Tag Archives: error

If You Attack Error in Another, You Will Hurt Yourself. You Cannot Know Your Brother when You Attack Him.

“If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself. You cannot know your brother when you attack him. Attack is always made upon a stranger. (T41)”

Affirmation: “Attack is always made upon a stranger.”

Reflections:

1 – Very Little Rightmindedness

It takes very little rightmindedness to see the truth of the quoted passage. How often have we responded in anger to another’s words, felt a surge of self-righteousness, and then sunk into a depressed spirit? Why did you fall into a depressed spirit? Why did the moment of “triumph” not last? We thought that we had gotten the guilt out (an interpretation by Ken Wapnick). But the guilt resurges, because even when in the ego, we are misled, and we know it, somewhere in our minds. The ego, in fact, always oscillates between triumph and depressed spirit, because the ego is constantly being undone. That is the way of salvation, so that we will eventually see that the boons that the ego holds out to us are mirages.

2 – Seeing the Unholy

When we attack, we are not seeing the holy in our brother. We are not seeing his (or her) innocence. So we are not seeing truly. We have made of him (or her) a stranger. But do we want our nearest and dearest to be a stranger to us? Of course not. So we must reevaluate, and in the reevaluation, we come to see that making a stranger of our brother or sister is not going to lead us to salvation. It is our joining in relationship to our brother or sister that we know God, that we walk the pathway to Awakening–for this is the way of A Course in Miracles. Once one has known even once the joy of a heartfelt kinship, in a holy relationship one to another, we will never be satisfied with less than this best. We are ruined for any other kind of unholy alliance.

3 – Feeling

When we attack, we may feel momentarily better, but then the insanity of guilt will overcome us. We will feel worse than before, and this comes from knowing that we have betrayed both our brother and ourselves. Attack is rarely physical, but often verbal. And it is in response to anger borne of stress. The world we live in is a very stressful place, and so anger and attack dog our steps.

4 – Anger and Attack

Yet would we have it so? Would we have anger and attack as our constant companions? I think not. We recognize, however dimly, the insanity of such a defense against the truth of the holiness of our brothers and sisters. We know that we have done them a disservice when we attack them or respond in anger. Their own anger may have sparked the lamentable exchange, but we need to recognize, then, that the anger was distress based on error (from the Text of ACIM). Many times our significant others will bait us when in a low mood. And always we can respond by remembering the distress that is at the heart of this response. Remembering this will pave the way for our forgiveness, for momentarily the “pain-body” (a concept of Eckhart Tolle) is in ascendancy. Our brother or sister wants to experience pain at such times, but we do not have to oblige. We can fill our bodies with presence, and the pain-body will dissipate, sooner rather than later.

5 – Innocence

Recognizing the innocence in our brother even if he (or she) has attacked us first, is to know the evidence of insanity in our world. A special relationship is usually filled with attack, once the bloom of infatuation is off the relationship. A holy relationship, however, has moved beyond the specialness (which was always a lie), and knows one’s brother as the loving Self that he (or she) truly is.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I make no brother or sister a stranger by attacking that person. May I realize that I have always made him or her a stranger when I have attacked.

May I see the innocence even in attack received from another. Attack is a form of insanity–nothing more. May I forgive and walk into the light.

Amen.

Error Cannot Hurt

“True denial is a powerful protective device.  You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you.  (T199)”

Affirmation:  “True denial is protective.”

 

Reflections:

1 – True Denial

True denial refers only to our real self–the Self that cannot be hurt.  We aren’t usually very aware of this Self, but this Self influences us constantly.  Whether or not we listen is our own decision, but this Self can and does influence what happens to us.

2 – The Self

Error can actually accomplish nothing that is ultimately hurtful, because the Self is beyond being hurt.  The Course does not use the word “soul,” but in common language this is what is meant.  (The Course usually uses the word “spirit.”)

3 – Pain Is Illusory

When we are caught in the midst of suffering, of feeling our pain, in our own lives, or when we see suffering in others (whether our significant others or the world at large), we can affirm that the pain is illusory.  Certainly it is felt; this is not what is meant by “illusory.”  The pain actually accomplishes nothing permanent except, upon occasion, bringing us closer to God and thus to ultimate release.  This understanding will eliminate any tendency to project the blame for our pain onto God, thus removing one of the main reasons that we reject faith as being beyond our comprehension.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I learn the power of true denial, and use it only rightly.  May I truly know in the depths of my being that error–error in myself or error in others–cannot hurt my real Self.

May I forgive error in myself and in others.  May the error that does occur be an occasion to practice forgiveness, and may I turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to forgive.

