A Course in Miracles Blog

Forgiving each level of the separation

  • By Paul West
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Something just popped into my mind on our lovely walk home from the cafe.... there are different LEVELS of forgiveness.

The dream was created through this process:

Separation idea > sin > guilt > fear of punishment > death.

At each of these 'stages' there are different kinds of perceptions and choices being made for different reasons. When we're in the world faced with something that seems upsetting, it's usually an experience somewhere between the last two stages - fear and death. When we apply forgiveness, we tend to work on undoing the projections of fear, and perhaps if we dig deeper we undo some of the projections of guilt as well.

But what I found myself noticing was, I don't often get even deeper into the undoing of sin, or deeper than that - the undoing of the idea of separation.

The idea of separation entails our CHOICE to be separate from God, which was a disowning of responsibility and a desire to be different. If I am to take 100% responsibility for what I've chosen, realizing I've only done this to myself, I have to take my forgiveness ALL the way to that original 'source point' in my mind - the decision to die - to be opposite of Life.

So if I'm mainly caught up in forgiving projections and blame, that's helpful but it's maybe confined to some of the 'lower levels' or more external levels of the mind. I need to go deeper. I need to get to where I can see that I CHOSE everything about this because I wanted to be separate. That's the 'root cause' in my mind. I need to admit that I wanted to deny God and wanted to be dead. That's the pivotal point. To get there I need to make sure I am undoing the layers of fear and guilt but also the layer of a belief in sin and come to realize that this is ALL something I chose to do to myself.

Undoing fear: Seems fairly simple, recognizing we're choosing to be afraid and are projecting causes for it outside of ourselves. I can take that back. But I might still believe someone is guilty, maybe myself.

Undoing guilt: I need to now see that I'm not guilty, or at least that guilt is stemming from a sense of sin. I'm afraid because I feel guilty. Well, I need to get past feeling guilty. And as I get past it I'm going to confront a deeper level - a sense of having sinned. The reason WHY I'm guilty. And that deeper level is going to seem even MORE upsetting to admit to. Layers of fear and guilt are weaker than the layer of sin, which is also weaker than the layer of separation. These surface layers were made to cover up the deeper layers and make them more palatable.

Undoing sin: Now I'm aware that I believe I really did something bad, that it cannot be healed, that it cannot be undone or reversed. Something I'm ashamed of and guilty for. Something that supposedly 'happened'. I need to undo that and get past this perception that it's permanent, unhealable, irreversible and has had a real serious effect. This is digging into the depths of 'what I've done' and the root of my guilt. And this should lead me to ask, why did I sin in the first place? It seems like I as I progress here I should be finding out that I am more innocent, but so far it seems I'm more to blame. But I'm moving past it. It's difficult to admit to guilt, but even harder to admit to sin. The ego says, see, you shouldn't have looked at the guilt because now you've uncovered a deeper darker layer of horror. But we can move past this - we have to. Because underneath the idea that 'we really did this' (sin) is an even darker idea - that we WANTED to be separate.

Undoing separation: Sin can only arise out of some kind of separation idea, which actually is a CHOICE and DECISION to be separate. I must've wanted to sin. I must've wanted to do this, to be sinful. So underneath the sin is a choice. It's the awareness that I DID THIS TO MYSELF ON PURPOSE, for a reason. And what is that reason? Why would I separate? I have to own up to this. I wanted to be separate because I wanted to deny that God exists so that I could have an ego. I wanted to be different. I wanted to be not loved. I wanted to die. If I can't get all the way to seeing that I made this choice, then I am not going to truly be ready to COMPLETELY RELINQUISH it. I need to admit to all of the sorrow that came from this choice, and that the choice was mine. Nobody else was to blame. No-one did this to me. I wanted it. And now I'm realizing it hasn't worked - because sin hasn't really worked - and I'm not guilty, and don't need to be afraid or get punished. I'd rather be happy. I might as well give up, surrender this choice, and CHOOSE AGAIN.

And it's at that point that you actually fully let go of the decision for separation, which dissolves the ego and unifies you with God.

So as I forgive now I plan to remind myself of this - exactly how deep am I willing to go in forgiving? Am I just giving up surface projections or am I willing to get all the way to the CORE IDEA - the death wish - the decision to be without God? And am I willing to let that go. Having let go of all the projections and blame and consequences of ALL the other levels, I should be ready to squarely admit to and own up to this decision, and subsequently choose differently. I'd rather choose Holy Spirit's truth at this point and join with His version of the truth and ACCEPT GOD instead of trying to deny God. ACCEPTING GOD is ACCEPTING THE ATONEMENT.

So it seems that as we dig deeper, we uncover darker and more vicious levels of disaster. First it was palatable fear, then some tolerable guilt, but now it's serious sin and hate, and beneath that - a death wish, a desire to be without God on purpose. That's not easy to want to look at or to admit to. And it can seem like the worst thing you could possibly admit - that I wanted this suffering - I wanted to not be with God. I wanted to get rid of God. Or even as some describe it - a murderous thought - the desire to kill God's son. Pretty heavy stuff! We need to come to admit to this so that we choose differently. If I can't own up to having made this CHOICE then I'm not going to be able to UNDO that choice and choose God/Atonement instead. And if I don't, I will continue to die. It IS a life-or-death decision, although we must remember death is an illusion.

So the choice is up to us. Do we want to accept God again and allow Him to love us, or do we want to keep choosing suffering and despair and lack and destruction? It's up to us.
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