Today’s ACIM lesson, #333, Forgiveness ends the dream of conflict here, dovetails nicely with the reading from last night’s class, “Conflict must be between two forces. It cannot exist between one power and nothingness. There is nothing you could attack that is not part of you. And by attacking it you make two illusions of yourself, in conflict with each other.” Conflict is always an ego fabrication. How could oneness be in conflict? That would imply that there are differences and what is one is the same. (“Illusions can conflict, because their forms are different.”) Whenever there is conflict, it is the battle of illusions. “…Conflict is the choice between illusions, one to be crowned as real, the other vanquished and despised.” Ego loves to be “right,” which is saying that the other is “wrong.” But, asks the Course, “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” Happiness cannot be found within duality, where one is triumphant over another.“Illusions battle only with themselves.” The answer is forgiveness. Now, in the Clarification of Terms, the Course tells us that in reality, forgiveness is illusion as well because in truth there is nothing to forgive. “Forgiveness is for God and toward God but not of Him. It is impossible to think of anything He created that could need forgiveness. Forgiveness, then, is an illusion, but because of its purpose, which is the Holy Spirit’s, it has one difference. Unlike all other illusions it leads away from error and not towards it.”
Forgiveness is the means for returning to love – listening to the Holy Spirit rather than ego.
“God does not forgive because He has never condemned.” From lesson 46, “Yet although God does not forgive, His Love is nevertheless the basis of forgiveness. Fear condemns and love forgives. Forgiveness thus undoes what fear has produced, returning the mind to the awareness of God. For this reason, forgiveness can truly be called salvation. It is the means by which illusions disappear.”
From last year’s writing:
Dream of ConflictLesson 332, Fear binds the world, forgiveness sets it free, is one I accidentally did back on November 26, so even though I’d probably benefit from repeating it, I’m moving forward to lesson 333: Forgiveness ends the dream of conflict here. Forgiveness is a gift. It restores peace. It invites in harmony. It’s a challenging concept for many people because they equate forgiveness with letting the guilty party off the hook, but that’s not the Course’s definition of forgiveness. Those who are new to the Course would do well to read The Clarification of Terms, which begins the definition of forgiveness by saying, “C-3.1. Forgiveness is for God and toward God but not of Him. 2 It is impossible to think of anything He created that could need forgiveness. 3 Forgiveness, then, is an illusion, but because of its purpose, which is the Holy Spirit’s, it has one difference. 4 Unlike all other illusions it leads away from error and not towards it.”
Forgiveness ends the dream of conflict because it recognizes that conflict can only exist is a mind that thinks it is separate from God (what the Course refers to as a split mind). If you knew who you were (the holy Son of God Himself), how could you be conflicted?
Forgiveness ends the dream of conflict here.
Conflict must be resolved. It cannot be evaded, set aside, denied, disguised, seen somewhere else, called by another name, or hidden by deceit of any kind, if it would be escaped. It must be seen exactly as it is, where it is thought to be, in the reality which has been given it, and with the purpose that the mind accorded it. For only then are its defenses lifted, and the truth can shine upon it as it disappears.
Father, forgiveness is the light You chose to shine away all conflict and all doubt, and light the way for our return to You. No light but this can end our evil dream. No light but this can save the world. For this alone will never fail in anything, being Your gift to Your beloved Son.
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Forgiveness is the light chosen by God to help us find our way home. “Conflict must be resolved.” You see, conflict is the mark of a split mind, a mind that doesn’t recognize Oneness. It can only exist in duality, can only exist as the result of judgment that has assessed the situation and come up with a “right” and a “wrong.”
Perhaps the most challenging part of studying the Course is stepping beyond ideas of right and wrong to Wholeness. Clearly, when someone murders someone else (because we think we are bodies and can actually be killed), it violates our sense of morality and duality rears its ugly head.
Love heals. It can only be found in the NOW, where past and present don’t exist. This is the place where forgiveness can enter and shift the energy. So much of the “problem” with regards to forgiveness is that ego wants to take guilt from the past and attach it like a race car on a Mobius strip doomed to loop for eternity. Ego isn’t interested a clean slate or seeing beyond who the person has shown himself to be, and I get it. I was discussing this with a friend of mine today, who commented that she liked what Maya Angelou said on the subject, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
It’s not that I don’t believe them. It’s that I know that’s not the truth.
“When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. If you perceive his errors and accept them, you are accepting yours. If you want to give yours over to the Holy Spirit, you must do this with his. Unless this becomes the one way in which you handle all errors, you cannot understand how all errors are undone. How is this different from telling you that what you teach you learn? Your brother is as right as you are, and if you think he is wrong you are condemning yourself.”
When someone shows me that they don’t know the truth of who they are, my job is to see it for them.
“1 You have been told not to make error real, and the way to do this is very simple. If you want to believe in error, you would have to make it real because it is not true. But truth is real in its own right, and to believe in truth you do not have to do anything. Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response. That is why analyzing the motives of others is hazardous to you. If you decide that someone is really trying to attack you or desert you or enslave you, you will respond as if he had actually done so, having made his error real to you. To interpret error is to give it power, and having done this you will overlook truth.”
As see the world not as it is but as I am.
Have I mentioned lately how I sometimes hate personal responsibility?!?
When I experience conflict, I am saying I don’t know who I am because if I knew, I couldn’t be conflicted. I need the tool of forgiveness to escape the impulse to judge myself for my errors. But the errors aren’t real and if I think they are I’ve created conflict by making myself crazy over illusions. I need forgiveness to recognize that nothing really happened. I need forgiveness to escape from duality.
I need forgiveness to get back to ground zero, where I remember what is not love is illusion; it is but a dream of conflict.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.
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