Amen.

Distress that Rests on Error

“If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your rights when you return forgiveness for attack.  But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help.  Forgiveness is the only sane response.  It keeps your rights from being sacrificed. (T638)”

Affirmation:  “I forgive distress that rests on error.”

Reflections:

1 – Distress and Error

The most memorable part of this passage is the phrase, “distress that rests on error.”  If this phrase is remembered, we will have a ready remark to call to mind if arguments happen in our environment.  We will then be more willing to take a timeout, and to begin the process of forgiving the lamentable encounter.

2 – Memorize the Quotation

I have memorized this brief quotation, to remember when I am being tested by something in my current environment.  It gives so precisely the reason that forgiveness will come easily:  the distress [that I see in another] . . .rests on error.  Or it might even be my own distress (though I personally use it in contact with a significant other).  We know that forgiveness has a solid foundation when we know that our loved ones are just making mistakes.  And, of course, so are we.  We do not feel that they have “sinned,” and that this sin does not deserve forgiveness.  Actually, if we entertain such a thought we are also saying that we too are sinning, and that we too do not deserve forgiveness.  This flies in the face of A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, and the Bible–not to mention virtually all spiritual literature from any religious tradition.

3 – Is Pardon Always Justified?

This passage notes that pardon is fully justified.  This, regardless of how many times we reread the Course, may still be a sticking point.  Yet the bottom line is the dream, the “maya.”  Our brother has merely made errors, mistakes, and he, like us, deserves forgiveness for the poorest choices.  He has not “sinned” in eternity, and there is no time (ACIM tenets).

4 – Forgiveness (Pardon)

“Forgiveness is the only sane response.”  Of course!  We need the sanity of the Course, because our brother’s poorest choices have come out of insanity.  No one will find insanity hard to forgive, though we might wish in vain that it had never harmed us.  And actually, we are not harmed, regardless of what has happened in our lives.  The real Self remains pristine (paraphrased from A Course of Love).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not take offense at anything today.  I would, in a secular way, “consider the source,” and understand that there is some reason for my friend’s objectionable behavior.  Then I would forgive–as You would have us do, knowing that actually all are innocent, all are doing the best that they can, and so there is nothing to forgive in reality.

I would remember that what I see is my dream, my illusion, my maya.  I would not attempt to be a part of someone’s else dream, for I know that this is faulty thinking.  Help me to turn to You today if something happens that I immediately resent.  Resentment only hurts myself, and perhaps the other, if I act out my frustration.  Be with all my loved ones, and be with those whom I reach in this blog.  All of us need to know that You are there for us, all the time.  Thank You for Your felt presence.

Amen.

Distress Rests on Error

“If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your rights when you return forgiveness for attack.  But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help.  Forgiveness is the only sane response.  It keeps your rights from being sacrificed. (T638)”

Affirmation:  “Distress rests on error.”

Reflections:

1 – Distress Rests on Error

The most memorable part of this passage is the phrase, “distress that rests on error.”  If this phrase is remembered, we will have a ready remark to call to mind if arguments happen in our environment.  We will then be more willing to take a timeout, and to begin the process of forgiving the lamentable encounter.

2 – Pardon Is Fully Justified

This passage notes that pardon is fully justified.  This, regardless of how many times we reread the Course, may still be a sticking point.  Yet the bottom line is the dream, the “maya.”  Our brother has merely made errors, mistakes, and he, like us, deserves forgiveness for the poorest choices.  We are said to have “sinned” in time, but we live in eternity, where we are innocent (ACIM tenets).  If this is not fully comprehended, it is our failure yet to adopt for ourselves the most basic of the tenets of A Course in Miracles.

3 – Forgive Insanity

“Forgiveness is the only sane response.”  Of course!  We need the sanity of the Course, because our brother’s poorest choices have come out of insanity.  No one will find insanity hard to forgive.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would rest in the thought that much that I observe that is negative is because my brother and sister are in distress.  And not only in distress, but actually living in an illusory world that is lost in insanity.  We who desire to share salvation need only to recognize that we and they are in pain.  A person who is insane is said to have diminished responsibility, and this characterization is true for the vast majority of our brothers and sisters in this world.  Nobody has to be locked up to be insane, in the interpretation of ACIM.

Be with me when I see insanity and fail to recognize the distress that prompted the poor behavior.  And may I forgive myself for my poor behavior over my lifetime.  May we all forgive not only our brothers and sisters, but also ourselves.

You have not condemned me when in eternity I have made mistakes.  Help me not to condemn myself.  May I just pick myself up and try to be a little kinder the next day.

Amen.