II. THE GUILTLESS SON OF GOD, P 8
8 The Atonement has always been interpreted as the release from guilt, and this is correct if it is understood. Yet even when I interpret it for you, you may reject it and do not accept it for yourself. You have perhaps recognized the futility of the ego and its offerings, but though you do not want them, you may not yet look upon the alternative with gladness. In the extreme, you are afraid of redemption and you believe it will kill you. Make no mistake about the depth of this fear. For you believe that, in the presence of truth you might turn on yourself and destroy yourself.
Jesus says that we should not mistake the depth of the fear we have of redemption. I am not in touch with that, at least not on the level he is talking about, but I accept that he is right. He says that the Atonement is the release from guilt, and so redemption means that there will be no belief in guilt in my mind. I can have that. It is being offered to me and so all I have to do is accept it. Incredibly I resist letting go of guilt.
I find myself guilty for a myriad of things. I do let them go when I notice them, but the idea of guilt is persistent in my mind. I also find others guilty, and sometimes it is hard for me to let that go. But if I want to be free, I must let all guilt, whatever form it takes, be removed from my mind. That doesn’t mean I must look at each form, but it does mean I must look at these individual forms of guilt and let them go one at a time until I am fully convinced that guilt is an illusion.
Guilt is such a heavy burden to carry around that it is amazing I have the stamina to make it through the day. In this section on guilt I have talked about some of the ways guilt finds a stronghold in my mind. One I am thinking about now is that when I think someone should act or speak differently, I am assigning guilt. And if I don’t forgive this idea about a person, I will continue to find fault so that I can justify my failure to forgive. I will gather proof that this person is guilty and the more I do this, the heavier my burden.
My work place situation has changed suddenly and radically. I have found myself resisting this change, and the more I resist it, the angrier I become. This is a form of guilt, this belief that circumstances should not have changed. The world is guilty of making me unhappy, is what I am really saying. Blaming it on the circumstances was just the beginning. Because blame and guilt were building in my mind, I began to see everything that happened at work through the lens of blame and guilt.
I started looking at my coworkers as enemies instead of helpers. When someone quit suddenly yesterday, I felt betrayed and abandoned. It is funny really, how I saw his actions, not as a positive step for his career, but as an affront to me. But this is what happens when we start looking at the world from a place of fear and guilt. All things start to look like an attack, and all our brothers start to look like enemies.
When this particular person resigned yesterday, I felt such a strong reaction that I had to go into my office and let myself cry. It was particularly hard because I had let guilt build in me to the point that it was affecting me physically and emotionally. This resignation was like the straw that broke the camels back. But it was also the straw that broke the ego’s back, or at least that was so apparently an ego effect that I decided it was time to undo this thinking. So I began to pull my attention away from the story and look at it as mistaken beliefs in my mind.
Since I am working with the Rules for Decision right now, I used this wonderful tool to help me. I began by realizing that I felt like I did about Lee’s resignation because of a decision I made. I make decisions continuously and usually don’t even realize I did so. I brought my attention to this particular decision, and asked the Holy Spirit to help me see clearly what happened. I had started the day by deciding to make no decisions on my own, and I had decided with Holy Spirit that the day would be one in which I would see Christ in everyone. So what happened?
When I discovered that Lee had resigned, without even realizing I had done it, I asked the ego to interpret this situation for me. We always ask either ego or Holy Spirit to help us with our decisions, and this time I had asked ego. This is not really surprising since I had been so embroiled with the belief in guilt, and guilt always causes fear. The ego advised me that Lee quitting was an attack on me, just another example of how unfairly life is treating me.
I asked the ego what the situation meant, and since I was already looking for proof of guilt, I bought into the ego’s interpretation and Jesus tells us in the Rules for Decision that this is our major problem now. We still make up our mind and then decide what we should do. Here is why this is such a big problem. Once I decided (with ego) that my problem was being abandoned and betrayed, I was expecting an answer to the problem as I now saw it.
Holy Spirit is not going to answer that problem because he knows I cannot be abandoned and betrayed. He knows that no one is guilty because guilt is an illusion. Since He is not going to answer the problem as I see it, His answer is not going to satisfy me. In fact it made me feel attacked and angry. It was as if the Holy Spirit was also abandoning and betraying me. So in order to free myself of this misery I was in, I had to correct my thinking.
So I started the process as Jesus instructs. I reminded myself of the day I wanted when I began my morning. This anger and upset was not part of the plan. So I realized I must have asked a question by myself (that is, with ego) and I must have set an answer in my terms. I cancelled all that out, when I said: I have no question. I forgot what to decide. This meant that I had asked the question, what does this mean? And I had forgot to decide with Holy Spirit. So, cancel, cancel. ~smile~
Because I had waited too long to do this, I had already gotten angry and afraid of a different version, a different question, a different answer. So I had to go through the rest of the steps. I next realized that at least I could decide that I didn’t like how I felt. And man, was that the truth! Just thinking about how I felt made me so sorry for myself that I cried again. So I admitted that I hoped I had been wrong.
Now that I had gone this far, I began to feel hopeful. I wasn’t having any change forced on me; I was choosing a change. This change was my idea and was going to help me. This bit of wisdom helped me to take the next step. I could honestly say that I wanted another way to look at this. Now that I had changed my mind about the day and remembered what I really wanted, I felt better and ready to take the final step.
I said: Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking? I was so relieved by this time that I felt like I was coming out of a dark and gloomy day into the light. I was very ready to ask. I let my mind rest in God for a moment to clear it of any residual upset and then I turned it all around. In deciding with God, instead of ego, I felt such love and appreciation for Lee, that I wanted only what was best for him. He had been such a good help to me for a long time. I thought how lucky I was to have worked with him for all these years and so gotten to know and admire him.
Another thought that was given me by my Adviser is that I was mistaken in my belief I needed Lee to stay. And this reminded me of The Work by Byron Katie and so my mind went immediately to the four questions and the turn around. I had thought that I needed Lee to stay. I turned this around to realize that I did not need him to stay. Another turnaround is that I needed him to leave. The Holy Spirit showed me how both these turnarounds is true.
With a clear mind I was back on track to the day I decided on, and my mind was freer of guilt that it had been before. Each time I do this I experience some transfer of learning and I will continue to undo the guilt in my mind until that transfer of learning is complete and I no longer believe in guilt.
This healing process of Rules for Decision is like a condensed version of all the processes of A Course in Miracles. I highly recommend a deep study of this. It has benefited me so much. I have given a weekend workshop on this process to help others gain a strong understanding of it. If you have a group that would like to have this workshop, let me know.