Tag Archives: innocence

Loving Everything that Arises within Us. . .

“[L]oving everything that arises within you is the key to bringing love to the world.”  Choose Only Love:  Let Yourself Be Loved (COL bk.2, 15:I)

We think we see so many things in ourselves that we want to reject as not being worthy.  We are very hard on ourselves.  Here, though, we read that we ought to love everything that arises in us.  How can this be so?

It is so because, regardless of how many mistakes we have made, we are still innocent in the eyes of God.  We don’t reject tiny children when we have to reprimand them; we see their innocence.  And we are tiny children, at least sometimes, in the eyes of God.  Certainly He knows that we try, and little children do not try without sometimes falling into error.  A wise parent does not turn against the child because that child is not perfect.

Being innocent is not the same as being perfect.  We fall down, and we will continue to fall down, but we ought to give ourselves some slack.  We get up, and we try again.  If we stay down, we aren’t able to live in God’s light.  Eyes on the ground, we see only darkness.

If we can love ourselves, then we can bring love to others, to the ones in our circle in the world.  If we despise ourselves, we are ignorant of what love is, and we cannot meaningfully give it to another.

Know that love saves us, from ourselves and also from the rejection of others.  We need instead to wrap the world with open arms, sure of our love, blessed by the love that God has taught us to feel.

Innocence

“Innocence is also not a partial attribute. It is not a real defense until it is total. When it is partial, it is characterized by the same erratic nature that holds for other two-edged defenses. The partly innocent are apt to be quite stupid at times. It is not until their innocence is a genuine viewpoint which is universal in its application that it becomes wisdom. Innocent (or true) perception means that you never misperceive and always see truly. More simply, this means that you never see what does not exist in reality.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.IV.3:1-7)

Innocent perception, true perception, is our perception just before knowledge dawns on our previously deluded minds. “The partly innocent are apt to be quite stupid at times.” The term “stupid” is a correction harkening back to the original; the edition of the Foundation for Inner Peace used the term “foolish.” We can see that “stupid,” in this case, does mean “foolish,” though there is a denunciatory slant to “stupid” for our minds that have long sought to be superior to the heart.

Innocence is total when we have found Awakening or Christ-consciousness. Until then, we will oscillate between innocence and only partial innocence, and we will be erratic in our emotions around these terms. When we are innocent, we know that we have only made mistakes, not committed “sins.” When we are partly innocent, we will harbor a fear that our mistakes, some of them at least, have actually been sins.

This is not so, of course. Sin carries a sense of hopelessness that mistakes do not. And sin also is thought to be erased only by blood sacrifice, at least in traditional Christianity.

Jesus has altered all this in A Course in Miracles. He asks us not to look to the cross for our salvation, but to the resurrection, which assures eternal life. The resurrection is the mystery that binds us to Jesus. Let its value sweep over us, and take us home to God.

How Is the Peace of God Retained?

1 – Anger

“How is the peace of God retained, once it is found? Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again, and the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return. (M51)”

2 – Expression of Help / Call for Help

The main point that this passage makes is best understood if we realize that elsewhere we learn that all is either help or a call for help. We get angry when we think that we have not been appreciated, or someone has done us wrong, or a million varieties of these two examples. If we reinterpret this attack from another brother or sister as a call for help, then we can see that they are innocent, and we truly have nothing to be angry about.

3 – Returning Anger

It is important to note that this passage says “returning anger, in whatever form”–a pertinent point. We often feel upset without fully realizing that what we are feeling is anger. Suppressing or repressing the anger is not helpful, and this is a mistake that many Course students make. Our right and proper reaction is forgiveness of the attack, because our brothers and sisters are as innocent as are we. We have made mistakes, and they have also, but we are not “sinners.” Calling an attack a “sin” only reinforces it in our minds. We need to overlook the attack, not make it real by dwelling on it (a Course tenet).

4 – Peace

Peace can be with us all the time, but this achievement (and it is an achievement, but not of the ego) may not come to any of us soon. More and more time can be spent in peace, though, if we keep the tenets of the Course in mind. The above paragraph summarizes a good bit of the basic psychology of the Course about attack and anger. For us to be peaceful, we have to have a peaceful psychology, and A Course in Miracles offers this.

5 – The Sword

“Now must you once again lay down your sword, although you do not recognize that you have picked it up again. But you will learn, as you remember even faintly now what happiness was yours without it, that you must have taken it again as your defense. (M51)”

6 – Defenses

We don’t need defenses of any type. God takes care of us without defenses. Elsewhere we are told that defenses make what they try to defend against. And this is true of anger as well. If we take up the sword, metaphorically, we will die by the sword. There is no other outcome.

7 – Relationships

All of us want nourishing relationships. And criticism of our significant others is a way that we show our anger, and it is always barrier-producing. We need to drop the barriers, the defenses, that we have erected to protect ourselves from the harm that we think significant others do to us. They will do nothing that our Self has not allowed. And our Self will show us better times when we are more open and vulnerable.

