer world of form. There aren't two realities--material and spiritual. The spiritual realm, or dimension, is always here, right where the material world of form seems to be our reality, but is not.

          Peace and joy spring forth into full bloom when we begin to discern the reality of God's creation, in all its glory, goodness and everlasting harmony, right in the face of discords that claim to hold some material power of the moment. What is accepted as material laws are always trumped by spiritual law. As we continue to realize the presence of this spiritual realm and God's divine, spiritual laws of love and harmony, we start to "heal" our life experience from every discord that would claim dominion over us.

          Thus, we must not worry so much about changing this external world of material existence; we must rise above it and outgrow it. Oddly enough, this is the only real way to transform it for the better anyway; for the healing must begin in someone's consciousness first, before it will appear in the world of material form. (If the reader doubts this, ponder a simple project such as neighborhood beautification of a blighted area: first the idea of such a project is accepted in the consciousness of several individuals, and then the actions taken by these individuals bring forth the result---the 'healing' of the blight. Our externalized environment changes whenever consciousness desires it first.)

God's Will, Not Human Will, the Higher Way

          Changing the world and trying to overcome its evils (whether we fight wars or fight through political movements) are the remedies humanity has relied upon throughout the ages. So, are conflicts disappearing? Hardly. With more people and materially-thinking personalities (instead of spiritual beings expressing the divine Intelligence within) there's more conflict than ever. Change toward the divine good will only occur when humanity's collective thought has awakened enough to the divine consciousness, to see the spiritual non-necessity for conflict of any type.

          So trying to change the world 'out there' instead of the thoughts and beliefs we hold within, is a futile effort. A person acting out criminal behavior believes in what he or she is doing. Members of every religious and political party on this planet believe they are right and everyone else is wrong. Some justify it enough for murder; some take lesser action. But evil is not God-made--it comes from our false, material beliefs rather than spiritual truths. It's false, material beliefs, acted out, that become many of the evils of the external world of form--and we each contribute to them.

          Zeroing in on peace and joy, we notice what when Christ Jesus spoke of his own peace, Rome was conquering the world. People who opposed Rome were hung on crosses and even worse. Yet, instead of taking up a sword, joining some underground movement against Rome, or trying to force a change using human will, Jesus went about the countryside preaching that the kingdom of God was a present reality, and that the divine laws of love governing this kingdom were dominant over any material manifestation of evil, even the laws of Rome.

          He presented God's will alone as Authority. He spoke of God's power and the powerlessness of Rome, even in the face of colossal evidence to the contrary. Clearly, his kingdom couldn't have been of this world. Yet, his demonstration that the Roman empire couldn't take his life, just by destroying the physical body, was a demonstration of true being, upheld by spiritual law, that belongs to each of us. That's why Jesus went through the demonstration of physical death; to show us the underlying, spiritual truth of the selves we mistakenly call physical.

The Kingdom of God is Within Us

          Since the kingdom of God is within us, the way to joy and peace is easier than one might think. Basically, it's the spiritual recognition that whoever we really are, and whatever we really need, in spiritual reality, we already are and we already have. Of course, this isn't true of the physical being we think we are. We must make the mental switch in identification from a finite, material being, separated from God, the divine Source of all good, to our true identity as God's own off-spring, or emanation, of Itself. We must absorb the spiritual truth that our own being has no separation from God, and therefore, we only exist in our divinely, ordained circumstances of perfection and eternal life.

          All identities exist in and of the divine Intelligence that created them. In our true, spiritual selfhood, there is not God and you, there is only God as you. And this is true of all the concepts and identities that fill God's creation. For example, even in the animal kingdom, there isn't God and a cat, there's only God expressing Itself (in infinite variety and numbers) specifically as a cat. That's why we're all of One Intelligence, One Truth. That's how, "In him, we live, and move, and have our being…"(Acts 17: 28).

          We exist in this one, all-inclusive Intelligence of God. And since God is all-in-all, one identity of God doesn't war with another identity of God. Everything in spiritual creation is harmonious to everything else. Yet, each human identity is a unique, individual, face of God Itself. This is the Christ Self--the spiritual self--which Jesus tried to show to the world. This is our oneness with the infinite. The physical identity we've learned from our entry here, the one who seems cut off from our divine Source, is a case of mistaken identity. We've forgotten who we really are.

