3. Healing and Forgiveness: Workshop 3 of 12 based on "A Course In Miracles"
3. Healing and Forgiveness
By, Beth Geer
What if I told you that everything we think is impossible is actually true, and what we think is true, is actually the impossible? We are not who or what we think we are, or what we see. We are not separate bodies; weak and aging, living lives desperate to find happiness before we meet our grim end. This is the truth: we are miracle workers, united by an un-assailable force of Love. Within us, is an un-tapped power to heal the world and ourselves. This power is currently unknown and long forgotten.
We all love stories about superheroes who come in and save the world. We love those stories, because deep down, we wish it were true about ourselves. Well, the truth is, it IS true about ourselves! It is time to learn Who You Are, and what your superhero power is. And it is time to begin using it!
But before I can tell you what it is, I need to explain a few things first.
So what is it we're really doing here anyway? What is our reason for coming here? I assure you, it was not to be born into a body that begins to age towards death the second it is conceived. It was not to work, find a mate, raise a family, fight physical and mental illnesses and die in the end.
No no no… We are here for a far more important reason. We are not here to ask, take, or beg for anything from this world at all. In fact, we are here to give it something. But in order to do that, we must learn to guard our minds against thoughts of “lack” and “need” lest we continue to manifest the very things we strive for in our short struggle here. This process of watching our thoughts, and doing our best to remember to give love rather than ask the world for anything is a lifelong process and it leads to our sweet release from every pain this world offers us. There is a word for it, and it is the basis for the whole teaching of A Course In Miracles.
It is called, forgiveness.
According to A Course In Miracles, thoughts of guilt and separation from God are the whole reason we got into this mess to begin with, so the remedy must be the opposite. We must have thoughts of love and forgiveness to undo the choice we made in ignorance. In truth, we are all innocent of any wrongdoing because this world is an illusion made by our ego - and nothing made by our ego is real. Only what is eternal can be real, and only what is eternal can be created through God's Love. We must forgive everything that is not eternal, in order to undo the mistakes of our ego.
So you may guess then that A Course In Miracles teaches a different kind of forgiveness than the ego teaches. The ego teaches that "wrongs" most certainly take place, but out of our kindness and effort to "be the better person" we will "forgive" them. The wrongdoing is by no means undone, and we may even honestly try to forget it, but it remains a "wrongdoing" nonetheless. In other words, the person(s) we find at fault remain guilty, but we decide to just move on. Or so we say we have. This is the way the ego teaches us to forgive.
This is not forgiveness as the Holy Spirit teaches. The forgiveness the ego offers is emotional charity at best, and emotional prison at worst. The individuals we find at fault remain held hostage to the guilt we have projected upon them.
The Holy Spirit's definition of forgiveness is the opposite of this. The Holy Spirit goes so far as to say; no wrong was ever committed to begin with.
To forgive as the Holy Spirit teaches, brings you total and complete peace, because it is emancipation from the past. It is to still your thoughts about all past thoughts and experiences you've ever held about the world and accept peace in their place. It is to stop thinking about everything outside yourself, and to let it go as though it never happened- because it didn't. Remember, this world isn't real. Only what is eternal is real, and nothing we see with our eyes is eternal.
The peace of forgiveness is the doorway through which miracles walk.
You may well wonder how forgiveness on this level is possible, given all the things that have happened to us. Is it possible to forgive everything in such a way; everything that has ever happened in our lives? As though it never happened?
It is possible because God is with you, and in reality, we only live and move in Him. To forgive is to remember that this, and nothing else, is true. He is our Life, and we have no other life but His. We have not become god of ourselves, making a world where there is any other state, but a state of peace. Yet, we have imagined we have done this, and we have forgotten that God loves us and that we love Him. Therein lies the restoration of our peace and the ability to set aside this world and all its problems. Through forgiving this world, we embark on the path toward our real Home. It awaits us now. What are we waiting for? What in this world could possibly be better than the eternal peace and joy God offers? Our holy instant of release stands before us every time we feel discomfort and are offered yet again, another choice for peace and joy instead of conflict and pain. Forgive yourself for coming into this dream to begin with.