8 – An Adage

This, obviously, does not mean that we are open to physical violence. But words do not, ultimately, harm us. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” That old adage is good advice in this context.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I retain peace in my life. I know that I cannot retain peace if I allow anger to return to me over and over. I must forgive the mistakes that I make and those that my brothers and sisters make. Then I may retain peace.

Please help me to go about a peaceful day today. I know that Your help is at my right hand always.

Amen.

Anger Is Never Justified. Attack Has No Foundation.

cezanne - bowls of fruit“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.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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?

Amen.

Perfection

“To believe in your perfection and the equality of your gifts is peaceful, because it releases you from trying to acquire that which you previously believed you were lacking.  If releases you from judgment because you know that your brothers and sisters are also beings of perfection.  (A Course of Love, 20.43)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to understand perfection.”

Reflections:

1 – Perception = Innocence

“Perfection” here is closely aligned to our understanding of “innocence.”  In this concept, we have only made mistakes in perfect innocence; we are not guilty of sins that cannot be forgiven.  God has never condemned us for our misdeeds.  He just loves us.

2 – Christ-Consciousness

But perfection also seems to go a step forward in A Course of Love.  Jesus indicates that we do not have to correct all mistakes before we are considered ready for Christ-consciousness.  In A Course in Miracles, he said that he stood at the end of the path to correct all mistakes that we could not correct.  I think that this same understanding holds now with ACOL.

3 – As God Created Us

How does it mean that we can see our imperfections and yet read in ACOL that we can know perfection?  It is similar to the difficulty that many of us had in ACIM with our innocence.  Perfection and innocence both mean that we are as God created us (an ACIM tenet).

4 – Eliminate Judgment

The benefit to believing that we are as God created us is enormous.  We do eliminate judgmental thoughts about others from our minds.  We do not have to put down another in order to feel ourselves more justified, a better person.  This sort of nonsense is gone forever.

5 – Rid of Illusions

May we accept Jesus’s word today that we are both perfect and innocent.  Any illusory self is not perfect or innocent, but we are trying to be rid of illusions forever.  And this includes a desire to see the real world in place of the difficulty one in which we live as in a bad dream.  Ask today to see the real world, reality as it is.

6 – Improvement in Life

And see if life does not improve immediately.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We are not perfect in that we never do anything wrong, or we never make mistakes.  But our innocence is strong nevertheless, because we are as You created us.  Help me not to forget this today.

May I drop any and all judgmental thoughts from my repertoire of attitudes and emotions.  Judgment only hinders my return to You.  And I would not have it so.

Be with me as I walk through this day in happiness.  I know that it is possible, and I ask for Your help in making it so.

Amen.

When Memory Returns

“You who do not know how to trade your separated state for that of union have still done so when you have loved freely and without fear.  In this state your memory returns to you of who you are, and you are innocent and joyous and one with love itself.  (A Course of Love, 14.28)”

Affirmation:  “I will recall today the love that I have experienced at any time in my life.”

Reflections:van gogh - trees4

1 – Loving Freely

We have, each of us, known someone or something that we have loved freely.  We may have to reach back very far, if we have gone deeply into insanity, but if we reach back far enough, we will each know that we have known love given and received.  We were without fear at such times of genuine love.  Nothing fazed us; nothing impeded us.  We were so overcome with the emotion of love that we forgot that we had anything to fear.  And, indeed, we did not have anything to fear.

2 – Return in Memory

It is to such times that we ought to return in memory, to lead us to accept such love for all times.  When we recall the lack of fear (and anxiety) that we felt, we will be reassured that this fearless state is a state that we want.  We do not have anything to fear, once we have given up grievances.  We will know, once we have done this, that we live in a safe world.  Regardless of what may happen, and many bad things do happen in our difficult world, we are safe in God’s love.  Even if we lose our physical lives, there is eternity to experience.  There is an Other Side.

3 – Innocence

When we are innocent, we know that we have not sinned, but merely made mistakes.  No human being fails to make mistakes.  But all can and will be forgiven when we love enough to ask for forgiveness.  We must forgive ourselves, and perhaps we need to ask restitution, but the state of innocence is our true state, and we will recognize this idyllic experience when we have known deep love.  Love truly i s the Answer, but this statement has been made so many times as to sound trite.  It is anything but trite.

4 – Presence of God

Ask to experience the feeling of God today.  He is within, and He will show Himself when we are willing to let go and let Him return to us as our Creator, whom we have actually always loved.  We just seemed to lose Him a little while.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would love freely today, so that I may regain my sense of innocence, free of fear.  I would cease the anxious thoughts that arrest me when I need to function better.  Help me to function well today.