          It's in our Christ self, our divine consciousness (or as Buddhists might view it, the Buddha mind) where our joy and peace forever reside. We don't have to do a thing to have and express these qualities. They are alive and well in the very soul of our spiritual self. This spiritual self is a consciousness filled with only and all spiritual truth. There, within our true mentality, is our remembrance of spiritual existence, and all it includes. This self is forever awake to God and reality, so the joy it knows and loves is ever-present. Knowing the truth of spiritual reality and God's loving control over all, joy and peace are natural. Death itself means nothing to our forever self. It realizes that since spiritual life in a material body is impossible, so is death an impossibility for our true self. God is Spirit; we are the off-spring of Spirit. Spiritual consciousness never dies because it always lives within its Source, the divine Consciousness.

An Example of Healing Evil Situations

          Here's an example of how bringing forth our innate peace and joy, and letting go of human will in favor of God's loving control of all, transformed one 'evil' human situation:

          Some time ago, a corrupt, political individual was placed in a state agency. This individual had what seemed to be unlimited and unchecked local political power. Soon, due to the actions of this person, several people lost their jobs, replaced by unqualified friends of this individual. Next, criminal activity ensued, and again, neither the laws of God nor man appeared to have any power. The supervisors over this corrupt one felt powerless to stop or prove the criminal acts, including theft of state funds. Though not in a high management position, this politically dishonest person really controlled what was going on throughout the agency--and many people suffered.

          One person, after trying human will and actions that failed to bring justice into the scene, finally gave up the struggle to God. This person prayed to realize the spiritual truth of God's kingdom and God's sovereignty over all of evil's claim to presence and power. Praying and struggling to let go of evil's reality, these words began to come into thought, "My kingdom is not of this world." (This was found to be a quotation of Christ Jesus in John 18: 36 of the Bible.)

          This message indicated to the one praying, that a turning away from the entire material sense of creation was called for. In God's true, invisible kingdom, there are no material persons or material places. Including the wrong-doer, all identities, in their true selfhood, are the honest, loving children of God; all places are parts of the divine kingdom. This kingdom without evil belongs to God; but since God is Spirit, the kingdom of God is a spiritual place, which meant that the invisible, spiritual kingdom existed right in the very heart of that troubled agency, as in all human 'places.'

          Next, the realization came that justice, also, belongs to Spirit, proceeds from Spirit, and permeates the kingdom of God. Let the false sense of man believe it has power to rule over God's children in some domain. This belief would be short-lived. The divine Intelligence and Love never leaves Its children to anyone else's authority. Within our own consciousness is the truth of God's sovereignty and authority over Its own. Human power is always an illusion. Not one of God's children has any power over any other divine child of the Infinite One.

          Reasoning and remembering along these lines, the person seeking the true kingdom was beginning to feel a peace and joy return, slowly but surely. The human appearance of things began to lose its ability to disturb. A realization and trust in the invisible presence, law, and power of God, began to make clear the fact that there was nothing to fear in the kingdom 'not of this world'--a kingdom we've never left, nor has it ever left us. That last thought brought the first peaceful night's sleep in a long time.

          Within one week, the tide began to turn in that agency. First an investigation seemed to come out of nowhere. Weeks later, the corrupt political person was indicted, then put on leave, and finally terminated from the job. After even that first week, the long-endured sense of fear and tyranny began to leave the other workers. Joy was visibly present. People held various views on just what had happened to cause this incredible turn of events, identify what person was responsible; but the one doing the praying knew that the credit, alone, went to God's will over all, even as it worked through the people taking part in the investigation. In God's kingdom, the qualities of justice, fairness, equity, and honesty can never be absent for a second. As soon as thought rejects these specters called human power, dishonesty, corruption, they leave the premises.

Opening the Door

          By claiming our spiritual joy and peace within, by insisting that we can't be mesmerized by the chaos of all the evils being expressed in the world, we open the door for this imprisoned glory to flow forth. By turning from the injustices and hatreds, want and woe that is being expressed in the world, we hear the quiet voice of God, telling us that we're deeply loved and not alone. As we trust this divine Spirit's provision, even the physical forms our human needs require are filled.

          Then, as our convictions concerning the evils and lacks of this world begin to slip from us, the naturalness of joy rises to the surface of our minds and lives. No longer feeling alone in our own being, finding our oneness with God, our loving Source of all we'll ever need, our moments of suffering move more quickly to a sense of the unreality of such suffering, then to a peace that all is well, despite the temporary material scene.

          Whatever we need is right here, invisibly present with God. Whatever healing is required then follows this sense of spiritual peace and acknowledgement of God's sovereign government, and our innate joy of God's presence and loving control over all begins to bubble to the surface. This is the everlasting joy that tries to come forth. This is the imprisoned celebration of the soul that wants expression in our lives, despite the world's chaos. This is the joy that belonged to us before this false sense of creation was. And it's still there, within us, waiting to be set free.

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