ACIM Daily Lesson 121 Forgiveness is the key to happiness.
ACIM Lesson 121
Forgiveness is the key to happiness.
1. Here is the answer to your search for peace. ²Here is the key to meaning in a world that seems to make no sense. ³Here is the way to safety in apparent dangers that appear to threaten you at every turn, and bring uncertainty to all your hopes of ever finding quietness and peace. ⁴Here are all questions answered; here the end of all uncertainty ensured at last.
The world is a pretty awful place. It would be awful even if people didn’t murder each other and countries didn’t bomb each other. Even if we didn’t get sick and die and even if pain and suffering were not part of everyday life, it would be awful. It would be awful because the world is where God is not. We don’t let ourselves be aware of how bereft we are without God. Nor do we let ourselves remember our love of God or His love for us that we don’t feel now. To do so would be unbearable without recourse.
Time for a Prison Break!
We have locked ourselves into a prison that keeps us from remembering who we are. But we are ready to break out of this prison and forgiveness is the key that makes this possible. I used to think that forgiveness was hard, and sometimes I just didn’t want to forgive. Now, I can’t imagine not forgiving. As soon as I become aware of a person or a memory or even a situation that calls for forgiveness, I am excited to have found it. There is only one thing I want now, the peace of God, and unforgiveness prevents me from having it. I would be insane not to forgive and I am not entirely insane anymore.
Fear, Doubt, and Confusion
2. The unforgiving mind is full of fear, and offers love no room to be itself; no place where it can spread its wings in peace and soar above the turmoil of the world. ²The unforgiving mind is sad, without the hope of respite and release from pain. ³It suffers and abides in misery, peering about in darkness, seeing not, yet certain of the danger lurking there.
3. The unforgiving mind is torn with doubt, confused about itself and all it sees; afraid and angry, weak and blustering, afraid to go ahead, afraid to stay, afraid to waken or to go to sleep, afraid of every sound, yet more afraid of stillness; terrified of darkness, yet more terrified at the approach of light. ²What can the unforgiving mind perceive but its damnation? ³What can it behold except the proof that all its sins are real?
Having Chosen Separation Over Freedom
My mind is freer now than it used to be because I have released so many beliefs that were keeping me imprisoned. And yet, I still have fear thoughts at times, and sometimes I am sad. But I am no longer without hope. I know that this is not what God created me for. I know that I can release myself, that I hold the key to this dark and foreboding prison. All I have to do is forgive the thoughts and beliefs that are keeping me here.
These two paragraphs are a clear description of our minds when we are lost in our ego thoughts. We don’t have to stay here. We are not meant to stay here. When we chose separation over freedom, we closed ourselves off from our happiness. We are here now to make another choice and we do this through forgiveness.
4. The unforgiving mind sees no mistakes, but only sins. ²It looks upon the world with sightless eyes, and shrieks as it beholds its own projections rising to attack its miserable parody of life. ³It wants to live, yet wishes it were dead. ⁴It wants forgiveness, yet it sees no hope. ⁵It wants escape, yet can conceive of none because it sees the sinful everywhere.
Jesus uses some very descriptive language to help us see that where we are is not real. It is only a projection of our own fears. He says we look with sightless eyes. Remember in Lesson 15 Jesus tells us this about our eyes.
This Is How Seeing Was Made
It is because the thoughts you think you think appear as images that you do not recognize them as nothing. ²You think you think them, and so you think you see them. ³This is how your “seeing” was made. ⁴This is the function you have given your body’s eyes. ⁵It is not seeing. ⁶It is image making. ⁷It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions. (ACIM, W-15.1:1-7)
As Jesus says, we look upon the world with sightless eyes. Why does it say that we shriek as we behold our own projections rising to attack us? Guilt is at the source of everything we think we see. And it is the reason that we both project and are afraid of our projections. It is the reason we see sin instead of mistakes. The unforgiving mind is filled with guilt and hopelessness. Thank goodness this is not what we are and thus we can forgive and return to our natural state.
A Mind in Despair
5. The unforgiving mind is in despair, without the prospect of a future which can offer anything but more despair. ²Yet it regards its judgment of the world as irreversible, and does not see it has condemned itself to this despair. ³It thinks it cannot change, for what it sees bears witness that its judgment is correct. ⁴It does not ask, because it thinks it knows. ⁵It does not question, certain it is right.
Thus far, Jesus is showing us what unforgiveness is doing to us. He uses words like fear and sadness, suffering and misery, doubt and confusion. Jesus tells us that we feel trapped and hopeless. He is also helping us to understand that we are doing this to ourselves. He says that we are using our eyes to see and they are incapable of sight. Vision is possible but we will have to stop believing that the eyes show us what is there. Otherwise, we will not know what is really there.
Forgive and Watch it Disappear
So, what are we seeing if it is not reality? It is guilt projected outward that makes up the world we see with our eyes. This is why I always turn all my attacks and judgments around so I see them where they really are. It is never about what I see “out there” but rather it is about the guilt in my own mind. Because it is in my mind, I can forgive it and watch it disappear. When something has disappeared from my mind, it must disappear from my imagined world as well.
