We live our lives as though we can attain peace through the gathering of ‘things.’ We almost chant, ‘Just one more.’ Anyone living with an addictive nature is always seeking… peace. We seldom ask what we think the ‘one more’ will bring. Let’s ask that question today. “What is it that one more will bring?” There are many ways of answering this question, rest, joy, a quiet mind, a time to breathe, ultimately, peace of mind.
The addictive mind and I believe all minds are addicted to varying degrees; we seek peace externally. We place contingencies and conditions on our ability to have peace, and all the contingencies become a barrier between ourselves and the peace we seek. How many times have we made statements such as, I will be happy when…? If only. I will be pleased once the kids are in college, the mortgage is paid off, or when I have one more rental property, and so on it goes. Or, if only the kids could get their lives in order, then I could rest and stop worrying.
And, how many times have we attained such goals, only to find just one more barrier? It only alters from one to the other. The kids get to college, and the story changes to, ‘Once I retire, when I get the second vacation house in Florida or any one of a multitude of goals we feel we must meet to attain peace of mind. None of which bring the desired intent.
These are all idols that we hold on to as a barrier between ourselves and the peace we seek. All are, in this sense, an addiction. It is much more apparent when it is a drug addict, an alcoholic, or someone with a gambling addiction, or even food addiction. What is not so obvious; What is it they are searching for through said addiction.
The books Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous clearly state that “the alcohol and the drugs are but a symptom.” The symptom is not the actual problem; the problem lies in what we think the substance will provide us.
In the beginning, the ‘symptom’ seems to bring us what we hoped for, connection, hope, peace, the ability to ‘fit in’, and love. In the beginning, they seemed to work. It does not matter what the focus was on, one more drug, one more drink, one more relationship, one more house. There is never enough. The Narcotics Anonymous book says, “One is too many, and a thousand is never enough.”
All the things I have mentioned above have one thing in common: they are external, and we think these external ‘things’ will bring us peace, even if not consciously. We, therefore, spend a lifetime seeking peace where it can never be found.
Peace comes from within; it comes from doing the internal work that clears the path for peace to be exposed. The peace is already within us, but we have covered it with lies. To uncover it and find the ever-elusive peace we so avidly seek, we must peel away the layers of deceit that we have buried it under. Peace of mind is our God-given right; it is always with us once we choose to see it and are willing to do the work to uncover it. A lesson in the workbook for students in A Course in Miracles; Lesson 34, pp. 51 WB, “I could see peace instead of this.”
Anytime we are unsettled, frustrated, or upset, we can choose again and choose peace.
I beg of you, please, begin the process of choosing peace today. Become determined to see it all differently and begin to enjoy this thing we call life.