Forgiveness is learned. It is not inherent in the mind. Our Teacher is the Holy Spirit. What are we learning? Not to make the illusion, the dream, the separation real. We taught ourselves how to make it seem real. We made up all sorts of things – time, space, bodies, personality selves, emotions, pain, sickness, death, birth, special relationships, etc. (basically anything that is not eternal) – to teach ourselves that all this illusion, beginning with the separation, is real.
And then we put our faith, belief and trust in it. We did not doubt it. We valued it. And then we did everything possible to block out our awareness of reality. So, forgiveness is learning to withdraw our faith, belief, trust and valuing from the illusion and place it in reality instead. We must also allow ourselves to be persuaded by the Holy Spirit to surrender all of our miscreations. All that we have done must be undone. We must also remember our mother tongue that we have long forgotten. The language of Heaven and of God, that we have dissociated, must be brought back into our awareness.
How do we accomplish all of that? Only the Holy Spirit knows what each of our programs entails. He will guide us. He will tell us exactly what to do, say, and think. He will show us how to use what is seemingly happening in the dream to learn what God would have us learn. He will use everything to teach us forgiveness if we will expel the ego and invite Him in.
We will all eventually learn forgiveness. There are many lessons to be learned before we each attain true forgiveness. Forgiveness is perfected in us in the real world. Everyone’s path to this perfecting is highly individualized and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. He knows what each of our forgiveness lessons entail. We each have a special assignment as we all “travel” home to God.
Jesus said his final forgiveness lesson was to listen only to one voice, the Holy Spirit’s.
It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn. It is the final lesson that I learned, and God’s Sons are as equal as learners as they are as Sons. (T-5.II.3:9-11)
When we learn to listen to only the one true Voice and no other, forgiveness will have been perfected in us.
Learning forgiveness is a process. It is not a specific incantation or formula, although the Holy Spirit may use such things to aid us in our learning. What serve as tools of forgiveness in one level of learning must eventually drop away as we embrace the tools of the next level of forgiveness. The previous tools we mastered then become the bedrock for the next level. Some will stop and rest awhile at certain levels of learning. Others will forge ahead.
Learning forgiveness takes great effort and willingness. Moving up the levels of learning forgiveness is hard work.
To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning. (T-24.in.2:1-2)
Learning to forgive can be equated with recovery from addiction. It can be that intense and require that much focus, determination and willingness. We are not addicted to anything of this world. Those addictions are just shadow stories or reflections of our one and only addiction. We are addicted to the ego and its thought system of fear and guilt. To become truly sober of that, to achieve true forgiveness, is possible with the Holy Spirit.
But forgiveness, sobriety, is not something that we can just choose to do or not to do. It is something we must learn to do. It is a process. We must undergo a reprogramming of our thinking. We must release one thought system and embrace another. We cannot do this alone. We must depend exclusively on the Holy Spirit. He will guide us when we are willing and able.
In our process, it may be helpful to listen to other people’s forgiveness “formulas” or experiences, or what they believe are forgiveness processes, but it is really about each of us going to the Holy Spirit and taking direction directly from Him. We can listen to stories of people and their therapeutic experiences but we must eventually engage in our own therapy. Holy Spirit I want to learn to forgive. Please teach me. And then listen. No matter how bizarre or mundane the instruction, do it. Practice doing it. We cannot learn to forgive without learning to listen to our Teacher, the Holy Spirit.
Just like forgiveness, listening to the Holy Spirit is something we must learn to do. The more we do it, the easier it will become. Listening to the Holy Spirit is not something that comes naturally. It is in complete opposition to the unnatural state of our “existence” as we presently experience it. We taught ourselves to listen only to the ego and to block out our awareness of the Holy Spirit. And then we labeled it salvation from the wrath of God. We gave the ego the wheel, the keys, the car and then the title. If we could only understand all the absolutely insane things we did and still do, say and think at the direction of the ego, listening to the Holy Spirit would not seem strange. But to most of us the fact that we are slaves to the ego is unrecognized, comfortable and even desired. It is even twisted into a bizarre tale of freedom.
Ultimately the learning of forgiveness must be founded on God-reliance and not the-self-we-made-reliance. Only the Voice for God can teach us of true forgiveness. We are blind and deaf and know nothing. It is only an illusion that we see and hear and have knowing. From this humbled place we must let the Holy Spirit guide us. We must put all of our faith, belief and trust in Him. In our seeming infirmity, our sickness of mind, He will be our eyes, our ears and our knowing. He loves us. He knows what we are in truth. He will never leave us. He will guide us home. Learn to give Him the wheel. He will teach us to forgive.