This post from last year is the reminder to continuously claim a clean slate. In our Tuesday night ACIM group, we refer to this as erasing the sand painting – we let go of the picture we think is there and reclaim a clean slate. We all need a clean slate, where forgiveness wiped away guilt and returns us to innocence. This review lesson of Only my condemnation injures me reminds me to wipe the slate clean. Return to peace. Be happy.
The topic of conversation was beginner’s mind, a Buddhist concept that refers to being in the state of open anticipation as we are when we first start learning something before preconceived concepts come in and taint our minds with “should.” It’s “I do not know what anything is for.” Of course, even referring to it that way is an opportunity for the mind to categorize what it thinks it is. I say “beginner’s mind” is good because it means you have no judgment about the situation, but then I proceed to judge myself for not being better at beginner’s mind, because I think I know what it should be.
The folly of it all! (That’s my Sunday sigh!)
We continue on the topic of forgiveness as escape from judgment. It is a continual erasing of what I think I know. It is the erasing of what I think it should be. It is clean-slate village, where innocence is the quality that returns me once again to the state where I think perhaps I am lovable.
Today’s A Course in Miracles lesson is that; it is the return to innocence where I recognize that any sort of judgment robs me of my innocence.
In church, I am called upon by several people to pray with them. One for a woman who says she is ready to let go of a problem she is clearly still defending. Another for a woman who daughter is experiencing health issues. Someone else tells me woefully about how she’d love to sponsor one of our teens to go to camp next year but can’t afford $100 a month and then explains how her credit union screwed up her credit score. I listened shocked that she could defend her victimhood so fiercely and then wondered about my own innocence that I could see the foibles in all these stories so clearly.
We go to church to remember who we are and to be surrounded by people who know the truth about us because we are having trouble remembering it ourselves. As my mom reminds me, it’s the stuff my marriage vows were made of.
Back to church this morning, I feel like a heartless bitch because I see clearly how these stories are not the truth and I refuse to support the victim mindset. The only one I feel semi-good about is the woman with the “sick” daughter. God cannot be sick I tell her. Call your daughter back to health. She has forgotten who she is.
Yet even my own lack of sympathy is an opening for condemnation. The minister tells the story of Evy McDonald, who went from a prognosis of one year to live when she was diagnosed with ALS to radical self-love and forgiveness that helped her cure the disease.
I notice how my weight is creeping back up and how little aches and pains sometimes plague me. It’s fine for me to tell this woman with the sick daughter that sickness is not the truth, but excuse me while I defend my own twinges of pain.
The folly of it all! (Double sigh).
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
(198) Only my condemnation injures me.
My condemnation keeps my vision dark, and through my
sightless eyes I cannot see the vision of my glory.
Yet today I can behold this glory and be glad.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
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I practice standing naked before the mirror and loving what is. I want it to be different, but I can only get there through surrender. I can only follow the path of forgiveness.
Beginner’s Mind has no opinions. I do not know what anything is for and I’m willing to let go of trying to be a fucking expert. I notice how often my ego wants to be the fucking expert in the room. Even writing is an attempt to nail down impermanence.
Pema Chodron calls this being a child of illusion. “We generally interpret the world so heavily in terms of good and bad, happy and sad, nice and not nice that the world doesn’t get a chance to speak for itself. When we say, ‘Be a child of illusion,’ we’re beginning to get at this fresh way of looking when we’re not caught in our hope and fear. We become mindful, awake, and gentle with our hope and fear. We see them clearly with less bias, less judgment, less sense of a heavy trip. When this happens, the world will speak for itself.”*
Am I becoming less opinionated? I practice curiosity, noticing without trying to assign judgment to it. I do not know what anything is for. Yesterday, a friend told me of how her daughter and sister were in a terrible car and the upside seems to be that during an MRI, a mass was discovered in her sister’s liver. The story is that the car accident needed to happen so that the mass could be discovered.
Is that the truth? Part of me notices how really that idea is a story, which is what humans do, right?
The Course says, “1 Would God have left the meaning of the world to your interpretation? If He had, it has no meaning. For it cannot be that meaning changes constantly, and yet is true. The Holy Spirit looks upon the world as with one purpose, changelessly established. And no situation can affect its aim, but must be in accord with it. For only if its aim could change with every situation could each one be open to interpretation which is different every time you think of it. You add an element into the script you write for every minute in the day, and all that happens now means something else. You take away another element, and every meaning shifts accordingly.”
I don’t know what any of it means. I just know to turn to God, again and again, and give up thinking I know anything. Only my condemnation injures me.
Yeah, I really need to stop that condemning/judging shit. Until then, I forgive myself when I screw up (daily).
Forgiveness. It always comes back to forgiveness.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.
*Chodron, Pema (2010-09-14). Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living (Shambhala Classics) (p. 25). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.
- New Treasures in a New World (celiaelaine.wordpress.com)
- Spiritual Prayer Journal (spiritcenteredawakenings.com)
- Believing long enough to get a Miracle (Charlie) (herewearegoing.wordpress.com)
- What’s in your hologram? (pamgrout.com)
- A course in miracles (journeysinwriting.com)
- The Backdoor Way Out (retireinstyleblog.com)
- The Wizard of Oz (barrycosme.wordpress.com)