II. SECTION 12. What is the Ego?
Lesson 336 Forgiveness lets me know that minds are joined.
- Forgiveness is the means appointed for perception’s ending. Knowledge is restored after perception first is changed, and then gives way entirely to what remains forever past its highest reach. For sights and sounds, at best, can serve but to recall the memory that lies beyond them all. Forgiveness sweeps away distortions and opens the hidden altar to the truth. Its lilies shine into the mind and call it to return and look within, to find what it has vainly sought without. For here, and only here, is peace of mind restored, for this the dwelling place of God Himself.
- In quiet, may forgiveness wipe away my dreams of separation and of sin. Then let me, Father, look within, and find Your promise of my sinlessness is kept; Your Word remains unchanged within my mind, Your Love is still abiding in my heart.
As we come to each day’s devotional practice, we learn to how to forgive the way that Jesus teaches forgiveness in our curriculum. When we think of forgiveness as lilies, we devote ourselves to forgiveness. When we humble our ego and admit that we do not know the whole story, we begin to see past the crimes and foibles of the splintered parts. We develop compassion and empathy for ourselves and our brothers because we realize how hard we try to make of ourselves a whole from only a jagged, lonely shard. As we sit with the lessons in contemplation the concepts become one with our holy selves. We understand them as truth, we begin to see the insanity of the ego and all its accusations, condemnation, and opposition. When we choose forgiveness, we begin to see our innocence, to experience our purity and the purity of all the separated parts. We are no longer content to live in a nightmare world of stress, sorrow, and shame because forgiveness awakens us to truth.
It is a blessed practice, and one in which will never lead us astray or offer us false hope. In this practice, we find peace and calm, and peace and calm are where we abide as one with God.
Last week my daughter and grandsons and I put a puzzle together that I have had for years but never wanted to tackle on my own. We spent a relaxing, overcast morning and early afternoon fitting each piece into place, enjoying the delightful aha moments when a piece interlocked with another to complete the whole picture. Instead of a chaotic jumble of mismatched pieces, when we sat down together and calmly, contentedly, and committedly turned over each piece and began to fit them together, we ended up with the beautiful original picture.
This is what happens when we practice forgiveness. We come together. We lay down our separateness. In humility and devotion, we put aside our ego perception of being and knowing it all, and we ask God to take our separateness and draw us back together again. Forgiveness means laying aside our false identity as judge and juror, and recognizing Creation’s purity, innocence, and love. Forgiveness means we want for our brothers all that we want for ourselves. Forgiveness means we lay down grandiosity of the ego and take up the grandeur of God.
So often we do not want to offer forgiveness because we think that if we forgive someone it will leave them off the hook. They will think it is okay for them to disappoint us, betray our trust, make unrealistic demands and high expectations. Our egos will tell us that forgiveness makes us vulnerable to the ill will and evil intentions of others. Our egos greedily nurse at the breast of resentment and grudges. Our egos thrive on all that would cause faction, fracture, and friction between the parts of Creation. As long as our ego can keep us in a state of mind that keeps some people out while only a select few are allowed in, our minds will not remember God, we will be blinded to His Kingdom, and the innocence and purity of our Creation will be hidden from our awareness.
In reality, when we practice forgiveness, we let all that went wrong about Creation go. Instead of ruminating upon all the ways in which you disappointed me and betrayed my trust, I let it go. I watch it fade away. When I choose to remember the ways in which you taught me important lessons that I would never learn from anyone else, your generosity to me when I was poor, the times you cheered me up when I was in despair, the ways in which you held my hand and drew me close when I suffered and cried and felt as if I deserved to die, I will forgive you. When I forgive you, I will remember the wonderful times we spent together. I will talk about those things to people. I will go to sleep at night thinking of those things. When I remember all that is right about you, the good, the lovely, the truth about you, you will give this back to me. I never have to worry when I practice the way of forgiveness that God will insist I give to you what you intend to withhold from me.
This is the mutuality of God’s Kingdom. When I practice true forgiveness, when I bring the lilies of forgiveness to you, this is what you as my brother in Christ will give to me. We will know that our minds are joined. We fit together like the interlocking pieces of the puzzle. We are joined because we forgive. We are joined because without one another we are nothing, we mean nothing.
Today pay particular attention to your ego resistance to forgiveness. Examine your heart and mind and humbly accept the fact that while forgiveness may feel like work to the ego, it is simply a matter of changing your mind about who and what you are. Atrocities happen in the world of bodies, egos, and separateness. We are encouraged in the world to nurse our wounds, to keep our childhood traumas fresh, to use the excuse of victimization to remain apart from the whole. We are taught not to forgive but to blame, to point fingers, to weigh crimes in rank and order of duress and distress. If you are having a difficult time with forgiveness, you are not alone. Jesus is simply asking you to identify with your truth. Jesus is asking you to identify with Him rather than the ego. Jesus is asking you to step out of humanity and accept your divinity in Him. Forgiveness lets us know that we are one with our brothers and we are one with God.
A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 336. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). p. 470.
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