God has never condemned us for the unloving thought of entering this dream. He has never condemned us for entering into a world of separation; and if God has not condemned us, then neither should we condemn ourselves. Know that it is only our unloving thoughts that are holding us here. Such a thin veil stands between Heaven and us! To undo this mistake, this "sin" we must forgive the guilt of separation and all the problems it brings. And everything you see outside yourself is a product of the guilt of the separation. Remember we are One Love, which is what created us. Through remembering that this and this alone is true, we seek and find the peace of God. It shines within us like a beacon in the dark clouds of our ego thoughts. It is through remembering to use our superhero power of forgiveness that we heal the world and ourselves. Forgive all that you see, and undo the choice for separation. Choose to see yourself as united in One Love shared with everyone else, and watch miracles happen in your life. Be a superhero. Be a miracle worker.
ACIM Workbook Lesson 188. The peace of God is shining in me now.
"There is a light in you the world can not perceive. (1.1)
What would you see? The choice is given you. But learn and do not let your mind forget this law of seeing: You will look upon that which you feel within. (5.1-3)
If you feel the Love of God within you, you will look out on a world of mercy and of love." (5.5)
This is what it means to be "the Light of the world." Light equals knowledge. To be "enlightened" is to understand something clearly; your mind literally lights up with the knowledge of Truth; the Truth that we are One Mind in God's holy Mind.
So "awakening" then, is to awaken to the dawning of the light of understanding, which brings the experience of peace and serenity, knowing we are One and there is no such thing as conflict. You literally awaken to the Light of Who You Are in Truth with this knowledge; and when we awaken to our Truth, it automatically shines into the minds of others, because of our Oneness. In this way, we are each a Light unto one another; the Light of the world.
ACIM T.pg. 171 Chapter 9 V. The Unhealed Healer
"Healing is not mysterious. Nothing will change unless it is understood, since light is understanding." (6. 4-5)
We must be vigilant over our thoughts to hear only the Voice of the Holy Spirit and not the ego. Never forget; the ego always speaks first, and the ego always speaks loudest and negatively. The Holy Spirit is the Voice of peace. His Voice is quiet, simply because It is peace. His will be the second Voice you hear after realizing you're hearing your ego. We know who we are listening to, by how we feel. And who we are listening to, is who we are asking to guide us, and manifest our reality. If we feel joy, we are listening to the Holy Spirit. If we feel "not joy" we are listening to the ego.
The problem is, what do we do when we feel "not joy?" Just knowing we are listening to the ego doesn't always seem to fix our feelings. We still feel "un-joyous," and knowing these feelings stem from the ego, tend to make us feel even worse! Our feelings do not always change automatically just by understanding the source of them. What is the solution? Our guilt seems to increase by feeling like a failure in our vigilance; which leads to greater frustration and self-attack. It seems we've put ourselves in a ridiculous situation of circular thinking; around and around we go with our negative thoughts. We think, "I feel bad, and I know its my ego, but now what? I can't seem to stop these negative feelings, so now I'm failing at that too." How do we get off this crazy merry-go-round?
Simple. You don't do anything at all.
You are not expected to automatically feel happy and joyful over life's disappointments and heartaches. It is enough to just acknowledge that you are having these emotions, and that you do not want them. What happens is, when you consciously acknowledge these negative feelings and actively give them over to the Holy Spirit, He can then translate them into loving thoughts and feelings. You don't do the work, He does. All you have to do, is have the willingness to not want these thoughts and feelings. The Holy Spirit can then take them from you, and replace them with the Thoughts of God. He can bring the thoughts you gave Him to God to be corrected and healed. You don't need to overcome your painful thoughts and feelings, you just have to not want them.
We've all felt painful things in the past, and we've all said we don't like to feel that way. So how is this practice any different from "not wanting to feel bad" than before?
What's different is that you are consciously offering your pain up to the Holy Spirit now, whereas before, you offered it to no one. He will not take what you do not give. Now you are consciously asking the Holy Spirit for assistance. Of course there may have been times you thought you were asking God or the Holy Spirit for help, but now you know you are. You have a clear idea of what's really going on and Who you're asking for help.
However, even your asking must be clear. You must not ask for specific outcomes to your problems as you see them. Ask rather, to be happy with any outcome. You are asking for peace with the world. Ask, and you will receive. You are asking to be completely present, in the present moment, and to accept whatever is happening to you right now. You are asking for stillness in the midst of chaos.
When you do this, you are offering the Holy Spirit everything so He can change everything. Therefore, forgive everything you wish was different. To forgive is to "give it forward." Give everything forward to the Holy Spirit and let it go. This world is not your true home, and this body is not who you are. Forgive it. Give-it-forward. Then the Holy Spirit will exchange what you have given Him for His Reality.
