Part II:1 WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?
God is with me. I live and move in Him.
- God is with me. He is my Source of life, the life within, the air I breathe, the food by which I am sustained, the water which renews and cleanses me. He is my home, wherein I live and move; the Spirit Which directs my actions, offers me Its Thoughts, and guarantees my safety from all pain. He covers me with kindness and care, and holds in love the Son He shines upon, who also shines on Him. How still is he who knows the truth of what He speaks today!
- Father, we have no words except Your Name upon our lips and in our minds, as we come quietly into Your Presence now, and ask to rest with You in peace a while.
While I was doing this lesson today, I thought, Wait a minute. Jesus tells us in the Course that this creation is not a creation of God, but of the ego. So how could God be the air I breathe and the water I drink? It occurred to me: I gave the illusion of the world, and everything I see to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit brought it to God, and God blessed it and now the illusion, the dream of separation itself, belongs to God.
This may or may not be the way it is, but this is the explanation that my mind received to give it peace and to make the Course real to me. This year, when the Holy Spirit instructed me to study and apply the concepts of A Course in Miracles, I took that to mean that I am to give myself and my reasoning over to it, jump in and embrace it and whether I believe in it or not, just do it and give it a chance to be real in my life. So when I have a glitch, and I do – the whole world as an illusion isn’t as hard for me to accept say, then the fact that I am expected to believe that everything I see played out on the screen of the outside world – the wars, the pettiness, the strife, the jealousies, the spite, the gluttony and starvation, the substance abuse and despair, the rapes and murders – are all my own projections – that I made that up.
Out on the deck with James, having our morning coffee, I called our neighbor a dick. “A dick being someone who doesn’t want something and then when they discover you would like it, they make it scarce and try to overcharge for it,” I explained in so many words, bringing up a past experience that had left us feeling used. Sure enough, a few moments later, there was my Friend the Holy Spirit dealing with me for projecting my own tricks and manipulations on our neighbor.
“Let me rephrase that, Lover,” I said. Although there are plenty of times the Holy Spirit gets through to me before I need correction, Lover has to put up with a lot of rephrasing as I plow my way through this day-by-day relinquishment of what feels to be my very nature. Lover said that wasn’t necessary – he felt the same way. In fact, it made him feel good that we agreed about who and what our neighbor is – as long as he is a dick in our minds, we can hide our own lack of generosity, goodwill, and neighborliness behind the projection.
But as I said, I need to rephrase it. I am not putting hours each day into studying and applying the Course just to ignore the Holy Spirit. Clumsily, but with sincerity, I rephrased: Our neighbor, a Son of God, has an ego just like our ego, which thrives on mind games, taking more than giving, and being sly and arrogant. His ego would play with our ego in this way, and then his ego, just like our ego, would tell him that we were the ones in the wrong, he was only out to protect himself – from us. It’s an ego game. Nobody ever wins; though hatred and variance triumph.
Putting myself through this exercise, as humbling as it was, led to a good discussion. It is powerful to know when you are dealing with ego – the universal ego which is in all of us. We don’t have to play with it anymore. We can call it for what it is with no judgment on others or ourselves, who are and always will be Sons of God. We can simply decide not to have any dealing with it. The only difficulty arises when we engage with our ego and thus victimize ourselves by dramatizing and dwelling upon the wrongs done to us by other egos.
With this particular neighbor and this specific situation, we are no longer dealing with a dick. He is a Son of God. If he has a problem, it is not our responsibility to correct it for him. If he thinks we are encroaching, let him turn to the authorities of this world to work it out. In the meantime, we will not fight or argue or call him names. Nobody is a dick; nobody is a victim. This is how to choose love and brotherhood. In the Holy Spirit’s perception, then – everyone is the winner. This, the game of Salvation that the Course describes, is only happy when you play it without the spiteful, name-calling ego!
On another note, later, working on my tan, listening to Ken and Gloria Wapnick in Living the Course workshop, I realized something profound, but I failed to record it, and forgot what it was. I remember thinking, I have to share this with the study group! I chastised myself for failing to develop the habit of recording immediately insights and illuminations, but Holy Spirit was calmly telling me not to fret; Holy Spirit will always remind me of everything I need to know and share, and it is only the ego that would say something, like: “You missed your one and only chance. Too bad for you! I won’t be telling you that juicy bit of information again. What a pity. Shame on you. Maybe next time, dimwit, you will get up off your lazy bum and go write it down.”
It’s important to know which voice is speaking in our minds. Many times I get the Holy Spirit’s voice mixed up with the ego’s and feel condemned and disappointed in myself and others. And this is the key: Condemnation is the voice of ego. Holy Spirit is kind and patient, peaceful and quiet, and only in stillness will I hear the truth of what He teaches me today! God be with us as we live and move in Him.