Back to basics - what is forgiveness?

Sunday, Oct 30, 2022 3133 words 13 mins 55 secs
An A Course in Miracles Blog  © 2022 Paul West

"The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and its content is not true."

First let's be clear that all true properties belong to God. God's reality entails what is real, permanent, certain, true, exists, is happening, is powerful, has will, causes, with real effects (creation), is eternal and immortal.

The separation from God was an attempt to conceive of an opposite to God's reality. It ultimately produced what appears to be an entire world. In light of the fact that God's reality is real, this second world we made as its OPPOSITE is unreal. It inherently has the properties of the opposite of God's properties.

The world we made is unreal, temporary, uncertain, false, it doesn't exist, nothing in it really happens, it is powerless, has no will of its own, causes nothing, has no real effect, is not eternal, and everything in it is mortal. It is an illusion of a world because it is not a reality of a world.

"it merely seems to go to sleep a while. It dreams of time; an interval in which what seems to happen never has occurred, the changes wrought are substanceless, and all events are nowhere."

"The world you see does not exist BECAUSE the place where you perceive it is not real."

"The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what he creates must be eternal as himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever."

So now we have these two seeming worlds. One is completely real, one is completely unreal. One holds all the truth, one is utterly false. One is permanent and powerful, the other is temporary and powerless.

The unreal world, which is the world of bodies, is a mistake. It presents ideas that are not possible. It is not possible for example for anything real to die or be threatened, but in the unreal world it seems things can die and be threatened. In reality everything is immortal, yet in the unreal world everything has mortality. In reality everything is unlimited, and in unreality everything is limited.

The unreal world is actually an idea of what is not possible, founded on a "mad idea". God's reality holds all possibility. The opposite of possibility is impossibility. The unreal world seems to show things happening which are not possible in God. In God nothing can die, so leaves falling from trees and flowers dying and bodies dying is not really possible.

The unreal world presents pictures of impossibilities all the time. Everything in it is impossible because the world itself is the idea of impossibility. The world "is not" - which is why ultimately "there is no world."

"It is the world you see that is impossible."

Now. In ADDITION to the reality of God, and the unreal world, there is also a matter of BELIEF, resulting in an act of projection UPON these worlds. There is something that happens in the mind in terms of belief. Mind can choose to be fully aware and accepting of the sane fact that ONLY God's truth is true - that only heaven's reality is real. OR, it can go into a state of denial.

When the mind is in denial, it flips everything around. It takes ALL the properties of God's reality, and assigns it to the unreal world. It then takes all the properties of the unreal world and assigns is to God's reality. This produces total confusion and insanity. It is insane because you've lost track of what is really real and what isn't, and can no longer distinguish between them, making you lost and confused - ie mistaken.

"You HAVE carried the ego's reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is TOTAL CONFUSION ABOUT EVERYTHING."

In a state where the attributes of God are assigned to its opposite, you are confused and insane. This puts you into what we call "false perception". In false perception, everything about God is assigned to the unreal world, and vice versa. The ramification of that, is that a simple MISTAKEN world, an IMPOSSIBLE world, begins to take on properties of actual reality. This interprets mistakes as SIN, because sin mean "a real error that can't be undone because it's real."

So now, the unreal world is considered to be real, have permanent qualities, to be eternal, to depict the truth, to house all possibilities, to have a will of its own, to be meaningful, to be heaven, to be life, to be really existing and really happening. In this mode, you have "made illusions real", ie have "made the world real", because you have GIVEN it reality. You are assigned reality's properties to it. You BELIEVE it's real.

There is also a flipside to this. All the properties of UNreality are now assigned to God's reality. God is now considered to be false, non-existence, lacking will power, not happening, being totally unreal, having no life, being mortal and dead, being impossible, being insane, and making no sense. God is considered to be nothing, is rejected as untrue, and relegated to oblivion.

When mind is in this state, this is where the world is experienced like a nightmare. Given that an unreal world is very UNNATURAL and disturbing, if it is REAL then you'll experience it as a horror show. This is what is happening when you see problems arise and you feel like you cannot do anything to change them. The reason they seem unchangeable, is because you've assigned properties of permanence, existence, happening and reality to them. This in a sense "locks them in". ONLY illusions can be forgiven or undone or changed, and not whatever is regarded as real.

If it is true that this world is REAL, then everything in it is permanent, fixed, unchangeable, irreversible, absolute, total, certain, and eternal. Because these were all attributes of God's reality before the confusion. Given that you believe this about the world, you CANNOT bring yourself to conceive of how you can possibly do anything about anything. Everything will seem like some horrible fate, some pointless hopeless disaster, some kind of cruel unchangeable unhealable trauma, that just happens by its own will leaving you a helpless victim.

