I had a realization a few days ago about forgiveness that is helping me with a longstanding block. The block is this: Based on what I see, forgiveness neither makes sense nor is particularly in my interests. When I carry judgment or resentment, what I see is a separate body that is doing selfish, destructive things. I don’t see this blazing light that the Course talks about, before which I can scarce refrain from kneeling. I just see the misbehaving body.
Further, I don’t really see how forgiving is in my best interests. Yes, I’ve experienced it being in my best interests repeatedly. Yet there is still this other, stubborn concept in my head that says, “You (too) are a separate person and you have been slighted. What’s in your interests is making sure the slight is strongly denounced by you and eventually acknowledged by the other person. That way, the insult to you is reversed.”
What I see, therefore—about the other person and about my own interests—makes forgiveness not really make sense. So then, when I go to forgive, I hit up against this. I can’t quite get forgiveness to click into place mentally. I can’t quite see how it all flows rationally. And unless it really clicks into place in my mind, it doesn’t really happen. The resentment doesn’t really go. The love doesn’t really come. I feel like a fly banging against the window pane. I feel powerless to really complete the motion of forgiveness.
My realization was that of course I can’t see the reason for forgiveness. I’ve placed myself in a blinded condition. That’s the nature of having an ego and believing in bodies. It’s as if I was in a small, dark cubicle, with only one tiny peephole as a window. Unfortunately, this window only reveals a small patch of barren ground, so that the only living creatures I ever see are small bugs. I never see the sky above, even though it’s there. At that point, it is only rational to be constantly aware that what I can see is extremely partial and not representative of the whole.
Once I affirm the partial, non-representative nature of what I see, I can leave room for what I am not seeing. I can imagine it really being there. OK, I can’t currently see the blazing light of the Christ in this person. But I have good reason to believe that it’s really there. OK, I can’t really see that forgiveness is the best thing I can do for myself. But I have repeatedly experienced it being exactly that. Going back to my cubicle metaphor, even though I can’t see the sunset or the stars, I have good reason to believe they are there. Wouldn’t it be an incredible conceit to believe that what I see through my tiny peephole is all there is?
So I’ve been choosing lessons that acknowledge that I don’t see now but that what I’m striving for is really there anyway, and that I will see it. For instance, for three days I used “I will forgive” from Lesson 193. By it I specifically intended a future tense, not “I will forgive right now” but “I will forgive at some point; that’s a certainty.” I realize that goes against the sacred precept that everything has to be about the now, but it really helped me. If I know that I will eventually forgive (and I do feel very confident of that), then it brings that forgiveness more fully into the present.
I have also used “The miracle is taken first on faith.” I do have faith that the holiness the Course speaks about in people is really there. So why not focus on that faith, rather than focusing on the fact that I’m not seeing that holiness now?
Today I am using “Today I let Christ vision look upon all things for me” (Lesson 249). What I mean by it is that my physical sight can’t see the holiness in others, so I’ll let Christ’s vision see it for me.
The basic idea is that if you’re in that cubicle, it’s only wisdom to acknowledge the limits of what you can see, and focus on what you have good reason to believe is there, even if you can’t see it yet. I feel this idea is really helping me right now.