Forgiveness is a relevant topic in all our lives because we all get angry, we all feel like we’ve been betrayed at times, and we all have some old grievances hanging around in our psyche. The ego is so good at convincing us that we should hold on to those resentments to punish the other person, but you’re really only hurting yourself by holding on to that anger and those grievances. And from A Course in Miracles’s perspective, whenever another person angers or upsets us, it’s not really about the other person or about what they said or did; it’s about who we choose to be in their presence. Every person we meet will either be our crucifier or our savior depending on who we choose to be to them.
When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.
–A Course in Miracles
The Course emphasizes repeatedly that we are each others’ saviors, and that everyone we meet holds a blessing for us. But it depends on US – on how WE behave, on how WE treat them, on us blessing them – whether or not we will receive that blessing. We have to GIVE love and blessings to the other person, and then we will feel loved and blessed. But if we withhold our love from anyone, we will feel as though love has been taken from us.
A Course in Miracles also tells us that by forgiving each other, we discover our true self. I don’t know why, but so many of us disregard the importance of forgiveness. Don’t make that mistake. It is the key to happiness, the key to self-discovery, and the key to peace.
My forgiveness is the means by which the light of the world finds expression through me.
My forgiveness is the means by which I become aware of the light of the world in me.
My forgiveness is the means by which the world is healed, together with myself.
Let me, then, forgive the world, that it may be healed along with me.
–A Course in Miracles
The Course reminds us of the fact that we need each other because we are each other. We cannot get enlightened in a vacuum. Rather we rise up in relationship to each other. And every encounter with anyone is an opportunity to discover our true self by looking beyond the physical appearances of the person in front of us to the true being at their core. Why do we find ourselves when we look at the true being at other people’s core? Because that being is us. When you look at a wheel, you see all these separate spokes. But when you follow them to their source, to their core, they all start at the same place. And so do we. On the outside we all look like separate beings, but like sunbeams we all start at the same place. At our core, we are one. There is one mind, one spirit, one Son of God. And we’re it.
My holy Self abides in you, God’s Son. Father, You gave me all Your Sons, to be my saviors and my counselors in sight; the bearers of Your holy Voice to me. In them are You reflected, and in them does Christ look back upon me from my Self. Let not Your Son forget Your holy Name. Let not Your Son forget his holy Source. Let not Your Son forget his Name is Yours.
–A Course in Miracles
That’s why you find yourself when you remember when meeting anyone: They are an innocent child of God. They are my brother/sister in spiritual truth. And I am ONE with them. It’s in remembering their true identity that we remember our true identity. And that’s what all of us are looking for. That’s the universal question: Who am I? And the Course reminds us that we cannot find ourselves by looking at ourselves because that is not where we are. We find our true self in relationship with other people.
The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is “Know thyself.” There is nothing else to seek. Everyone is looking for himself and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost. Whenever you are with anyone, you have another opportunity to find them. Your power and glory are in him because they are yours. The ego tries to find them in yourself alone, because it does not know where to look. The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself you cannot find yourself, because that is not what you are. Whenever you are with a brother, you are learning what you are because you are teaching what you are. He will respond either with pain or with joy, depending on which teacher you are following. He will be imprisoned or released according to your decision, and so will you. Never forget your responsibility to him, because it is your responsibility to yourself. Give him his place in the Kingdom and you will have yours.
–A Course in Miracles
When we hold on to resentments we give that other person so much power over us. When we know we’re gonna see them at a certain event, we spend so much time beforehand plotting how we will behave in order to really show them. We actually suppress our true self, which is taking away our own freedom, to be someone else in that person’s presence. We imagine what it will be like when we meet them, how they will act, what we will say, and so forth. First of all, you never know for sure when and where you will meet them. Secondly, should you meet them, you don’t know how they will act. Thirdly, you have zero control over those first two points, but that doesn’t matter because fourthly, you have full control over yourself and that’s the only thing that matters.
When you pretend to be someone else around them, you’re making this whole experience about their gaze, rather than your own experience. You can’t control how other people view you anyway. So why make it all about them and their experience of you? You are giving them so much power over you by doing that. They now control the way you will dress, the way you will speak, the way you will act, and the way you will feel. Is that what you want? To give them that much power and influence over your life? Why don’t you focus on YOUR experience instead? This is the relaxed way.
Relax and be yourself. This is YOUR life. How do YOU want to live it? What kind of experience do YOU want to have? There is nothing to worry about. As it says in that verse from the bible: Don’t worry about tomorrow – tomorrow will care for itself. If you anticipate meeting them at a certain event, hold positive thoughts about that event. Visualize having fun, visualize feeling calm, relaxed, and happy. Affirm that it will be great, and remember to be yourself unapologetically. You never have to pretend to be someone you’re not. Just relax and be you. Do a forgiveness meditation for them beforehand. If you like, you can follow this structure provided by A Course in Miracles:
Select one brother, symbol of the rest, and ask salvation of him. See him first as clearly as you can, in that same form to which you are accustomed. See his face, his hands and feet, his clothing. Watch him smile, and see familiar gestures which he makes so frequently. Then think of this: What you are seeing now conceals from you the sight of one who can forgive you all your sins; whose sacred hands can take away the nails which pierce your own, and lift the crown of thorns which you have placed upon your bleeding head. Ask this of him, that he may set you free:
Give me your blessing, holy Son of God.
I would behold you with the eyes of Christ,
and see my perfect sinlessness in you.
And He will answer Whom you called upon. For He will hear the Voice for God in you, and answer in your own. Behold him now, whom you have seen as merely flesh and bone, and recognize that Christ has come to you. Today’s idea is your safe escape from anger and from fear. Be sure you use it instantly, should you be tempted to attack a brother and perceive in him the symbol of your fear. And you will see him suddenly transformed from enemy to savior; from the devil into Christ.
A big part of all this is remembering our oneness with each other. It’s remembering that the person in front of you is one with you and JUST LIKE YOU. They are innocent children of God, and you are an innocent child of God. You are one with them. They are your savior if you are theirs. And they are your crucifier if you are theirs. Remember that you only have control over your own thoughts, words, and actions, and that that’s the only thing that matters. Others will act how they will act, but if you stand strong in your true self – which is kind, loving, strong, confident, forgiving – then you will have a positive experience no matter what.
That doesn’t mean you have to agree with everybody, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your freedom or your boundaries. It simply means that you remember that all the drama on the surface is nothing. It can’t touch you. And beyond that drama lies light, peace, and happiness. Beyond that drama you are one with that other person. Beyond that drama is perfect harmony. And when you can remember that, and remember that the other person is not an obstacle to your peace but actually your guide towards peace, then you stand in your greatness and from that place you open yourself up for miracles that will resolve this situation in a way that is of the highest good for all. You don’t have to force, you don’t have to push, you don’t have to make things happen. The universe is coded for perfection. So when you stop swimming against the current and just allow the flow of the universe to guide you, it will lead you to places, solutions, situations, and opportunities beyond your wildest dreams.
This day we enter into Paradise, calling upon God’s Name and on our own, acknowledging our Self in each of us; united in the holy Love of God. How many saviors God has given us! How can we lose the way to Him, when He has filled the world with those who point to Him, and given us the sight to look on them?
–A Course in Miracles
Forgive them. Forgive them all. Including yourself. And RELAX! Lean back. Breathe. God’s got this! Tomorrow will take care of itself. Move with ease. Let it be easy. Let it be effortless. And smile.
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