In this state of false perception you will also completely forget about God's reality. It will seem like it does not exist. Mind will shut down. Any sense of being above the battlefield, stepping back, detaching, being able to wield supernatural miracles, anything to do with healing or correcting problems genuinely will go out the window. Your mind will fixate on THIS world, the unreal world, as if it is THE ONLY REALITY, and all that exists is happening before your body's eyes. Everything it sees is now real to you and you are powerless over it. If an unnatural, "evil", impossible world of conflict and disaster is REAL, you MUST suffer without escape, and death is now the wages of sin. "Only the body makes the world seem real."

This is the state that produces all despair and suffering, all sense of the "irreversibility of sin", all notions that what happens cannot be undone, that sickness is progressive, that death is inevitable, that your fate is set in stone and you have absolutely no say in what happens. This is the state of being a victim, with the world doing everything in its power to simply be horrifying and traumatic, throwing up unsolvable problems all over the place every single day.

So the world in the state of false perception is a COMBINATION of .... 1) an unreal world of mistakes and impossibilities, and 2) the properties of reality being confused with and assigned to it. You MAKE the world seem real by GIVING it properties of reality, and this converts all illusions of sin into what seems like REAL sin.

Once illusory events, which really cannot be happening, are UNITED or "made one with" properties of reality, everything that happens will appears to be a sin. The whole hierarchy of illusions will demand specific responses, reactions and effects. You'll feel compelled to just go along for the ride and have every single reaction that the world says you should be having. And anything anyone does that appears in any way wrong will be regarded as a REAL SIN. An unforgiveable act, and you will NOT be able to forgive it because you believe it is REAL, and therefore permanent.

"The purpose of Atonement is to dispel illusions, NOT to establish them as real, and THEN forgive them."

"Good cannot BE returned for evil, for forgiveness does not first ESTABLISH sin, and THEN forgive it"

What the world IS, in terms of it being an UNREAL world, an ILLUSION of a world in which nothing is true, is distinct from your interpretation of that world - ie what it means to you. If you GIVE the world reality, then you BIND reality WITH illusions and the result is a nightmare of inescapable sin and irreversible suffering. If the world is REAL, nothing in it can be undone, because reality is permanent and can never end.

But your way out of this hell of suffering is simply then to change your mind. This is NOTHING more than a change in the PREMISE of the world. It's a shift from "the world is real" to "the world is not real." Every single attribute of reality and God that you have mistakenly given to the world, you have to TAKE BACK from it.

You have to dis-identify everything God created from the world, and RE-IDENTIFY it with spirit. This is the same as shifting from body-identification to spirit-identification. What is TRUE AND REAL about you has to be re-identified with what God created, requiring your IDENTITY to transition from a limited body to an unlimited soul.

"If you give no power to the fog to obscure the light, it HAS none, for it has power ONLY because the Son of God gave power TO it. He must HIMSELF withdraw that power, remembering that all power is of God. YOU CAN REMEMBER THIS FOR ALL THE SONSHIP."

You have ASSIGNED power to the unreal world. That's why it seems to have power over you. You can and must TAKE BACK that power, and assign it back to God/spirit/soul where it belongs. This is the only real change of mind. It's a change of belief. It's a restoration of your acceptance of, and recognition of, WHAT REALLY IS TRUE. Or of what really is REAL.

"This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel that a course which, in the end, teaches nothing more than that only reality is true is necessary. BUT DO YOU BELIEVE IT?"

"Only the truth is true, and nothing else is true."

Our task in "applying forgiveness" then is nothing more or less than properly assigning the properties of reality to GOD's reality, and the properties of unreality to the unreal world. To undo the confusion between the two. To become very clear only God's stuff is real, and all the illusory stuff is not. That only God's world is TRUE, and the world you made out of illusions IS FALSE.

"The only effort you need make, to give this world away in glad exchange for what you did NOT make is willingness to learn THE ONE YOU MADE IS FALSE."

The unreality of this world has to be recognized. This is what "true perception" means. It is accurate perception, or the ability to recognize accurately WITHOUT confusion, what the world "actually is". Or in a sense, to see "the truth of" or "the reality of" this world. When you see the reality of an UNREAL world, ie the truth that IT IS unreal, you are seeing it for what it "actually is". Yet an unreal world isn't "actually" anything, because IT IS unreal. Recognizing this recognizes IT IS NOTHING AT ALL.

To then transition from being heavily absorbed, confused, lost, and threatened by, a mistakenly mis-assigned property ... where you've given the world or something in it - some body or event or thing - properties of God, you need to go through some kind of purification or process to revert your mind back to the truth. To return to sanity. We call this sort of "applying the principle of forgiveness", or trying to "atone".

