A Course in Miracles is a course on how to remove the blocks that keep us from the awareness of love’s presence. It is a way of unlearning what the ego would have us believe. By applying Course principles on a regular basis we CAN undo the ego’s grip. The operative word is “applying.” Recognition of truth doesn’t come from just reading books. A participatory effort to put what it teaches to work is what inspires transformation.
One of the Course’s central theme is forgiveness. The Course teaches us that through forgiveness we can discover truth. According to the Course, forgiveness is to overlook as if what “needs” to be forgiven never happened. This is hard for most of us. Our condition is such that we’re challenged to let go of regrets, grudges and guilt. But this is exactly what the practice of forgiveness would ask for us.
Forgiveness is not a process but can seem that way until the process is no longer in awareness. The ego’s grip can be deep and therefore warrant “process” to open the mind up for healing. With that in mind, below are some steps.
3 steps to forgiveness
1. The first step is to recognize that all suffering is of the mind. There is no outside problem and healing must occur within the mind. We cannot be a victim of the world.
2. The second step is to recognize that we are in the position of choosing whether or not we continue to suffer. All suffering is a choice to align with misperception. We can ask for the miracle. But we must be WILLING to ask and be wrong about what’s in perception.
3. Lastly, the final step belongs to Him – Holy Spirt. Our job is simply to bring the “darkness” to Him, which is simply to bring awareness to the faulty thinking, surrender, let it go. We need do nothing more. Having invited the Holy Spirit to do “His thing” and decided that we want peace instead of suffering He will remove our guilt and undo its effects.
Until we learn how to habituate an attitude of unconditional love, forgiveness can be experienced as a process. Therefore, “managing” the process may require the uncovering of many beliefs and fears that may not be seen on the surface of our awareness. These too need to be offered up to the Holy Spirit. In many ways this process is like peeling away the layers of an onion.
Step 1 Awareness – It’s all in the mind
The Course teaches us that solutions are in the mind. The seeming cause of any problem is a misperception in the mind. This begins with misidentification with ego thoughts and its desires. Egoic beliefs filter out perceptions of separation – which always lead to suffering. All healing therefore must take place in the mind – there is nothing outside of us.
The Course says that “There are no idle thoughts. All thinking produces form on some level.” Subsequently then we must be aware of what we’re thinking. The Course also reminds us that in each moment we are either choosing the crucifixion or resurrection – fear or love. Are we choosing the resurrection – Truth? In the Course Jesus says “You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind’s mis-creations.” Are we even conscious enough of our thoughts to recognize what we’re thinking?
To be aware of truth is to have cognizance of what is not real. However, when we choose the ego thought system we choosing wrongly – we are without awareness. We see illusion and experience its effects (fear.) Our identification with ego and its conditioning is so strong that the illusory experience has become the norm. Therefore the Course would teach us that we must unlearn the ways of the world by discerning what’s untrue. Knowing that the ego perceives only the false, we can safely determine then that its interpretations will always be misguided.
ACIM teaches us that the ego speaks first. It’s important then to bring attention and awareness to the desire, thoughts and feeling we are choosing from moment to moment. For only in the moment can we vigilant for right-minded thinking.
Just as anyone suffering from addiction must be aware that they have an addiction before they seek help, WE must recognize the addictive tendencies of our egoic thinking.
In a situation where you are experiencing some form of suffering or discomfort the following exercise will help shed light on egoic thinking and beleifs. Say and ask yourself “In this situation, what am I currently choosing to see or believe?”
1. State what you “see” based on the construct of your thinking.
- e.g. I’m alone. I feel that no one cares about me.
2. State and fill in the blank: “In this situation of _______, what do I believe?”
- e.g. In this situation of __feeling alone__, what do I believe?
3. List beliefs that would cause you to “see” things in this way.
- e.g. I’m not loved when others are not around.
- e.g. I believe love comes from a romantic partner.
Step 2 Exercising Choice
Whenever we experience suffering we have chosen to think wrongly. We believe we’ve separated from love. In our desire to maintain the belief in separation we suffer. Sometimes the awareness of this is very immediate and sometimes not. If we are in tuned with our emotions then we quickly realize that something is wrong when we are not at peace. In these moments we must recognize that we have a choice. Either we continue to follow the thought system that has caused the suffering or we choose to align with the Holy Spirit who can dispel the suffering. Are we willing to choose differently?
Exercising Power of Choice
Pray: “I am wiling to see and choose differently. I choose love.”
Step 3 Invitation to the Holy Spirit
Once we are willing to choose differently we invite the Holy Spirit. This merely means that we express a willingness to see our situation differently by asking the Holy Spirit to correct our perception. Whether it’s misaligned thoughts or beliefs, we simply acknowledge they no longer serve us and give it to him. The illusion is therefore brought to truth by the Holy Spirit.
1. Pray: “Holy Spirit, in this situation regarding my e.g. feelings of loneliness, I have chosen to perceive lack of love. I invite you into my mind and ask that you heal the part of my mind that believes (and state your old thinking)
2. List your beliefs (bring the light to darkness:)
- e.g. that being without a lover means I’m not whole
- e.g. that love must come from another body (people.)
- e.g. that I am separate from God
I forgive my errors and ask for a miracle (shift in perception.) Please show me how to see this differently.”
And from wherever you are, express and list what you are grateful for and wish others well.
Manage the Weeds
If you’ve ever gardened or managed growing a lawn then you understand how weeds can sometimes pop up uninvited. If fact, part of keeping a good garden or lawn is proper maintenance. Similarly, we need to keep a watchful eye that the ego and its thought system doesn’t rear its head. The ego is sneaky and never announces itself. Habituating the act of offering up what is false is the unlearning process that brings light to the dark beliefs that conceal the veil of truth from us. This brings us back to Step 1 – Awareness – This loops the process into a constant circle of atonement.