Review II ~ Lessons 63-64
How can we know ourselves as the light of the world? The only way is through forgiveness. It is the means by which we can come to experience our true reality as a Son of God. By releasing our grievances, peace can extend from my mind to yours. That is how we know it is in us to give.
We can't know love in this world. The closest reflection we have of it is forgiveness. It is quite a revelation to know that what we call love in the world is not love at all. As Jesus says, quite clearly,
"You do not know the meaning of love, and that is your handicap. Do not attempt to teach yourself what you do not understand and do not try to set up curriculum goals where yours have clearly failed." (T.12.V.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.11.VI.48) While we tell ourselves we love, and we tell ourselves we are in love or that we are loving, it is pretty clear we don't have a clue what love is. The best we can do is to let forgiveness remove all of the obstacles to love that we hold in our minds, so the love that is always there in our right minds can flow through us. Thus, we need the Holy Spirit to help us with this, as the ego will never undo itself.
Let's face it. We are still attached to doing life our way, and we are invested in our own perspectives. As we do the work of this course, the ego is threatened, which explains our resistance. The closer we come to the truth, the more fear and resistance come up; but we have Mighty Help from outside of the closed system of the ego that keeps us fully invested in the illusion. The decision-making part of our minds, where we are still connected to the truth, has made the decision for healing. We have heard the Call within and responded with a willingness to awaken. We have chosen to use the means given us for undoing the blocks to love that keep us from awareness of our reality.
Forgiveness allows me to see that light is my reality. As I engage in healing my mind through forgiveness, I experience more and more peace. Any little irritation or discontent with anyone today is just another opportunity to let go of judgment and to forgive. We don't generally look at the perceived difficulties in our lives as opportunities, but that is exactly what they offer us---another chance to see differently, to look at everyone as our friend, and recognize that we are not different from each other. We share the same nature. We meet our Self wherever we go. There truly is no separation. We are all the same, with the same ego, and with the same Christ Self.
Letting go of the judgments and grievances we hold against anyone is so important to gaining peace. Forgiveness is the answer to all our misery and suffering. We need to make forgiveness the central focus of our lives on behalf of our own happiness. In fact, that is what time was made for. That is why we are here. This is the only way to our salvation and the salvation of the world.
It seems as if we will be sacrificing our rights and our boundaries when we forgive. Aren't we letting the other person off the hook? I felt this last night when Don brought home a large TV that did not fit into our armoire, so the doors had to be removed. I had specifically asked him to buy a TV that would fit, but his desire was for something much bigger! So he did what he wanted and had no intention of changing his mind about it. I expressed my feelings to him. I let him know I felt coerced, overpowered, unimportant, and ignored. He responded by saying that, if I were really a good student of the Course, I would let it go and forgive him. Needless to say, this did not go over well at the time! It seemed to me, I was in a losing position, and if I let it go, he would win. The battle could continue in this way if I chose to let it. The option was to try to manipulate and coerce him into compliance, but what would be won? No, it was not easy at the time to let go in this situation, but after quiet reflection, I chose to find peace. In the end, how the TV fit into the armoire did not feel as important as healing my perspective and my relationship. I tend to make things important that in the end have no importance.
In the world, it does seem like when one wins the other loses. In the illusion, there is an appearance of loss for me, as he has what he wants and won't budge, but what have I lost? In releasing the situation, which I was able to do when I went to the Holy Spirit and asked for help, I felt I had reconnected to the divine in me that became much more important than winning the argument. The ego has no interest in peace. It is invested in the battle. It just wants to be right. Was this difficult for me? Oh, yes! But not for long, because I was motivated, determined, and willing to find my way out of this hell. Other issues like this in my relationships, where I held grievances for a long time, kept me in hell together with my partner. It is never worthwhile when it costs me my joy. Yes, it seems worth it to the ego; so much so that some will give their lives to be right. Yet the sooner we can bring any problem to the answer, the sooner we can take ourselves out of hell.
"I share the light of the world with you, [name]" (W.82.2.3) is to be reminded of the truth of my reality. As we hold this thought in our minds, we bring a powerful healing, which is so profound, we have no idea of its ultimate impact. It is a benediction we give, not unlike that which Jesus gave to his disciples when he appeared to them after his resurrection and said, "Peace be with you."
Now we are given specific forms of that thought.
