Forgiving the World
While there are many paths to Truth, I am deeply grateful for the guidance and practice of the Text, Workbook, and Teachers Manual of A Course in Miracles (ACIM), to the many teachers who have appeared in this life stream, and for the visions which have come to me to support my awakening to Reality (and for constantly calling me back when I forget and fall into painful sleep).
My learning and experience have taught me that the direct experience of Love calls for a quiet, defenseless mind that doesn’t plan, doesn’t “object,” and accepts no fear as real. No protection is needed against eternal Truth, but most of us are caught in a cloud of fearful thoughts that tell us otherwise.
So, the essential teaching is to allow mental activity to cease, and simply be still in the present moment. ACIM Lesson 189, and ACIM Text.31.I.12-13, are prime examples, along with: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). Really … it’s that simple. It’s that easy. No effort is required.
To actually accomplish this, we are being asked to carefully look at all our fearful thoughts – to bring them into full awareness, even write them down. We step back, and become a somewhat dis-impassioned observer, much as an experienced medical examiner might perform an autopsy. This space allows us to make a fundamental, remarkable choice.
As we become willing to question our egoic thoughts, we become willing to choose to discard our own past learning, and to release the world — and everyone and everything in it — from every judgment and every evaluation we might have had. Strangely, this process becomes completely natural and easy. It requires no effort and no grim determination. For God Himself has given us the Holy Spirit to gently replace each fearful thought with a thought of Love, once we make the choice.
Given our usual habits of thought, this might seem irresponsible and even treasonous. Who would willingly abandon his “normal” judgments? Or the statement “Everything is Love” may not appear to be practical or down to earth. One of our fearful thoughts might well be, “But… But… But who’s going to pay the rent?” From that level of thought, “Everything is Love” might appear to be the height of insanity. Well, the fact of the matter is that Love has always paid the rent in the most fundamental sense – and has provided for all our real needs, despite our impression that we have had to cope with the world on our own, alone.
We will likely need help all along the way as we learn to trust in Love. Fearful thoughts from the past and of the future often arise, and we can expect them to continue to some degree as long as we are here. And the Course emphasizes that this applies particularly to our relationships, to everyone we meet or think of.
But we can cultivate our awareness of the painful presence of our judgmental thoughts. We can consciously allow them fully into our awareness without any avoidance or justification – writing them down if that helps clarify them – and then we can ask for help from the Answer – the Holy Spirit’s all-knowing wisdom and vision. We can ask to see things differently. And then we can patiently await fear’s passing and the advent of a new way of seeing and being. In serene stillness, free of denial or rationalization, the wisdom and glory of our universal Self becomes known to us, and we find ourselves safe at Home. (Here’s a graphic representation.)
This is a practice of deep forgiveness, of gentle and complete not-knowing – of abandoning our cleaver strategies – of asking for help with our un-peaceful thoughts and perceptions. This forgiveness frees us from the concepts and experiences that have ensued from the pivotal, insane idea of separation from God and from each other. We are freed from our ideas of specialness and littleness, and from our worldly strategies for getting our needs met for survival and for care of the body. We are freed of any need to plan and decide using our small-minded, individual resources. The Holy Spirit will lovingly guide our every thought and our every step. We are thus freed to walk this world of apparent duality and separation with an open, non-judging mind and a peaceful, joyful, loving heart in the endless present moment. Humbling as the thought may be, is not needful to do anything. We can safely overlook the world and become joyfull. “To be in the Kingdom is merely to focus your full attention on it” (ACIM T.7.III.4.1). This, dear friend, is a miracle, indeed.
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
At this stage in the acceptance/deliverance process, I still find myself forgetting Self, and not infrequently allow my little ego mind to prance off on its high horse on insane, meaningless journeys, tilting at imaginary windmills. But the trips are getting milder and shorter, as I more quickly become aware of the incredible loneliness and pain of those fearful thoughts. I more quickly realize that I am making a mistake if I am not seeing perfection in all things. I more quickly forgive myself for my insanity, and choose to release it with the help of the Holy Spirit. Thus am I freed to allow conscious attention to rest on the endless, dynamic, wholeness, wisdom, and Love of God Who created us.
Here, in this moment, this holy instant, lie the Love and peace of God. All that is required is to be willing in this precious present moment to accept eternal Truth, Love, Self, the Light of Heaven within us. In this way, our purpose in life is magnificently fulfilled, for we are simultaneously also able teach Love to the entire world. No individual judgment, anticipation, or evaluation is of any help or meaning. The words used in teaching, if any, do not matter; they will be given us if, and as, needed. All that is important is to be quiet and receptive, to resist nothing.
Joy arises naturally in peace. The healed mind – the mind that does not judge the past nor plan the future – is the eternal home of the ever-present Love which permeates the universe and constitutes ever-extending Life.
See others as innocent as morning sunshine. Arise in peace, teach peace, and rejoice — and ask for help when peace is not the apparent reality. And, yes, the rent will probably get paid — but even if it doesn’t, that event can be trusted to lead us to increasingly beneficial and more worthy learning circumstances.
I am very, very grateful for this precious understanding and experience, and I am committed to allowing it to deepen and fully blossom. Nothing else is important. Perhaps you are joining with me now and relaxing in this quiet, wordless moment — this window on eternal Truth. Through total forgiveness, we find shared, eternal Life.
This path Home is available to us all, and we’re all going Home together.