Love erases fear, and when I have returned to the memory of love, all will be well with me.  Help me to return to love today and everyday.

Amen.

Anger Is Never Justified

“Anger is never justified.  Attack has no foundation.  It is here escape from fear begins, and will be made complete. (T638)”

 

Affirmation:  “I choose neither anger nor attack.”

Reflections:

1 – Attack and Anger Out of Bounds

Let’s just recognize the truth of these statements, even when the withered ego rebels.  Remembering that attack and anger are out of bounds is a great liberator.  It will help in the tough times that we go through with our loved ones.

2 – See the Relinquishment of Fear

There is a great boon here as well:  Leaving behind anger and attack leads to the relinquishment of fear.  Fear has dogged our every step, even when we have not been aware of this.  As the Course teaches, there are only fear and love, and, of the two, only love is real.

3 – Anger and Attack = Grievances

Anger and attack are usually present because we hold grievances.  And it is only when our grievances have been left behind that we know safety (from the Workbook).  It is said in ACIM that it is as though we held a dagger above our heads, and it will fall or be averted as we choose to forgive or to attack.  Our brother or sister attacks us because each is calling for help.  And it is our duty to rush to his/her side with assistance.  Doing so keeps our rights from being removed.  We recognize the truth of the situation, and we will find that we ourselves also get help when we need it.  As we give, we do receive (from the Treatises of A Course of Love).

4 – Our Innocent Brother

The underlying idea here is that our brother and sister are actually, in essence, innocent.  They have, like we all, been guilty of mistakes, but these can be overlooked–if we don’t at first make them real by thinking too much about them.

5 – Only Love Is Real

We are living a dream in which nothing except the love is real.   That is why anger and attack are never justified.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that when I feel anger what I am involved in an interpretation which is not true.  If I am outraged, it is even more certain that I am misperceiving.  In this world, of course, we are very human, and, for most of us, our fallibility includes being embroiled from time to time in arguments.  I would not let this state of affairs continue in my life, in the life that You have given to me.  Help me to recognize when I am misperceiving, and help me to forgive–regardless of how great the error of my significant others actually is.

I would accept that I am seeing a bad scene because I do not want to see it.  Help me to understand this paradox from A Course in Miracles.  I would choose to see only those scenes that will honor You, and that will give me the peace that only You can offer to me.  Be with me today if attack and anger become temptations.  I would turn to my Guide at such times.  I would ask to see the real truth, which is that I live in an illusion, and only the real things of peace, joy, serenity, and the like, are true.  I would find truth today.

 Thank You for leading me in recent time to a more peaceful pace of living.  May stress not overwhelm me, because I never get angry unless I am stressed.

Amen.

I Am Eternally Innocent

ACIM Workbook Lesson 309 – for Saturday, November 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not fear to look within today.”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence, because it is God’s Will that It be there forever and forever.  His Son, whose will is limitless as is His Own, can will no change in this.  (WB454)”

Reflections:

1 – Looking Within

We sometimes fear to look within because we imagine that we are really despicable creatures.  We fear what we will see if we get a good look within.  But is this realistic?

2 – Mistakes – Not “Sins”

A Course in Miracles says that we are innocent.  We may have made mistakes, in illusion, but we have not “sinned.”  So we must be good on the inside.

3 – Ask for Forgiveness

When we know that we can ask forgiveness of the Universe (we do not have to ask forgiveness of God, because He has never condemned us–an ACIM tenet) and of ourselves, not to mention our brothers and sisters, then all is well.  We need the exercise of asking forgiveness.  It heals our minds.

4 – Avoid Stress = Avoid Anger and Attack

Asking forgiveness also calms us.  And it is normally in our stress that we get into trouble with attack and anger.  When we are at peace, these emotions do not often occur at all.  When we have avoided forgiveness and all that it holds out to us, and we attack or respond in anger, then we need to ask forgiveness of the individual against whom we have judged.  We have judged him or her, or we would not attack.  And our attack, we think, has brought us something that we want.  It has been a defense for ourselves (a Text tenet).  But we do not need defenses.  We are little and weak, in need of defense; we are actually quite strong as we follow the Holy Spirit.

5 – “Eternal Innocence”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence”:  This is a phrase that will mean much to us as we memorize it.  It will give us a day in which we feel justified in God’s Sight.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that You have led me to believe that I have sinned in time, but not in eternity.  And it is only eternity that counts.  I have made mistakes in eternity, but I can ask for correction, and it is mine as soon as I make the request.  Help me to remedy any wrongs that I have perpetrated on my brothers and sisters.  And help me to forgive myself, as well as any wrongs that I have imaged that others have done to me.

Be with me today as I seek to avoid mistakes.  I know that I will always make mistakes that need correction, but I ask to be shown where I am wrong, and I ask to be shown how to make amends immediately.  May I discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit accurately today and every day.

Amen.