Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Some days I find it challenging to get going. I think of all the things I have to do or my body doesn't want to get out of bed or I'm frustrated with how things are going. Yet, today's Lesson 257 from A Course in Miracles says that when I forget my goal, I will be confused, unsure, conflicted in my actions, functioning with deep distress and depression. Ugh! That sounds miserable!
So what is the solution? To remember what my purpose is. Forgiveness is the function God would have us do today – not looking at someone in judgment and with condescension, tell them that we will let their transgressions slide. Rather, forgiveness in A Course in Miracles, is recognizing that what you think your brother/sister did "wrong" to you never happened.
There are a lot of ways to work with that. You might think, "I know what happened and it was wrong!" Yet, when I have spoken with counseling clients and in my own personal inquiry, I realize that I rarely if ever really know what happened. I have a belief of what happened. I have a memory of what happened. But beliefs and memories are based on our personal angle of perception, both physical and mental. I can't see it from where the other person stood because they were there and I wasn't (though I may have been very near by). I can't know what the other person was really thinking or what their beliefs were about their past that made them act a certain way. So when I ask, "Do I really know what happened?" the answer is consistently "no" which of itself helps release a lot of judgment and anger.
The second item of inquiry is the belief that something that happened was wrong. I know there are many things that as a society we classify as wrong, whether it be murder, rape, spanking a young baby or driving over the speed limit. Maybe some of these seem worse than others, but we don't know in the eternal scheme why things happen as they do. Without fail, the worst things that have happened in my life have been the catalysts for major change and growth when I have been willing to look at my actions and responses to the situations.
In Radical Forgiveness, Colin Tippin talks about soul contracts that are created between the spiritual beings that we in truth are. In these contracts, we agree to support the other person in healing whatever issues they might need to look at and very, very, very often that means the person will act in a way that triggers us. I had a huge attachment to my work and seeking validation based on the performance evaluations at my job. Recently, someone who I loved dearly became my supervisor and didn't evaluate me positively. It was devastating for me. I couldn't believe they had betrayed me and could think negatively of me given how well I thought they knew me. Now, I look back and realize it was one of the biggest times of growth in my life. I went deep into my spiritual practice, I moved, I started a new job with a much broader outreach, I developed new friendships, I released other friendships that were based on giving to get, I... Got it? At the time, I was so hurt I could barely get out of bed but for my dog needing to go to the restroom and now I am grateful for it as the most powerful time in my life.
There is also the mystical teachings that none of our experience here is real, that it is all illusory. I think of it as if we are the beings in the dream of God which means we can't really be hurt because it isn't really true. Yet, we feel like it is and it seems like it is, so though I believe this to be true, I do find the other concepts to be more practically supportive to me in moving through challenges.
Each day, I thus am coming back to this lesson - I want to remember that my purpose is Forgiveness. I want to release judgment, anger, shame, guilt. I want to see myself and my brother/sister as innocent. And so I keep looking at my thoughts and allow my life to open up to the possibilities that unfold. Sometimes that is easier than others, but I know my function is Forgiveness so I keep opening myself to that.