You can make an empty shell, but you cannot express nothing at all. (T-1.V.1:4)
Forgiveness and correction are the emptying out of the vessel we made so that it might be filled by the Holy Spirit.
We have belief in the physical and unbelief in the supernatural. The belief we have in the physical or false is corrected by journeying with the Holy Spirit through our making of this wrong-minded thought system and bringing sense, understanding and reason to it. In the light of reason, it will disappear. Our unbelief is corrected by practicing overlooking the illusion or the false and seeing the true beyond it.
Salvation, God’s promise that we will remember Him by undoing all of this, is the Holy Spirit’s goal. The means are miracles, true forgiveness, and vision. The result is a healing of the mind. Healing is the release from fear.
The mind can be right or wrong, depending on the voice to which it listens. Right-mindedness listens to the Holy Spirit, forgives the world, and through Christ’s vision sees the real world in its place. (C-1.5)
Forgiveness has a ladder. Just as with prayer, there are more advanced forms of forgiveness. The next level of forgiveness, up the ladder, deals with us as mind. It is not the personality self you think you are that is practicing forgiveness. It is you as mind. I, as mind, have done this thing and it is this I, as mind, would undo. Forgiveness means to release. I, as mind, forgive you means I release you from my thoughts of you as separate and apart. I release you from my thought of you as a body or a personality self. I release you from my thoughts of you as anything but my brother and the Son of God. I release myself from all thoughts that I am separate and apart. I release myself from my thoughts of me as a body or a personality self. I release myself from all thoughts of myself as anything but your brother and the Son of God. I offer my unforgiving thoughts to the Holy Spirit for correction.
Forgiveness is an empty gesture unless it entails correction. (T-2.V-A.15:3)
For healing to occur mistaken thoughts must be corrected. For example, “I am a body” is a thought that needs correction. The process of correction involves looking at the unforgiving thoughts with reason and the Holy Spirit as you move to spiritual vision.
We can forgive anything in form because it is all the result of our unforgiving thoughts. I, as mind, forgive the world. I release it from every thought of it as other than neutral. I release it from all thoughts I have that make it seem real. I release it from the thought that I would use it and the seeming happenings in it to prove that the separation happened. I release it from the role I gave it to be the jailer of the Son of God. I offer my unforgiving thoughts to the Holy Spirit for correction.
This forgiveness process of release addresses some of the first lessons in the workbook. The forgiven world, body and little self are there. We just cannot see them. The ego keeps writing unforgiving thoughts all over the top of them. If we would stop writing all over the top of them, we would see the Word of God beneath them. But that is another level. Back to this level.
So we, as mind, denied our Identity. We chose to dissociate or forget God, Heaven and our Self. And then we imprisoned ourselves, our brothers, and the things we had made, bodies, personality selves and the world. We had unforgiving thoughts that made everything a prisoner of the unforgiving mind. So now the jailer, the ego, is in control and runs the show to keep itself in power.
Forgiveness is the part of the process of return where we practice going in. We stop reflexively projecting our thoughts outward but take them into the mind where they can be corrected. We take responsibility for what our thoughts have made and how we are continuing to participate in the thought system we made to make the separation seem real. Forgiveness can be thought of as a process of “not making it real.” Our belief made the illusion real. We must withdrawal that belief. Forgiveness and correction are the process of learning not to make our projected makings real.
All things are lessons God would have you learn. He would not leave an unforgiving thought without correction, nor one thorn or nail to hurt His holy Son in any way. (W-193.9:1-2)
The idea that you are a body, and a personality self needs to be corrected. They are unforgiving thoughts and block your ability to engage with the Course as mind. If you are participating in the illusion and are doing things because “you” “like” to do them, ask yourself who is doing them and why? For example, if you go to the gym ask yourself, “Who is doing this and why?” The ego says go to the gym. You are a body. Your body is real. If you don’t take care of it who knows what will happen. You are fat. You are unworthy of love. Do something about it. You look better if you exercise. It makes you feel better. It is the solution to your problem of feeling bad. You are broken. You need to be fixed. If you believe any of these unforgiving thoughts, you have chosen to believe that you are a body, the separation happened, and you are not the Son of God.
Now practice changing your teacher and your purpose. You are the Son of God. Perfect. But as long as you are still believing that you are a body and a personality self let us use the gym time for awakening. The Holy Spirit says, “Temporarily we are going to use physical exercise to quiet your mind. Go to the gym and as you exercise try to empty your mind.” Or maybe the instruction is, “As you exercise, I want you to repeat this particular phrase.” Or “I want you to exercise. And as you do I want you to think of all the self-hatred you have about the body you think you are. Let us look at this together.” Or “I want you to go to the gym today. As you exercise, I want you to tell all your brothers you see at the gym, in your mind, “You are not that body you think you are. You are mind. You are spirit. You are not guilty, unworthy of love and deserving of punishment. You are the perfect supernatural Son of God Himself.” So going to the gym now becomes a mind training exercise instead of a body training exercise. It becomes a workout session with the Holy Spirit instead of the ego. His purpose. Our purpose. Not the ego’s.
Peace abides in every mind that quietly accepts the plan God set for its Atonement, relinquishing its own. You know not of salvation, for you do not understand it. Make no decisions about what it is or where it lies, but ask the Holy Spirit everything, and leave all decisions to His gentle counsel. (T-14.III)