"To atone is to undo." What we are undoing is our CONFUSION about what the world is and is not, and what God is and is not. BOTH the truth AND what is false have to be fully and clearly distinguished and recognized, and NOT confused with each other.

"The real world can ACTUALLY BE PERCEIVED. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing ELSE. For if you perceive both good AND evil, you are accepting both the false AND the true, AND MAKING NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN THEM." By correctly identifying all properties of God WITH God, and taking them AWAY from the world - or undoing their mis-association with the world, your mind returns to sanity.

"Sin is insanity", meaning that when you combine the insanity of confusion about what is real, WITH an unreal world, you turn a mistaken world into a sinful world. You make sin seem real when you are insane, but when you return to sanity sin converts back to a mistake - or what Jesus calls an error. The world is simply an error, not a truth.

To forgive then, we simply need to undo, reverse, cancel out, heal, purify, and correct, the mistaken beliefs that we have about what the world's nature is. We need to remind ourselves, maybe we need to talk ourselves into it, maybe we need help and healing from the Holy Spirit or Jesus, maybe we need affirmations or reminders or cue cards or whatever it is. We need to LIFT AWAY from the world all the properties of reality which we gave away TO it, and give them back to God. The ACIM workbook is designed to facilitate this correction, e.g.:

"God did not create that war, and so it is not real."

"God did not create that airplane crash, and so it is not real."

"God did not create that disaster (specify) so it is not real."

"God did not create that illness (specify with name of person) and so it is not real."

This could simply be in the form of you telling yourself, "this world is not real, it is just a dream." "This is an illusion of a world, not a reality." "Nothing is really happening here." "No-one has sinned because it did not take place in reality." "Nothing is held against anyone because it's a dream and is not true." "People are not really bodies." "My identity is not a body." "The world is urneal." "Only God is real." "Only heaven's reality is my reality." etc. Whatever form it takes.

All that needs to happen is the proper re-categorization of everything in the world. To put the world itself into the "unreal, non-existing, not-happening, not permanent, entirely undoable and nothing" bucket. And at the same time, putting heaven back into the "really does exist and has reality and is the only reality" bucket.

"There will be those who seem to be "sicker" than others, and the body's eyes will report their changed appearances as before. But the mind will put them all in one category - they are unreal."

To forgive then is simply to RECOGNIZE what is true and what isn't. To get the mind back into a state where it has been deprogrammed of the LIES that appears as real sins. Nothing in the world is real. Nothing in the world is causing anything. Nothing in the world is happening. Nothing in the world is permanent. Nothing in the world is changeless. Nothing in the world is true. "Nothing the world believes is true."

"There is no sin" because "real sin" requires the combination of an unreal illusion, incorrectly mixed with "a sense of reality." When you withdraw the sense of "it is real" from the "sinful act", it is no longer a REAL sin. It is only a mistake, an error, a forgiveable nothingness which hasn't even really occurred.

"Forgiveness recognizes what what you think your brother did has not OCCURRED."

This LITERALLY means that anything you think ever happened in this world, HAS NOT OCCURRED. It has not occurred FOR REAL, because it is taking place in an UNREALITY, in a dream, which is NOT real, and nothing real happens in a dream. Dreams by definition are fantasies and hallucinations. Everything in them is false. No events in the history of planet Earth have ever occurred. Accepting this is to accept atonement, in which only the truth of God is true, and the world is false.

"When the thought of separation has been changed to one of true forgiveness, will the world be seen in quite another light; and one which leads to truth, where all the world must disappear, and all its errors vanish. Now its source has gone, and its effects are gone as well."

"Thus does the miracle undo all things the world attests can never BE undone. And hopelessness and death MUST disappear before the ancient clarion call of life. This call has power FAR beyond the weak and miserable cry of death and guilt. The ancient Calling of the Father to His Son, and of the Son unto his own, will yet be the last trumpet that the world will ever hear. Brother, there is no death. And this you learn when you but wish to show your brother that you had no hurt of him. He thinks your blood is on his hands, and so he stands condemned. But it is given you to SHOW him, by your healing, that his guilt is but the fabric of a senseless dream."

"The miracle establishes you dream a dream, and that its content is not true. This is a crucial step in dealing with illusions. No-one is AFRAID of them, when he perceives HE MADE THEM UP. The fear was held in place BECAUSE he did not see that he was AUTHOR of the dream, and not a figure IN the dream. He gives HIMSELF the consequences that he dreams he gave his brother. And it is but this the dream has put together and has offered him, to show him that his wishes have been done. Thus does he fear his OWN attack, but sees it at another's hands. As victim, he is suffering from its effects, but NOT their cause. He authored NOT his own attack, and he is innocent of what he caused."

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