Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Making Explicit the True Meaning of Forgiveness

Two, or three, years ago, I set up a Facebook account, but I never really did much with it, until Sunday 8 April, Easter Sunday, auspiciously, when it occurred to me that I could post a Status statement on Facebook, daily.  This would enable me to express myself regarding the meaning of forgiveness, and spread the word about the incredible event coming up in the fall, International Forgiveness Week and Weekend of Perfect Peace, September 14-23, 2012, at the Healing Center of Endeavor Academy, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

It was clear to me that each day I could make explicit the meaning of forgiveness in a pithy statement, and at the same time, encourage readers to send in their statements expressing their forgiveness experiences.

We will collect these statements and make them available during the Event, as well as possibly publish them in a book.

It was also clear to me that on the first of each month, I would post a blog containing the statements from the preceding month.

These are the postings from Monday 9 April through Monday 30 April, 2012.

You cannot forgive a person, place, or thing.  You can forgive only a thought, based on your individual belief system that made the person, place, or thing in the first place.

Forgive what you have made and you are saved.  Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you.  Forgive all thoughts which would oppose the truth of your completion, unity and peace.  ACIM, Lesson 99

In a body in time and space, I tend to make decisions between this and that, hot or cold, peace or conflict, good or bad.

When I choose one over the other in this duality, I am actually bargaining, although I find that when I choose the positive over the negative, I call it Forgiveness.

Bargaining is not Forgiveness.  When I stand in a place in my mind, a state of mind of the peace of God, the body and time and space slip away and my dream is replaced by the experience of true Forgiveness, letting go of what never was, resting in God.

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus refers to often to “God’s plan.”  This is not some plan, like World Peace; rather, God’s plan is for each of us to learn to forgive our worldly thoughts.

Salvation (Forgiveness) must reverse the mad belief in separate thoughts and separate bodies, which lead separate lives and go their separate ways.  It is your function that you find it here, and that you find it now.
  Lesson 100

Obviously, our biggest obstacle to Forgiveness is our identification with our bodies and our thought/images projected from our tiny brains.  Jesus tells us, repeatedly, in His Course in Miracles:
 I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.

Garfield pretty much sums it up in this cartoon:


We grow up thinking that our eyes can see and our brains can think.  As Jesus makes so clear in His Course in Miracles, this is ludicrous.  We make the mistake of investing in this illusion.

And the words “ludicrous” and “illusion” come from the same Latin root, ludere, meaning to play a game.  The dream is ludicrous because it’s absurd, and to invest in it is a misleading impression of reality.  It’s a deadly game.  We  can learn to put our toys away.

Forgiveness means to give up the illusion, seeing through it with vision.

Every man takes the limits of his own field of seeing for the limits of the world.  Arthur Schopenhauer.

I walk into a darkened movie theater, sit down, and face a blank screen.  The projector comes on, and I enter into the drama of the images on the screen, forgetting where I am, following the images cavorting across the screen, entering fully into the story.

At the end, the lights come on, the credits roll, the screen goes blank.  The projector goes off.  I stand up and walk out.  This is a moment analogous to Forgiveness, letting it all go.

Projection makes perception.  The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that.  Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.
  ACIM, T-21.Intro.

That change, that shift, is forgiveness.

In this world we are encouraged by advertisers to trade stamps for merchandise, to redeem pieces of paper for worldly treasures.

This is a helpful analogy for our redemption.  We can redeem our attachment to ego thoughts, and in this act of Forgiveness is our redemption.

There will be great joy in Heaven on your homecoming, and the joy will be yours.  For the redeemed son of man is the guiltless Son of God, and to recognize him is your redemption.

Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to a Three-Peat, winning NBA Titles in ’91, ’92, and ’93.  Then he abruptly retired to play professional baseball for two years.  When he returned in ’95, he had a difficult time regaining his former top-level playing style, until, one day he said to himself, “I’m going to let the game come to me.”  He then led the Bulls to another Three-Peat in ’96, ’97, and ’98.

A friend of mine expressed Jordan's insight this way:  “I‘m going to participate fully, remembering that I need do nothing.”  In other words, once I, my ego-personality, gets out of the way, I can be guided to do the next thing. 

Getting out of the way is an act of forgiveness.

This is one way it is expressed in A Course in Miracles, I will step back and let Him lead the way.  Title, Lesson 155.

