IV. The Holy Spirit’s Plan of Forgiveness, P 1
1 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.
I am going to begin by reminding myself that the Atonement is the Holy Spirit’s plan to lead us out of the idea of separation. We complete our part through total forgiveness. Someplace in the Text it says that Jesus put the plan into action when he completed his part, but the plan was already there. I wonder if anyone remembers where this is in the Course? I am always reading nifty stuff in the Course and then forgetting where I read it.
Since the Atonement is meant to undo the belief in separation, it naturally is for all. It undoes the belief that anything could be for me alone. I hear the ego in my mind separating out a brother and seeing him as guilty and it is just insane. How could my brother be separate from me? We share the same identity, the same mind.
The idea that I am different from you, separate and apart, is an illusion. If I would remember reality, this is an idea I must release. I cannot believe in the illusion of separation and believe in Reality at the same time. Could you believe that the sky is blue and believe it is red at the same time? One thought would have to be seen as wrong.
It is the same with illusion and reality. Only one is true. I can believe something is not true, but my belief will not change reality. However, if I believe a lie is true I will live as if the lie is true. This is what has happened. We have chosen to believe a lie and it has become true for us. Not true in reality, but true in our mind. This lie is that we are separate from each other and what happens to me does not affect you.
I live my life as if this were truth and I suffer for it; this much is clear to me. I have become convinced that I have made a choice for something that is an illusion, but I have not let go of the illusion. I am trying to live my life as if both Reality and illusion exist. It isn’t working, of course, but it is just a transitional period as I continue to release the illusion and accept the Atonement.
Sometimes I feel like I stand at the veil, with one hand on it, wishing I could just pull it aside, wondering why I don’t. Sometimes releasing the belief in the illusion of separation feels like a lost cause to me. I think about this guy who is attacking me and it just feels so real and he seems so obviously guilty, I just can’t let go of my grievance.
The whole situation seems terribly important and real, and yet, it is just an image I have made. It cannot be real because I cannot be separate from a brother and I cannot have needs that are different and goals that supersede my brother’s needs. He cannot be the cause of what I have made. How can I know this in my little mind and yet, still believe my brother is guilty?
If I believed the sky was red there would be nothing you could do to make me see a blue sky. You might convince me that everyone else sees it differently, and you might convince me that I would be happier if I saw that the sky was blue, but you could not make me see a blue sky. I might want very much to see the sky you see, but if I believe the sky is red, I will never see a blue sky.
There is only one way I will ever see the sky as it truly is. I will have to let go of my belief in red skies. I will have to desire to know the truth, then let go of the belief I currently hold. In that way I can accept the new truth because there will be nothing in my mind to compete with it. This is how the Atonement works.
I have a thought in my mind that my brother is trying to take from me what I want and so he is guilty. This is an image of the belief that we are separate and have separate needs, and that only one of us can win. I have been told that this is false and that believing it is causing me to suffer.
So I ask for the Atonement for this belief. I ask the Holy Spirit to remove this belief from my mind, and then I release it to him. In that empty space where the belief in separation used to be, the truth rises up in my mind. It seems that I need to do this often because I think that there is some value in keeping the old belief so I reclaim it when I think I need it.
Or at least that is how I see it. At any rate, I have had to ask for the Atonement for this mistaken belief often, but each time I am quicker to do it, and it is easier for me to release it. I am learning not to believe that thought in my mind. One day, that thought will not show up anymore because there is no place for it in my mind.
In the mean time, I am looking past my belief about my brother, and not letting my mind dwell on the error, because that will just fix it more firmly in my belief system. If I believe my brother is guilty, I will not be able to see myself as innocent, because whether I consciously accept this as true or not, the fact is that we share the same identity.
If I believe in his guilt, I will believe in mine, so I look past my belief that he is guilty and look toward the truth. I ask the Holy Spirit to remove the thought of guilt from my mind and accept the truth instead. I see his perfection and so I see mine. This Atonement thing is really effective! I notice right away that in forgiveness, I am happy, and in guilt I am not. I choose happiness as I choose the Atonement.