I want to give you a warning before you read this article. Reading this, will cause many resistances come up, because the message is very radical.
It goes directly to the source of the Ego, and therefore it will experience this as a threat. You can of course stop reading or dismiss it, but if you go along with me on this ride, this article alone, can change your life forever.
It will take only 10 minutes to read and a whole lifetime to practice…
My journey with A Course in Miracles
That being said, this article is about Forgiveness as taught in A Course in Miracles. A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is a book „channeled“ from Jesus and I have studied it on an off over the past 20 years.
Only recently I really got its core message and also the reasons, why I had issues with it for many years and put it away.
The first issue I had was due to it’s very „special“ language, it’s written like Shakespeare’s works and using many Christian words, but redefining all of them. I recently came across a translation in plain English, that changed everything for me.
The second issue was a way bigger one, because I was not aware of it all the time. It was, that there are many well known teachers of the Course out there, who mix up the Course with their special thought systems and therefore watering down or even contradicting the core message of the Course. These are people like Marianne Williamson, Gabriella Bernstein, Michael Mirdad and many more. I always thought, that they would teach the Course, but they teach their very special version of the Course and this confused me, because I felt the inconsistency in what they are doing, but didn’t know what it was. This changed when I started to listen to Ken Wapnick, who was closely related to Helen Schucmann, who has channeled the Course from Jesus. He was teaching only the Course in its pure message and suddenly everything became clear to me.
Forgiveness – How we normally see it
As everything, ACIM is redefining forgiveness from the ground up.
Normally when we talk about forgiveness, we think of something, someone has done to us, and then we try to forgive in a way that is „looking past“ the issue. We take a stance of „Ok, this happened, but because I’m a loving person, I will overlook or forget what happened, and I will love you again“.
Besides the fact, that this never worked out for me, there may be people who claim, that this is possible. To be honest, I know no-one whom I really believe this claim. What I sense instead is lots of repressed anger and hatred, that are covered up with a smile of pretense.
Most religions teach this form of forgiveness, and look where this has brought us. If you believe that an attack on you has happened and you are trying to forgive in this paradigm, you have to do a lot of suppression and substitution to make it seem to work – which it doesn’t in the end.
People are destined to fail and feel even more guilty for failing afterwards – needing more rituals to cover up their failure to forgive.
The ACIM Basics
Now, to explain one aspect of ACIM, also means to explain the whole thought system of the Course as Jesus taught it. This is no small feat for just one article, because the Course is hundreds of pages – but I’ll take the challenge anyway 🙂
Again, what you are about to read, will challenge everything you may believe to this point and may sound totally crazy to you. This is most likely to happen, because your Ego is to be threatened.
Ok, enough of the warnings – let’s take this risk…
The Course basically says, that we are not a human body with a brain and a human mind, but that we are a universal Mind, that dreams to have a body.
So there is only one Mind and in this Mind, there appear bodies.
In this Mind there appeared „a tiny mad idea“, that we could be separate from God. Now, this idea is not the problem – the only problem is, that we took this idea serious.
If we wouldn’t have taken this idea serious, it would have canceled itself out the instant it appeared, because God is One and there can not be anything outside of God. It’s impossible.
So the belief in the idea of separation from God, was the beginning of the Universe and everything in it. Time, Space, Trees, Snakes, Apples and all the drama started with this belief. It’s called a dream, because of course this separation never really happened. It seems to go on now in time, but time is an illusion created out of this idea. In God and perfect Oneness, there is no time.
Basically with this, ACIM tells us, that God didn’t create the universe.
It says very clearly, that there is no Universe other than as a dream of separation.
God being perfect Peace, Love and Oneness, doesn’t even know about a world, because a separate world is impossible for „him“ (of course God is not a person).
The main issue with taking the „tiny mad idea“ serious is, that with it comes the guilt, that I, as a separate human being, have made the impossible possible. I have left God and surely he will be mad with me, when I return. The story of the prodigal son in the Bible tells exactly this.
With this guilt of having left Oneness/God comes a lot of fear.
So guilt and fear are the main emotions that keep our Ego in the Dream.
The ACIM Way of Forgiveness
Take a breath. I just told you, that the Universe does not really exist and with that, that you don’t exist either. With „you“ I mean „you“ as a separate human being in a body.
Now this doesn’t seem very helpful, because „you“ still have the impression to exist and that you experience all the ups and downs of daily life.
You (as the Ego) also feel guilty and fearful of the wrath of God.
This is exactly, where Forgiveness comes in.
