For only one infinitesimal moment my mind was astray, fell from Heaven, instantly projected the entire universe, complete with eons of evolution, ages of bloody history, life in a body that started dying from birth… and took it all for real. The illusion of consciousness was born.
In reality this took no time at all, of course, because it never happened. It’s just a dream and I’m looking at it with the perception that results from the very same illusion. There simply is no way to describe nothingness in terms of anything real. That’s why this has to be told in terms of time, for now.
As soon as an idea of separation is taken seriously, consciousness, which can only work by dividing everything in twos, becomes the dominant voice in my mind. The undivided awareness of mind unlimited is thereby relegated far to the background, where it can easily be ignored. The polarities of beginning and end, past and future, near and far, good and bad, tension and release, etc., are only expressions of the dualistic nature of consciousness itself, and equally unreal. Consciousness brings even the unconscious as its own counterpart into play.
With consciousness I’m well equipped to feel guilty of having done something terribly wrong to the almighty power of Oneness that I separated myself from. My attack can only bring the most devastating counterattack as punishment. Judgment wouldn’t have it any other way, would it?
This dualistic hell, the inner conflict of guilt, is utterly unbearable, so I immediately project it outside. That projection makes a world where bodies attack each other and live in fear of pain, death, the wrath of God, etc.. Fully identified now with my body in this world I have forgotten that I really am pure Spirit – one with All That Is. I have succesfully made myself the victim of my own projection. Unconsiousness now protects me from my greatest fears and from every sense of guilt that I think is too much for me. At least this feels less like an agony. This happens on different levels of the deluded mind but it is all dualistic consciousness at work.
In this projected universe some relatively good experiences may be thrown in too. That’ll keep me craving for more and prevent me from becoming aware that my inner conflict has no basis in reality. Without my unconscious guilt the entire universe would not exist, not even its more beautiful moments.
Enjoying beauty in this world is like picking up the crumbs that fell from a table in Heaven. The crumbs are not more than symbols – visible signs or reminders – of the real thing. Symbols of real beauty are to be freely enjoyed and then let go in appreciation of my infinite abundance which is always there, waiting only for my acceptance. Now, who in his right mind would choose the crumbs if he can have the abundance of Heaven? Only a ‘prodigal son’, of course, who doesn’t believe yet that real abundance has nothing to lose, because it can only be by sharing itself freely. It’s because guilt has clouded his mind that he firmly believes in lack and scarcity and so he takes the crumbs for real, grasping at them as precious collectables that can make a huge fortune, or loss.
Projections never leave the mind that made them, so the mind is where this insane situation has to be solved. Becoming aware of what the mind has chosen to believe, I can choose once again. No matter whether I still seem to occupy a body, it does matter how I use the mind.
If I make judgments about what I seem to perceive outside, I only keep making it real to myself. My judgment is the jailer in illusion, because I always perceive and experience what I choose to believe.
There’s a simple way to overcome the inner conflict of guilt and undo the separation that is constantly being expressed in the world. I may often resist doing it, but it can be done. It works like this:
Let me not make any ‘wrong’ real by judgment, but recognize that nothing in this world ever happened, because all of it – “the good, the bad and the ugly” – is only a projection of my mind.
Overlook now what is unreal and let go of it.
Trust that from here the power of love (pure Spirit) will take over and replace my distorted vision with the only true and happy one.
This is the healing process that ‘A Course in Miracles’ calls true forgiveness and it’s totally different from the insincerity that is usually being presented as forgiveness. False forgiveness only pretends to overlook what it first has made real by judgment. This inner contortion is nothing but a futile escape from awareness. I may be saying things like: “What you did was wrong, but I forgive you.” or “I will forgive but not forget.”
