The Decision to Forget – The Decision to Remember

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

For several weeks I have been feeling discouraged and frustrated, because I have not been hearing guidance or receiving answers to some burning questions I have. This has puzzled me, because it sure seems as if I really want to live a guided life, but a couple of days ago I realized what this is all about and the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

Usually in my journaling (my main avenue of receiving guidance), I talk with Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit and they answer my questions and share their wisdom with me. I know that they are always speaking to me, so, if I’m not hearing anything these days, it must be because I am blocking their communication with me. I have been in quite a lot of turmoil over this, experiencing alternating feelings of fear, anger, hopelessness, and abandonment. Because this has lasted for such a long period of time, I have felt bereft, as if I really am all on my own, and I have been at a loss about what to do. The pain of not feeling God’s presence with me is almost unbearable.

Then, in preparation for our Text class for the week, I read “The Decision to Forget” (T-10.II) and comments from Allen in his ETC (Electronic Text Commentary), and what I read there provided me with the missing piece to the puzzle. It can be summed up in Allen’s words, “We do not realize that our mind’s rejection of God as our Creator is behind all our mental turmoil.” When I read this, I realized that the cause of my turmoil is my decision to forget God. Not experiencing God’s presence, not hearing answers to my calls for help is so scary to me because it’s a reflection of “the awful thing” I am not willing to look at my decision to forget God. I am actively choosing not to remember Him (5:6)! That’s what’s been blocking my hearing God’s Voice and feeling His love. It’s so bizarre that I can feel with all my heart that I want God, yet I don’t feel His presence. Obviously I don’t want only God. I want to forget Him, because remembering Him would mean facing that “awful thing” I did (or believed I did) and feeling even more awful!

On top of it all, by feeling discouraged, disheartened, angry, and all of those other feelings, I am attacking myself and my true Identity, and God as well. My desire to forget has been fighting my decision to remember. No wonder I’ve been in such distress. This insane decision to forget God has made “complete havoc… of [my] peace of mind” (6:1).

This section talks about how attacking our brothers comes from the decision to forget God and ourselves as God created us. When I attack others (by my unloving thoughts or actions) I am basically saying, “You see, God, I’m not as you created me; I’m not what you say I am. Look how unloving I am; that’s proof that I’m not what You say I am.”

I was trying to see how this related to what I’ve been feeling, and I was puzzled. I didn’t think I was being unloving towards others through this wasteland period. I could see how unloving I was towards myself and towards God, but others? Then I saw that indeed I was. I was resentful and jealous of a few people in my life who seem to have such an open line of communication with God, His Holy Spirit, and Jesus. I have been beating up on myself because they’re feeling close to God and I’m not. Of course, that has also led to my feeling that there’s something wrong with me.

As I continued looking, I also realized that I have been feeling anger towards a particular person I know who appears to have chosen to keep God out of his life. As I thought about him, I realized that I am really angry with myself for keeping God out of my life! His magic thoughts have been reminding me of mine! I’m amazed at how much I want to remember God and yet I continually choose to forget Him!

Reading Allen’s comments gave me hope, and I felt a sense of lightness, as if a heavy weight had been lifted from me. I see now what I’ve been doing, what dynamic has been operating in me, and I know that I can do something about it. I have been vigilant against God and for the ego, and now I have to turn that around and be vigilant against the ego and for God. I made the decision to forget, so I can reverse that decision and make the decision to remember.

So I have decided to practice “remembering” lessons for a while. I started with Lesson 321, “Father I will but to remember You,” which I really like. In the context of my past “will” to forget, the lesson took on a deeper dimension for me. I enjoyed practicing the lesson, but at the end of the day, I didn’t feel as if I had done a very good job of remembering. I started to tell myself that I didn’t even know how to remember God, when I remembered that the Course has tons to say about that, and it all boils down to: “the way to God is through forgiveness here. There is no other way” (256.1:1-2). (How convenient of me to have forgotten that and thought there was some big elusive secret to remembering God!)

Now, every time I have unloving thoughts towards anyone, I’m going to try and remind myself that it means that I am deciding to forget God. Likewise, whenever I have a loving thought, or do something loving for someone, I am going to remind myself that I am deciding to remember Him. Every instant I am deciding for Heaven or hell, for remembering God or forgetting Him. It’s as simple as that.

I started out talking about my discouragement about not feeling God’s presence and not hearing His guidance, but I have ended up in a different place. It’s interesting, but I’m not even worried any more about the guidance issue. If I actively choose to remember Him, I’m bound to hear His guidance. Furthermore, as Lesson 169 says, it doesn’t matter when revelation comes, for now we have work to do. I know that by practicing forgiveness, I will come to remember God and feel His presence and let go of the barriers I have had to hearing and accepting His guidance.

Actually, I think that I did receive guidance through this experience with “The Decision to Forget.” I think that the Holy Spirit spoke to me through Allen’s words and gave me the answer to my guidance issue. The guidance may not have come through the usual vehicle of my journaling, but it did come–and through the Holy Spirit speaking to me through my brother! Thank you, Holy Spirit; thank you Allen!