We have to question everything that arises from the ego’s dualistic belief system. This is what the lessons help us do: they are a practical means to apply the principles of A Course in Miracles to the day-to-day reality of our lives. But our questioning has to have the goal of awakening. It can’t be more brain chatter. It can’t be just another idea. When our questioning is animated by forgiveness, it leads to the undoing of all illusions, which is what allows us to wake up.
In A Course in Miracles, to forgive is to “overlook (T-9.IV.1:2).” We don’t focus on the error – whether it be harsh words in the mouth of my brother or sister or harsh judgment of them in my mind. In both cases, my goal is to see past the so-called error – the harsh words or judgment – to the perfection of the brother or sister. I want to see them as God sees them, not as my ego sees them.
This is hard! And figuring out how to do it is a process. We have to be willing to look at the seeming cause of our upset and question its reality. This person’s words hurt my feelings. My hurt is proof that I am a separate body and that pain is possible. Yet the questioning aspect allows us to ask: is there another way to see this? And that in turn introduces the concept that we are in charge of our perceptions.
When we accept that, we have done a lot of work! Now it is possible to remember Lesson 34 – I could see peace instead of this. Now we can release our need to be right – so and so is mean, or I really am a bad person, or whatever – and choose peace.
We are only hurting because we have projected our hurt outside of us. Unable to accept pain – because it is a tangible connection to the guilt we feel at leaving God and the fear of his retribution – we push it onto others. They hurt us and we say, I was right. I really did leave God and God really is going to punish me. There’s the proof.
But if we question this process, then we can forgive it. If we see the hurt as being a projection we made, then the brother or sister who was the object of the projection is now innocent. And because we have a choice – the power of choice – with regard to this hurt, this guilt and this fear, it must be that we have not really left God, because we cannot undo what God created. If we can undo fear, then fear is our own product, not God’s.
This sounds complicated – many steps, many ideas – and it can feel that way. But it really boils down to willingness to choose a different teacher. The ego is not reliable and does not care for us. The Holy Spirit loves us and is utterly dependable. If we choose the Holy Spirit, then forgiveness and its rewards will flow naturally. In a sense, to choose the Holy Spirit as a guide is to choose forgiveness, for the two are not separated in any way.
This review – our last before embarking on more individual lessons – drives this point home. Lesson 59 reminded us the separation was not real. But lesson 60 reminds us of the process by which we can accept that beautiful fact as real. There is no need anymore for conflict. It is entirely optional. We really can have total peace.