Whenever I pretend to be loving I’m only choosing not to let go of my anger. Love is not my first concern when I’m angry, because love will come naturally once its denial has been abandoned. Giving up that which is unreal really comes first. The cause of anger is taken out simply by seeing that it’s solely based on a projection of my mind. The letting go itself takes no effort, but avoiding it will be a rough journey leading nowhere. Sticking to what is unreal effectively prevents me from setting the other and myself free.
Every condemning judgment I make is an attack – seemingly directed against another but in fact always against myself, because the mind is one. Even the popular saying: “What goes around comes around” shows a notion of this reality. Of course, it’s not a matter of the universe getting back at me, but of experiencing the projections of my unforgiving mind. So, it’s better to simply recognize that I’m angry and that I need help, because the dualist framework of my consciousness cannot restore the mind to its undivided oneness. Neither does the world provide solutions, only other ways to make problems.
I’m really under no obligation whatsoever to forgive. I can always stick to the belief that my experience of body and physical world is absolute reality. Then, of course, it’s insulting, preposterous, or nonsensical, to forgive anybody else for what they ‘clearly’ have done wrong. Yes, I’m free to prolong my suffering endlessly and even to consider that a ‘normal’ condition of life on earth.
When physical reality is not my religion anymore I still may find myself tripped up again and again by old habits of dualistic thought. These lapses, however, are not fatal. They might be seen as drop tests to find out how quickly I can remember what I really want. Every time I have no other viable option but to recognize that the world I perceive is totally based on projection of unconscious guilt, and that true happiness is not created here.
The undoing of the terrible illusion of dualism needs only my willingness to let go of it. That enables me to see that everyone involved, including me, is immediately forgiven for a separation from reality that simply never could have happened. Everyone is completely innocent and, being one, cannot sin against themselves.
The results of this change of mind may or may not become immediately visible in the world. If not, that’s only a reminder that healing is really of the mind and that I have to “let the dead bury their dead.” The cure is now finally being applied to the cause, not to the symptoms. I can trust that the mind is being restored to its wholeness with every act of true forgiveness. And if there’s something found I didn’t forgive, that’s food for forgiveness too.
Whenever I apply this true forgiveness in my daily life, immediately that which my projections show me loses its painful grip on me and inner peace sets in. So, nobody benefits from it more than I.
When I’m feeling unhappy I’m also being very judgmental about everything. The usual explanation is that being judgment-prone is a side-effect of unhappiness. It cannot be helped. But now I’m learning that judgment really is the cause of it. That has been quite a revolutionary discovery for me because it finally gives me a handle on the situation. Unhappiness is something I cannot just shake off, but I can become aware of my judgments that make unhappiness real and I can replace them by forgiveness – which allows the experience of happiness to enter my consciousness.
No need waiting for a big disaster to practice forgiveness. In every day life my inner peace is constantly being swept away by my own judgments in watching the news, being in a hurry, not wanting to be disturbed, feeling hurt, and all kinds of anxieties and annoyances. If I’m not aware enough to realize the invitation to forgiveness on the spot, I can still do it in a quiet moment later that day, and nobody needs to know. Before going to sleep it’s also a healthy practice to forgive everything that went by unforgiven during the day.
By the way, trying hard does not help at all. Putting much effort into forgiveness only makes separation look very real. I find it more helpful to relax first, let go of all thoughts, surrender to pure awareness – if only for a moment – and then from this connection with unconditional love gently come back to what I want to see in a different light. That works unfailingly.
For control freaks, like myself, the idea of moments in life when I do not keep my life ‘together’ with my own thoughts is frightening, but they do happen a lot, and quite naturally. Now I only have to help nature a bit by welcoming these foretastes of freedom and becoming aware of them.
- A Course in Miracles (ISBN 0-9606388-8-1). More information about this wonderful book for self-study can be found at the website: http://www.acim.org/
- Gary Renard’s The Disappearance of the Universe : Straight Talk About Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness.
- The book by Gary Renard is a great help in understanding the teaching of A Course in Miracles.
- The Bible, New Testament.
- Spaghetti Westerns starring Clint Eastwood.