Let me forget my brother’s past today.
This is the thought that leads the way to You, and brings me to my goal. I cannot come to You without my brother. And to know my Source, I first must recognize what You created one with me. My brother’s is the hand that leads me on the way to You. His sins are in the past along with mine, and I am saved because the past is gone. Let me not cherish it within my heart, or I will lose the way to walk to You. My brother is my savior. Let me not attack the savior You have given me. But let me honor him who bears Your Name, and so remember that It is my own.
Forgive me, then, today. And you will know you have forgiven me if you behold your brother in the light of holiness. He cannot be less holy than can I, and you can not be holier than he.
The past is a lifetime ago, a year ago, even a moment ago. No matter what I said or thought or did, it is over. I feel guilt only if I insist on dragging the past around with me like a wet bag of sand. Each moment is brand new if that is what I choose. My life is recreated with each thought I have and it will be recreated differently if I choose different thoughts.
This is why it so important that I notice my thoughts, take responsibility for them and for their effects, and then ask the Holy Spirit for a different way to see. I do not want to continue as I have been by thinking the same thoughts, making the same judgments. I am ready to be wrong about everything I think I know and to allow the Holy Spirit to replace it all with the truth.
I wonder what it would be like to release the past completely and to see each one in my life as if they were brand new to me. What would it be like to see each person as if I did not believe they had ever attacked me, ever hurt my feelings, ever disagreed with me, ever abandoned me.
I was thinking about my father. When I think about him I think about all my beliefs about him. He was an alcoholic. He made our lives miserable and then abandoned us. He made me special then betrayed my specialness. When he wasn’t drinking he was the best dad in the world and somehow that made his drinking behavior all the more painful; his betrayal all the more unforgivable. He was a gifted speaker, a songwriter and singer. His heart was open and child-like, he was playful and fun. Though he had little follow through, he had the capacity to dream things others could not fathom.
What if I could withdraw all my projections and surrender my perceptions. What if I could allow myself to see him without the armor of my judgments? Who would this man be? I imagine him not as my father, but as another brother using his ego story to help him wake up. I see him walking his path through addictions and mental illness. I see him trying on this mask and that one looking for something that fits, something that brings happiness and peace.
I see him presenting me with opportunities to look through my bag of ego tricks, to try first this one and then that one, to discard each as it does not work. I see him moving on to his next rendezvous in this play and me moving onto mine. Where is the attack now? Where is the betrayal, the abandonment? From this forgiven perspective I meet him again and I see him without those labels, those judgments, those projections – all that I had created as his past. Now I see only the innocent Christ.
Holy Spirit, what if I could do this for each person I encounter? What if I could withdraw each judgment, even as I make it, and withdraw it so completely that it leaves not a stain upon their visage so that each encounter with that person is brand new, completely untainted by the last encounter? What if I could encounter a brother on the street and he knocks me to the ground and yet I see only my innocent self interacting with my innocent self? Could I ever be so free of judgment that the past would not follow me around? Could I encounter that person later and not flinch? If I can see it in my mind, I can live it in my life.
Holy Spirit: Do you feel the fear and resistance at this thought, my friend? Allow yourself to do so. Don’t try to bury it. (I stop for a moment and feel the fear and doubt. I notice I feel overwhelmed and think it is too much to even try. It feels hopeless.) Those feelings, dear one, are the ego defenses designed to keep you forever in its world of separation. The ego warns you that you are being asked to go naked and unprotected into a dangerous world. You do not have to believe its lies.
Today you will encounter many people on whom you have projected a history. Do not try to see them without this history. Do not try to do anything. As you meet them simply ask Me to show you what I see. Does this feel doable to you? Does this feel overwhelming and frightening?
Me: (I smile and then laugh.) Holy Spirit, I keep forgetting how easy this is. I keep forgetting that God is not asking for sacrifice. I can do this and I want to do this. Thank you.
This is the sentence that holds my attention today: I cannot come to You without my brother. There is another sentence in the Course that is similar to this one and I keep it near me in case I forget: You cannot enter into the presence of God if you attack His Son. When I notice that I am judging, myself or anyone else, I remember that judgment is an attack and that my very salvation depends on letting that judgment go.
The Son of God is all of us together. Of course, I cannot return to the Kingdom without my brother because the Kingdom is by definition whole. To leave anyone behind is to suppose I could bring loss into wholeness. If I were to do so, then the Kingdom would not be the Kingdom anymore. I would have to suppose that I could make of God what I have made of the ego. Fortunately, this is not possible.
Now I understand that I cannot continue to separate from, that is, to attack, my brother, and still enter the Kingdom; now that I see how impossible this is, I am highly motivated to see past appearances to the reality of my brothers. We are not our egos; we are eternal, Divine Beings, the Holy Son of God. Holy Spirit, when I am tempted to think I know differently, please decide for me how to see my brothers.
The part of this lesson that holds my attention this morning is this: His sins are in the past along with mine, and I am saved because the past is gone. Someone I know is suffering today and in the past when this happened, he reacted badly. I have caused myself suffering because of my expectation that he will repeat his past. There is a present moment available to me, and in that present moment, there is no past and no future. This present moment is pure and beautiful and it is where I find God.
Holy Spirit, please keep reminding me that I can be here now. I can be free of pain and suffering if I remain in the only moment there is. My friend is there with me, just as pure and beautiful, just as present with God in this holy instant, this moment that is eternally mine. I feel the pull of time, but I don’t want to go there. I know I can do this because I am God’s Son and His Will is my will and is always available to me. And His Will is that I be with Him.