As we learn that it is we who have made the world from our thoughts of sin and separation and that we also have the power to make another world with loving thoughts, we cannot help but wonder why we don’t do that. We are told that these loving thoughts are already in our Mind, but hidden behind our thoughts of sin. It is as though we are “asleep” to the truth and unwilling to awaken to it. Why, we ask ourselves, would we be unwilling when on the surface it would seem we would pursue what is joyful and loving, not painful and filled with conflict?
To recognize the answer we must first be clear about why we seem to be sleeping and what awakening would mean. “Sleeping” is the result of thinking we have somehow separated ourselves from God because we have “sinned” and lost our right to be loved. This may not be what we can easily relate to, but it is the fundamental cause of the belief that drives the ego consciousness. From this perspective, then, awakening becomes the process of “atonement,” undoing something we have done.
Most of us have spent many years trying to learn that nothing “real” has happened in the story of our world that could in turn make our sin real, but the measure of what we have learned versus what we still believe can be seen in the judgments we still make. Are we still attached to what is “right” or “wrong?” Do we still believe that some forms of attack are justified? Is there something in the world that can keep us safe?
Many years ago, in the midst of a frustration, I asked our Brother: How am I ever going to know that I am making progress in my awakening? “One day,” he said “you will notice that you find nothing unacceptable.”
Of course, What is there to judge or fear if I am only dreaming of a world that does not know what loving means? Yet, while I still make judgments to support my ego preferences I must admit something real still seems to happen. Atonement still seems called for.
From this awareness we can more easily understand the resistance to our willingness to awaken. “Plainly hidden” in our consciousness, sacrifice and suffering still seems to be the price we pay for Heaven. As long as we condemn anyone for anything that happens in the world, we must acknowledge this is our belief. And our lack of willingness to pay the price we imagine that forgiveness asks will remain with us.
Forgiveness, we are told, is the way for us to learn what is not real. We will inevitably put our trust in what we think is true. By judging the effects of what we perceive as unacceptable we have affirmed our trust that sin is real and true and satisfied the need of the guilty ego self to feel unhappy and unloved. This is the reason God placed the Holy Spirit/God Self in our mind; first to assure us that we are loved, and then to show us what to do and how to do it that will best illustrate that in our lives.
Forgiving what we have judged and refusing to judge it again, changes our belief of what is real and true because it brings us peace and makes us happy. Feeling unconditionally loved opens our heart to loving unconditionally and dispels the idea that sacrifice and suffering play any part in awakening to the truth of our Oneness. It confirms what we already know, but have denied and hidden behind our belief that we have lost God’s Love.
Forgiveness does require practice before we will place as much trust there as we have given to our judgments. But as we do and as it grows, our willingness to find the truth grows with it.