"I trust my brothers, who are one with me."
Purpose: To go past the special block of focusing on the sins of others, and so experience your own sinlessness. This will intensify your motivation and strengthen your commitment.
Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes - at least; 10 - better; 15 even better; 30 or more - best
Let go your focus on the sins of others. Let go your focus on your past and future goals and beliefs.
Have only one intent: to look upon your own sinlessness. Trust in this experience for which you ask.
If you think of a brother's sin, causing anger to block your way, say: "It is not this I would look upon. I trust my brothers, who are one with me."
Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)
(Suggestion) Do a short version of morning/evening exercise.
Frequent Reminder: (Suggestion) Repeat idea.
Response To Temptation: If a brother's sins occur to you, say: "It is not this I would look upon. I trust my brothers, who are one with me."
This lesson is not encouraging naive blindness to people's flaws. It isn't saying that you should unlock your house and car and leave your money lying in the street, trusting no one will steal it. It is talking about looking beyond their errors and mistakes (their egos) to see their sinlessness. It is speaking of being aware of a person's mistakes (and taking them into practical account), while at the same time looking past them to their perfect innocence. Not seeing the mistakes as sins to be condemned and punished. As my friend Lynne once said of a man who had previously been abusive to her, "I may love a rattlesnake, but that doesn't mean I sleep with it."
The "block" this lesson is helping us to lift (however briefly) is our focus on the sins of our brothers and sisters. The lesson is telling us not to look for what is wrong in people, but what is right. The point behind this is that, by focusing on the sins of others, we block their true Self from our sight, and thereby block the Self within us from our sight as well. If I cannot overlook the mistakes of my brothers, I cannot overlook my own. "Perception has a focus" (2:1). We need to change our focus. "Remove your focus on your brother's sins, and you experience the peace that comes from faith in sinlessness" (2:5). That is the aim of these twenty lessons, remember: to remove a block and thus experience something different; in this case, "faith in sinlessness."
As the Introduction said, we are not trying to do this for all time! (Not yet anyhow.) Not even for all day; just for a brief period. Do you have someone you feel you cannot forgive? How about trying to "practice" forgiving them, just for five minutes? Just for a brief period, be willing to let go of your judgments about them, to forget the past and to forget the future, and to look for the innocence in them, to see them as a holy child of God, deserving of His Love. How about trying, even for five minutes, just to be willing for this kind of experience? Don't worry about the fact that for the last month, or year, or however long, you've wanted to kill them; don't worry about the fact that ten minutes from now you will be fantasizing about how they will get what is coming to them. Maybe so. "How could this matter?" (5:1). The concerns we have about the past or to the future "are but defenses against present change of focus in perception" (5:3). If we can let ourselves experience, even for a brief moment, what it feels like to see past their sins to innocence, that experience will be enough to motivate us to go all the way.
I encourage us all to bear these instructions in mind, not just for today's lesson, but for all the rest of the Workbook. When you sit down for a quiet time, put aside how you felt just before, and don't worry about how you will feel afterwards. "We do not seek for long-range goals" (7:2). All we are looking for is the experience of an instant of release, because that is all that is needed. At any moment during the day we can stop and say, "This instant is our willing one with His" (9:7). That instant is all we need.
Somehow, we seem to think that we can shift from total egoity to immediate spirituality. We think that if we spend five minutes with God in the morning, the rest of the day ought to be totally transformed, immediately. Our resistance is simply too great for that to happen; we have overlearned the ego's lessons, and unlearning them will take some effort. The ego tells us that, "It isn't working," because we "forgave" our brother in those five minutes in the morning and spent half the rest of the day dreaming up ways to make him, or her, suffer. But something is happening; the ego is trying to make us guilty because it knows something is happening. Those five minutes when we lay our judgment aside bring us an experience of inner peace that we have never known before, and we know a good thing when we see it. Our motivation to forgive will grow, and grow, and grow. The experience of "surcease an instant from the misery the focus upon sin will bring" (7:3) will be such a relief that we will seek it again and again, until it grows to encompass our entire mind, all the time. All it takes is the willingness to practice.
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