The following article is from a seminar that John Morton gave in Santa Monica, California on March 8, 1994. This article was originally printed in the Nov/Dec 1998 Holy Days Issue of the New Day Herald:

I have something to say about issues, process, and peace. At birth, everyone is issued a set of circumstances to work with. It goes with the territory of being human. Then there's a kind of "taking issue" with the circumstances that often has to do with a form of vengeance. We want to take control of a situation because, in our perception, it's out of control. So in order to "take issue," we have to have a reference point that says, "This is not what it should be."

Early in life, issues come forward as conditions that we grow up in. This is where we begin having experiences that we determine shouldn't be the way they are, which is a negative attitude, but not the reality. The reality is that things are what they are and that all conditions can serve us as a process toward peace. Thus, being human, we often "take issue," which is a relationship of "againstness" with our circumstances. It really means there's an opposition occurring. At first, it usually appears that the opposition is outside ourselves, such as Mom or Dad saying, "No, don't do that," "That's not right," "Get your hands off that!" or "Leave that alone!" as some kind of an opposition to our life. As we come into forms of opposition--situations, personalities, cultural norms, etc.--that appear to be telling us, "This won't work," "That won't do," or "You're not good enough," there is a choice point. It's not necessarily conscious, but it is a choice we are making by our responses, by the way we perceive and then respond to what we consider to be an opposition.

One choice would be to let the opposition win, take over, or exercise control upon us such that, in some way, we attempt to rectify the situation by not opposing. We attempt to come into cooperation with the opposition. We might define people who are forceful as the opposition, and opposition can sometimes be looked upon as authority or as the authority figures in our life. Another approach to opposition is to go into retreat, taking on a reticence and looking upon our life as not being correct or not right, at least for one situation. The reticence may be because we found that the result of being in opposition was a physical action like a hit or a smack, something impactful that we registered as not to our liking or as a rejection. We may then decide it's better to withhold than to exercise our expression, and we may be reserved or reticent because free, open expression appears to be an invitation to opposition. If what we do with the entire process is withhold our expression and close off our openness to life, that becomes an attitude that registers not just consciously, but very much unconsciously as a way to approach life. We start approaching life cautiously, with reticence, because we're not going to enter in and take the risk of the opposition. Then we are imprisoning what was birthed through us into the world as an exercise of God's consciousness.

Each person is an issuing forth of God's consciousness. That's the real "issue," the one that was placed with each one of us as our life force. That's the energy of who we are, which sustains us in spite of all the opposition we perceive or whatever has registered as a rejection or a negative reflection, which has lots of forms. It's not so important to know what the forms are as much as it is to know the polarity, the nature of what the opposition brings forward. If we respond positively to what we perceive as opposition, then our life force is enhanced and strengthened. If the opposition has any substance, then it has life-force energy in it that we can utilize to learn and grow. So what appears to us as obstacles and setbacks are actually available for our upliftment, learning, and growth. If we positively confront the issue or issues in our life, we're actually taking on the life force that is in the opposition. However, if we register a negative attitude (expressed through fears, judgments, and just plain closing down, shutting down our life, and reacting negatively to the opposition) then we're not allowing ourselves to take in the power of life that's being issued to us in each and every situation and circumstance. There's nothing in the world against us when we no longer take issue. Peace is present.

Taking on the substance of the issues is to absorb and be nurtured by them. To take on an issue this way is a process, a life-giving, life-affirming process. That's God. God issues forth love in all the creation, in all of the aspects of the creation, with no exceptions. When we know that, we embrace all forms of God's creation. This is peace. This is an openness toward and an acceptance of the entire process of God. Peace has no opposition. Peace has no enemy. If we look through the eyes of peace, we don't see enemies and we don't see opposition. As we take on that perspective and shift our vision to the peace that is present, there's an opportunity to shift from opposition, from taking issue, into the process of peace that is life-affirming. It is expanding the energy of who we are so that through the eyes of peace and love, we are taking on the opposition without issuing ourselves forth in opposition. Is this easy? No, it is not. Still, in any process, we have a choice: we can take issue, or we can take on the issue--not as a fight, but as an opportunity to lift and be lifted.

In choosing to deal with life as a process of peace where we are given opportunities to take on particular issues, there comes an awareness: "God is here!" It's an issuing, not that it was issued and it went down the street and I've got to catch up, but it's being issued, it's alive, it's issuing forth as the source of the energy I seek in my life. It's the energy of God that is issued to each of us. I'd like us to come into a place where the only issues in our lives are those we seek for good. Why would I like that? Because peace is here, it's present, and it's available now without limit. And I'd like us to be peaceful toward all, regardless of who they are or what has happened. I'd like us all to experience world peace together.

