How can you be sure that you are going the right way in life? None of us wants to commit to a path and then discover that we made the wrong decision. We all want to feel certain about the steps we decide to take or the way in which we are going. There is one way that we can know for sure. It is the peace test, and it comes from Chapter 14, XI, 5:2 in A Course in Miracles: “If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own.”
I gained a sense of the peace test when I tried again and again to return to my last relationship, hoping and praying that I could help my partner heal and deal with his addiction. Each time I went back, I felt myself constrict tighter and tighter on the inside until finally my soul screamed out within me that I was going the wrong way. Every time I listened to the call of my soul and left that relationship, I felt peace and knowing within me. And as I explore my spiritual path, I continue to open into the most exquisite peace I have ever known. I know that I am on the right track because I am ever more at peace.
Whenever I went back to this dysfunctional relationship, I would feel increasingly anxious and tight. These are expressions of fear — another sign that I was going the wrong way. No amount of forcing myself to do what I thought was the right thing made me feel better. I had taken the wrong turn again, and fear was telling me to go back.
An absence of fear and inner peace are signs that tell us we are headed in the right direction, but the text from A Course in Miracles challenges us still further. The peace test isn’t only about how we feel on the inside. It is about how all others feel when they are with us — and even when they think of us — and there’s the rub. Have we shared the gift of perfect peace and love with our spiritual brothers and sisters — that means everyone — for that is God’s lesson? When I ask myself that question, I wish that I could say yes but I can’t. I know that I still have so much opening and learning to do. I have found the way to inner peace and love for myself, but my challenge is to give this gift of peace and love to everyone… every single person.
How do I do that? I don’t have to figure out the answer to that question myself, and neither do you. The text in A Course in Miracles goes on to advise in 6:5–9: “Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself: I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.”
Whenever we respond to others in a negative way, we are bringing the shadows of the past into the present and recreating the past. We cannot use our past learning to guide us because it will misguide us. What we need to do in the moment that our peace is threatened or disturbed — when those negative feelings about someone or something start to rise — is to release the experience to the Holy Spirit, Who is our inner Teacher. The moment we ask, we are assured that we will receive an answer and the guidance that we seek. But… we have to release and ask. The answer will never be imposed on us because in our creation God gifted us with free will.
I am practising this advice in my own life as I delve deeper into forgiveness and seek complete release from my past. I can assure you that every time I have turned inward and asked the Holy Spirit for guidance, it has come before I finished asking the question. I know that it is not the interference of my ego, seeking to pretend to know what to do. It is the knowing wisdom of the Holy Spirit because it comes up from within me and following it brings me peace. All I have to do is keep practising.
My dear sisters and brothers, I pray that you will find more peace in your life by using the peace test. Trust that you always know what is right for you. When negative emotions disturb your peace, I pray that you will turn within to the guidance that is always there for you. Namaste.