1 – Anger
“How is the peace of God retained, once it is found? Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again, and the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return. (M51)”
2 – Expression of Help / Call for Help
The main point that this passage makes is best understood if we realize that elsewhere we learn that all is either help or a call for help. We get angry when we think that we have not been appreciated, or someone has done us wrong, or a million varieties of these two examples. If we reinterpret this attack from another brother or sister as a call for help, then we can see that they are innocent, and we truly have nothing to be angry about.
3 – Returning Anger
It is important to note that this passage says “returning anger, in whatever form”–a pertinent point. We often feel upset without fully realizing that what we are feeling is anger. Suppressing or repressing the anger is not helpful, and this is a mistake that many Course students make. Our right and proper reaction is forgiveness of the attack, because our brothers and sisters are as innocent as are we. We have made mistakes, and they have also, but we are not “sinners.” Calling an attack a “sin” only reinforces it in our minds. We need to overlook the attack, not make it real by dwelling on it (a Course tenet).
4 – Peace
Peace can be with us all the time, but this achievement (and it is an achievement, but not of the ego) may not come to any of us soon. More and more time can be spent in peace, though, if we keep the tenets of the Course in mind. The above paragraph summarizes a good bit of the basic psychology of the Course about attack and anger. For us to be peaceful, we have to have a peaceful psychology, and A Course in Miracles offers this.
5 – The Sword
“Now must you once again lay down your sword, although you do not recognize that you have picked it up again. But you will learn, as you remember even faintly now what happiness was yours without it, that you must have taken it again as your defense. (M51)”
6 – Defenses
We don’t need defenses of any type. God takes care of us without defenses. Elsewhere we are told that defenses make what they try to defend against. And this is true of anger as well. If we take up the sword, metaphorically, we will die by the sword. There is no other outcome.
7 – Relationships
All of us want nourishing relationships. And criticism of our significant others is a way that we show our anger, and it is always barrier-producing. We need to drop the barriers, the defenses, that we have erected to protect ourselves from the harm that we think significant others do to us. They will do nothing that our Self has not allowed. And our Self will show us better times when we are more open and vulnerable.
8 – An Adage
This, obviously, does not mean that we are open to physical violence. But words do not, ultimately, harm us. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” That old adage is good advice in this context.
May I retain peace in my life. I know that I cannot retain peace if I allow anger to return to me over and over. I must forgive the mistakes that I make and those that my brothers and sisters make. Then I may retain peace.
Please help me to go about a peaceful day today. I know that Your help is at my right hand always.