A Course in Miracles Lesson 198

Only my condemnation injures me.

The power of belief is such that we can believe that we are vulnerable to injury; the evidence that we do believe this is evident in our condemnation of our brothers and sisters. They are dangerous, aggressive, selfish, and untrustworthy. And yet, we receive what we offer. As we condemn – as we make the illusion of separate interests appear real with real effects – we are in turn condemned.

Condemn and ou are made a prisoner. Forgive and you are freed. Such is the law that rules perception (W-pI.198.2:1-3).

Yet perception’s “laws” are illusory. To believe them is to believe a lie. Therefore, in truth, condemnation is impossible. Yet so long as we believe in it, then it is real for us. Hence the need for forgiveness.

A Course in Miracles – and the practice of forgiveness informing it – is itself an illusion wielded by the Holy Spirit in the context of separation that our willingness to indulge illusion at all might be undone.

Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others. All illusions save this one must multipy a thousandfold. But this is where illusions end. Forgiveness is the end of dreams, because it is a dream of waking (W-pI.198.3:1-4).

Forgiveness – and that which is perceived under its influence – is not truth itself, but rather points to what is true, and to God, with a certainty that cannot be denied. It is the illusion that ends our dependence on illusions and on the thinking that makes illusions appear so real.

Given this means of salvation, why do we not avail ourselves of it? Why do we insist on suffering when perfect happiness and peace are offered without condition or qualification?

Fun questions we could spend a lot of time answering! Yet this lesson invites us not to analyze that question, nor to descend into intellectuality, but rather to answer it once and for all. It is always tempting to use the intellect to tease apart of the meaning of the words, to explore the myriad possibilities they entail, to take notes and draw maps, to study and brainstorm, ever deepening understanding . . .

It is not a crime against God or nature to play with language this way! Analysis is not forbidden! But there is a space in which the intellect avails us nothing, and some other means of understanding and acting must be evoked. As Abhishiktananda said, logos (language and logic) get us to the entrance of the Cave to the Heart but they do not help us enter. There, some other force or energy is required, one that is far beyond the domain of reason and language.

A Course in Miracles does not denigrate the difficult experience of believing separation and suffering its apparent effects. We are haunted, yes. We fear there is no mercy anywhere. We believe in death and dread hell.

And yet.

The stillness of your Self remains unmoved, untouched by thoughts like these, and unaware of any condemnation which could need forgiveness . . . today we practice letting freedom come to make its home with you (W-pI.198.8:1, 9:1).

We are offered a simple prayer. Simple, that is, to understand. But difficult – murderously difficult – to practice.

Only my condemnation injures me.
Only my own forgiveness sets me free

A Course in Miracles invites us – begs us, really – to “accept one illusion which proclaims there is no condemnation in God’s Son,” which naturally restores Heaven to our shared awareness, and unveils the Christ, all in one fell swoop (W-pI.198.10:1).

This is the gift the Holy Spirit holds for you from God your Father. Let today be celebrated both on earth and in your holy home as well. Be kind to Both, as you forgive the trespasses you thought Them guilty of, and see your innocence shining upon you from the face of Christ (W-pI.198.10:2-4).

When we accept this gift – when we are even willing to consider accepting the gift – the Word of God echoes in our heart and spreads a soft light over the world. It is no longer possible to fear nor doubt; we reject no brother or sister. Our joy becomes literal connectedness, literal union, with all of life, illuminated by our sincere desire to celebrate our holiness in and with it.

This celebration is the final instant of perception. For in it, all symbols are undone, and all that remains is the Mind of God which knows its Creations as one with Itself.

There is no condemnation in him. He is perfect in his holiness. . . . In this vision of the Son, so brief that not an instant stands between this single sight and timelessness itself, you see the vision of yourself, and then you disappear forever into God (W-pI.198.12:1-2, 6).

This is the future; this has not yet occurred. We are not ready. But we are given the means by which to bring it as close to us as the next breath. Let us pray together, and let nothing come between us to disturb the stillness that we share as Christ.

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