A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. In some languages though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative.
The peace that the pure non-dual metaphysics of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) inspires in us – and we’re inexorably drawn to – becomes attainable when we practice our forgiveness lessons, requiring ever-increasing mindful diligence in watching our thoughts and feelings of specialness, victimhood, condemnation, annoyance, discouragement, envy, anxiety, hopelessness, doubt, expectations, exasperations, and exhilarations … the list of fleeting, ephemeral states is seemingly endless. It also can seem ever more daunting when we dedicate ourselves to looking at the contents of our minds and discover what seems to be expanding desolation as we drain our oceanic ego identity of importance, revealing these maladaptive monsters with greater clarity, to our horror! But what if they have been there all along, and in our state of (egoic) denial, we white-washed the problems with ‘invisible paint’? What if that’s our way out of the ego’s maze… By rising above the metaphoric maze – with the help of our Inner Kindness Teacher (a.k.a. Holy Spirit or ACIM’s Jesus a.k.a. J) – we get glimpses of the peace that awaits us beyond the insane battlefield of ego’s terrorizing turf of sin, guilt and fear.
Those glimpses – afforded us by even short bursts of honest assessment of ego’s madness, followed by a sincere willingness (however seemingly slight) to relinquish ‘our way’ – which is actually just ego’s denial of sanity … as J reminds us, have both immediate and long-term benefits for genuine peace. The short-term advantages include, but are not limited to: instant relief from our (fraudulent) self-inflicted misery, reinforcement of the habit of ‘seeing peace instead of this’ and realizing that we’re ‘never upset for the reason we think’ which has the side-benefit of expanding the scope of our dream-world choices to the vastly greater realm of possibilities that include considering what benefits All, not just some, even if we don’t have a clue what the full implications of these choices might lead to. That can actually be rather fun! 🙂 What a true relief to ponder statements such as this that let us all ‘off the hook’ for feeling like we must bear the unbearable burden of trying to figure everything out – as dream figures in a game designed for everyone to lose by fighting against each other!
In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things, past, present, and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests, now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself? – M.10.3:3-7
The ultimate cumulative benefit of our forgiveness practice is that – as ego’s shenanigans are exposed … and we become less and less enamored and seduced by its lies – the ‘tractor beam’ pull of our eternally shared Identity has ever greater appeal, we become less and less willing to submit ourselves to ego’s masochistic and insatiable need machine agenda, and eventually we kick that dysfunctional habit altogether as the ‘final step’ is taken for us. The unchanging peace that this represents we can only dimly imagine at this point, yet each of us, no matter how profoundly suppressed, has heard the call to return to the Home we never left, and where we All abide in Truth.
Ego’s grandiosity ironically narrows our range of vision to the blindness of it’s ‘dark star’ (black hole) singularity illusion, where no light can be found, nor can it escape. There IS no hope in a world conceived and dedicated to guilt; that guilt, born of the mistaken belief that we trashed perfect Oneness, is completely unfounded, but we will never know that liberating idea from within ego’s realm. We have to call for help! Meanwhile, J waits patiently, tapping us gently on our proverbial shoulder, reminding that Limitless Light – our common, shared inheritance – merely awaits our decision to choose against the darkness of self-at-the-expense-of-others interest. We just have to choose against the insane thought system that denies light … and then the light that has been there all along is revealed, with a gentle sigh of relief! Ego is the original denial of truth, seemingly staining our identity with the tainted stench of unresolvable guilt caused by the undoable sin of fragmenting Truth into warring aspects, and to further it’s insanity, it immediately made up a projected cosmos of unbelievable sophistication to keep us entranced in the space-time dream drama, as we dreamt deeper into a realm of nightmarish predicaments, each tailored to alleged separate selves.
We all have enormous resistance to our forgiveness practice, of course, and the author of ACIM has built into the curriculum generous reminders that we can afford to relax about any need to compulsively ‘fight ourselves’. Who would be the one fighting, anyway, and against whom? 🙂 Whenever we detect an inner struggle, we can easily guess which thought system (the denial of Truth) has been given the reins again. Why not just practice looking at our mind-on-ego without condemnation? … And remember, whenever we can, to not to beat ourselves up for those lapses when we choose that maladaptive masochism. If we’re already ‘safe at home, dreaming of exile’ then there’s nothing to worry about in Truth. Practiced glimpses of this ease can loosen our identity ‘grip’ on the imposter trying to get away with Identity theft, an echo of the original mistake, the initial authority problem where we thought we usurped the throne of God. God (silently) thinks otherwise. 🙂
The crucial distinction between sin and error is at the heart of our ability to deny ego’s denial of our inherent sanity. Sin would proclaim that we’re stuck forever in a nightmare, and then insanely try to foist the problem onto anything, everything, anyone and everyone (including our own bodies) in order to avoid bringing the unfounded guilt into the light. Conversely, the acknowledgment of error is like backing up out of a cul-de-sac, rather than taking up residence there, having merely made a temporary wrong turn! 🙂 Once the simple solution (forgiveness) is glimpsed, why would sanity hang out in despair’s diverting dungeon; the jail door is unlocked… Welded wide open, actually, when we look closely with help from Holy Spirit.
What a tremendous relief! There IS a way out of ego’s labyrinthine quagmire… Not by traversing its endless dark corridors, but by gratefully allowing ourselves the gift of our Inner Kindness Teacher’s vantage point above ego’s foolproof (proven irresistible only to foolish ego) incarcerating battleground where we are metaphorically lifted up – even if just for a moment – to see that our true Identity (which we ALL share) is beyond the tiny, mad dream of space, time, separation and individual selves: crazed, ineffective dramatizations of an insane script to keep the guilt propaganda machine working, but fiendishly out of of sight.
Sin (according to ego) is unpardonable, irredeemable, inescapable … a bleak denial that makes a big deal out of nothing, although it hardly seems to be nothing from within ego’s mesmerizing, denying dirges. Seeing – with J’s help – error as easily forgivable and amusing as a parent would dismiss a child’s game is the relief we’ve been looking for, and it is simply a choice to forget to condemn ourselves (or others) as the Psychotherapy pamphlet advises. All we need ‘do’ is to deny the denial of truth: to say no to ego’s negation of the perfect Innocence we never abandoned, except in flimsy dreams. Here are some relevant quotes that will likely be familiar, echoing the simplicity of our our Inner Kindness Teacher’s curriculum of gradually removing our investment in the separate identity that fantasizes a silly ‘alone against the world’ tragic dream:
The miracle “merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false.”
“The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions. No one is afraid of them when he perceives he made them up.”
NOTE: On May 2, 2016 the Estes Park YMCA (where WOFR is being held) will release the block of rooms it is holding for WOFR attendees to the general public, and due to the popularity of this destination resort, they tend to go very fast, so here’s the link if you want to reserve your lodging and meals through the venue where WOFR 2016 is being held.