Do not be discouraged with this process. The Holy Spirit will help you forgive. Your joy will come. Sometimes it will come instantly as you remember to forgive, and other times it may take longer. "How long" is a matter of your resistance to accepting the peace and Help from your Guide within. It may take you over 1,000 tries to forgive one thing, or you may forgive over 1,000 things in just one try. Either way, it doesn't matter, so long as you remember to forgive.
And there is more to this process. You can learn to forgive before you are in pain. You don't have to suffer in order to learn your forgiveness lessons. You don't need to wait for pain to tell you it's time to forgive. Hold forgiveness in your mind all through your day, and watch miracles and abundance abound in your new peaceful, happy life. All you have to do is walk this world letting your eyes rest upon all things while you simply tell yourself, "I forgive this. Everything my eyes see or my mind thinks about outside my body, I forgive it. I forgive the separation I have chosen to place between myself and all I see. I give it to you, Holy Spirit, to be translated into Your Reality. I want to see the world You created, not the one my ego made." In this way, you head off "forgiveness lessons" beforehand by forgiving right now.
To remember that everything we with our bodily eyes is false, and that we do not understand what it is, or what it is for, is true forgiveness.
ACIM T.pg.445 Chapter 21 I. The Forgotten Song
"There is no need to learn through pain. And gentle lessons are acquired joyously, and are remembered gladly. What gives you happiness you want to learn and not forget." (3.1-3)
It is God's Will that we return to Him through the happy remembrance of our love for one another. This is the joyful lesson He would have us learn through forgiving what we see outside of us. We do this by remembering that in each person we meet or think of, Christ Himself stands before us within them; no one is a body. Every person is a gift to us. The gift of a Holy Encounter. God extends Himself to each of us, through each of us. How we treat one another, is how we are treating Him. Therefore, be kind, and do not limit God to a body. See Him as a body, and you will only know yourself as a body. See the Light within others instead, and you will transform yourself into the Light; you will find where His Kingdom is.
ACIM T.pg.141 Chapter 8 III. The Holy Encounter
"The Will of the Father and of the Son are One, by Their extension. Their extension is the result of Their Oneness, holding Their unity together by extending Their joint Will. (3.1-2) You who belong in God have the holy function of extending His fatherhood by placing no limits upon it." (3.6)
"When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you." (4.1-8)
"The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is "Know thyself." There is nothing else to seek. Everyone is looking for himself and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost. Whenever you are with anyone, you have another opportunity to find them. Your power and glory are in him because they are yours. The ego tries to find them in yourself alone, because it does not know where to look. The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself you cannot find yourself, because that is not what you are." (5.1-4)
"The Kingdom cannot be found alone, and you who are the Kingdom cannot find yourself alone. To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego, whose purpose is to defeat its own goal." (6.1-2)
"Power and glory belong to God alone. So do you. (8.1-2) Glory is God's gift to you, because that is what He is. See this glory everywhere to remember what you are." (8.7-8)
In other words, to forgive is to love instead of judge. It is to say, "I see your body, and what it appears to be doing or saying. The ego wants me to be distracted by it. However, I know the truth of the situation. You and I are not bodies. We are One Love. In truth, I love you as God does, and you love me likewise. I claim you as my own, just as He does; as part of my One Self. I have forgotten this Love, but I can choose to remember it by forgiving the body I see."
Then, what happens next is a miracle.
God is the Light (knowledge) we use to see the situation as it truly is.
God is the Mind we use to think the new loving thought of forgiveness; the thought of "giving forward" to Him what we see with our bodily eyes.
God is the Strength in which we allow Him to replace what we see with His Love in the face of seeing faces.
After that, you'll experience the miracle of happiness and peace overtaking your heart, because Love holds no grievances. When you know yourself as only Love, you are healed by the miracle of Christ's Vision. You will see the real world, not this world of illusions.
Illusions will never satisfy, and the body is an illusion. This is why no one ever satisfies you, nor you them. This is why you are perpetually disappointed and upset by people. You see yourself and them as bodies. If you bind yourself and others to a body, God is not free, for He is within us, and He is not a body. God's Love is our Joy, and when we imprison Him within the concept of a body, we forget His Love and therefore, we do not feel His Joy. Release His Joy to your awareness by seeing past the illusion of the body to His Light within yourself and all people. This is the Holy Spirit's plan for our salvation from this world. It is the Atonement of our sins; the undoing of the sin or "mistake" of thinking we could be separate. Salvation is to return to our state of Atonement or "at-one-ment" again.