There are basically 3 steps in Forgiveness as taught in ACIM – of which I’ll try to explain the first two (the third step will follow by its own):
The First Step of Forgiveness
We have to start where we are. ACIM is very practical. Where we are is, that we believe that we are separate human beings and that there are victims and victimizers. We believe, that someone else has done something to us and therefore this person is guilty of hurting us.
In the way forgiveness is taught in religions, we would see this guilt in another and then overlook it – as described in the first paragraph.
Not so in ACIM. Here we look at the guilt and see, that this guilt is a result of our belief in separation in general. The guilt we see in another, is only a copy of the guilt that results from the belief in separation itself.
It’s a projection of our guilt on another.
So in this first step we take back this projection and see, that it is our own guilt we have put on others. We project, because this guilt feels unbearable in us, and our Ego will do everything it can to avoid feeling guilty.
There is lots of resistance to that, associated with immense fear.
Taking back the projection of guilt, is the last thing the Ego wants to do.
Essentially, we end our judgement of others in this step! (because in the end there are no others)
The Second Step of Forgiveness
Now your Ego may say: „Damn, when I take back the guilt from others and see it in myself, then I’m doomed to run around in this world with this huge load of guilt for basically everything! It’s taking on the guilt of the world and the worst thing you could do! Screw this article! Screw this Course! Fuck you and Goodbye!!“
I hear you and I felt the same – but I forgot the second step in Forgiveness.
In the beginning of this second step we have the feeling that we deserve to be punished and go to hell.
The content of our mind is our guilt. We are looking outside for the causes of our unhappiness and that’s why we will never find them.
The Egos maxim is: „Seek and never find“ – we are looking at the wrong place. The answer is always in our Mind.
While in the first step we see, that the projection of our guilt onto others was our decision, in the second step we see, that even the guilt itself is our decision!
Please read this again. What ACIM is saying is, that it’s your decision and that therefore you can make another decision every instant.
You don’t have to go to therapy for many years and work through your guilt issues.
There are several realizations, that make this decision an easier one:
The first thing is, what I have described above, that the attack from another is as illusionary as the guilt of the separation of God itself.
Both never happened!
Neither was there an attack on you nor did you ever separate from God.
It was all in your Mind and because you took the „tiny mad idea“ of separation serious. It’s all a dream.
Another realization, that makes the decision easier is, that we have 2 teachers in our mind.
The Ego on the one side, that represents the thought system of separation, individuality and guilt – this is the teacher/voice in our mind, that we followed so far.
The good news is, that there is another teacher/voice in our mind!
YEAH! Time for a happy dance!!!
The other teacher/voice is called in ACIM the Holy Spirit or Jesus.
The Holy Spirit and Jesus are of course also only symbols for Truth/God.
They are not Truth or God itself, but they represent Truth in our Mind!
They are, what in ACIM is called „the correction“ of „the tiny mad idea“.
So when you followed me so far and understood these basics, then everything becomes very easy! Forgiveness becomes the easiest thing in the world – and also the only thing you have to do for the rest of your life.
All you have „to do“ every moment, is to watch, which voice in your mind you are following.
Are you following the voice of the Ego or the voice of the Holy Spirit?
That’s basically it. That’s the third step that follows automatically from the first two.
To sum it up:
Forgiveness is the realization, that it’s not you whom I forgive, but myself, for choosing the wrong teacher/voice.
In the end, Forgiveness is the realization, that there is nothing to forgive.
And Forgiveness is also not something you need to do – it’s just the realization, of how this dream works! That’s it.
Forgiveness is silent in nature.
There is a line in the Course, that sums it up perfectly:
Forgiveness merely looks and waits and judges not.
It’s patient, because it knows, that nothing really happened.
Forgiving is looking at the world with the eyes of Jesus/The Holy Spirit.
I want to end this wild ride with a quote of Ken Wapnick:
First you have to realize that there is nothing to forgive in another, because the other is not responsible for your unhappiness. Second you realize, that there is nothing to forgive in yourself either, because you didn’t do anything. It was only a dream and you are resting forever in the Peace of God.
Thank you for reading this article and please forgive me (pun intended ;)) that I challenged your deeply routed Ego believes.
If you are getting the main points in this article, it can truly change your life forever and I’m totally aware, that this will need lots of practice.
The good news is, that you have every moment of your life to do so.
As long as you believe you are a body, there are endless possibilities to practice Forgiveness.
This is the real purpose of this dream, but this is a whole other article….
Love and Blessings,