In his poem, Revelation, Robert Frost (1874-1963) begins:

We make ourselves a place apart
Behind light words that tease and flout,

Our ego personality constructs, or makes, an identity, apart from the awareness of God’s presence, and we defend it with our meaningless thoughts.

In His Course in Miracles, Jesus expresses it this way:

You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God’s Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness.
Chapter 13.Section 111.4

Frost finishes the first stanza with these two lines:

But oh, the agitated heart
Till someone find us really out.

And from the Course:

For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.

And when we allow this cleansing to occur, it is an act of forgiveness, and we experience our restoration, our resurrection.

We tend to believe that our eyes can see and our brains can think.  This cherished belief imprisons us. 

Samuel T. Coleridge (1777-1834) coined a wonderful phrase that describes being lifted out of this belief:

. . .a willing suspension of disbelief.

While we believe in the reality of the body’s eyes, we disbelieve in the Reality of God.  For us, it is always either/or.  Coleridge, the Romantic, trusted that poetry could free us, having the power to “awaken the mind’s attention from the lethargy of custom.”

Our willingness to suspend our disbelief in God is an act of forgiveness.

We are such creatures of habit, always tending to believe in the world we project through our body’s eyes.  This habit seems ordinary, customary, normal, automatic, "autonomic," natural, universal, and my favorite, taken for “granite,” whoops, taken for granted.

These habits prevent us from receiving God’s gifts of joy and peace, our natural inheritance.

They come to you from God, Who cannot fail to give you what He wills.  Yet must there be a place made ready to receive His gifts.  They are not welcomed gladly by a mind that has instead received the gifts it made where His belongs, as substitutes for them.
  ACIM, Lesson 104.1 

Forgiveness is letting go of these substitutes, making ready a place in our minds to receive God’s gifts.

Since the ego always speaks first, we tend to judge a brother, automatically, seeing him as an “enemy.” 

Recognizing this, Ho’oponopono, a great Hawaiian healer, practiced forgiveness, using these four simple statements, and these correspond perfectly with passages in A Course in Miracles, Lesson 105, God’s peace and joy are mine.

“I’m sorry.”

Think of your “enemies” a little while, and tell each one, as he occurs to you: My brother, peace and joy I offer you.

“Please forgive me.”

Thus you prepare yourself to recognize God’s gifts to you, and let your mind be free of all that would prevent success today.

“I love you.”

My brother, peace and joy I offer you, that I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.

“Thank you.”

Then bless your brother, thankfully.

In this manner, Ho’oponopono cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients--without ever seeing any of them. He simply studied an inmate's chart and engaged in this process, over and over.

A little film clip on forgiveness has gone “viral” on the internet.  Shawne Duperon, a six-time Emmy Award Winner, produced this clip, featuring a man, Gary Weinstein, who lost his wife and two sons in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver.  This clip shows, movingly, Gary’s True Forgiveness, echoing this passage from Lesson110, I am as God created me, in A Course in Miracles.

If you remain as God created you, appearances cannot replace the truth, health cannot turn to sickness, nor can death be substitute for life, or fear for love. All this has not occurred, if you remain as God created you. You need no thought but just this one, to let redemption come to light the world and free it from the past.

As Gary, remaining as God created him in his mind, experiencing his true Self, recognizes on the clip, he is truly “the boldest man on the planet.”

To view a trailer for the film and donate to Project Forgive, visit http://www.projectforgive.com.

In one of his early Lessons in His Course in Miracles, Jesus characterizes the ego’s voice as a raucous shriek.  His intent in His Course is to slow us down, so that we can learn to reverse our thinking.  The title of Lessons 201-220 is I am not a body.  I am free.  For I am still as God created me.

. . .”still.”  Hmmmm.  Stop a moment.  Does that mean, I continue to be as God crated me, or does it mean I am the “stillness” of God’s creation?

The answer is “yes,” and I stopped for a moment. 

And in this recognition, all is forgiven.

Very often in His Course in Miracles, Jesus uses contrast to help us learn to reverse our thinking.  For example, the body’s eyes see only their projections, darkness, while seeing with vision enables us to see our peaceful state of mind, light.

