Purpose: To lay down the dark shield of our grievances and "and gently lift our eyes in silence to behold the Son of God" (2:3).
Longer: Two times, for ten to fifteen minutes.
- Select a person about whom you have grievances. Read the list in paragraph 4 and choose the person who comes to mind while reading that list.
- Close your eyes and review how you currently see this person, in two ways. First, review his negative deeds and traits: his faults, his mistakes, his "sins," and all the ways in which he has caused you difficulty and pain. Second, review his body, both "its flaws and better points" (6:4). Visualizing his body is a great way to get in touch with the grievances you carry toward him.
- Then ask the Holy Spirit to show you the shining savior this person really is, beyond your grievances. Say, "Let me behold my savior in this one You have appointed as the one for me to ask to lead me to the holy light in which he stands, that I may join with him." This very long sentence is a powerful reversal of how you currently see this person. Now, you see him as an attacker who stands apart from you. This sentence, however, depicts him as your savior, whose holiness will lead you into the radiance of his true reality, where you will discover that you and he are one. The only thing needed for him to fulfill this role is for you to see him truly, which is what the sentence invites. So don't just say the sentence once. Repeat it many times during the practice period.
- This sentence invites an actual experience from the Holy Spirit. It invites Him to reveal to you this person's shining reality, which lies past your grievances. So this is yet another exercise in asking for some inward thing from the Holy Spirit. Remember the training you've received in this:
- Wait in stillness. "Be very quiet now, and look upon your shining savior" (8:6).
- Wait in confidence. "What you have asked for cannot be denied" (8:1).
- Periodically renew your request by repeating the sentence.
Frequent reminders/response to temptation: Whenever you meet or think of or remember someone.
Pray, "Let miracles replace all grievances." This means, "Let the miracle of Who you really are replace my grievances about you." Realize that this releases both of you, along with everyone else.
If I did not have grievances everything would be miraculous to me. The contention of the Course is that the truth is obvious, and only seems difficult to see because we block it from our awareness with our grievances. The very purpose of a grievance is to conceal the miracle hiding beneath it (1:2). The miracle is still there, nevertheless.
Today we want to look on miracles. "We will reverse the way you see by not allowing sight to stop before it sees" (2:2). That is what we are in the habit of doing—allowing our sight to stop at the external appearance, without moving our perception beyond that to what the appearance is hiding. What we see at first, the external appearance, is our "shield of hate" (1:2; 2:3). It always shows us things that bring us grief in one way or another. We do not want to stop at that today; we want to lay down the shield and "lift our eyes in silence to behold the Son of God" (2:3).
The Son of God is hidden in every one of us. Only our grievances prevent us from seeing him everywhere.
Some of us may be very aware of grievances; others of us may wonder what on earth is being talked about. But if we look honestly at the thoughts in our minds, unless we live in perfect true perception already, free from all suffering, wholly joyful always, we will find grievances there. We often do not recognize them for what they are. There is a real need for honest self-assessment to recognize the shields in our minds that block the light from our sight.
Look at some of the suggestions (in 4:5) for picking a person with whom to practice this lesson. Someone we "fear and even hate" is probably obvious to us, if we have such a person in our lives; we can recognize this as a grievance easily. "Someone you think you love who angered you" is probably also quite clear; yes, that is a grievance. A friend "whom you see as difficult at times"—is that a grievance that blocks light from me? Yes, indeed. Someone "hard to please"? Someone we see as demanding, or who we view as being "irritating"? Are these grievances? Yes! And even someone "untrue to the ideal he should accept as his, according to the role you set for him." How many of us, who tend to view ourselves as spiritual students of the Course, would have recognized this subtle judgment as a grievance?
Yes, that opinion you hold about that person who hasn't lived up to his or her potential, the one you think you love and care for and show so much concern about—that is also a grievance, blocking the light of the Son of God from your vision.
I love the way Jesus says, "You know the one to choose; his name has crossed your mind already" (5:1). He so often seems to be intimately familiar with the inside of our minds, doesn't he?
This exercise is a powerful one. It is also very practical and down to earth, dealing with one specific person in our lives. "Let him be savior unto you today" (5:5).
Him? Savior? You want me to let that person be savior to me? How can I possibly see him like that?
If questions like that come to me, they only demonstrate the illusory solidity of the shield of grievance in my mind. The Son of God is evident in "that one" if I am willing to let go of my grievances.
Now remember: We're just doing an exercise here. Maybe you don't feel ready yet to entirely let go of all grievances, to relinquish your judgment of this person forever. Okay. How about just practicing it for ten or fifteen minutes? Just try it on for size, see what it feels like. That's all that is being asked.
This is how we save the world—by just this kind of practice. Christ is waiting in each of us to be released. You have the power to release him in everyone around you today, simply by looking past your grievances and seeing Christ in them. The Holy Spirit in your brothers and sisters "leans from [them] to you, seeing no separation in God's Son" (8:4). By allowing your brother to play the role of savior in your mind, you have "allowed the Holy Spirit to express through him the role God gave Him that you might be saved" (8:8). You have seen him as he is, and that vision in your mind will awaken his to see the truth about himself. You will call it out of him through your faith. This is how we play the role of savior ourselves; as you draw it forth from your brothers, their gratitude will teach you the truth about yourself, and you will realize that something in you has manifested in saving grace to lift your brother. What you have given, you must have had in order to give it. The salvation you have given him is yours, and you recognize it because you gave it. That is how this process works. We can practice it even in our minds with people from our past (10:3).
So I take the role assigned me by God. I choose today to let miracles replace all grievances in my mind. Whenever I notice a grievance, I will ask that a miracle replace it. Let me see you, my friend, as my savior today. Thank you for being there. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to give.