WHY FORGIVENESS IS MY THING
There were long years in my life when my attempts at forgiveness were just token gestures because the true spiritual foundation for forgiveness was missing. In spite of my religious upbringing, or maybe because of it, forgiveness was an effort to get God back on my side, and I wasn’t a very confident all the time that it worked! I felt so much guilt that deep down I thought it’d be impossible for God to forgive me if He really knew me.
Oh my! What a tortuous condition to be in, but that’s how I lived from the age of six, when a particularly harsh experience of abuse persuaded me of my wickedness and unforgiveableness. Although eventually, after decades of living above the turmoil of this deep conviction, I did succeed in forgiving myself when I realised that my childish belief wasn’t the truth at all, some of that still stuck to me. They say the devil doesn’t easily let go of its own, and up to that time, the feeling was that I belonged to the devil! The desolation of this emotional stance can’t be imagined by anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves.
I now know that everyone feels a sense of guilt, and everyone needs to learn to forgive themselves, because it doesn’t come naturally. What we have been taught forgiveness is, is completely inadequate. True forgiveness of ourselves (and of other people) is based on some deep spiritual understandings. Religion doesn’t go there, sorry to say; religion has crippled many a mind with the short-comings of its teachings.
Forgiving yourself, others, God and Life, is a process we might think we know all about, or else you might think that it isn’t necessary. Hey, if religion is on the nose, maybe forgiveness is, as well! Which would be a tragic conclusion, in my view.
The change in the mind that is needed to make true forgiveness possible is so radical, that only one solution comes to mind, and that is to recommend a course that Jesus, the Master Teacher of Forgiveness, dictated in the late sixties. You might have heard of it, it is called A Course in Miracles. If this is new to you, I hope you will at least investigate this extraordinary book.
In a world of egos, true forgiveness is a miracle. Miracles that give us new happiness and new ability to love and experience being loved.
A Course in Miracles contains 365 lessons, and each represents a subtle, sublimely clever increment in the retraining of the mind. Our mind is just not used to thinking along the lines needed for forgiveness. To persist with the Course is to begin to understand what all those big wise guys out there are saying, and what it is that has inspired great authors and course leaders.
I love the Course’s language because it’s so Shakespearian in its cadences. I find it soothing in the realest sense of the word.
There is a lot of help online, freely and beautifully given, to help students better understand. I recommend Tina Louise Spalding for those who like straight talkers. She is proficient at channelling Jesus, who comments on his own lessons – how cool is that! Carol Howe is a sweetie with an immense depth of wisdom she shares enthusiastically and kindly. David Hoffmeister is one who reads part of the Text from the great Book – where one can find psychological insight into the human condition as nowhere else – and he follows that reading with a Lesson and a commentary of his own.
There are actually a number of people on Youtube who offer readings of this course, so it is a question of choice as to who is going to be most helpful to the beginner student.
And then there is the first-class podcast Miracle Voices. The stories are students’ sharings of astounding acts of forgiveness that can only leave you with deep gratitude for having listened.
The indefatigable Holy Spirit has given me much, and my inner life is constantly being transformed. It’s my turn to help my younger brothers and sisters on the path through writing a series of booklets soon to become available. These offer larger visions of the Catholic Church’s teachings, such as on the vows that nuns make – Poverty, Chastity and Obedience which have trickled down to Catholics life and even to the whole of Western society.
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