Longer: every hour on the hour; 5 minutes
* Say: "Salvation is my only function here. Salvation and forgiveness are the same."
* Then turn to the Holy Spirit and let His light enter all the darkened places of your mind and light them up. Open your secrets to Him. Forgive these dark places. Forgive your thoughts that you made another self with another function. Realize that this never happened, for it is not the Will of God. This world of pain is not His Will, for He loves you. His Will is that your mind be one with His, that you be His one Son. By letting the Holy Spirit enter your darkened places, then, you will see there is no real obstacle to the light in you. Your fear will be laid aside and you will see that the love in you has no opposite. You will know your Self.
Shorter: in between hourly practice periods
Response To Temptation: Whenever you are tempted to be distressed by an appearance, say: "Salvation is my only function here. God still is Love, and this is not His Will." Try to see the strength and freedom that lie in these words.
"Unshaken does the Holy Spirit look on what you see: on sin and pain and death, on grief and separation and on loss. Yet does He know one thing must still be true: God is still Love, and this is not His Will" (5:4-5).
We see sin and pain and death. We see grief and separation and loss. We think these things are real. What is worse, we believe them to be God's Will. If we attribute this world and its creation to God, these things must be, by implication, God's Will. He created them. If we believe He created the world we must believe that, even if the belief is not conscious. At the very least we believe He willingly created the potential for all this suffering and loss, and somehow planned for us to go through it all.
Much Christian teaching has been very explicit about this. A loved one dies prematurely. We are overcome with an agony of grief and loss, and some well-intentioned friend tries to comfort us with the thought, "It was God's Will." What comfort is that? What does it do but place the blame for our agony on God? What does it do but make God into a monster, an object of fear or even hatred?
Sin, pain, death, grief, separation and loss are not God's Will. They never have been. Such a belief stems from a covert belief that God has it in for us, that He is punishing us for our sins. To hold such a belief we must also hold a belief that we deserve this awful experience. This is the instant of our belief in separation from God being played out on the stage of the world.
You and I have thought that God wanted this for us. He wanted us to be in this world of pain. Sometimes we have agreed with what we thought of Him, agreed that we deserved to suffer. Sometimes we have angrily denied we deserved it, and accused Him of being unfair. Often we have simply been bewildered, pitifully wondering what we did to deserve all this; sure we must have done something, but at a loss as to what it might be.
Somehow we have never considered this thought:
"All the world of pain is not His Will. Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you" (7:4-5).
The essence of our anguish, the element that lends it exquisite sharpness, is the underlying thought that God wants it for us. What cuts deepest is the hidden belief that God is the source of this pain. He Whom my heart loves, and loves uncontrollably, has willed this for me. It is my Father Who inflicts this pain.
We huddle in our suffering and grief, hopeless and lost because we think it is God's Will.
"This is not His Will," Jesus tells us. "Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you."
How could we think this of God? How could we believe He is so vengeful? We do not yet realize, yet will discover it so if we grant ourselves this forgiveness, that it is only this thought about God that grants to pain all its power over us. When grief tears at us, fear grips us, or a deep sense of loss seems to shred our very soul, if we will allow ourselves to turn to the Holy Spirit and hear Him say, "This is not His Will. God does not want this for you," we will find it possible to forgive ourselves for thinking it was so. The moment we do, the vitality of pain is removed. "God does not want this for me. This is not from Him." The pain becomes--something else.
It is not God Who wills this pain for us. It is ourselves. We believe God punishes because we believe we deserve punishment. We experience life as pain because we are unconsciously punishing ourselves.
We are not talking here of the event we think has caused our pain or fear: the death of the loved one, the apparent loss of love, the physical suffering. We are talking primarily of the mental-emotional context in which we are holding it. This is an internal thing. This anguish, this pain of grief, this terror--this is not His Will for you. We suffer so incredibly because, all unconscious, we accept most of life as a punishment. A chastisement. A penalty for being the awful thing we think we are.
Because we believe the bite of pain is His Will, we cannot take it to Him for comfort. He is its Source, we think, so we flee from Him. We deny ourselves the relief of His loving Presence. In that Presence we can find our Self. We can look on our own essence and "look upon no obstacle to what He wills for you" (8:3).
"Then turn to Him Who shares your function here, and let Him teach you what you need to learn to lay all fear aside, and know your Self as love which has no opposite in you" (9:8).
"Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you." Bring your pain to Jesus. Pain is not God's Will for you. The experience you are going through can become a doorway to infinite release if you let down your defenses against God. His Presence can transform your experience of pain into one of joy. It can be a path to knowing your Self as Love. Such seems impossible to us, but then, miracles always seem impossible.
Let down the defenses. God is not angry. He does not want this pain for you. Uncoil from your tight fear of Him. Shrink not from His touch. Forgive yourself the thought that He inflicted this on you. Let Him show you your Self as He sees it, and open to His healing Love.
Copyright © 1996, The Circle of Atonement, Sedona,
All rights reserved.