A Course in Miracles Blog

The two layers of progress in your forgiveness work

  • By Paul West
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  • 3 minutes 42 seconds
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You know sometimes when you're doing something on a computer and there's a progress bar, and sometimes there are actually two progress bars - overall progress and the progress of one of many smaller tasks? Well I think it's kind of like that with forgiveness too.

There is an overall progress which slowly evolves along similar steps to how each individual forgiveness progresses, but it goes a lot slower. This means that in general, you will start out really strongly believing that forgiveness has something to do with other people, that it's their fault, that you have to forgive them in some way.

Then gradually you will pull away from that and start to realize that it's not really about other people, it's about you. Each time something happens, over time you are a little less convinced that you're starting out with someone else being the problem. So you sort of start a little further along the process.

Each time you do a small forgiveness, each time you tackle some individual issue, and you take it all the way to it being forgiven, you are sort of practicing. You wear away at the rock of sin. And then you do another one, and another one. 

What I've seen is that as a result of all these practices, all these forgiveness of individual events and people and situations, in the big long-term picture my mind seems to be gradually moving its 'starting position' away from others and more toward myself.

Instead of falling for some of the more obvious ego traps that convince and tempt me to believe that it's all someone else's fault, there's been a progression where I at least don't fall for those basic starting illusions as easily. I start my forgivenesses a bit further along the process.

Lately I've been encroaching more closely on the idea that forgiveness has nothing at all to do with other people. Instead I'm seeing that there is stuff going on in my own mind, a conflict between two parts of my own split mind, and that I play both the role of victim and victimizer. Whatever way I am using my mind to judge or attack others, I see that this is just my own mind content playing out, there's activity in my own mind about myself, and I'm doing this to myself. I am sort of learning that I can completely ignore any suggestion that this upset has anything to do with other people.

So I think gradually we erode this overall attitude of unforgiveness, we gradually chop down trees and the forest starts to clear. We keep winning little battles and gradually we're winning the war, so to speak. I am much quicker now to recognize that my issues have nothing to do with other people, and can quickly jump over the whole emotional drama tangle of "they are doing this to me", "I'm a victim of them", "I don't want this etc". I've had to take that illusion, that perceptual fault, so many times that I guess I've learned, overall, or have become able to generalize that learning, so that I just kind of 'know it' now.

I think this is really how things progress. I can well imagine that as time continues to unfold I will just keep having fewer reactions, less belief in victimhood, less fear, that I will fall for illusions less, that I will inevitably gradually be sustaining a certain level of 'awareness' and 'wakefulness' which acts as the starting point for any further corrections that are needed.

We wake up gradually. We make progress. And once we've done enough of the undoing of the grosser, more ego-extreme aspects of our mistaken perceptions, we will learn and won't be so easily fooled by them. Then it will come down to the subtler aspects of what's happening, what I'm doing to myself, how my mind is functioning, as we gradually 'home in' on revealing to our awareness what the simple truth really is about us.

And someday we'll realize, there is nothing left to forgive, and forgiveness isn't even needed, because now we are in a permanently forgiving attitude with Holy Spirit that shows us a forgiven world all the time. Ultimately there is nothing to forgive when you get to that point because you're seeing clearly, and really you were only ever forgiving your mistaken belief that there was something wrong that needed to be undone. Nothing has really happened. We're all doing fine. Congratulations on your progress.
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