What world peace means is that we each individually shift from any opposition inside ourselves to owning our life for what it is, an entirely life-affirming process. First, that would mean our physical body. People don't always take ownership of their body. They often have issues with their physical body, which creates a schism of consciousness. It creates opposition where we live, where we walk, where we sleep, with everything we do as it comes through each of us physically. What results occur as we continue to express negative issues physically into the world? We create separation of the positive and the negative, which accumulate into an opposition. But in the positive flow of life, and in the loving and peace that is God's pure energy, there's no issue. There's no issue because it's all one issue of God's love. If we understand that there are no opposing differences, then there would be no opposition, no war, no struggle, no battle, because there's nothing to oppose. It's a unified effort, a unified consciousness that we're all abiding in. It begins with one person. It begins where you live right now. And in that place where there's no opposition, God springs forth in the fullness of what It is: unconditional, unopposed love. Peace is present. That's a transcendental consciousness.

When we come into "no opposition," we must transcend. We come into a state of grace whereby we cannot be contained by this world. Nothing less than God can hold us. We come into a state in which we are at peace on all levels because we take no issue toward any of God's creation. The reality is in an "issueless" God. It's all one issue. If we take opposition, we are being locked into the karma of our opposition. It's the law of cause and effect. So in one sense, don't take up cause, so that you don't have to be at the effect of what you do, of what you issue forth. "Well," you might ask, "what do I take up if I don't take up cause?" You take up what is. Have no opposition. Don't have any opposition with your detractors, with those who find fault with what you do, or with those who look upon you as foolish or say "no" in any way to what you do. Have no opposition to that. It's just not necessary. Look to the state of being that already is. As we release the opposition toward life, we come into that state of being. This state of being dissolves our relationship to this world of polarities. By taking no issue with this level, we take no energy from it. We are released. We take instead from God: "I take from God. My source is in God." As we learn how to do that, we become less and less attached to this world. When the worldly causes come whirling around and whipping about, they have a way of just passing through us because there's nothing there to take issue with. Peace is present. In doing this, you begin to transcend the law of cause and effect, to suspend yourself from being caught up in causes of opposition.

Are we exempt from the law? No, but the Spirit of who we truly are is. The Spirit does not have to answer to the law. It is not at all in opposition to the law. There's no fight, no struggle with the law. The law is the law. Those who must live in it, and live with it, do. We don't take opposition to the law, and there's not a state of rebellion, because it's not necessary. The state of rebellion is the force of the opposition. So if you find yourself rebelling against this world, rebelling against the conditions in your life and what people do or how they do it, you're just deciding to enter into the law and take up the cause and take issue. What's in it for you? A lot of company. You get to wear uniforms, you get to have people cheer you on, and you get to have people cheer you off. People take sides. And it isn't just two sides; it can be many sides. It's like, "Wow! They're coming at me from all sides!" That's what happens in the law of cause and effect. Eventually, there's a realization that we don't need to oppose or even be opposed. We all would choose to be free of opposition once we realize that peace is always available as a choice. We can simply choose to be peaceful.

There are two sides of the coin. On the one side is nothing, and on the other side is anything or everything. So if you're going to have what is nothing, taking no issue, then you're going to have anything and everything and taking all issues on as a process toward peace. How do we do nothing and do everything as a process toward peace? We have the experience of seeing and witnessing anything and everything and being all of it and yet being none of it. That's freedom. When we go into the world, we can be anything and everything and nothing at all. It's first an inner choice as a state of being. We can watch and be careful that we don't take issue with one part of the world and make some kind of judgment that we're more this and less that. It takes all of our being to really let go.

This world is continual states of preparation for making ourselves available to wherever the issuing is for the highest good. If we knew that there was going to be a door to the place that we wanted to go more than any other, we would want to be where the door is located. If we looked out and saw that there were lots of doors, then we would want to learn how to be at each and every door and how to discern which door is best for us individually and collectively. Then, if the Lord opens the door of our charity, the door of our caring, the door of our generosity and giving, or whatever door, we're there, and we pass through, and the passing is always in peace and loving.

And so I ask this blessing: Lord God in the highest, we ask for your presence, that you bring forward a blessing upon us in peace, that you fill our hearts, fill our consciousnesses, that our minds and whatever we would perceive is in peace, that our nature becomes entirely peaceful. We ask for the blessings of higher consciousness, the wisdom, and the understanding of peace. Let us dedicate ourselves to peace within ourselves, that wherever we go, we bring peace and we learn to find peace in all things. Teach us to learn, teach us to know, teach us to all gather in the fellowship of peace. Let us all issue ourselves forth in peace.

—John Morton, Spiritual Director
MSIA and the Institute for Individual and World Peace