“Today’s idea, completely alien to the ego and the thinking of the world, is crucial to the thought reversal that this course will bring about. If you believed this statement, there would be no problems in complete forgiveness, certainty of goal and sure direction. You would understand the means by which salvation comes to you, and would not hesitate to use it now.” Workbook page 227, Lesson 126
Jesus starts off this lesson by telling us that the ego cannot understand this lesson because it is the complete reverse of its thought system. In our world, when we give something to someone, it appears that we have less of it. For instance, if I give money to someone, then it means I have less money in my purse. Similarly, for intangible things such as blame, for example, if I blame someone for a misdeed, it means that I am not the guilty person.
Jesus uses the example of forgiveness and he says, “When you ‘forgive’ a sin, there is no gain to you directly. You give charity to one unworthy, merely to point out that you are better, on a higher plane than he whom you forgive…The sin that you forgive is not your own. Someone apart from you committed it…” W227. But we have got things the wrong way round. “You do not understand forgiveness. As you see it, it is but a check upon overt attack, without requiring correction in your mind. It cannot give you peace as you perceive it.”
But A Course in Miracles tells us that there is only one of us and there is only God; it is a non-dualistic thought system, which is based on our oneness with God and on the oneness of mankind. It follows, therefore, that if there is only one of us, if I give something to another person, I am really giving it to myself. We have to learn to consider all other people as aspects of ourselves. Furthermore, we forgive others for things they have not done wrong, because this world is just a mental projection. In forgiving others, we are also forgiving ourselves because of our oneness with them.
The problem with the ego is that it believes in the separation and, therefore, it believes that all the billions of people on this planet are really different from each other. It cannot understand the concept of non-duality because this would make the separation unreal. Without the separation, there would be no ego. We would remain as we were when God created us. In reality, there is no ego, but because we believe it exists, we have to overcome it. We also have to remember that all the people we come into contact with are simply projections from our own minds. This is because ideas cannot leave their source, which is a key concept in ACIM. Ideas start in the mind and that is where they remain—they are simply mental projections.
Forgiveness, according to ACIM, is the means to salvation or liberation or healing of the mind because it means letting go of the illusions of the ego and recognising that there are no separate people out there. There is only one of us. “Salvation is a better gift than this. And true forgiveness, as the means by which it is attained, must heal the mind that gives, for giving is receiving…” Jesus realises that it is not at all easy for us to understand that there is only one of us. That’s why he says, “Today we try to understand the truth that giver and receiver are the same. You will need help to make this meaningful, because it is so alien to the thoughts to which you are accustomed. But the Help you need is there…” W228. The Help is the Holy Spirit Who resides in our ‘right minds’. He is the Voice for God who will guide us Home, if we stop and listen to Him. We can consider Him to be our Higher Self.
Giving, mentioned in this lesson, does not refer to tangible things. It is talking about giving love and forgiveness. In forgiving others, I am forgiving myself. When I extend love to others, I receive love. If we all did that what a wonderful world this would be!
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