Monday, July 14, 2008

-Lesson 121 “Forgiveness is the key to happiness.”


Forgiveness is the key to happiness.

Here is the answer to your search for peace. Here is the key to meaning in a world that seems to make no sense. Here is the way to safety in apparent dangers that appear to threaten you at every turn, and bring uncertainty to all your hopes of ever finding quietness and peace. Here are all questions answered; here the end of all uncertainty ensured at last.

The unforgiving mind is full of fear, and offers love no room to be itself; no place where it can spread its wings in peace and soar above the turmoil of the world. The unforgiving mind is sad, without the hope of respite and release from pain. It suffers and abides in misery, peering about in darkness, seeing not, yet certain of the danger lurking there.

The unforgiving mind is torn with doubt, confused about itself and all it sees; afraid and angry, weak and blustering, afraid to go ahead, afraid to stay, afraid to waken or to go to sleep, afraid of every sound, yet more afraid of stillness; terrified of darkness, yet more terrified at the approach of light. What can the unforgiving mind perceive but its damnation? What can it behold except the proof that all its sins are real?

The unforgiving mind sees no mistakes, but only sins. It looks upon the world with sightless eyes, and shrieks as it beholds its own projections rising to attack its miserable parody of life. It wants to live, yet wishes it were dead. It wants forgiveness, yet it sees no hope. It wants escape, yet can conceive of none because it sees the sinful everywhere.

The unforgiving mind is in despair, without the prospect of a future which can offer anything but more despair. Yet it regards its judgment of the world as irreversible, and does not see it has condemned itself to this despair. It thinks it cannot change, for what it sees bears witness that its judgment is correct. It does not ask, because it thinks it knows. It does not question, certain it is right.

Forgiveness is acquired. It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin. As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you. Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear. Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin.

Each unforgiving mind presents you with an opportunity to teach your own how to forgive itself. Each one awaits release from hell through you, and turns to you imploringly for Heaven here and now. It has no hope, but you become its hope. And as its hope, do you become your own. The unforgiving mind must learn through your forgiveness that it has been saved from hell. And as you teach salvation, you will learn. Yet all your teaching and your learning will be not of you, but of the Teacher Who was given you to show the way to you.

Today we practice learning to forgive. If you are willing, you can learn today to take the key to happiness, and use it on your own behalf. We will devote ten minutes in the morning, and at night another ten, to learning how to give forgiveness and receive forgiveness, too.

The unforgiving mind does not believe that giving and receiving are the same. Yet we will try to learn today that they are one through practicing forgiveness toward one whom you think of as an enemy, and one whom you consider as a friend. And as you learn to see them both as one, we will extend the lesson to yourself, and see that their escape included yours.

Begin the longer practice periods by thinking of someone you do not like, who seems to irritate you, or to cause regret in you if you should meet him; one you actively despise, or merely try to overlook. It does not matter what the form your anger takes. You probably have chosen him already. 4 He will do.

Now close your eyes and see him in your mind, and look at him a while. Try to perceive some light in him somewhere; a little gleam which you had never noticed. Try to find some little spark of brightness shining through the ugly picture that you hold of him. Look at this picture till you see a light somewhere within it, and then try to let this light extend until it covers him, and makes the picture beautiful and good.

Look at this changed perception for a while, and turn your mind to one you call a friend. Try to transfer the light you learned to see around your former "enemy" to him. Perceive him now as more than friend to you, for in that light his holiness shows you your savior, saved and saving, healed and whole.

Then let him offer you the light you see in him, and let your "enemy" and friend unite in blessing you with what you gave. Now are you one with them, and they with you. Now have you been forgiven by yourself. Do not forget, throughout the day, the role forgiveness plays in bringing happiness to every unforgiving mind, with yours among them. Every hour tell yourself:

Forgiveness is the key to happiness. 7 I will awaken from the dream that I am mortal, fallible and full of sin, and know I am the perfect Son of God.

The Following is Forwarded from

-Lesson 121
“Forgiveness is the key to happiness.”

Forgiveness is letting the veil of separation be lifted from my mind. If the veil of separation is not lifted, I will focus on what bodies do and say. I will focus on individual identities separated and alone. I will think that this is true and real. Forgiveness helps me learn to look past the illusions of separation. Forgiveness helps me look past the belief in sin and death.

I learn forgiveness from my true Self. As I am willing to receive the truth, my true Self lifts the veil of separation from my mind. And then I am able to see the Light behind the isolated separated forms. I am able to see the Light behind the fearful behavior. And as I continue to practice this, it teaches me to find the Light behind my separate identity.

Only my true Self can lift the veil. My separated mind only knows of separation and teaches only this. My true Self teaches me to look for and find the Light of God That is behind every false image of separation. My true Self teaches me that this alone brings me true lasting happiness. It releases me from fear. It releases me from believing in death or that anyone could be harmed. It releases me from the false mind which always looks for guilt.

When guilt is gone, there is only innocence to see. Here is peace. Here is eternal Love. Here is happiness. Forgiveness is the answer to every perceived problem. When I am angry or sad or mad or depressed, forgiveness is the answer. When I feel lonely and afraid, forgiveness is the answer. Forgiveness lifts the veil and returns the truth of my Identity as part of God to my awareness.

The exercise in today’s lesson takes a different approach than I would have expected, based on the subject. From the little mind’s perspective, it seems like the obvious approach would be to think of something somebody did that offended me and then try to forgive the offense. This is the typical ego approach. First it makes the error real and then tries to disregard the error, while still maintaining its reality.

Instead, this exercise disregards anything the “enemy” may have done. It merely tells us to select someone we regard as offensive in some way. And then it tells us to look for the Light in that person. It is training us to look past the form, because the form is not real. What seemed to happen was only a dream of illusions interacting with illusions, and could not be real.

The exercise trains us to look past the unreal to the real, past the shadows to the Light. As we can allow ourselves to see the Light in an enemy and can equate that Light with the Light in a friend, it becomes easy then to equate that Light with the Light in ourselves. Our unity then becomes obvious and in my mind I have joined with my brothers. Forgiveness has happened.

I need to practice looking past images and forms to the Light that represents the unity of all things with the one Source of Light. Sometimes a specific offensive event seems so real to me that I am unable to see past it to the Light. This is when I need to remind myself that I cannot be my own teacher, for I have taught myself to see the offense, not the Light. This is when I need to turn to the Teacher within to let Him show me the unreality of interactions between images and help me see the Light beyond the darkness.

Forgiveness is exquisitely simple. I need only see the Light in my brother, give It my full attention. That is all. The only reason this seems difficult at any time is because of my unwillingness to give up being right about my judgment. I have made up a litany of rules and taught myself to judge by them. Not once has this judgment ever brought me real happiness. Now I am willing to be taught by the Teacher of Light how to see the Light where it is and disregard all empty images. I am grateful for this lesson, which takes me another step toward recognizing that I am in Heaven now. In reality, I never left. I have only been dreaming of being on a distant shore.

As I was reading this lesson, I noticed I was constantly nodding my head in agreement with what happens with an unforgiving mind. The reason I know that is because who the lesson is describing is me. That's so often how I feel, that's what I'm afraid of, that's how I've been living so much of my life.

No wonder the Course says that if we're living in fear, we're not really living. Its taken me many years to realize that I've been "looking for love in all the wrong places," but what I love about the Course is that it tells me that's okay. I don't need to beat myself up over what could've been. On the contrary, the multitude of mistakes I've made have just turned out to be blessings because they have brought me to my knees and surrender to the freedom the Course offers me.

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