We do not have access to the awareness of our Self. That is a cold hard truth. As long as we seem to be existing in perceptionland we are perceivers and not creators. We have no awareness of God or Heaven or our Self as co-creator. We are blind and deaf. We need help and we cannot help ourselves. It is only from this humbled place that we can journey home. I know nothing.
In this world, the closest we can get to Heaven is to become an empty vessel through which the Holy Spirit can pour. An empty vessel? This is antithetical to the ego’s thinking. It will raise holy hell to derail any movement in that direction. It will make-up endless temptations to make things real, good and bad. It will try anything to avoid…
“Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God’s teachers. They watch the dream figures come and go, shift and change, suffer and die. Yet they are not deceived by what they see. They recognize that to behold a dream figure as sick and separate is no more real than to regard it as healthy and beautiful. Unity alone is not a thing of dreams. And it is this God’s teachers acknowledge as behind the dream, beyond all seeming and yet surely theirs.” (M-12.6:6-11)
In this neutral state, self undone, suffering is impossible. We can become so undone that we are a servant, a tool of the Holy Spirit to be used only for the purpose of salvation. No thought of self, only total God-reliance. It is from this perfected place, we transcend the ego and go beyond the dream.
In the meantime, back on planet earth, we engage in the practicing of forgiveness. What is forgiveness? Before you answer, remember that humbled place? I do not know.
If we think we know anything, we cannot be taught. Most concepts in the Course are level specific. Ask the Holy Spirit goes from, “Ask the Holy Spirit about certain things and whenever you can.” to “Ask the Holy Spirit all things always.” Forgiveness is no different. Somewhere in my process the Holy Spirit told me to think of forgiveness as “not making it real.” Until told otherwise, that is the way I am going to think about it. I don’t “know” what forgiveness is but I will think about it the way I was instructed to. I have no idea why. I don’t need to know. I have placed my mind at the disposal of true authority. I trust the Holy Spirit’s plan.
“Follow the Holy Spirit’s teaching in forgiveness, then, because forgiveness is His function and He knows how to fulfill it perfectly. That is what I meant when I said that miracles are natural, and when they do not occur something has gone wrong. Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s plan of salvation, recognizing that you do not understand what it is. His work is not your function, and unless you accept this you cannot learn what your function is.” (T-9.IV.6:1-4)
Forgiveness must be learned. Do not let anyone tell you what forgiveness is or how to do it. They do not “know.” They cannot. They too are in perceptionland. They can share with you their practice as they were guided. They can point you to some definitions, but they do not “know.” Maybe they are thinking about forgiveness in a lower level of understanding way. And it doesn’t matter if you are new to the Course or not. Maybe the Holy Spirit has a way for you to look at it that fits in with your personal assignment in the Great Awakening.
“Forgiveness is acquired. It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin. As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you. Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear. Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin.” (W-121.6:1-5)
Learning to listen to and take direction from our inner Voice is imperative as we embark on the journey of “burning” off the self we think we made and letting it disappear. We have to remember that we made this self and think, at some level, that it is us. Therefore its “death” would be ours. At another level, we think its existence keeps us safe from a vengeful God. Its disappearance would be the loss of our salvation.
Undoing this complex thought structure will take our willingness and humbleness and the Holy Spirit’s expertise. In a way it is like a complicated brain surgery or deprogramming. Only He knows the plan and how to execute it. We know nothing.
Specialness is the foundational thought that makes us believe we are this self we made and that it knows everything. It was the initiating tiny mad idea, the wish to be other than we were. We placed our invulnerable and all powerful mind at the disposal of a self-made tyrant, the ego, to have our wish fulfilled. We are not this special and self-reliant self-concept we made.
“It is not you who are so vulnerable and open to attack that just a word, a little whisper that you do not like, a circumstance that suits you not, or an event that you did not anticipate upsets your world, and hurls it into chaos. Truth is not frail. Illusions leave it perfectly unmoved and undisturbed. But specialness is not the truth in you. It can be thrown off balance by anything. What rests on nothing never can be stable. However large and overblown it seems to be, it still must rock and turn and whirl about with every breeze.” (T-24.III.3:1-7)
Nor are our brothers.
“The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see. Freedom and peace and joy stand there, beside the bier on which they sleep, and call them to come forth and waken from their dream of death. Yet they hear nothing. They are lost in dreams of specialness. They hate the call that would awaken them, and they curse God because He did not make their dream reality. Curse God and die, but not by Him Who made not death; but only in the dream.” (T-24.III.7:1-8)
The idea that we are the self we made is the identity problem which amounts to self-crucifixion. But thankfully that is not the Will of God nor of His Son.
“The slaves of specialness will yet be free. Such is the Will of God and of His Son. Would God condemn Himself to hell and to damnation? And do you will that this be done unto your savior (your brother)? God calls to you from him (your brother) to join His Will to save you both from hell. Look on the print of nails upon his hands that he holds out for your forgiveness. God asks your mercy on His Son and on Himself. Deny Them not. They ask of you but that your will be done. They seek your love that you may love yourself. Love not your specialness instead of Them. The print of nails is on your hands as well. Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified.” (T-24.III.8:1-13)
Spend time with the Holy Spirit. Develop a relationship with Him. You need no other. Depend on Him for everything. Let Him lead the way. Put your faith and trust in Him. Let Him teach you of forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is the end of specialness. Only illusions can be forgiven, and then they disappear. Forgiveness is release from all illusions, and that is why it is impossible but partly to forgive. No one who clings to one illusion can see himself as sinless, for he holds one error to himself as lovely still.” (T-24.III.1:1-5)
Our freedom depends on it. All of You and none of me because we have no access to our real Self. In order to get home we have to turn everything over to the Holy Spirit. There is no me here in perceptionland. And from THAT humbled place we journey home to our Self, our arrival sure, guaranteed by God.