Though the mind of God’s Son holds only what he thinks with God, “Lack of forgiveness blocks this thought from his awareness” (W-pI.RIV.In.2:7). Therefore, the world I see is a world shown to me by unforgiveness. It is “the delusional system of those made mad by guilt” (T-13.In.2:2). The only thing that keeps up the illusion of this world’s reality, with its seeming punishment, pain, sorrow, separation, and death, is a lack of forgiveness. Why does my body seem to be what I am? Why does the pain I experience, mental, emotional, and physical, seem so real? Why does loss seem so real? All of its reality originates and is sustained by a lack of forgiveness in my mind. This is why, as Lesson 121 says, “Forgiveness is the key to happiness” (W-pI.121.Heading).
There is a world I truly want, a world that lies beyond this world. The Course calls it the real world. “The real world is the state of mind in which the only purpose of the world is seen to be forgiveness” (T-30.V.1:1). “The real world is attained simply by complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness” (T-17.II.5:1). My perception shifts from seeing the world of pain to seeing the real world by means of one thing: forgiveness.
This is why it is impossible to see two worlds. Either my mind is forgiving, or it is not. Either it condemns what it sees, or it accepts in merciful forgiveness. Let me begin within myself: how unkind I am to myself in the way I think of myself! How merciless I am in judging my mistakes! This harshness with myself is the origin of the harsh world I see.
There is within me, and within us all, a vast space of kindness, an enormity of heart that embraces everything in love. This is the Mind I share with God. Within me, too, is a fearful child, awash in pain, believing it has eternally damaged the universe. Let me turn with love to that hurt part of myself and open my arms in comfort and gentle loving-kindness. My heart is big enough to hold this pain instead of rejecting it. The love I share with God is vast enough to grant mercy to myself. Let me not shut myself out of my own heart any longer. Let me take myself in, in warmth and gentle welcome.
Let me look on the ones close to me, as well, with this same gentle, kind acceptance. Here is the cure for my loneliness and pain, for there is nothing so painful as a closed heart. Indeed there is no pain but this. Pain is constricting the heart. Pain is denying the love that I am. In this subtle, internal gesture of rejection lies the origin of the world I see. In the undoing of this contraction of pain is my salvation, and the salvation of the world. Here is the entry to the real world, a world bright with love, radiant with hope, certain in its joyfulness.
Beyond this world, there is a world I want, and the key to open the door is forgiveness.