6. Forgiveness is acquired. ²It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin. ³As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you. ⁴Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear. ⁵Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin.
7. Each unforgiving mind presents you with an opportunity to teach your own how to forgive itself. ²Each one awaits release from hell through you, and turns to you imploringly for Heaven here and now. ³It has no hope, but you become its hope. ⁴And as its hope, do you become your own. ⁵The unforgiving mind must learn through your forgiveness that it has been saved from hell. ⁶And as you teach salvation, you will learn. ⁷Yet all your teaching and your learning will be not of you, but of the Teacher Who was given you to show the way to you.
We are working with our split mind and the split mind cannot heal itself. We have been given the Holy Spirit for this. He is described here as the Teacher representing our other Self, our true Self. Our readiness to awaken invites the Teacher to teach us forgiveness. I figured out long ago that I am never really forgiving anyone else. I am always forgiving myself. This is what I am being taught by my Teacher; I am One with my Creator. I am as I was created, wholly innocent. Since I was created One with God and my brothers, they, too, are wholly innocent.
As I forgive myself, I show others that they are innocent as well. For instance, if someone attacks me, gossips about me, says something unkind, I am unaffected. What is said doesn’t matter to me because I know I am innocent. Because I don’t make them guilty of hurting me, they learn of their innocence. We all wake up as we accept ourselves as we were created.
Take the Key to Happiness
8. Today we practice learning to forgive. ²If you are willing, you can learn today to take the key to happiness, and use it on your own behalf. ³We will devote ten minutes in the morning, and at night another ten, to learning how to give forgiveness and receive forgiveness, too.
9. The unforgiving mind does not believe that giving and receiving are the same. ²Yet we will try to learn today that they are one through practicing forgiveness toward one whom you think of as an enemy, and one whom you consider as a friend. ³And as you learn to see them both as one, we will extend the lesson to yourself, and see that their escape included yours.
Giving Is Receiving as an Experience
Jesus tells us often in A Course in Miracles that giving is receiving. This makes no sense to the ego-mind, but that simply proves it must be true since the ego is the opposite of reality. This exercise is intended to help us accept that the truth is true as we practice giving and receiving. This will give us an experience of seeing that their escape includes ours. I understand this and I do not doubt it, but I look forward to the exercise as it helps reinforce this truth in my mind.
Choose Your Enemy
10. Begin the longer practice periods by thinking of someone you do not like, who seems to irritate you, or to cause regret in you if you should meet him; one you actively despise, or merely try to overlook. ²It does not matter what the form your anger takes. ³You probably have chosen him already. ⁴He will do.
I had to go sit with this a while. I just couldn’t think of anyone I feel strongly opposed to. But as I sat there someone finally came to mind. I thought about her and I realized she fell under the category of someone I try to overlook. Ok, she will be the one.
Find the Spark of Brightness
11. Now close your eyes and see him in your mind, and look at him a while. ²Try to perceive some light in him somewhere; a little gleam which you had never noticed. ³Try to find some little spark of brightness shining through the ugly picture that you hold of him. ⁴Look at this picture till you see a light somewhere within it, and then try to let this light extend until it covers him, and makes the picture beautiful and good.
Now here was the real surprise. I know why I avoid this person, but when I tried to find the spark of light, I was stumped. How could this be? Why is this so hard. I don’t hate her, do I? Maybe there is not so much difference between dislike and hate. I had to sit a lot longer with this exercise as I waited to find the light. My mind wanted to choose someone else, but that would defeat the purpose of the practice. So, I waited until the light came. It started with the thought that she is always so grateful for any help she receives. Gratitude is a light that shines brightly when I notice it.
Choose Your Friend
12. Look at this changed perception for a while, and turn your mind to one you call a friend. ²Try to transfer the light you learned to see around your former “enemy” to him. ³Perceive him now as more than friend to you, for in that light his holiness shows you your savior, saved and saving, healed and whole.
This one was easy. It could have been any of many people but the perfect face showed up in my mind. By this time the light of gratitude from my “enemy” was so brilliant that I was excited to transfer it to my friend. In fact, other people showed up to get some! In each one, I saw my savior, saved and saving, healed and whole.
And Now Unite
13. Then let him offer you the light you see in him, and let your “enemy” and friend unite in blessing you with what you gave. ²Now are you one with them, and they with you. ³Now have you been forgiven by yourself. ⁴Do not forget, throughout the day, the role forgiveness plays in bringing happiness to every unforgiving mind, with yours among them. ⁵Every hour tell yourself:
⁶Forgiveness is the key to happiness. ⁷I will awaken from the dream that I am mortal, fallible and full of sin, and know I am the perfect Son of God.
Seeing us all together basking in the light of gratitude I feel the oneness. I feel myself forgiven for my thoughts that I could have an enemy. I am aware of the error that I could see in anyone something not in my own mind.Then I forgave my thoughts about this person and I rejoiced that they were not true and that we are not separate.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 121 click here.
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