"Without forgiveness I will still be blind."
(See Part II Practice Summary, and also Part II Introduction)
All unforgiveness is in reality of myself. Today I am seeing a more subtle form of unforgiveness. Perhaps I am willing to admit that my unloving or unjoyful feeling in the present is due to my own wanting and choosing in the past. If I am truly looking at my ego without judgement, though, I will be able to admit that I am feeling loveless or joyless now because I am choosing those feelings now, in the present. If I cannot do that, I am still listening to the voice of guilt.
For a brief instant, sin and Atonement must lie on the altar together. The guilt must be brought to the present to be healed.
If I avoid seeing my identification with ego in the present, if I avoid seeing my guilt in the present, then I am blinding myself. Avoiding seeing the ego in the present means, very simply--due to the perfect power of my mind--that I never see it in the present. I stumble through life blind to my ego in the present moment. I am always caught off guard. Again and again the ego trips me up, and I stumble and fall, saying stupidly, "Oh! That must have been my ego!"
In order to say "Yes" to God, I must recognize that I am, right now, saying "No." "'Yes' must mean 'not no.'" (T-21:VII.12:4). It isn't so much that I need to say "yes" as I need to notice I'm saying "no." When I notice that fact, I will stop. And when my "no" stops, the peace that was always there becomes conscious. To say 'no' to the 'no,' to deny the denial, is the way we say 'yes.' But I can't say 'no' to the 'no' until I admit I'm saying 'no' in the first place!
One piece of unerring evidence that I have not owned my guilt is that I will still be projecting it. I will still be making excuses for myself, talking about my weakness, feeling that I'll "never make it." Or I'll be caught up in wanting others to admit their own responsibility for the situation in the relationship. If someone tries to get me to see my responsibility for things, I'll feel attacked, even if it is done in true love. I will be saying things like, "I didn't realize what I was doing" or "I wasn't aware of attacking you at the time." I will still feel that, while I may have acted from my ego, so did you--and you'd damn well better admit it.
"I was not aware" or "I didn't realize what I was doing" is not an excuse! If I am not aware, there is only one reason--I was choosing to be not aware. I have formed a habit of refusing to see my guilt in the present, and so, in each present moment, I live in unawareness of my ego thoughts.
The terror of looking at the ego now is so great that the instant I begin to become aware I want to project my ego into the past, to push it away and deny that I am now identified with it. But healing occurs only in the present. The horror of the ego, the desire to separate myself and to murder my brother must be seen now in order to be healed. When I can allow that, the healing is instant. Brought into the present, guilt encounters the Holy Spirit and Atonement, for that is the only place Atonement lives, and that is all that lives in the present. The guilt is here and then gone, flashing out of existence. Guilt cannot exist in the presence of Atonement, any more than darkness can exist in the light.
If I am seeing anything but total innocence in my brothers, I am hiding guilt in myself. There is no guilt but my own. And when I see that, there is no guilt at all.
Copyright © 1996, The Circle of Atonement, Sedona,
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