There are two ways in which the Holy Spirit – the “great correction principle,” the “inherent power of the vision of Christ” – most helpfully functions.
First, it is given to us through the Holy Spirit to intuit right action in a given situation. This always leads to blessing, and what Tara Singh once called “solutions in which nobody loses.”
Second – when we do not heed that guidance and choose against right action – we are gently reminded of the healing power of forgiveness in which we remember that
God knows what His Son needs before he asks. He is not at all concerned with form, but having given the content it is His Will that it be understood. And that suffices. The form adapts itself to need; the content is unchanging, as eternal as its Creator (C-3.3:2-5).
Let me share an example of this works – is working – in my own life.
I’ve made several avoidable mistakes in the past few days. I am tired, unnaturally busy, and navigating two especially thorny family issues. Do you know those days when you think, Have I made no spiritual progress at all?
I am having a few of those in a row.
When those days are the mode, the directives of the Holy Spirit are clear and simple: remember to eat, remember to walk the dog, take naps if necessary, try and remember to write, don’t make any big decisions and don’t stop listening to my voice.
It’s that last one I always forget first . . .
At work, I involved myself in a dispute that didn’t require any attention from me at all. Nobody invited me! It didn’t concern me. I didn’t know much about it even. And I could hear the Holy Spirit saying, “let it pass. You can let this go.”
But I didn’t. I entered into it. And the worse it got, the deeper I went. I kept thinking I was going to fix something or save something but every time I opened my mouth it was like shoveling coal into a fire everybody else just wanted to douse.
In another instance, I hurt someone I love in much the same way. The Holy Spirit couldn’t have been clearer: “ask if you can do this later. You’re not up for this right now.” But I didn’t listen. I entered into it, unfit and loaded for bear. The predictable result wouldn’t let me sleep.
I never like writing those things, because I’d prefer that people think of me as so deeply spiritual and Christ-aligned that mistakes of any kind just don’t enter into it. Part of the whole ACIM schtick is to to adopt a sort of “always peaceful, always happy” energy and never show another side.
But still. I screw up. I find myself standing outside after midnight, shivering and sad, staring at the moon, and wondering why it is that when the going gets tough is when I most forget to ask Jesus to help me.
Simple prayers can be such a blessing! Last night, in all that cold and brightness, I knelt and simply asked Jesus to lend a hand. I spared him the gory details. God knows. I just asked that those I had alienated and hurt be blessed, and that I be humbled enough to hear again the voice of my beautiful teacher.
Instantly – before I had even risen – I was reminded of a passage in one of Tara Singh’s letters where he talks about his travels. He is passing through a remote Indian village en route to meet a train, and the taxi breaks down. And the driver leaves to find tools to fix it. And Taraji is looking at his watch, and thinking of deadlines, and who he has to meet later, and whether his tickets are refundable. People come by and offer to help for a fee and he can’t decide whether and how to let money into it. It is a very human and very beautiful bit of writing, from a man who truly saw the Christ in all his brothers and sisters.
The wisest among us are not spared the challenges of being human. Sometimes we respond gracefully – inspiringly so – and sometimes we stumble and fall.
There is always a hand there to help us to our feet, dust us off, and steer us gently by the shoulder back onto the path.
Forgiveness is not about begging people to overlook our weakness or the idiotic things we do from time to time – though it is a kindness and sweetness when that happens – but rather understanding that the divine plan is in better hands than ours and can withstand – naturally and perfectly – our apparent ineptitude.
We don’t have to fix the past. We don’t have to make arrangements for the future – ours or anybody else’s. We simply have to return to the space where we can ask both for guidance and the willingness to accept it. When we do, we learn the truth of
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
The Course teaches us that reliance on this truth is never misplaced, and is the essence of true forgiveness.
My holy brother, I would enter into all your relationships, and step between you and your fantasies. Let my relationship to you be real to you, and let me bring reality to your perception of your brothers. They were not created to enable you to hurt yourself through them. They were created to create with you (T-17.III.10:1-4).
There is nothing we do that cannot be undone in Love. There is no action we can take that cannot be rendered helpful and meaningful in God. The Holy Spirit is always there to teach us, in whatever form we can most readily manage, that God is love and therefore we are Love as well.
And so as always, I thank you for reading – for creating with me – and for your forgiveness, too. I thank you for reminding me of the necessity of turning always to God, in all things. In each other, we are aligned with Christ, who walks the same road of atonement we do, and whose Presence is never insufficient to overcome our weakness.
Let me enter in the Name of God, and bring you peace, that you may offer peace to me (T-17.III.10:8).
This is the gift of God: to be given the means to avoid error, and to be given too the means of seeing that error is impossible, which enables us finally to turn towards Heaven together, hand in hand, in Love.