This month’s theme for our patrons/donors is “Turn the Key of Forgiveness.” The crux of A Course in Miracles is its focus on Forgiveness. This month we will work on not only forgiveness of others but self-forgiveness. Self-forgiveness is the same as forgiving others. As we know with our study of ACIM, everything we experience is in our mind.
For most of us, summer can be a time of sun and fun but some of us spend time feeling alone as we watch others spending oodles of money on a vacation with family or partners. This can bring up the old pain, the hurts, resentments, anger and blame from past relationships or perhaps even current relationships. It can bring up judgments, scarcity thinking, and you name it. In the heat of the moment, we may find ourselves starting or just caught up in arguments, comparisons, and judgments originating from situations that occurred many years before. We may feel disillusioned with life and desire a life that is peaceful and happy and not constant eruptions of a mind full of fear, frustration, and disgust.
If this sounds like you, then it is time to take steps into changing your mind. Remember we cannot change anyone’s behavior, including our own. We can only change our mind. That is what Jesus reminds us in A Course in Miracles.
I have said that you cannot change your mind by changing your behavior, but I have also said, and many times, that you [can] change your mind. When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then [know this need not be.] T-4.IV.2:1-2
We can gain a new perception of our family or others with this change of mind, otherwise called a “miracle” or simply “forgiveness.”
As Lesson 121 tells us, “Forgiveness is the key to happiness.”
Why does Jesus tell us that forgiveness is the key to happiness? Well, check in with how you feel now about your life currently? Is it many areas or just one area of your life you struggle with? Really think about this.
The unforgiving mind is the mind that is afraid of everything, panicky and anxious at every turn. It may be about money: Will I have the funds to go on vacation this year? Will I ever? Relationships: How can I be happy when my loved one passed on? Or, I’m without a spouse or mate? Or, The relationship you do have is quite rocky? It could be uncomfortability with a new situation, anxiety of an upcoming decision and not knowing what to do, or angry at that ex-spouse for what they have done and still continue to do. All this is unforgiveness.
From our unforgiving mind, we see everything as an irreparable sin such as the belief that such damage has been done that it could never be repaired. Because we look on this with no hope, we feel hopeless and we feel alone. We want an escape from the pain and perhaps some of us revert to our own addictions of too much food, alcohol or shopping. All this used to mask the pain of what we are feeling in the here and now because we are avoiding it.
This doesn’t have to be so glum and my apologies if it sounded in that vein. We need to be honest with ourselves where we are and what we have hidden underneath. We hide these thoughts all too well and do not let them see the light of day. But there is an answer.
Jesus calls us not to avoid the pain. We have buried it so deeply within our mind and we are seemingly so afraid of it. What we are afraid of is what we could have instead of the pain. As author and presenter Byron Katie says, “Who would you be without that thought?” That thought is the thought of pain that you have been holding onto. That thought of pain were it gone would bring you such peace. Nothing here in this world could or would ever bring you peace of mind.
Forgiveness, you see, is freedom. You have tied yourself up in chains, locked it with padlocks and seemingly thrown away the key. But the key is here. It is there within you. Are you ready for freedom?
I’ll share some material from ACIM and also some exercises that I have found helpful over the years in my own journey. Please know you are not alone and we are in this journey together.
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Thank you for supporting our all-volunteer ministry. We would like to keep as many resources free to ACIM students, but we also want to thank those who do support us.