Letting Go of Judgment

The world is good for forgiveness – for being seen without judgment, without the weight and grime of our egoic minds. That is our practice as students of A Course in Miracles: being willing to let go of judgment. Forgiveness has trust baked into it. We are letting go without knowing exactly where we’ll land or what is going to show up. We take it on faith.

One of the harder ideas to let go of is whether it’s working or not. Am I more awake than I was five minutes ago? Or more awake than that guy? It’s easy to say we’ll practice forgiveness. And it’s easy to observe ourselves as forgiving people. Here’s another forgiveness opportunity! Oh look – here comes another one! But if we are paying attention to what is going on in our thoughts, we see that we are still attached to the ego. We’re grateful for a chance to prove ourselves to Jesus. We still think there is something to get right. Isn’t it true?

Conflict ends when we no longer treat the world as our ethical or metaphysical playground, but rather see it as a fact that needs no interpretation and calls for no action on our part. We sit with forgiveness – we are passive with it. We are letting go of everything – from what shirt to wear in the morning to our feelings about being snubbed at work to our love for our children or whatever. I think it is the only choice we make: to have that willingness. Maybe we don’t even choose that. It seems to just be there, waiting.

I want there to be things to do that matter: feeding the hungry, voting for politicians who are commited to social change, all of that stuff. And it’s there – it’s all out there. But I have to come back to what it’s all for. I have to keep the Kingdom first and let the rest sift to where it will sift. The hardest part of all this for me is that there is really nothing to do. As soon as salvation is contingent on some action or commitment on my part, then it’s become a projection. It’s anchored in time. It’s something that I’m not but might become in the future, by dint of hard work or study or courage or whatever.

How can what is already perfect learn of its perfection? How can it become more perfect? As soon as I’ve brought it down to time and ambition, I’ve lost it. It’s not down the road – it’s here. Lesson 95 is utterly clear: I am one self, united with my Creator.

You are one Self, in perfect harmony with all there is, and all that there will be. You are one Self, the holy Son of God, united with your brothers in that Self; united with your Father in His Will.

It is a settled fact. It is not a goal – not a dream. It is already in place. You do not make plans to go to Boston while you are sitting in downtown Boston. You don’t think, Oh I have to find Boston. Or I have to invent Boston. You are there. It is accomplished.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Richard September 7, 2012, 5:01 pm

    greetings Sean,

    Thanks for your blog, it is very helpful. I was relaxing in the bath a few moments ago chatting out loud to Jesus, and he informed me that my current problem is that i am simply afraid of forgiveness.. in that i am afraid to forgive others for what they haven’t done…

    Then i thought of you and your blog and your insights and wondered if you would be kind enough to comment on this fear, i cannot make sense of it, even though i understand it intellectually, i still can’t quite “see” it if you get my drift..?

    obviously i understand if wish to say nothing, and please excuse my request, (it is out of respect for your ability to unlock the Couse material…)

    kind regards

    • Sean Reagan September 8, 2012, 2:43 pm

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for reading & writing & for the kind words.

      If I am reading your question correctly – and I may not be so correct me if I am mistaken – the issue is how do we stay with the fear? It’s a great gift to get to a place where we can say, even intellectually, that we are afraid of forgiveness. It is very similar to seeing that we are afraid of God – the fear that underlies our separation. We insist on being apart from God because we are afraid of God – and forgiveness makes this painful fact clear to us. So there is great resistance to seeing forgiveness, and to practicing it in our lives in the world. We don’t want what if offers: a clear vision of our love for God. Once we’re there, it’s very hard for the ego to sustain its separation fantasy. We’re just too close to the truth then.

      So again how do we stay with the fear? I don’t know! But I do know – and trust – that Jesus and the Holy Spirit (our right mind, all too often inaccessible to our egoic self) do. So to stay with the fear and not judge it or run from it or translate it into something manageable, I ask for help. As you comment clearly demonstrates, you are already close enough to Jesus to shoot the breeze with him. You are being given powerful insights. Why not continue the dialogue? Trust that if Jesus is going to let you know that fear is a problem, that he won’t leave you dangling in the wind with it. Ask him: what next?

      I’m not being flip when I say that. I really mean it. It is my experience that as we deepen our capacity to realize the joint will that we share with Jesus and all our brothers and sisters, then we are increasingly given the specific directives to a) continue deepening and b) share that deepening with others, which is how we keep it. The form that takes is very personal. But if we are quiet and attentive and receptive to hearing Jesus, then we’ll see it. We’ll be given the next step.

      The other day – at the college where I teach – an issue came up. It wasn’t a big thing necessarily but I got worked up over it. I felt like I was being singled out for correction in a way that was unfair and not helpful. Over the course of the day I got more and more frustrated – and also more and more discouraged. This isn’t how ACIM students are supposed to respond to emotional challenges! When I got home – before bed – I prayed on it. I just dropped to my knees and really opened up to Jesus. And it’s funny because in the morning I woke up with an email in my mind – I had the perfect snarky email I was going to send to my whole department. It was perfect – self-righteous, indignant, elegant. Everyone would feel bad for me and realize how mean they were. I hopped out of bed to write and send it and then –

      I just heard the quiet voice say, that’s not the loving thing to do Sean. And in that moment, I got it. On the one hand, I was being singled out. And it wasn’t especially fair. But the truth was, it wasn’t a big deal, either. Sometimes we have to stand up and take a stand in the world but sometimes just have to shrug it off and keep going. In this case, there was a simple way to graciously bring everything to closure without hurting any feelings and all of that. I saw the softer, gentler way – and I took it.

      And the conflict ended.

      That is an example to staying with the fear – the hard times come and we turn it over to Jesus. Okay, Jesus, I have faith that you didn’t lead me this far just to drop me like a rock. I’m ready for you to show me the way out. And sooner or later – usually sooner – the way out is shown to us.

      Does that help? I am saying that when we see the fear – abstractly (as it seems in your case) or specifically (as in my example above) – then we need to ask for guidance and trust the guidance will be given. Whenever the separation reveals itself to us – as when Jesus gives us an insight into how the egoic mind works or when we run into some challenge in our day to day lives – then we simply have to say, okay. Here’s another learning opportunity. Here’s another chance to rely on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to see me through.

      I hope that is helpful. Thanks again for writing, Richard – keep in touch –


  • a September 9, 2012, 10:47 am

    Dear Sean –

    Again, your writing has come to rescue me from my illusions… your one sentence above in this post leapt out at me last night, it stayed in my mind and just now, I had to come re-read it (and comment below).
    I’ve reproduced that line below. I need to let it sink right into my mind, and dwell there.

    “Conflict ends when we no longer treat the world as our ethical or metaphysical playground,….”

    I’ve been getting sucked into judging (and being self-righteous for more than a decade now) about the corruption endemic in business in so many parts of the world… clearly all fodder for my maintaining my separate, special state.
    When will it end ???? (:
    thanks for writing all you do,

    • Sean Reagan September 9, 2012, 2:27 pm

      Thanks a.

      I am judgment about those things as well – it has been a persistent challenge in my life. And I think you are right – it is simply a means of keeping the separation in place by insisting on our specialness as people who are corrupt, not materialistic or whatever. But seeing it is liberating. In course terms, the ego’s existence is entirely dependent on keeping us from seeing the truth and when we start to recognize that there are gaps in our “seeing” – you know, the rich people who are actually generous and kind, the businesses that actually help people and so forth (and also begin to see how we are capable of corruption ourselves) then the egoic mode is endangered. Its days are numbered. Then we have a meaningful choice: do we want to suffer the pangs of conflict or do we want peace?

      Thanks so much for reading & for the kind words!


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