“…It is difficult for anyone who thinks he is in this world to believe this of himself. Yet the reason he thinks he is in this world is because he does not believe it…” A Course in Miracles, Workbook page 53, Lesson 35
It does seem difficult to believe that we are all very holy. If we did, we would not have gone to the trouble of seeking to escape from Heaven, set up the ego to take the place of God and “miscreate” the world of time and space where we now appear to dwell. Yet that is what ACIM tells us we have done, ever since we first had the “tiny, mad idea” to separate from God. Because we really believe we have separated, we feel very guilty and fearful of the wrath of God. With guilt and fear deeply ingrained in our (subconscious) egoic minds, it is virtually impossible for us to feel holy.
Nevertheless, in numerous places in the Course, Jesus reiterates that we are holy sons of God and that we are a part of Him. “God has given you a place in His Mind that is yours forever….” Text, p. 195. Furthermore, all of us are equal because we all have a place in God’s Mind. If we all have a place in God’s Mind, then we are not in a position to judge or condemn anyone, even those who appear to act in an unholy manner. Once again, we can see how everything in A Course in Miracles leads us back to forgiveness. We forgive others and we forgive ourselves because we are all holy and abide in the Mind of God. The world we appear to be in, is just a dream world.
The Holy Spirit or Higher Self has a significant role to play in the awakening process. We are asked to consistently turn to Him for advice and guidance whenever we are disturbed, upset or unsure how to react to anyone or anything. If we try to correct others, for example, it means we are listening to the ego instead of to the Holy Spirit. This is explained very clearly in Chapter 9 of the Text, p. 167: “If you point out the errors of your brother’s ego you must be seeing through yours, because the Holy Spirit does not perceive his errors…” In this passage we are given excellent advice. We must do our best not to react to anyone no matter what they have done. If they have acted in a way that has hurt us, they have obviously been following their egos. But we are trying to rise above our own egos, and so we do as the Holy Spirit does—we overlook the misdeeds of others, knowing they are unreal. We do not get drawn into conflict and into a cycle of attack and defence.
This might appear to be an easy thing to do when the misdeed is something small such as an upsetting comment. But it is not so easy to do when we perceive an atrocity such as murder, violent acts of extremism, etc. Yet, we are still asked to overlook such things. Yes, our egos will most certainly speak out and condemn such things but if we listen to the Holy Spirit—the Voice for God—we will forgive and, thereby, achieve peace.
One should point out that in the world of form—of the physical body—those who commit violent crimes obviously have to be punished so that they do not continue to harm others. But at the level of the mind we have to forgive them and look upon them with compassion, knowing they have lost their way and are ruled by their egos. Jesus points out in A Course in Miracle that the ego is vicious, cruel and insane!
The exercises in Lesson 35 are very helpful as they have the aim of gradually undoing the guilt in our minds and helping us recognise our innate holiness. We are asked to close our eyes and think about how we feel about ourselves. For example, if we are depressed, we would say to ourselves: “I see myself as depressed.” Then we correct this negative view and state: “But my mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.” Or, if we feel like the victim of certain circumstances, we might say: “I see myself as helpless.” Then, once again, we turn this thought around and say: “But my mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.” Workbook, page 54.
The Workbook section of A Course in Miracles is packed full of exercises like these to help us overcome the fear and guilt in our egoic minds, learn how to forgive and rise above the ego altogether. It is an amazing gift that Jesus has given us. One can only think about him with great love and immense gratitude. Isn't that what we should really be celebrating at Christmas?
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