What Am I Forgiving?
True forgiveness, as taught by Jesus in A Course in Miracles, is ultimately applied to all grievances and upsets or what may be called “attack thoughts” in the mind.
Underneath all perceptions of the world, and the self-concept or identity, lie certain core beliefs which need to be unearthed, exposed, and forgiven on the path of Awakening. Until this full forgiveness occurs, experiences in the world will continue to be perceived in various forms, as these are merely an outward picturing of deeper, unhealed beliefs. Ultimately, all beliefs in the mind are uncovered and released on the authentic spiritual journey, including all concepts about God, Jesus, spirit, and love itself.
Drawing from her own experiences, Lisa Fair describes some of the core beliefs that need to be brought into awareness for healing, and the means which are provided by Spirit:
The Belief in Victimhood
The ego always finds something to deny the holy instant: always. When I was in my depression for many years, I started to really see that nothing that I thought was going on, was ever actually going on in the moment. It was all memories.
I had so many memories of being a victim. I had all the excuses in the world not to be happy, like traumatic experiences that I was replaying in my mind all the time. I remember when I realized that these things weren’t actually happening now, that they were just memories of suffering, pain, attack, murder, and rape that kept repeating in my mind, I thought, Oh my God, I’ve just been remembering this! It was never here. But my mind was so accustomed to suffering and being a victim, it would play out these memories so I could feel like I was the victim of the world. It was keeping me fixed on being a victim, and somewhere in my mind I valued that identity. There was the evidence to prove that I was a victim of the world—and yet I was a victim of the world because I believed I was. I could see that the memories were all false. Did it even happen? Because if it wasn’t happening now, where was it?
And then I had to see that by letting everything go, I wasn’t just letting go of the story; I was letting go of my “identity.” What would I be without that victim identity? It kept me weak and small.
What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.
The Belief in Sacrifice, Suffering, and Loss
Somewhere in the Course it says that if you take scissors from a baby, the baby screams because it doesn’t know any better. It feels at times like something is being ripped from you. You feel as though you are going to have to sacrifice something in this. There is absolutely no sacrifice! It is an idea of your making. God does not know about sacrifice. But you believe that there is such a thing. What am I going to have to give up? All you are giving up is pain. It is like being committed to letting go of attack thoughts in the end. You are attacking yourself. You are attacking your own identity and the truth of what you are. You are just continually attacking it by wanting more and trying to get.
We believe that what is going on is real. It is appearing in our mind, but we believe it is real. It is about thoughts and images—they are actually the same. We made perception so as not to see! We needed perception as a place to hide guilt, so the eyes were made not to see. We needed somewhere to project the guilt, the fear, or the belief in suffering. We needed a place to project it out there: There it is! There it is! There it is! That is why the Spirit can use all of this. What am I actually seeing? I actually believe that there is suffering, there is pain out there. But it is just a trick because there is always going to be another situation. I have all the evidence I need to prove that suffering is real. Look, there it is on the screen. But I can promise you, it is not out there. Suffering will continue appearing in mind until you start to see where the problem is. You will see suffering dogs, you will see murdered people, you will see abused children. It will keep reappearing in your consciousness because you believe it is real.
When I was in depression it seemed like the suffering was unbearable; I could not take it anymore—I wanted to kill myself. I could not get out of the nightmare. I believed that suffering was real. And you know what? The only one who was suffering was me! I believed that what seemed to happen to the “Lisa” character had actually happened.
Then I really saw that suffering was a choice, and that I was responsible for my own happiness. I had the power of decision. What if I was wrong about what I was believing? Could that be possible? Even though I had a mirage of images and memories, was I willing to be wrong about them? Maybe I could be wrong? You have to want this; you have to want this more than anything. It is like a desire to be alive.
That is why it is good to see the movie The Horse Whisperer—and not fear looking at all the thoughts and beliefs in the mind. No, I actually want to look at this, get honest, and acknowledge that they cause me pain. But then there is a next step, too; what if death itself is not real? Could it be possible? Where does that belief come from? It comes from a memory that I suffered. Suffering is truly a present decision. It is a choice, and I was attracted to that. There is an addiction to these attack thoughts, to play weak and small, and see that I value even being a victim! There is value in that? I remember thinking once that if I didn’t have my victim identity then I really would not know who I was. What would I be without that story in my mind? There was something I was getting from it. There was something that it was offering me. All the while God is offering us peace and grandeur.
There is an opportunity in every moment to choose again for my perfection. What is really going on? Who am I, really? These memories are just showing up in the mind to keep us trapped in the illusion. But there is never any suffering right here—ever. Time and suffering go together; it is past or future. It is really powerful to look at all these thoughts. We need to get honest and say I really do believe that, and then have the willingness to look at the thoughts and beliefs. Jesus is asking us to question everything, even questioning that you are a body. This is so deep!
In A Course in Miracles, Jesus describes the perceptual world, and the need to change our minds about the world through forgiveness:
Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. T-21.In.1:1-8
This means that we perceive only what we believe. As the mind is rinsed of false beliefs, the world begins to mirror back to us a happy, forgiven world, free of suffering and attack. The perception of any pain or deprivation ultimately become impossible to the pristine mind that has accepted full forgiveness of error. It can only extend in love and gratitude!
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
– Mahatma Gandhi