In a way, forgiveness is simply seeing that we prefer conflict to peace and accepting that we can choose otherwise. The power to choose reflects the will given us in creation and thus shared both with one another and with God. We exercise it when we elect to think with – to will with – God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The language we use must work for us (must resonate), but we have to be careful that we not fall into the trap of believing that our word is the thing itself.
It is good to see those moments when we are in conflict. The inclination of the human brain and the body in which it is encased is to avoid awareness of conflict – and certainly not to take responsibility for it. We move away from perceptions of pain, uncertainty and fear and towards perceptions of comfort and security.
That would work fine if we were only bodies and if the only decision-maker were the brain! But the Truth is more expansive than that. That is why we are driven by this sense of grandeur and holiness, this sense that what God is – whatever God is – and what we are are not separate. That is why – be it through A Course in Miracles or zazen or hypnotherapy or sustained study of philosophical masters or whatever – we are always hurling ourselves towards the perceived gap between the profane and sacred, the body and spirit, us and God.
At the deepest levels, we know what we are and where we belong, and we are tired – deeply tired – of the effort it takes to pretend otherwise. We want to go home.
In Thought as a System, a record of a weekend-long seminar on thought, David Bohm cautions attendees from rushing to conclusions, from falling into the trap of “I get it.”
I’m saying that we don’t try to do anything. We’re just learning – aware, attentive, learning (84).
This is hard to do – to give attention to what is without rushing to judge it, define it, write it up, to get it. But it is precisely what is called for, especially in relation to our experience (both internal and external) of conflict. It is the stillness of one who joins with the Holy Spirit in order to learn the truth of what they are. It is not sexy. It lacks the drama and purity of peak spiritual experience. But it is necessary and fructive.
Tara Singh put it this way:
Get to know yourself. See what is meaningless in your life. Notice what you do because you are unhappy and lonely and bored. Discover how loneliness and boredom rule you. You will find that without the unessentials, you think you will die . . . To recognize the God-created world requires wisdom, simplicity, and discrimination. What changes is man-made. What does not change is of God. It is eternal (A Gift for All Mankind 97).
Our thoughts change. Our perceptions change. Our opinions and attitudes change. They reflect the external world which is always changing – season to season, form to form, folding and unfolding. These folds might look like a tree in winter or a body in a casket or a thought in our mind. But none of those things are of God: none of them are real in the sense of Truth. To our bodies the death of other bodies and the cold wind of winter and the shifting nature of our thinking about this or that subject will always be real. We aren’t called to end that perception of reality or change it but only to be willing to go beyond it. And going beyond it starts with attention and awareness given to it, not in order to arrive anywhere or conclude anything but for its own sake. When we do this – when we truly look with Jesus or the Holy Spirit – we understand it is an end in itself.
By discovering who you are, you will see the beauty, the holiness, and the eternity in others. In eternity, there is truly no other. There is only One Life in which everything is related to everything else. There is no fear, no insecurity, no tomorrow. It is a blissful, alive, energetic present (A Gift for All Mankind 107).
The wordiness inherent in this stuff is tricky because it tends to be abstract, which can feel insufficiently grounded or hard to get hold of. But when it gets concrete, there is a tendency to argue with it. “That’s not how I see it.” But we have to give form to this process – in language, in bodies, in matter. Somehow we have to embody grace. Forgiveness – what we might call right seeing because it is undertaken with the Holy Spirit – is one means to do this. Attention willingly given to what is – right now, without judgment, without qualification – is the Holy Spirit (T-5.III.11:6). It is the answer (T-5.II.2:5).
You do not have to see far for salvation. Every minute and every second gives you a chance to save yourself . . . God wills you perfect happiness now. Is it possible that this is not also your will? (T-9.VII.1:5-6, 8-9)
It helps to remember that all a miracle does is remind us in a tangible way that we dream a dream and can choose another. It does not “awaken” us (T-28.II.4:2-3). This is a deeply practical course, given not to esotericism but application (T-11.VIII.5:3). How else can our minds change to think with God?
So we are the grist: we are all the material needed to remember wholeness, undo dreams of guilt and fear and know again – outside of time and space and other – our Home in Heaven.