"Let peace extend from my mind to yours, [name]. I share the light of the world with you [name]," and "Through my forgiveness I can see this as it is." (W.82.2.2-4) Remember that these specific thoughts after each review Lesson are intended to be used when we have a problem or issue with anyone. We prepare our minds by using these specific forms, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, so we can remember that the purpose of each day is to bring our unforgiving thoughts to the truth presented here in each of these ideas.
For the latter part of the day, we are urged not to forget our function if we want to remember our true reality. Remembering my function is the only way I can
"experience the joy that God intends for me." (W.82.3.4) If I let a grievance darken my mind today, I am using that situation to hide my function and my joy from me. We were made to extend love, and we do this through forgiveness by bringing our dark thoughts to the truth. Peace and joy are the truth about us. Anything else is simply unnatural.
There truly is a simplicity in what we are being told in this Course, no matter how much it appears to confound us. When we don't want the truth, we will find great resistance to understanding what Jesus is telling us. We will continue to hold our grievances, no matter what it costs us. Think of the simplicity of going through the day and remembering that the most important thing is to find our way to peace so that we can
"Let peace extend from my mind to yours, [name]" (W.82.2.2) simply by not blocking it with our judgments and grievances. The interesting thing is that we will often forget. Forgetting is just another form of resistance, which we can bring to our awareness and realize the ego is threatened by the light. Remember, we are not responsible for the error but only for the correction.
The reason our resistance comes up is that we are actually choosing to forget what we came here to be and do. In other words, the whole world was made to escape from our own reality. We have run away to hide from God and have become convinced we are bodies, living in a world of time and space, and now this is the only reality. Our spiritual reality seems like an illusion, while this world seems real and tangible. As we apply the Lessons, Jesus shows us, increasingly, that what we have made---our bodies and the world of form---are the illusion. We see this when we experience the power there is in the miracle.
The reason we hold grievances is because they uphold our belief and investment in the illusion. We believe that the way we have set things up as a result of the separation is true. That is how we continue to choose to be right, rather than to be happy. We believe forgiveness lets people off the hook. We want to hold onto our way of seeing things. Yet think about what forgiveness offers. It opens us to the power of the miracle. It opens us to the immensity of love. It opens us to the truth of who we are. Such power is released through forgiveness! That is what we are reminded of. We are encouraged not to forget our function so we can know the gifts available to us through forgiveness.
Do I really want to continue to drink from this poisonous well of grievances, which will only hurt me? I only need to make the choice. I only need the willingness and the passion to do the healing of my mind. Then I will see every perceived problem, situation, and issue as simply grist for the mill for forgiveness and experience release from the prison of my wrong minded thought system.
I just finished reading the book by Brandon Bays called The Journey in which she learns to release her cancer, her home that burned down during the fires in Malibu, and her husband, who left her for another woman. In her healing, she accepted that it was she alone who had betrayed herself because she said she mistakenly "believed that fairy tales can come true." She hated the part that had made up the story in the first place, took up residence, and lived in the fairy tale. In that process, she was left in the "tender sweet wake of reality itself." The realization for her, in the end, was, "Nothing you can do can give you this love. No career can give it to you. No amount of service can make you know it. No love partner or family can make it happen. No house, car or material belongings can buy it for you. Nothing and no one can give it to you, for it is who you already are. You are the love that you have been seeking for." Sometimes, we seem to need to experience these grave difficulties in order to bring us back to our minds, which is where we can find our way back to the love we are. Not getting my way with the TV set was well worth exchanging it for the realization of the truth about myself. Yes, to the ego, it looks like capitulation, but to the Spirit, it is freedom.
Every experience, situation, and person we encounter offers us one more opportunity to release our attack thoughts and to remember that we are still in the presence of our Creator.
Let us choose our release in every moment today, asking for help to remember that whenever we make judgments or whenever we try to get something at anyone's expense, we are saying that we do not want peace and joy and are choosing our specialness instead of God's love. When we do this, we experience more guilt. Projecting that guilt onto others by blaming them for how we feel has a tremendous cost to us. It costs us our peace and joy. Let us not use anyone or any situation today to keep the joy of God away. That is how we remember our function today. We cannot fulfill our function if we go through the day forgetting that we are here only to forgive, so any situation that arises today can be used for forgiveness.
"Let me not use this to hide my function from me. I would use this as an opportunity to fulfill my function. This may threaten my ego, but cannot change my function in any way."
Love and blessings, Sarah