The light that makes true vision possible is not the light the body’s eyes behold.  It is a state of mind that has become so unified that darkness cannot be  perceived at all. 
Lesson 108.2

And seeing with light is an act of forgiveness.

I woke up this morning, trying to remember a dream.  It seemed that it was painful, but I just couldn’t find it.  While reading Lesson 107, Truth will correct all errors in my mind, I came across this sentence:

And so errors disappear to nothingness, returning whence they came.  From dust to dust they come and go, for only truth remains.

And I realized that not finding the dream provides me with a perfect analogy.  The dream was to my waking up as my errors, my illusions, are to my awakening mind. . .for only truth remains.

This is an act of forgiveness.

Often, sitting quietly, thoughts will come to mind, and I know that I am  being receptive to God’s Voice, the Holy spirit.

When I grab a notebook and write down these thoughts, I am amazed at the fluidity of receptivity finding expression.

If you will listen with an open mind, then you will hear the mighty voice of truth, quiet in power, strong in stillness, and completely certain in Its messages.
  Lesson 106.2

These messages are a result of forgiveness, making a place in my mind receptive to the Holy Spirit’s Voice.

The ego’s voice is very loud.  In fact, Jesus in His Course in Miracles, uses the metaphor of thunder.

Listen and hear your Father speak to you through His appointed Voice, Which silences the thunder of the meaningless.
  Lesson 106.2

The noisy mind chatter is thunderous.

And Joel Goldsmith (1892-1964) wrote a book entitled, The Thunder of Silence (1961).  In this case, thunder refers to the wonder of the silence. 

The metaphor of thunder in both cases is apt when I remember that the word “astonish” comes from the Latin, tonare, meaning “to thunder.”

Silence is astonishing in reference to noise, and noise is astonishing in reference to silence, and in both cases, experiencing silence is an act of forgiveness.

At lunch today, I overheard this curious sentence:  “If you are climbing a ladder and let go, you will spring into Heaven.”

What?  It was only later that I got it when I realized it was an analogy, after all, literally, I saw myself crashing to the ground.

The ladder is analogous to our logical, step-by-step, conceptual mind that perpetuates our world made by our thought/images projected from a part of our mind that has no source in reality.  So, when I let go of these thoughts, I do spring into Heaven, the only part of my mind that is real.

The transition into Divine sonship brings about that change from faith in the visible to faith in the Infinite Invisible, in that which can never be seen, hear, tasted, touched, smelled.
  Joel Goldsmith, The Thunder of Silence, p. 21.
Letting go of the ladder is forgiveness.

I am sitting here on my couch, early in the morning, reading Joel Goldsmith, and I marvel that I am experiencing the peace of God because of Grace.  This passage inspired that thought:

Our spiritual adoption comes through a conscious activity within our own consciousness and at a time when we are prepared for that transition, because the transition from humanhood to spiritual sonship is made only by Grace.  The Thunder of Silence
, p. 19

By Grace, my wife, Christine, and I came across A Course in Miracles in the fall of 1985, and we crossed the threshold of Endeavor Academy on August 7, 1997.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That Saved a wretch like me./
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

By the grace of God, we learned to forgive.

When I sit down at the computer and place my hands on the keyboard, my index fingers, automatically, rest on the home row, largely because of the raised dots on the “f” key and the “j” key, and now the entire keyboards is available to me simply by touch.

This is a helpful reminder that we can sit down, take a breath, and go home,  resting in the peace of God, and now all His bounty is available to me in my stillness.

I will be still an instant and go home.
  Title, Lesson 182.

In this moment of stillness, all is forgiven, all that never was.

In His Course in Miracles, not only does Jesus use impeccable prose to direct our personal transformation, he also writes sheer poetry.  For example, here is a passage from Lesson 109, I rest in God.  Please read it slowly, savoring the “s” sounds.

You rest today.  And as you close your eyes, sink into stillness.  Let these periods of rest and respite reassure your mind that all its frantic fantasies were  but the dreams of fever that has passed away.

Here Jesus uses a poetic device called consonance, the repetition of consonant sounds.  The medium is the message.  We are being hushed to rest in God, reassured, shhhh, echoing the song,

Hush little baby, don’t your cry/Momma’s goin’ to sing you a lullaby.

In our resting is forgiveness.

Please write about your experience of forgiving thoughts in 600 words, or less, and Submit Your Essay, using this link:


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