Only my condemnation injures me.
Injury is impossible. And yet illusion makes illusion. If you can condemn, you can be injured. For you have believed that you can injure, and the right you have established for yourself can be now used against you, till you lay it down as valueless, unwanted and unreal. Then does illusion cease to have effects, and those it seemed to have will be undone. Then are you free, for freedom is your gift, and you can now receive the gift you gave.
Condemn and you are made a prisoner. Forgive and you are freed. Such is the law that rules perception. It is not a law that knowledge understands, for freedom is a part of knowledge. To condemn is thus impossible in truth. What seems to be its influence and its effects have not occurred at all. Yet must we deal with them a while as if they had. Illusion makes illusion. Except one. Forgiveness is illusion that is answer to the rest.
Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others. All illusions save this one must multiply a thousandfold. But this is where illusions end. Forgiveness is the end of dreams, because it is a dream of waking. It is not itself the truth. Yet does it point to where the truth must be, and gives direction with the certainty of God Himself. It is a dream in which the Son of God awakens to his Self and to his Father, knowing They are One.
Forgiveness is the only road that leads out of disaster, past all suffering, and finally away from death. How could there be another way, when this one is the plan of God Himself? And why would you oppose it, quarrel with it, seek to find a thousand ways in which it must be wrong; a thousand other possibilities?
Is it not wiser to be glad you hold the answer to your problems in your hand? Is it not more intelligent to thank the One Who gives salvation, and accept His gift with gratitude? And is it not a kindness to yourself to hear His Voice and learn the simple lessons He would teach, instead of trying to dismiss His words, and substitute your own in place of His?
His words will work. His words will save. His words contain all hope, all blessing and all joy that ever can be found upon this earth. His words are born in God, and come to you with Heaven’s love upon them. Those who hear His words have heard the song of Heaven. For these are the words in which all merge as one at last. And as this one will fade away, the Word of God will come to take its place, for it will be remembered then and loved.
This world has many seeming separate haunts where mercy has no meaning, and attack appears as justified. Yet all are one; a place where death is offered to God’s Son and to his Father. You may think They have accepted. But if you will look again upon the place where you beheld Their blood, you will perceive a miracle instead. How foolish to believe that They could die! How foolish to believe you can attack! How mad to think that you could be condemned, and that the holy Son of God can die!
The stillness of your Self remains unmoved, untouched by thoughts like these, and unaware of any condemnation which could need forgiveness. Dreams of any kind are strange and alien to the truth. And what but truth could have a Thought which builds a bridge to it that brings illusions to the other side?
Today we practice letting freedom come to make its home with you. The truth bestows these words upon your mind, that you may find the key to light and let the darkness end:
Only my condemnation injures me.
Only my own forgiveness sets me free.
Do not forget today that there can be no form of suffering that fails to hide an unforgiving thought. Nor can there be a form of pain forgiveness cannot heal.
Accept the one illusion which proclaims there is no condemnation in God’s Son, and Heaven is remembered instantly; the world forgotten, all its weird beliefs forgotten with it, as the face of Christ appears unveiled at last in this one dream. This is the gift the Holy Spirit holds for you from God your Father. Let today be celebrated both on earth and in your holy home as well. Be kind to Both, as you forgive the trespasses you thought Them guilty of, and see your innocence shining upon you from the face of Christ.
Now is there silence all around the world. Now is there stillness where before there was a frantic rush of thoughts that made no sense. Now is there tranquil light across the face of earth, made quiet in a dreamless sleep. And now the Word of God alone remains upon it. Only that can be perceived an instant longer. Then are symbols done, and everything you ever thought you made completely vanished from the mind that God forever knows to be His only Son.
There is no condemnation in him. He is perfect in his holiness. He needs no thoughts of mercy. Who could give him gifts when everything is his? And who could dream of offering forgiveness to the Son of Sinlessness Itself, so like to Him Whose Son he is, that to behold the Son is to perceive no more, and only know the Father? In this vision of the Son, so brief that not an instant stands between this single sight and timelessness itself, you see the vision of yourself, and then you disappear forever into God.
Today we come still nearer to the end of everything that yet would stand between this vision and our sight. And we are glad that we have come this far, and recognize that He Who brought us here will not forsake us now. For He would give to us the gift that God has given us through Him today. Now is the time for your deliverance. The time has come. The time has come today.
