“Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation. It is here escape from fear begins, and will be made complete. Here is the real world given in exchange for dreams of terror. For it is on this forgiveness rests, and is but natural. (T-30.VI.1)”
1 – Personally, Single Most Important Point
I have found the title to this post, the quotation that it embodies, the single most important point for me to apply in daily life throughout my more than 30 years of studying A Course in Miracles. The assertion flies in the face of conventional psychology, which fears suppression and even repression of negative feelings, believing that this suppression and repression are but a ticking time bomb if left in the psyche. So we are implored to get out anger out by telling it to our significant others. Explaining where we are coming from. Venting.
2 – Suppression
Do these means of handling anger—expressing, explaining, venting—really speak to the problem? It is probably very true that we risk our own mental health when we force downward, in our interior, the negative feelings that are tempted to bubble out. But ACIM does not ask this. It explains, in other passages, the essential innocence of our brother/sister. And the fact that nothing has actually happened in the illusion in which we live. He/she has not hurt our essence, which is beyond his/her reach. We are safe, once we have given up all grievances (from the Workbook). And we know that we are safe.
3 – Innocence
We are asked to forgive what has not happened, not to pardon real occurrences.
“But first, lift up your eyes and look on your brother in innocence born of complete forgiveness of his illusions, and through the eyes of faith that sees them not. (T-19.IV.D.8)
4 – Concrete Reasons, Not Blind Faith
We are not often asked to see things in the light of faith in ACIM. We are given concrete reasons for our beliefs, rather than to fall back on mysteries of faith, things that we cannot understand. But here we are to appeal to faith in the complete forgiveness of our brother, to see that he has retained his innocence and has merely made mistakes—not committed sins against us.
5 – Forgiveness
Jesus knows that when we look around us and see the consequences of “sin,” we will have a hard time in this matter of forgiveness. Yet we need not have such a hard time. When we realize that our brother’s inner Self is Christ Himself, we will esteem him rather than denounce him (from A Course of Love). And all will be well with us, for we will forgive ourselves as well.
6 – Trapped
We are trapped when we don’t forgive another for the presumed wrongs that he/she has committed against us. For in our essence, the Self within, the Christ we too are innocent, a truth that we cannot believe as long as we are holding something against another. Forgiveness is, after all, a two-way street. And that which we give, we will receive. We will hold our brother’s or sister’s sins against ourselves when we fail to forgive him/her. There can be no other dynamic going on here, for in our depths we know that he/she is innocent.
7 – Anger
We don’t need anger to satisfy the overwrought emotions of our egoic mind. We don’t need attack to keep from burying down negative emotions that will come to haunt us later on. Jesus has shown us the way out: forgiveness. We overlook the error; we simply forgive. We don’t make real the error by dwelling on it, for who can forgive what he has made real in his/her own thinking?
“The ego’s plan is to have you see error clearly first, and then overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly, you have made it real and cannot overlook it. This is where the ego is forced to appeal to ‘mysteries,’ insisting that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. (T-9.IV.4)”
8 – Foolishness
Let us drop this foolishness from now on. We don’t dwell on error and then overlook it. We release on it right away, and then the mistake is not compounded in our own mind. We forgive what has not occurred in reality.
9 – Smooth Walk
And then our walk is made smooth in front of us.
Affirmation: “I will turn aside from anger and attack today.”
I have long known that I never get angry unless I am stressed. But this knowledge has not kept me from getting angry and verbally attacking from time to time. I am shamed by this behavior, and I ask You to change me. I know that You can, and immediately. I ask for that miracle now, right now.
May I do nothing to reflect discredit upon You. And when I get angry, I am witnessing wrongly. May I witness well for You. You deserve this, of course. What more can I say?