Lesson 122: Forgiveness offers everything I want.

The Return of the Prodigal Son by James Tissot – Brooklyn Museum

What could you want forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset?

All this forgiveness offers you, and more.

Forgiveness offers everything I want.
Today I have accepted this as true.
Today I have received the gifts of God.

From Wapnick:

In A Course in Miracles, achieving what is positive (forgiveness, gratitude, oneness, love) is accomplished through undoing what is negative. This lesson (and the 5 that follow) show us what is positive by showing us what needs undoing. In this lesson, we are asked to look at our investments in everything we think we want that will bring us happiness and peace. These are the false goals of specialness that we need to undo.

We think we want peace, happiness, a quiet mind, but what we really want is to fulfill our special, worldly desires. For a while we may think our special desires bring us peace and happiness, but it always eventually fails. That’s when we finally realize there must be another way. Forgiveness is the other way. Forgiveness does nothing positive, it simply removes the negative. It helps us say “no” to the ego.

From the Lesson:

Forgiveness lets the veil be lifted up that hides the face of Christ from those who look with unforgiving eyes upon the world. It lets you recognize the Son of God, and clears your memory of all dead thoughts so that remembrance of your Father can arise across the threshold of your mind.

Dead thoughts are those of the ego: coveting individuality and special desires; thoughts of sin, guilt, and fear; embracing projection… The purpose of these lessons is not to experience holy moments, it is to bring their truth to our daily experiences, and see “the changeless in the heart of change.” Everything here changes. What pleases us one day will not please us another. What is changeless is the Love of God.

Every moment provides an opportunity for forgiveness. Practice, practice, practice.

Lesson 121: Forgiveness is the key to happiness.

Soul in Bondage by Elihu Vedder, 1891

I’m back from my break and once again, I haven’t completed the Text Reading on time so I’m going ahead with the lessons. I’ll catch up. Onward to Lesson 121!

The unforgiving mind is…

  • full of fear
  • sad
  • torn with doubt
  • afraid and angry
  • weak and blustering
  • afraid to go ahead
  • afraid to stay
  • afraid to waken or go to sleep
  • afraid of every sound but more afraid of stillness
  • terrified of darkness but more terrified of the approach of light
  • unable to see mistakes, only sin
  • in despair

Forgiveness is acquired. Each unforgiving mind provides an opportunity to teach your own mind forgiveness.

Today we practice learning to forgive. We will try to learn that giving and receiving are the same.

Begin the longer practice periods by thinking of someone you do not like, who seems to irritate you, or to cause regret in you if you should meet him; one you actively despise, or merely try to overlook. It does not matter what the form your anger takes. You probably have chosen him already. He will do.

A very specific, powerful person immediately comes to mind.

Now close your eyes and see him in your mind, and look at him a while. Try to perceive some light in him somewhere; a little gleam which you had never noticed. Try to find some little spark of brightness shining through the ugly picture that you hold of him. Look at this picture till you see a light somewhere within it, and then try to let this light extend until it covers him, and makes the picture beautiful and good.

That is so hard to do!! I can imagine him as a damaged child, but I have so much difficulty seeing light in him! It was there for a minute…

Look at this changed perception for a while, and turn your mind to one you call a friend. Try to transfer the light you learned to see around your former “enemy” to him. Perceive him now as more than friend to you, for in that light his holiness shows you your savior, saved and saving, healed and whole.

Then let him offer you the light you see in him, and let your “enemy” and friend unite in blessing you with what you gave. Now are you one with them, and they with you. Now have you been forgiven by yourself. Do not forget, throughout the day, the role forgiveness plays in bringing happiness to every unforgiving mind, with yours among them. Every hour tell yourself:

Forgiveness is the key to happiness. I will awaken from the dream that I am mortal, fallible and full of sin, and know I am the perfect Son of God.

From Wapnick:

Forgiveness is the key that opens our minds. It is the name A Course in Miracles gives to the process of realizing that what upsets us is not what is going on within our own or another’s body.

Very few “great thinkers” question the reality of the material world. Even the quantum physicists who do question it, do not question the thoughts that made it. ACIM asks us to question both the world and the underlying system of guilt that made it. To learn ACIM requires a willingness to question every value you hold.

Everyone is calling for help and a release from the Hell we have created, including the people we dislike. The point of the lesson is not a New Age Affirmation in seeing the light in everyone. It’s about getting in touch with the ugly picture in my mind. That is how I will realize that perceiving ugliness in others is a defense I have chosen to conceal the light of truth that is in my mind and that of others. Likewise, we cannot remember love until we acknowledge hate. We have to recognize that we are denying truth. (The task of the miracle worker is to “deny the denial of truth”.)

Taking a Break

My daughter and I are in beautiful Fayetteville, Arkansas. I’m taking a break until February. See you then.!

(The photo is from Wilson Park of the Wilson Park Castle. It was created in 1979 by Frank Williams to replace an old springhouse that was falling apart and covered in weeds. My grandparents owned a home on Wilson Street overlooking the park. My strongest memory of the park is catching crawfish with my cousins in coffee cans my grandmother gave us when we were young. If we caught enough, she’d make a wonderful crawfish boil. The stream was crystal clear back then. It still looks crystal clear.)

Lesson 120: Review of Lessons 109 & 110

Lesson 109: I rest in God: I rest in God today, and let Him work in me and through me, while I rest in Him in quiet and in perfect certainty.

Lesson 110: I am as God created me. I am God’s Son. Today I lay aside all sick illusions of myself, and let my Father tell me Who I really am.

From Wapnick: Our review ends with the happy thought that despite “all sick illusions of myself” and the world, I have never ceased to rest in God. His Voice becomes the only voice I hear, and Its Love guides me gently through my day. I remain at rest, “in quiet and in perfect certainty,” for I remember I am as God created me, and nothing in the world can change the changeless in my mind.

Lesson 119: Review of Lessons 107 & 108

Lesson 107: Truth will correct all errors in my mind. I am mistaken when I think I can be hurt in any way. I am God’s Son, whose Self rests safely in the Mind of God.

Lesson 108: To give and receive are one in truth. I will forgive all things today, that I may learn how to accept the truth in me, and come to recognize my sinlessness.

From Wapnick: Over and over Jesus reminds us that through our forgiveness – of others and ourselves – we will awaken from the nightmarish dreams of sin and guilt to the glorious truth of our Self: God’s Son who rests safely in the Mind of His Creator.

Lesson 118: Review of Lessons 105 & 106

Lesson 105: God’s peace and joy are mine. Today I will accept God’s peace and joy, in glad exchange for all the substitutes that I have made for happiness and peace.

Lesson 106: Let me be still and listen to the truth. Let my own feeble voice be still, and let me hear the mighty Voice for Truth Itself assure me that I am God’s perfect Son.

From Wapnick: I happily accept God’s peace and joy to the extent I set aside my feeble voice that speaks only of separation, specialness, and death. Now I hear the mighty Voice for Truth remind me that I am God’s Son, perfect as He is perfect, and in that remembrance I am at peace at last.