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Learning inner peace

"We are as happy as our thoughts."

— Abraham Lincoln

A few days ago, a friend told me her financial situation was the most precarious it had ever been and, at the same time, she was the happiest she had ever been. I felt exactly the same.

So, what is it that brings that inner peace, the contentment that so many of us are looking for? I think most of us who have been seekers for many years realize that there is nothing outside of us that's going to bring it. Things of the world — position, fame, money, relationships, good looks and friends — they're not lasting. They come and go as our time on earth does.

I can only tell my story. Everyone has their own path to the understanding that God and Love are all there is. It's my belief that there is nothing to seek because we're all ready there. There's nothing to do but remember. There's no where to be but where we are. It's so simple and yet, we try to complicate it the best we can. Why would we put limits on the love we receive and give? Why would we have any thought that didn't make us feel happy? The simple truth is if we want to have a more peaceful, happy life and world, all we really have to do is focus on peaceful, loving thoughts. And extend them out into the world.

After a lot of years of searching for a right path to find the answers (that I all ready knew but didn't know I knew), I stumbled on a very old friend I had forgotten on a bookshelf — "A Course In Miracles." It all came together for me this time. It made sense for me as nothing else had. It's not for everyone. It's not the only way. All I can say is it works for me. Being an experiential course, I get to practice 24 hours a day. I'm watching my life change. I'm watching myself get exactly what I need in order to learn what's needed at that time, and to feel loved and supported and loving and supporting.

Do I take steps backward? Most assuredly! But I know that with the constant help of Spirit, I'm on a journey. With the grace of God, change happens. Bit by bit we get to see Truth. What I give I receive in just the form I need to help me with the problems I perceive. The opportunities to see the disowned aspects of myself in the form of judgment, lack of compassion, expectations, all those other "goodies" that most of us would just as soon ignore, become food for Grace. I've learned that when I have a challenge that comes up, the answer comes from asking what it is I am to ask and listening quietly for an answer. The help is there for us all the time. We need to be still, to feel the joy of receiving a miracle. From my experience, one always comes. Perhaps it's not what we wanted or expected but later we may realize it was good just as it was.

It's not what we do but the joy we bring to what we do. Let's stop being so hard on ourselves. Let's gentle up, be kind and understanding and patient with ourselves when we struggle. When our inner life becomes a place of compassion for ourselves, we are making room to give it to others. By prayer and surrender to God's Will for us, we can find peace and love and happiness that belong to everyone.

Holiana Sapinsley is a grateful newcomer to Ashland who is enjoying a sense of welcoming community in a place of beauty.