What is true forgiveness?

A Course in Miracles, a spiritual teaching that stresses the importance of forgiveness, defines forgiveness in this way: Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven.

So, true forgiveness is about taking full responsibility for your experiences. The people that push our buttons or disturb our peace of mind in any way, whether it be a slight annoyance or downright hatred and anger, are really just symbolic aspects of what needs to be forgiven and healed within. Most will not likely recognize this because what needs forgiveness within is usually unconscious, so it has been denied and projected outward. But the only way to be free of it is to forgive your own dark side as seen in others instead of continuing to project it. You do this by changing your mind about your projected images, recognizing that anyone that triggers upset within you is just a figure in a dream, an illusion, then seeing them as innocent because it's only a dream. Thus, it will register in your unconscious mind as you being innocent. As the course teaches, "As you see him, you will see yourself."

This forgiveness process translates to the fact that no one can take your inner peace away from you except by your own decision. Simple? Yes. Easy? No way, José, because the ego part of us loves to be right, and would much rather have us be right than be at peace. However, the ego part of us can be undone through this forgiveness process, thus making true forgiveness eventually easier to apply as we go along. In the meantime, this is a practice that takes time, discipline, and willingness to develop.

Now, some folks may think this true forgiveness stuff is a form of denial. Well, it is, but not in the conventional sense. As it was put in the best-selling book "The Disappearance of the Universe" by Gary Renard, "The thought system of love and the thought system of fear are both forms of denial. One of them, the Holy Spirit's teaching, leads to heaven by uncovering and reversing the ego's denial of the truth." And as the course puts it about the inner peace that is a result of this forgiveness process, "It denies the ability of anything not of God to affect you. This is the proper use of denial."

So, what is the motivation for doing this forgiveness work? Well, from my experience, one has to come to a place in life where one realizes that nothing outside is going to satisfy in a permanent way. No matter what we accomplish here, no matter how many special relationships we maintain, no matter how much money, sex or any other stimulants that provide instant gratification we acquire, it will always feel like something is missing. That's because in this world of illusions, something is missing. What's missing is our experience of what we really are, the experience of our true identity as immortal spirit; some may call it oneness, God or heaven, which is described in "Disappearance" as being "a perfect indescribable ecstasy that never ceases." But all unforgiveness must be removed from the mind in order to experience this ecstasy in a permanent way.

As it was put in "Disappearance," "When you are ready to accept that the only thing that really matters in your illusory lifetime is the successful completion of your lessons of true forgiveness, then you will be truly wise indeed." For me, I have nothing else better to do, so my number-one goal is to forgive the hell out of everyone (for what they haven't really done) while remembering to laugh in the process. Giddy up!

Mike Lemieux is the author of "Dude, Where's My Jesus Fish?" a book based on the books of best selling author Gary Renard, who also wrote the foreword for Mike's book. For more information, you can visit Mike's website: www.giddyupmikey.com

Send 600- to 700-word inner peace articles to Sally McKirgan innerpeace@q.com

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