“If we really were to disregard the past and only live in the present moment, forgetting about the consequences that the past created, doesn’t that sort of give me cart blanche to do whatever the hell I want?” came the question during last night’s class. “What if you were responsible for me losing my leg? I’m supposed to just forget that?”
Funny how it comes down to trust; to trust-worthiness – to the lack of willingness to truly forgive and move on.
My response was, “yes. That’s what forgiveness is about.”
“But couldn’t I just then do whatever the hell I wanted and consequences be damned.”
First off, not forgiving hurts the person holding the grudge, but moving beyond that, it’s not a matter of disregarding one another. I mean, if I really know we are connected, that you and I are one, then would I consciously choose any action what would harm you? If I know we are both guiltless, sinless, would I be worried about letting go of assigning guilt regarding the consequences I’m living with?
We are still studying the Manual for Teachers, material that seems to be pleasing to the group because it somehow seems more “hands on,” more nuts and bolts, if you will. We began with Section 16 How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day? And managed to get through a whole eight pages before the night was over, ending with Section 18 How is Correction Made? (Which of course is the response to Section 17 How Do God’s Teachers Deal with Magic Thoughts?)
This first section begins with the reminder not to rely on ritual. (“Routines as such are dangerous, because they easily become gods in their own right, threatening the very goals for which they were set up.”) Yet it seems to be providing instruction/guidance regarding what devotional periods should look like, instructing us to connect with God upon awakening and before retiring.
What it really is telling us is to go with the flow, to take things on a moment by moment basis: “After completion of the more structured practice periods, which the workbook contains, individual needs become the chief consideration.”
It is a section that instructs us not to rely on magic. But what is magic? We discuss it and decide that it is the reliance on things “out there” (perhaps rituals?) that create the illusion that they, rather than God, are the source of power. We are protected, says the Course, it’s not an “out there” sort of thing. “You think you made a place of safety for yourself. You think you made a power that can save you from all the fearful things you see in dreams. It is not so. Your safety lies not there. What you give up is merely the illusion of protecting illusions. And it is this you fear, and only this. How foolish to be so afraid of nothing! Nothing at all! Your defenses will not work, but you are not in danger. You have no need of them. Recognize this, and they will disappear. And only then will you accept your real protection.”
When doubts start to arise, the impulse is to fall back into old habits where we rely on ourselves rather than asking God for assistance.
There are times his certainty will waver, and the instant this occurs he will return to earlier attempts to place reliance on himself alone. Forget not this is magic, and magic is a sorry substitute for true assistance. It is not good enough for God’s teacher, because it is not enough for God’s Son.
Getting back to our question about why it’s “safe” to let go of assigning guilt over the consequences of early actions (in our example: a missing leg as the result of the actions of another), it comes down, as it often seems to, to forgiveness. Who is hurt by holding on to grudges? “…the outcome that results will always come to teacher and to pupil alike. How many times has it been emphasized that you give but to yourself?”
There is only one of us here.
4 Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts.
In the example of the missing limb, we return to lesson 2: I have given everything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] all the meaning that it has for me.
Whatever happened, happened. I am the one who makes up the story I tell myself about what I think that means. It is only the idea that someone is guilty and needs to suffer retribution for being the cause of my misery that keeps me stuck. As humans with egos, we want someone to be guilty. But if we are all connected, if we are all one, then isn’t it myself I am making guilty? Isn’t it me who suffers?
1 Correction of a lasting nature,-and only this is true correction,-cannot be made until the teacher of God has ceased to confuse interpretation with fact, or illusion with truth. (Again, see Lesson 2.)
Returning to our example where I am missing my leg as the result of something you do, the truth, that is the “fact” is I am missing a leg, but assigning blame about it is a story I made up. Perhaps you were the driver in a car that crashed, maybe you were even drunk and shouldn’t have been driving, but all of that is a story. That I think it means, who I think is at fault, all of that I. Made. Up.
There is something liberating in giving up the need to explain things. When I no longer have a story that I have to assign to whatever is happening, then I no longer find myself trapped in the need to make some people right and other people wrong.
One of the people in the class describe a struggle with a neighbor and some actions that person took that resulted in an expensive expedition in retrieving his vehicle from the impound lot. Actions. Consequences. I mention a book I am reading called How to Live in the Now which talks about soul contracts. I don’t know if it is true or not, but the concept seems useful.
Lifetime after lifetime, you and your Soul Mates from your Soul group play out chosen roles. Often they are frictional roles, lighting fires under each other to burn out the energy-vibration frequency blockages that hold you all back from becoming whole and One with God. This understanding of soul contracts can help you release your judgment, hurt, and resentment toward “partners“ previously seen as adversaries. It can help you see painful events in the light of unconditional Love. It can help you to forgive or make amends to these people, to wish them well and thank them, in your mind or in person, for the roles they have played in helping you release long-held energy-vibration frequency blockages that prevented you from becoming whole and attaining Oneness with God. In the light of Oneness, judgment is revealed to be myopic and incorrect. Only when the “bigger picture” is seen is the truth revealed. In Oneness, there are no victims and no villains, only unconditionally loving Soul mates unselfishly playing out roles in the educational illusions life on the earth plane provides for Souls in order for them to grow towards Oneness with God.*
I could see that. Maybe we come in with soul contracts with each other and maybe we don’t, but what I do know is that is letting go of thinking that I know what anything is for, in letting go of the need to make anyone else guilty, peace has the opportunity to filter through and shift the energy.
Our classmate seems torn over whether or not he should take him neighbor to court for knowingly filing a false report and getting the vehicle towed. I have no answers other than “teach love.” Maybe that means letting it go, maybe it means sticking up for himself. I don’t know. I don’t know what anything is for. I don’t think there is a right or wrong in it, I think there are only choices and intentions that motivate those choices.
And so we practice. We come together to help each other remember, to laugh at ourselves and to remember Rule #6.
‘Cause the game is rigged. What are we so worried about?
Namaste. my friends, Namaste.
*Berkowitz, Neville (2015-01-04). How To Live In The Now: Achieve Awareness, Growth and Inner Peace in Your Life (Personal Empowerment Book 1) (Kindle Locations 1617-1627). . Kindle Edition.