Our current goals:
- Widen the horizons of our vision
- Take direct approaches to uncover the blocks that keep our vision narrow
- Lift those blocks, however briefly, in order to experience the sense of liberation that comes when the blocks are removed
- Intensify our motivation for freedom
The main point of today’s lesson is of the utmost importance to those who truly want to heal the mind (i.e., undo conditioning that is based on false premises).
The lesson teaches that all distress (all upset) is because of unforgiveness. The key word in that sentence is “all.”
Most people who study A Course in Miracles accept that some upsets are due to unforgiveness, but few accept that all upsets are due to unforgiveness. If you really want to heal the mind, this is a teaching you must accept, because where you decide this lesson does not apply is where your mind will not heal.
As today’s lesson stresses, “[Unforgiveness] is the content underneath the form. It is this sameness which makes learning sure, because the lesson is so simple that it cannot be rejected in the end. No one can hide forever from a truth so very obvious that it appears in countless forms, and yet is recognized as easily in all of them, if one but wants to see the simple lesson there. … How can you tell when you are seeing wrong, …? Does pain seem real in the perception? If it does, be sure the lesson is not learned. And there remains an unforgiveness hiding in the mind …”
This is where the lesson gets very exciting to me.
First it says, “Morning and night, devote what time you can to serve its proper aim, and do not let the time be less than meets your deepest need.”
I often used to journal twice a day, morning and night, just as this lesson recommends. The purpose of journaling was to look at my mind and practice forgiveness.
What is forgiveness?
It is letting go of every thought process that causes even the tiniest feeling of upset in you.
How do you let go?
Through one or another form of self-inquiry. Through right-reason. Through rest, accept and trust. These are all tools that are used to let go.
I love that the lesson says, “do not let the time be less than meets your deepest need.” That means, take all of the time you need to make sure forgiveness is complete. Forgiveness doesn’t always happen fast. That’s okay. Speed is not the issue. Genuine release is what is most important. (According to the Book of Mark, Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray three times before he felt complete.)
I also love this:
“Each hour, spend a little time today, and in the days to come, in practicing the lesson in forgiveness in the form established for the day. And try to give it application to the happenings the hour brought, so that the next one is free of the one before. … Let no hour cast its shadow on the one that follows, and when that one goes, let everything that happened in its course go with it.”
This is how you become a master of forgiveness, a master at reprogramming the brain so it is based on truth instead of based on falsehood. You look at each upset. You don’t let any slide by.
Today’s lesson recommends a really good practice. Since most people let many upsets pass everyday without looking at them, it is a good idea to pause each hour, look at the upsets that occurred in that hour, and practice forgiveness on them. Eventually you will become very sensitive to even the smallest upset, and you won’t be able to wait until the end of an hour to practice forgiveness, so you will practice it immediately. However, in the beginning your body is not well tuned to your purpose of forgiveness. Its sensitivities are dormant, and you are likely to miss hundreds of opportunities to practice forgiveness if you do not actively pause and look regularly.
Several Gentle Healing participants have told me that this group takes a lot of time. Yes, it does. But as this lesson points out, this is the purpose of time.
The way that I got to the current state of healing that I have achieved is by making healing my fulltime job and the most important thing in my life. It is what everything else is about. If you really want to achieve healing, your commitment cannot be less than this.
When healing is a priority in your life, something in you is motivated toward the tools and practices that help you heal. It isn’t something you have to do because someone outside of you told you to do it. It is something you are intrinsically motivated to do.
That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It isn’t. There can be great resistance during this process. But remember what NTI said. The means for overcoming great resistance is great willingness, and great willingness comes from remembering what you want.
- This is a sample day from my 2005 forgiveness journal.
- This is the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as told in NTI.