INITIAL INSIGHT: “1 Injury is impossible. And yet illusion makes illusion. If you can condemn, you can be injured. For you have believed that you can injure, and the right you have established for yourself can be now used against you, till you lay it down as valueless, unwanted and unreal. Then does illusion cease to have effects, and those it seemed to have will be undone. Then are you free, for freedom is your gift, and you can now receive the gift you gave.”
I just love this paragraph. Even though I cannot actually injure myself or others, I have made myself part of an illusion and here in la la land, illusion breeds illusion. Because I believe in injury it becomes true for me even if it is in fact not Truth. It will continue to make effects until I cease to value it.
I have had many occasions to hurt myself and others and to continue to do so as I clung to my grievances as if they were my salvation. Then, after suffering until I couldn’t take the pain anymore, I forgave and released the grievances and it was as if nothing had happened. Today, I cannot imagine deliberately holding onto a grievance and I hope I never fall into that pit of despair again.
I can think of several relationships in my life that were once very painful and now they are completely healed. And what Jesus said about how healing will undo the effects is absolutely true. When I forgave the relationships, not only did I feel completely different, but everything shifted for the other as well. I don’t know that this always happens but it did for me.
I know that in each of these cases, I argued with the idea of forgiveness for a long painful period of time. I didn’t say that I would not forgive, and in fact, I swore that I wanted to forgive. But at the same time, I resisted letting these people off the hook for what I thought they did to me. I justified my failure to forgive by insisting they were responsible and by pointing out their sins. Sometimes, I showed everyone how guilty they were by exposing my wounds, by showing everyone how I suffer at their hands. It was ridiculous.
The only person I was hurting was me. The only way out was to declare a mistrial and look for proof of innocence. I had to look past our bodies and our personalities, past our behaviors, and our humanness. But when I did, I found the proof I was looking for. There, just under all the accusations and the evidence of sin, was the shining face of Christ. Who, knew! And I stood there beside him, dazzling in my innocence. Maybe, knowing what I know now, I can skip the journey of suffering and just go straight to freedom for all of us.
DAILY APPLICATION: As I read this lesson, I realized why it is that Jesus keeps harping on forgiveness. ~smile~ Truly, forgiveness is salvation. And truly, salvation is simple. First, I remember that forgiveness is the understanding there is nothing to forgive. Then I remember that no matter what the circumstances, what the problem, what the form suffering takes, the solution is forgiveness.
It took me a very long time to accept that there is nothing to forgive. I told myself that I couldn’t understand this, but the truth is, I didn’t want to forgive. I thought my grievances were my salvation and to let them go left me weak and vulnerable. Now I understand that my grievances are just part of my own little illusion and they keep me imprisoned in this illusion. I understand that they don’t protect me, but literally prevent me from knowing who I am.
I am the holy Son of God. I am a Divine Being. I can’t know that this is true if I sit here in this body, cowering in my little corner of the world with my grievances pulled up around me as if without them I would be defenseless. How do I remember my Divinity if I see myself as this weak and vulnerable person embattled and battered, weary and fearful, and in need of defense? How can I remember what I really am if I keep separating out parts of my holy Self so that I have someone onto whom I can project my fearful beliefs?
Here is the simple truth. I am innocent. Everyone else is innocent. Our innocence needs no defense. All else, no matter how imaginative the story gets, is still just a story. The world of guilt and fear that seems to rise up all around us is an illusion. When I read the paper and it tells me how guilty my brother is, I remind myself that he is innocent.
In his story of pain and suffering, his expression of the ego has done things to harm and be harmed, but this is just a story and he is not his ego. I forgive what I read. I forgive it because there is nothing to forgive. I don’t need to defend against this brother with my grievances that say he is the guilty one, and I rest peacefully in certainty that he is innocent, as am I.
My story may be that I have sinned but that cannot be true. My ego sins, but I am not my ego. I am innocent and I know this is true unless I believe my brother to be guilty. When I put blame on him, I go back to believing in guilt and I forget all about innocence. I go right back into the story and forget what I am, what we are. Regardless of the direction thoughts of guilt take, whether toward myself or toward someone else, they are false.
I will not believe what I see with my eyes that only report back to me what I want to see. Instead, I will listen to the Voice for God to tell me what to believe. As I listen to His Voice, I remember that we are innocent, and so I forgive only what was never true. You can’t get simpler and more straightforward than that. Do not forget today that there can be no form of suffering that fails to hide an unforgiving thought. Nor can there be a form of pain forgiveness cannot heal.