ACIM T.pg.168 Chapter 9 IV. The Holy Spirit's Plan of Forgiveness
"Atonement is for all, because it is the way to undo the belief that anything is for you alone. To forgive is to overlook. Look, then, beyond error and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds. Accept as true only what your brother is, if you would know yourself. Perceive what he is not and you cannot know what you are, because you see him falsely. Remember always that your Identity is shared, and that Its sharing is Its reality." (1.1-6)
"The Atonement is a lesson in sharing, which is given you because you have forgotten how to do it. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of the natural use of your abilities. Be reinterpreting the ability to attack into the ability to share, He translates what you have made into what God created." (3.1-3)
"Forgiveness that is learned of me does not use fear to undo fear. Nor does it make real the unreal and then destroy it. Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies simply in looking beyond error from the beginning, and thus keeping it unreal for you. Do not let any belief in its realness enter your mind, or you will also believe that you must undo what you have made in order to be forgiven. What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are nonexistent. By steadily and consistently cancelling out all its effects, everywhere and in all respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and proves it." (5.1-6)
"That is what I meant when I said that miracles are natural and when they do not occur something has gone wrong. Miracles are merely a sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit's plan of salvation, recognizing that you do not understand what it is." (6.2-3)
"Fairy tales can be pleasant or fearful, but no one calls them true. Children may believe them, and so, for a while, the tales are true for them. Yet when reality dawns, the fantasies are gone. Reality has not gone in the meanwhile. The Second Coming is the awareness of reality, not its return." (11.6-10)
ACIM T.pg.187 Chapter 10 IV. The End of Sickness
"Reality can dawn only on an unclouded mind. It is always there to be accepted, but its acceptance depends on your willingness to have it. To know reality must involve the willingness to judge unreality for what it is. To overlook nothingness is merely to judge it correctly, and because of your ability to evaluate it truly, to let it go. Knowledge cannot dawn on a mind full of illusions, because truth and illusions are irreconcilable. Truth is whole, and cannot be known by part of a mind." (2.1-6)
Do not become discouraged if this all still seems overwhelming and impossible. Everyone goes through an "unpleasant" phase of ego resistance, and your ego will fill your head with demoralizing claims about how peace and happiness will never come to you. Do not listen to this voice! Stay with this process. Move through it and keep forgiving everything you see. You will eventually begin to have periods of "peaceful respite." There will be moments of sweet release from the ego's oppression. These moments will begin to extend for longer and longer periods of time and become more frequent as you progress in your practice of forgiveness.
And never forget: nobody has done anything to you. You're in a dream, dreaming that all possible forms of hurt are happening to you; whether it be at your own hand, or the hands of others. None of it is true. It is happening to your body, but not to your One Self Who is Spirit, Who is Love, and Who can never be harmed in any way.
Under all circumstances, remember that you do not know what your bodily eyes are showing you. You do not know what anything means, what it is, or what it looks like in truth. Your eyes are part of the illusion, and can show you only more illusion. Nothing you see is real, so there is no point in trying to understand it. Stop trying to make sense of your problems and the problems of the world. You'll get trapped in an endless cycle of thought that only leads to depression; it leads to nowhere. When this happens, clear a space in your mind through thoughts of forgiveness. Then wait for the Holy Spirit to enter your mind to replace your unloving thoughts with loving ones. You will then experience the miracle of healing.
You are a miracle worker, and you are a real life superhero.
You have an important job to do while here within the illusion of time and separation. You have the power of a real superhero, and it is forgiveness. Use it, and use it well.
Workbook Lesson 192. I have a function God would have me fill.
"Only forgiveness can restore the peace that God intended for His holy Son. (5.6)
Therefore, hold no one prisoner. (9.1)
The way is simple. Every time you feel a stab of anger, realize you hold a sword above your head. And it will fall or be averted as you choose to be condemned or free. (9.3-5)
Thus does each one who seems to tempt you to be angry represent your savior from the prison house of death. And so you owe him thanks instead of pain. (9.6-7)
Be merciful today. The Son of God deserves your mercy." (10.6-7)
Through mercy and forgiveness we are saved from this world. Salvation is simply to be saved from the ego. It is the will to remember we want to know that only God is in our mind throughout the day. We are making a new choice now, the choice to give our life over to Him to guide, and not the ego. We choose to remember our holy Sonship in our Father, and it is His will that we are saved from the ego. Yet, only we can make that choice, because no one else rules our mind but us. We remain perfect as God created us, but the remembrance of our peace rests upon our decision to forgive this world. The glory of our Father is our own, but we must choose it through forgiving all that causes us fear. We must forgive the illusion of separation we have made all around us.
And when you do this, watch as miracles abound…