“Now you look for one upon whom you can unload your burdens, hoping you can pass your grievances en mass to someone else. If you succeed through anger, spite, or meanness, you simply take on guilt and withdraw still further into your own misery.” (ACOL, C:7.12)
Guilt is what has made us mad. This from A Course in Miracles, and emphasized in this passage. We, of course, damn ourselves when we don’t forgive, and here Jesus is telling us straight out what we do to ourselves. He didn’t talk about “meanness” in A Course in Miracles, but he is telling us about our most negative aspects, here, in A Course of Love. Few of us would want to characterize ourselves as “mean,” but perhaps we need to open our minds to this concept. We are capable of much that is negative.
Our misery is profound when we are lost in grievances. We wallow in this misery, not sure of how to lighten our mood. But a little reflection on what we have been reading in A Course of Love would be all that it would take to lighten our load. We need to listen to what our heart tells us about interacting with our brothers and sisters. We don’t want to harbor grievances, but instead to practice forgiveness, knowing all the while that what we are forgiving is simply illusion, a dream of a world that does not exist. Nobody has done anything to us except in illusion, and so actually nothing has happened at all. We know this from our study of ACIM, but we are still prone to forget it when our thoughts turn dark.
All of us can get angry, and, perhaps surprisingly, Jesus does not lament anger in A Course of Love as much as he did in A Course in Miracles. In ACOL, he recognizes that we may still get angry, but the anger has no teeth in it if we quickly forgive the illusion as never having happened at all. In ACIM, he had told us that anger was never justified, an assertion that many of us found hard to accept, because we still can fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. We cannot so control our emotions that we never feel anger, it is true, but we can fail to flame the fire by stoking it. This in itself is a major step forward. And it short-circuits meanness as well.
Let our negative emotions fall of their own weight. We don’t have to encourage them, and thereby encourage our own misery. When in a bad mood, notice that our own thoughts have turned against us. We have dipped into the ego-mind, something that we haven’t passed beyond yet. And this ego-mind seeks to be our undoing.
We don’t have to let the ego-mind win. We are stronger than that. Rise above with a gentle turn toward love, the genuine love that we do feel for other people as well as for ourselves, as well as for God. Listen to our hearts, which will serve us well in moments on temptation to turn to darker thoughts. The way out is clear. We forgive, recognizing illusion when confronted with it. We lift our minds to a healthy love for a better world, a world that we can inhabit when our projections become wiser. Listen to the inner Christ Self, Who will not lead us wrong—if we truly listen and don’t just think that we are listening. The way is clear; the answer is provided us. There is no reason that we cannot prevail.