II. Miracles As True Perception, P 2
2 Innocence is not a partial attribute. It is not real until it is total. The partly innocent are apt to be quite foolish at times. It is not until their innocence becomes a viewpoint with universal application that it becomes wisdom. Innocent or true perception means that you never misperceive and always see truly. More simply, it means that you never see what does not exist, and always see what does.
When I read this paragraph I felt a longing for innocence to be total, to look at innocence no matter what seems to be happening. I felt a prayer rise up in me, but I also felt sadness, because I feel like I have not met this goal. Nothing is beautiful when I project guilt on it and I still do this. One of the things I have been doing lately to help me choose differently is to call it guilt when it is guilt.
Here is an example of what I mean. I hear myself say, “If only I could see innocence everywhere.” Then, I say what I really mean. “I am guilty of seeing what does not exist.” Now that I see the error clearly, I can ask that Love heal me of the belief in guilt. Here is another one. “I wish my friend were not sick.” What I am really saying is that my friend is guilty of making me feel bad. Could that be true? I look at it without flinching and I see that this is what I believe.
I see that if I continue to believe in guilt, I will see guilt everywhere. It is like I wear “guilt glasses” so that it is not possible to see anything through them without also seeing guilt. Wearing guilt glasses every time I see someone with breathing problems I will wonder if they smoke, or to say this more honestly, I will wonder if that person is guilty of smoking and so guilty of causing their own problem.
Wearing these glasses, I read the paper and I think how awful, how sad, how ridiculous. I hear about a politician making choices I can’t understand and I wonder if he took a bribe, or if he is just self-serving. Every thought that expresses a wish that things were different than they are is an expression of guilt. It is a wish for someone or some thing to be guilty.
It starts to feel overwhelming. How do I stop thinking like this? How do I stop finding everyone and everything guilty? Recognizing that it is not this person or that thing that is the problem is the first step. For instance, my friend who is sick is not the problem. It is the belief in guilt that is the problem. While I believe in guilt, seeing her sick makes me fearful and so it seems to be her fault I feel so bad.
Without guilt my friend is sick. I give her my attention, my prayers, my love. I notice any thoughts that this is real and ask that my mind be healed so I can continue to be helpful to her. With guilt, someone is to blame. Without guilt, the story continues to unfold and I use each moment as an opportunity to be the love that I am. Without guilt all moments are peaceful. With guilt, all moments are a battle. It is not the moment that is a problem. It is the guilt.
Here is what I am doing now. I notice that I am blaming myself or someone else or some situation. I know this must be a mistake because there is only innocence. There is only God and God is not guilty, so there cannot be anything but innocence. If I see something besides innocence there is a need for the Atonement. I open my mind and invite Love to enter. I ask that Love heal my mind of anything that is not like Itself.
The mind that believes in guilt and values guilt will not want to accept this. It will want to make exceptions so that it can hold onto guilt. It will want to say that my friend is not doing everything she can to help herself get well. It will say that the politician really is unscrupulous and that there is proof this is true. This ego mind that loves separation and specialness will cling to its judgments and find many uses for guilt.
I will disregard them all. No exceptions, no excuses; just innocence no matter what. How do I respond? With love, no matter what. What do I do when I notice the desire to judge and to find guilty? I forgive it. I forgive myself. I forgive my projections. I do this by accepting the Atonement, by accepting the healing power of Love. It is simple.
Every time I do this, I wipe another smudge of guilt off my glasses and I see things differently. I see more clearly. I see love instead of guilt because love was there all the time; it was simply obscured by the belief in guilt. As the belief in guilt is healed, the ego’s effort to convince me that guilt has a place and is justified becomes ridiculous.
I know this is true because right now I look through partially cleaned glasses, so I know what it looks like to see the world without guilt laid over it. But there is still enough guilt smears on my glasses that I have to squint to find that clear field of vision. No problem. It just means there are plenty of opportunities to accept the Atonement and all that is needed is the willingness to do it. I am willing.