ACIM: Learning How to Dream Forgiveness
Different Dream States
We think we “wake up” every morning but what we are really doing is waking to a different kind of dream state. The difference between the “sleep” state and the “waking” lies in a shift in perception. While asleep we no longer identify with our bodies and because we do not need our bodies in the “sleeping” state we do not dream of eating or drinking.
Like the “sleeping” state the “waking” state has various levels and our perception is altered according to our level of awareness. When we drink alcohol we alter our perception because we alter our level of awareness. When we meditate or practice self hypnosis we experience different states of awareness which affect our perception.
The Consequences of Body Identification
By identifying with the body we narrow the window through which we can change our perception to be dependent on chemicals. There is another way to alter perception which does not rely on body identification and as such is not subject to the limitations of the physical realm. It involves reversing a mindset of judgment to a mindset of forgiveness.
Our “waking” state is just another dream but as long as we dream dreams of judgment we can never free our minds of fear. If we judge then we must fear something. A mind that does not judge is fearless. To achieve fearlessness we must make forgiveness, not judgment a habit.
When we spontaneously forgive we will have changed our waking dream to one of forgiveness.
A Journey Toward Freedom from Fear
To achieve this fearless state is a journey upon which I have embarked. It is a journey I find very difficult because for everything and everyone I learn to forgive life continues to place before me things that I have been taught to judge. It goes against everything I have been conditioned to think but by diligently adhering to some basic principles I have learned from A Course in Miracles the waking dream I have been living is gradually changing from judgment to forgiveness.
Like any exercise, it is with practice that the mind is coaxed to look in a different direction in order to alter a conditioned perception based on judgment. The operative word here is “coaxed” because it does not serve you to fight yourself.
Practising the Law of Gratitude
When I wake every morning I spend time in bed before I even open eyes practising gratitude. I give thanks with all my heart for everyone and everything in my life. I give thanks for my family and friends and even those who I still perceive as hurting me. I give thanks for all the things I have including the bed I am lying in and the community I serve. I give thanks for for all that I perceive myself to be; father, husband, teacher, son and man. It is impossible for a heart filled with gratitude to be unhappy. It takes a few minutes every morning but by doing so I am ensuring that I give myself the best opportunity to achieving the kind of day I want.
ACIM Basic Rule for Making Egoless Decisions
There is also something else I do and that is to practice the basic rule for decision from Chapter 30 of A Course in Miracles and that is to affirm that “ I will make no decisions by myself.”
By refusing to make decisions by myself I am not allowing my ego to decide how I am to respond to any situation when called on to do so. I make seeking the guidance of The Great Spirit a habit rather than making it all up in my own head and going full steam ahead by myself.
I face challenges everyday that test my affirmation not to make decisions by myself. But by refusing to judge each situation I am called upon to take action I am refusing to use the past as a reference by which to guide my response. It frees me to be in the now, unhampered by rules I made up in the past for dealing with similar situations. I am then unafraid to make decisions that may even contradict those I made in the past because it is judment that keeps us stuck and afraid. When I say to myself that I will make no judgments by myself, I am learning to listen to a higher consciousness. In the beginning I still make up my mind and then ask for guidance. In doing this I am setting myself up for conflict especially when the guidance I receive from within is not the same as what I have made up in my head. The result is anger, fear, resentment and all the feelings that emerge when a person feels under attack.
ACIM Support in Practising Rules for Decision
A Course in Miracles explains how to avoid this conflict in the beginning:
“Throughout the day, at any time you think of it and have a quiet moment for reflection, tell yourself again the kind of day you want; the feelings you would have, the things you want to happen to you, and the things you would experience, and say:
If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given me.”
I know when I have already judged by myself because I experience other than the day I said I wanted. It will mean that I asked for guidance but rather than listening for this guidance I answered myself. Once again A Course in Miracles advises how to deal with this by telling us to cancel our decison by saying:
“I have no question. I forgot what to decide.”
This cancels out the terms that you have set, and lets the answer show you what the question must have really been.
All is not lost when this happens because I am learning a new way to dream and like a child learning to walk I will stumble and fall. With practice I know that someday soon I will run again but first I must fully realise that my happiness does not depend on being right!
Rules for Decision
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