Note from Mindy: This article is taken from my blog which is part of my spiritual practice of reading the text and applying the lesson/text. I hope this entry “Focus” will inspire others to collaborate and write their own practical applications based on your work.
My husband, Brian, loves silly puns. My boys called them Brianism’s or Dad jokes. He told me that the year 2020 would be about seeing clearly 20/20- about focus. I love that. Serendipitously, I am also drawn to hawks, and I have come to learn that Hawk medicine’s key elements are centered around the hawk’s amazing visual acuity. So I am excited for a year dedicated to all things sight: insight, focus, and vision. Things are looking good for this year!
My reading today came from Chapter 30 section 6 ” The Justification for Forgiveness”. This was actually reading from a couple of days ago, but Spirit brought it back to me as it is a critical lesson for me- perhaps one of THE lessons for the year and beyond. It uses absolute terms:
“Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation.” (T-30.VI. 1:1-2). “Pardon is always justified. It has a sure foundation.” (T-30.VI. 2:1-2)
This is alarming to someone who has enjoyed the weapon of self-righteousness, which depends on anger and judgment as to its fuel and holds that “some things cannot be forgiven” as justification for its continual refueling. I have even misused the Course’s mantra “I don’t know what anything is for” as a mask for a judgment against something I could not pardon. Over and over again, I have “forgiven” those that have harmed me, only to file them away as somehow flawed and elevated myself to being the “bigger” person.
This section shows this position as an error. It explains why the decades of “forgiveness” I thought I had given felt so awful- I did not feel that those I had “forgiven” deserved it. I was taught, correctly, that forgiveness was for me, but I allowed it to separate me from the one(s) I had forgiven and to continue to judge them as “broken”, “wrong” and sometimes “evil”.
“Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardon’s “sinners” sometimes, but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives.” (T-30.VI.3.5-8)
“This false forgiveness which the world employs to keep the sense of sin alive. And recognizing God is just, it seems impossible His pardon could be real. Thus is the fear of God the sure result of seeing pardon as unmerited.” (T-30.VI.4:1-3)
This false forgiveness made me feel superior and thus was my downfall. Jennifer Hadley talks about those who judge and attack feel judged and attacked. This is how I have felt. My thoughts were along the lines of ” How could a good person like myself be treated….XYZ”. Ironically, my attack came in the role of the victim. I did what was right; they did not, and thus I was better than them. Sometimes that even meant I could behave in ways that attacked or undermined them in the name of protecting myself because they were bad and deserved it. Wow. I felt and acted horribly. I turned the other cheek, but keep a wary eye on my enemy.
Here is where vision and my hawk friend helps. Hawks are told to be able to see for miles- well beyond the human eye. They are in the realm of birds which possess the highest perspective.
The Course states: “Forgiveness recognized as merited will heal. It gives the miracle its strength to overlook illusions. This is how you learn you must be forgiven too. There can be no appearance that can not be overlooked. For if that were it would be necessary first that there be some sin that stands beyond forgiveness. … There would be one mistake that had the power to undo creation, and to make a world that could replace and destroy the Will of God.”(T-30.VI.5:1-7)
Forgiveness is our function. Vision is our tool to keep watch for those areas where we might be practicing false forgiveness. It is the hawk vision we need to see our world and to focus on those beliefs that we hold that we ( or someone else) cannot be forgiven. We need to see them and heal them with true forgiveness. Forgiveness is not conditional- it does not require anyone or anything to change in the world’s view. It begins and ends with us and that is profoundly healing. It does not make us better than those we forgive- it reminds us that there is really nothing to forgive.
Like the hawk, we have to rise above and see the truth of the vision below which is that we are all one and all children of God. Not an easy task. It requires practice and focus. I am dedicating this year 2020 to this vision and focus of practicing true forgiveness and releasing myself and all of us from guilt and attack. I feel lighter already and ready to rise!!