Today’s lesson makes clear that illusions are used to undo illusions, because truth has not been touched by illusions at all. This is why we are doing two things at once: We are practicing the teachings of A Course in Miracles Workbook for Students and practicing awareness-watching-awareness meditation.
Our work with A Course in Miracles is learning about and practicing the illusions that undo illusions. Let’s not get confused about this. Many students have become lost, because they have adopted the Course’s thought system as the truth. It isn’t the truth. It is an illusion that can be used to undo illusions.
Our second practice, awareness-watching-awareness, is the practice of paying attention to truth, which remains untouched by illusions. Today’s lesson says, “To condemn is thus impossible in truth.” This is not a minor point, and it is a point you can verify for yourself.
Take a moment to become quiet and look at awareness. As you look directly at awareness, notice it has no concepts in it at all. Being beyond concepts, it is also beyond condemnation. Judgment is not possible for awareness.
Remain quiet and continue to look at awareness. Can you separate yourself from awareness? Can you let go of awareness, or is awareness what you are?
If you can see that awareness is what you are, then you also know that there is no condemnation in you. Condemnation and attack, and the injury that occurs because of condemnation and attack, are at the level of body and mind only. They do not occur and have no effect at the level of truth.
When we practice the teachings of A Course in Miracles, we are using illusions to undo illusions, but truth is not involved at all. It is in the background merely being aware. We are working entirely with dreamscapes.
Why bother working at the level of the dream? As today’s lesson says, “Injury is impossible. And yet illusion makes illusion. If you can condemn, you can be injured. For you have believed that you can injure, and the right you have established for yourself can be now used against you, till you lay it down as valueless, unwanted, and unreal. Then does illusion cease to have effects, and those it seemed to have will be undone.”
In other words, as long as you believe illusions have value, you are caught at the level of illusions. So, illusions must be used to undo illusions until you come to see that illusions have no value at all. When this occurs, your attention will leave illusions completely and choose to abide with truth.
Today’s lesson refers to forgiveness as “illusion that is the answer to the rest. Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others.”
Forgiveness is letting go of thought. It is removing value, meaning, belief and attention from thought.
A few days ago, we learned to use right-reason, another illusion, to talk ourselves into letting go of thought. However, unless we are vigilant for forgiveness, the mind will use wrong-reason to justify our judgments and attacks. Today’s lesson asks, “And why would you oppose [forgiveness], quarrel with it, seek to find a thousand ways in which it must be wrong; a thousand other possibilities? Is it not wiser to be glad you hold the answer to your problems in your hand?”
The lesson points out, “This world has many seeming separate haunts where mercy has no meaning, and attack appears justified. Yet all are one …”
Let’s look at this point more carefully. I have noticed over the years that many spiritual students are able to practice forgiveness in some things, but not all things. For example, they may be willing to let go of their judgments of others based on physical appearance, and yet they are still willing to judge and attack based on political, spiritual or moral points of view. It’s as if politics, spirituality and morality are “separate haunts where mercy has no meaning.”
Is that true? Are condemnation and attack sometimes justified?
The lesson says, “Yet all are one.” In other words, the lesson is pointing out they are all illusions, all distractions from truth.
Let’s look at an example. If I have a democratic political leaning, and I believe democratic policy creates a more inclusive and compassionate society, I may feel justified when I attack republican points-of-view in conversation with friends or through a post in Facebook. However, when I do that, am I identified with awareness or with this personality-mind as what I am?
Look again. Does awareness have any political points-of-view in it?
You see, illusions are all one in that they are illusions, and to the degree that we are caught up in them, we are identified with illusion as what we are. In other words, all illusions have equal power to keep us lost and ignorant regarding our truth. This is why forgiveness is justified regardless of what the illusion is. This is why any reasoning that justifies condemnation and attack is always wrong reasoning. The only right reasoning is the logic that convinces us to let go.
Today we become more committed to let go of condemnation and attack in all circumstances. We do not withhold any circumstance as the special circumstance that validates our condemnation. The basis of this commitment is that we want to experience truth directly. We are no longer interested in being distracted from it. We are ready for Self-realization.
Remember to feel gratitude for all opportunities to practice forgiveness. Gratitude helps increase our willingness to let go.
The only way that this work helps us is if we don’t make exceptions. Truth must be true in every case or it is not truth. If I hold onto one grievance, I am not free. If I convince myself otherwise, I have done nothing except to imprison myself.