It’s no secret that I love the spiritual document known as A Course in Miracles. One of its foundational principles is forgiveness, and it has indeed set me free from many painful experiences. The Course frames the concept of forgiveness in similar yet very different ways from other spiritual traditions. It would be impossible to fully explain the nuances here, but if you are curious, please join one of our weekly online A Course in Miracles Study Groups! One aspect of the Course’s version of forgiveness is described in the passage below from Chapter 27 in the text:
Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. T-27.VII.15:3-6
As with many of the concepts in the Course, it’s simple but not always easy. If there is a great deal of trauma around an incident or something occurred very recently, it may not be possible to think about the kindnesses of the person or persons we believe harmed us. And that’s okay. Healing is a process that can only begin when the time is right. You will know when that time comes when you think or say something like “there has to be a better way” or “I don’t want to feel like this anymore.”
When you are ready, that passage is inviting us to stop thinking about and retelling the story of the terrible thing that someone did or did not do. Instead, call to mind something kind they once did or some good quality about this person, no matter how small. When we shift our focus and release the unforgiving thoughts, we are the ones who feel better.
Perhaps you have heard some version of the quote: “Holding on to resentments is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” We know poison doesn’t work that way. Like poison, my resentments and judgments only harm me. I will not be able to experience peace as long as I hold onto unforgiving thoughts.
This doesn’t mean I condone harmful actions or suggest you let others abuse or take advantage of you. If you are in a situation where you are being harmed in any way, please make the most loving choice for yourself and leave that situation as soon as possible. If you find yourself in a situation where you are the one causing harm, I encourage you to seek professional help or spiritual counsel so you can uncover and release your own pain.
Why am I sharing all this in my email this week? Like many of you, I was shocked by the incident that happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Academy Awards Ceremony on Sunday night. It has been the topic of much discussion this week, and there are a lot of different opinions and viewpoints out there. I’m assuming you have access to the internet if you’re reading this so you know what happened. If not, you might be better off keeping it that way.
Personally, I do not think violence is ever an appropriate or beneficial choice when dealing with conflict. I also believe making jokes at another person’s expense is not kind. A Course in Miracles teaches that attack thoughts, whether we act on them or not, are always harmful. And when we express them with words or fists, they never produce loving, harmonious, or peaceful results. Though in the grand scheme of things it was a minor incident, the ripples of disharmony and pain from that small act extended well beyond the walls of the Dolby Theatre and out into the world. I trust the conversations that are happening will be learning opportunities for us all.
Like many, I was very upset by what I saw, but I have learned that it is not for me to judge who is right, who is wrong, or what “should” have happened. No matter what the situation, my job is always to forgive and extend love. I’m so grateful to have remembered the above passage from A Course in Miracles. It helped me remember the time that Will Smith appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2019 to surprise and commend two high school football players for making the loving choice to stop bullying a classmate and collect new clothes for him instead. You can watch the whole story about the high school students by clicking this link.
It may seem ironic to hear Will Smith’s words to the boys now, but I choose to believe this is the true version of him. It’s indicative of “the man he wants to be” as he wrote in his apology to Chris Rock on Instagram. Again, I do not condone his actions on that night. However, I know there have been plenty of times when I acted from ego and made choices that I’m not proud of. I pray when it happens again (and it inevitably will!) that I’m not on live TV in front of millions of people. May we all hold our judgment of right and wrong for just a moment and extend love to everyone that has been affected by this incident. And while we are at it, let’s do the same for anyone who is currently experiencing pain, suffering, anger, or fear anywhere in the world.
Family Constellations and Spiritual Coaching based on A Course in Miracles are both excellent ways to help you free yourself from the past and move forward with clarity and grace. If you would like to experience more peace and harmony in your life, please look around my website to book a session or get more information.
The next online Family Constellations Workshop is happening next Saturday, April 9 from 2-5 PM Eastern. We will be “Releasing Patterns Under the Full Moon” to prepare you for your own Full Moon Release Ceremony the following weekend. There are only a few spaces left, so click this link to purchase your ticket today.
This week, if you’re ready, I encourage you to try releasing a hurt and remember a kindness, even if it’s a tiny one. That small act will be a big step toward your freedom!