Some days the ACIM workbook lesson of the day doesn’t really grab me, but I do it anyway knowing it is working on me at a subconscious level. Other days… shazam! Here is the text of today’s lesson. My reflections follow it.
Love holds no grievances.
You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him. It makes you believe that He is like what you think you have become, for no one can conceive of his Creator as unlike himself.
Shut off from your Self, which remains aware of Its likeness to Its Creator, your Self seems to sleep, while the part of your mind that weaves illusions in its sleep appears to be awake. Can all this arise from holding grievances? Oh, yes! For he who holds grievances denies he was created by love, and his Creator has become fearful to him in his dream of hate. Who can dream of hatred and not fear God?
It is as sure that those who hold grievances will redefine God in their own image, as it is certain that God created them like Himself, and defined them as part of Him. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will suffer guilt, as it is certain that those who forgive will find peace. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will forget who they are, as it is certain that those who forgive will remember.
Would you not be willing to relinquish your grievances if you believed all this were so? Perhaps you do not think you can let your grievances go. That, however, is simply a matter of motivation. Today we will try to find out how you would feel without them. If you succeed even by ever so little, there will never be a problem in motivation ever again.
Begin today’s extended practice period by searching your mind for those against whom you hold what you regard as major grievances. Some of these will be quite easy to find. Then think of the seemingly minor grievances you hold against those you like and even think you love. It will quickly become apparent that there is no one against whom you do not cherish grievances of some sort. This has left you alone in all the universe in your perception of yourself.
Determine now to see all these people as friends. Say to them all, thinking of each one in turn as you do so:
I would see you as my friend, that I may remember you are part of me and come to know myself.
Spend the remainder of the practice period trying to think of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return. Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up. Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way. At the end of the practice period tell yourself:
Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.
The short practice periods should include a quick application of today’s idea in this form, whenever any thought of grievance arises against anyone, physically present or not:
Love holds no grievances. Let me not betray my Self.
In addition, repeat the idea several times an hour in this form:
Love holds no grievances. I would wake to my Self by
laying all my grievances aside and wakening in Him.
Now I know that the text and the lessons are written in a language that strikes many as unnecessarily cumbersome. I don’t let the style of writing stand in my way. As I said, some days the lessons are hard for me to penetrate. But today? Holy Hannah.
I started, as I always do, the minute I woke up. I keep the book in the bathroom open to the right page. This way I can’t forget to start my lesson first thing. It goes with brushing my teeth and peeing. So the first thing I did was grab a piece of paper and pen from the kitchen so I could jot down names of people against whom I am harbouring grievances of any kind. Before doing this lesson, I thought of myself as someone who holds no grudges or hard feelings against anyone. I have let go of the business of what my step-father did to me. I can convince myself that George W. is just a sociopathic idiot and not worthy of my hate energy. And so on. But as I looked with great honesty inside myself, I found that I have lots of people for whom complete feelings of love and acceptance do not flow easily from me. I started with a couple of names, but soon my pen was flying. I had ten names in no time, including that of a man who lives in this building but whom I do not know. I realized I harbour ill feelings about him because of the smells that emanate from his apartment, necessitating my holding my nose every time I have to pass down that hall. Because he reminds me of my brother, every time I smell the noxious smell from his apartment, it reminds me of when my brother would allow urine-soaked laundry to sit for days on end without doing his washing. Shenpa.
Rather than trying to remember every part of this lesson, I allowed myself to be carried by the passage that seized me: “I would see you as a friend, that I may remember you are part of me and come to know myself.”
My years spent in Jungian analysis influenced how and how deeply this passage worked on me. It’s never been hard for me to understand the concept of projection. When something in someone else irritates me, I know that there is an aspect of myself I have suppressed in my subconscious. The first step for me is to acknowledge that this person simply serves as a mirror for me. He is helping me see a part of myself I have relegated to the shadowy corner of my psyche. As I bring those rejected parts of myself into the Light, I feel freed to love others more completely. I stop projecting my shit onto them.
So yeah, I have had a few years of practice with the concept of projecting. But for some reason today’s lesson took me to a whole new level. It wasn’t just about psychology. I realized that there was another level on which this idea could be understood and experienced.
We are all one. I am not a separate entity from my neighbour. We are embodiments of the godhead.
I used that long and seemingly convoluted sentence as my mantra all day long. I divided it into three sections:
- I would see you as my friend… (I said this part slowly and let it soften my heart.)
- that I may remember you are part of me (we are not separate; and also, you are mirroring back to me a part of myself)
- and come to know myself (thank you for being such a mirror, because I want to know myself and come to love and accept every part of me)
I drove to work and continued to use this phrase to see everyone around me differently… including the person who tailgated me, the one who cut me off, and the one who threw a cigarette butt on the ground.
All day I felt a degree of peace and love toward all beings that I have never felt before. Okay, wait. That’s not true. It wasn’t the depth that was different. It was the breadth. I’ve felt that depth of love and acceptance before…toward Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, for example. But today it was easy for me to feel the same way toward all sorts of people… the irritating ones, the egotistical ones, the ones who blabber on about inane topics. Every encounter was an opportunity to practice.