A Course In Miracles Lesson 121
*Please Note: If this is your first time visiting this blog, and you think you’d like to begin the Course, please start the daily practice with Lesson 1 and proceed each day with the next lesson. While it is possible to begin the curriculum in the middle, This spiritual teaching is best followed in a consecutive manner. Each lesson builds upon the next.
The word forgiveness is used throughout this lesson and may cause a certain mental disconnect if we do not take time to clarify what that word actually means. I define forgiveness as “a release of anger.” When we release anger about someone or something we return to a state of peace. To be forgiven is to have someone stop being angry with us. Relief is brought to everyone when anger is released.
When we do not release someone from our anger we hold our own minds in pain as well as in fear because we can not help but expect a retaliation from the person we are holding anger towards. Retaliation is the impulse that keeps us in hell. Retaliation keeps us in a state of wariness and suspicion.
On a cellular level, we know that trying to correct a wrong through inflicting punishment only perpetuates the cycle of punishment back and forth. Punishment rarely ever leads to correction of character unless the person is open to feeling remorse and responsibility for the effects of their actions. Most people are not aware of the effects of their actions and have no idea responsibility on their part is needed. This is also true of us. We do not realize the effects of our words and often lash out to hurt as an attempt to regain power we feel we have lost.
Anger is not a source of power. Power comes from the Grace of a much higher power than temporary conditions.
The belief that someone can do something to us that takes power away from us is the cause of all suffering. The belief that someone has the power to hurt us gives that person the power to hurt us. I disempower myself when I empower you with the ability to harm me. I also make it impossible for us to love each other if I believe you seek to hurt me. A desire to hurt someone only comes from a belief that we have been hurt. If someone takes revenge upon you, know that they are in pain and believe you caused their pain. In this they are mistaken and do not view their retaliation as anything more than a cry for help.
Releasing anger is the path to peace.
But how do we release something that feels as if it is gripping us. How do we stop being on fire? I would certainly love to be able to just change my feelings but it seems as if my feelings have a mind of their own.
A Course In Miracles is very clear about this.
Releasing anger is not something we do. It is something we let be done for us by a higher power than our own minds. Trying to get rid of anger is what leads to attempts at revenge because retaliation restores a sense of power for a brief time. But regret always follows because it is not our nature to inflict harm. We are inherently peaceful beings always seeking to restore peace whenever it is disrupted.
Today when you meet your anger try putting down the impulse to get rid of it and pivot instead to a request for help. Locate a sense of a larger source of energy and ask that source, “Please lift this anger from my body, mind, and spirit. I do not want it. I do not want to want it. Please show me how to give it to You, Who can do anything.”
There is a power in this world that created the world. There is nothing It can not handle. When you know this and remember to turn to it often, all your activities are assisted and become filled with Grace.
The ability to release anger will not occur naturally in the mind. The mind is conditioned to cling and fixate. What we can do is put effort into pivoting what we are thinking about by bringing something else to our attention. What is occurring right in front of us is a perfect choice for our attention. Notice the light, the color of some object, the noise or the stillness. Notice what is going on around you and then you have gained a bit of space from the anger clinging. In that space, pivot to the asking. “Dear One who is always there within every time I turn to think of You, please lift this anger. I do not want it.”
When someone else will not let go of being angry with you about something you did or did not do, you have a perfect opportunity to observe how the mind can hold others in pain. It hurts when someone is angry with us, even if we do not know or care about them. But their anger with you harms you not at all. Being angry because someone is angry with you is an unnecessary defense. Their anger with you will only increase if you meet that anger with anger.
To end suffering we must study the physics of anger within our minds and our bodies. We need to see the extent of the damage being angry causes. Our search for peace will never lead us anywhere until anger and revenge is understood for what it really is, a pain generator. The we lose interest in asserting our overt hostile threats and punishment upon those who hurt us, we locate real and lasting safety and meaning in this meaningless world.
The only reason we are here on earth is to relocate the peace we lost when we came here. A Course In Miracles describes this as having fallen asleep. We are not here to do anything other than wake up from this illusion. Releasing anger gives our life more meaning and clarity than we could ever imagine.
Does this mean we keep silent and let people get away with bad behavior? Not allowing anger energy to take hold of our body and mind is not the same as being clear about right and wrong. We can speak up for what is right without the edge of anger. The emotional drain anger causes is expensive and unnecessary. We can take appropriate actions without the added intensity.
There are thousands of situations every day that spark anger. A neighbor keeps leaving trash in your yard. There is no human to talk to in the customer service department. Someone lifted your package from your doorstep. The list goes on and on because this world is a dimension of contrast. To gain awareness of a higher dimension, A Course In Miracles is asking you to remember that your life is much bigger than the single situation in front of you that has sparked anger.
Managing events from a place of calm clarity rather than emotional volatility is the beginning of an ever-deepening awareness of our purpose and function in life. We are here to bring space so that the light of a higher dimension can come through for us and for others.
Functioning from peace does not mean we allow ourselves to be walked all over. It means you do not allow the behavior of others to pull your focus. How another person chooses to act is a constant opportunity for you to decide how you will act. We are taught today to choose peace. You do not need emotional anger to help solve your problem. Your problem-solving brain can figure out the appropriate action to take in a conflict without adding emotional intensity. You do not have to get upset emotionally to find a solution. In fact, a more creative solution will come to you when you are in a relaxed state.
We do not want to confuse today’s lesson as a call to be passive. We want to learn how to recognize anger as a source of information indicating that we care about something. Once that clarity about our priorities and preferences has been received, releasing the anger will lead us to better results than if we act from within anger.
If you do not feel you have the strength to forgive someone because what they did was so painful, release yourself from the idea that it is you who have to do the releasing. Willingness is all you are responsible for locating. When you are willing to have anger lifted from you, it shall be done.
Today’s lesson asks us to take two long practice sessions to sit quietly and think of someone you do not like. Think of someone who causes irritation or regret. You have probably already thought of someone. See this person in front of you. See them standing with a light behind them, as if at a window where the bright sun is streaming in. Observe the person and imaging that somewhere on their body a small speck of light exists like a crack in an egg shell. Maybe it is just a pinhole at first. But let that speck of light remain. See if it can grow and penetrate the dense, solid persona that stands before the sun. Let the light expand in them until the person becomes radiant.
Observe your changed perception and observe your willingness to let the light into this adversary. Remind yourself that: Above all else, you want to see this differently.
Try this meditation for 5 minutes twice today. And try to bring the teaching to your memory every hour. Remember as often as you can, releasing anger is the way to peace.