[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
My life is very busy, and all too often I find myself running around like a chicken with my head cut off, which is hardly a peaceful state. So in the last week or so, I’ve been focusing on finding the “quiet center of the storm” (T-18.VII.8:2), the deep place in my mind that is always at peace no matter what kind of chaos is going on around me. I’m pleased to report that I’ve had a real breakthrough with this: Through using practices aimed at finding this quiet center, I really seem to have found this place in me, and life is a lot easier and happier as a result.
The main practice I’m using is Lesson 109, “I rest in God.” It is such a beautiful and powerful lesson, and I’ve been using it as the basis for my meditation each morning. I especially love the this line: “In Him you have no cares and no concerns, no burdens, no anxiety, no pain, no fear of future and no past regrets” (W-pI.109.5:1). I like to go through the list of “no’s” very slowly (“no cares…no concerns…no burdens…”) and use them to help me release whatever is keeping me from resting in God. Then I’ll sink down and inward and seek that quiet center.
My goal for the day is to stay in the quiet center no matter what happens. So, I’m doing both hourly remembrances and frequent reminders using “I rest in God” (with the help of my trusty vibrating timer–that little thing has changed my life). In addition, I ‘m also using three mini-prayers I created as “response to temptation” practices. These single lines address particular things that tend to trouble me in the course of a day, things that take me out of that quiet center:
1. “Free me from grievances.” I get pulled right out of peace when the world doesn’t do what I want it to do. And this happens often; for some strange reason, people and things in the world don’t seem overly concerned about meeting my ego needs. This, of course, gives rise to grievances. So, I use this line whenever I’m upset because something didn’t go the way I wanted it to. (I’m using it daily to deal with the headache-inducing road construction that is going on in Sedona right now.)
2. “Free me from the body.” This means “Free me from focusing on the body.” Of course, a major obstacle to peace is worrying about my body: its comfort and care, all of the ways it fails me, its pains, its demands. I’m still doing the practice that I spoke of in an earlier blog entry: Including some form of “I am not a body. I am free” in every practice period I take. This little line is an adjunct to that, one I use when bodily concerns come up.
3. “Free me from the future.” This means “Free me from worry about the future.” Like everyone else, I get caught up in fears and worries about the future, and this robs me of peace in the present. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage lately out of “I place the future in the hands of God” (Lesson 194). I use the line here whenever concerns about the future crop up.
Finally, I’m using “I rest in God” as the basis for my evening meditation, and taking that thought to bed with me. After a day of resting in God, my goal is a night of sleeping in God.
As I mentioned, I really feel like I’m having some success with this. Oh, I still get upset. But more and more I’m getting in touch with a place in me where God abides, a place of deep peace that is totally unshaken by the “raging activity” of the storm. It truly is a place I can live in even as I engage in all of my “busy doing” (T-18.VII.8:3). It’s becoming a place that I recognize, and I can tell when I’ve slipped out of it. Fortunately, the “response to temptation” practices combined with “I rest in God” have done a good job of bringing me back when that happens. And the more I experience living in that quiet center, the more I want to live there all the time.