The watcher of the thoughts

A Course in Miracles teaches its students to practice unconditional forgiveness. This does not mean that in the years to come, as good Course students we will never find ourselves condemning anyone or anything any longer. On the contrary, for a very long time we will still cherish our ever-condemning ego, as countless students can attest to. Feeling guilty about that is the best way to keep the silly, seemingly separated ego alive and kicking. Therefore, forgiveness should first and foremost be about self-forgiveness: realizing that with each and every negative interpretation, however minor it may seem, we still reject both God and our own true Identity as the one Son of God. This is not sin; it’s a silly mistake. This is what we should forgive ourselves for, each and every day.

What can help us speed along this forgiveness journey is merely honestly admitting that in our minds, we still choose to hold on to conflicting goals: on the one hand, our deepest desire is to make our way back into the Heart of God (=Love) where we belong, thus ending this stilly dualistic time-space dream that has never worked, does not work and will never work. But on the other hand we will do just about anything, even up to murder, to keep our imagined special autonomous individual self alive, separated from all other things that live. That’s the basic conflict in everyone’s mind; hence the title of this blog site “Miracles or murder”. While many choose to become frustrated over realizing that they obviously keep this conflict ongoing in the mind, the key is to become the watcher, or the observer of that conflict; calmly, without hitting yourself over the head for being such a poor Course student, or complaining that this Course is too difficult to learn.

The reason that this choice to become the watcher-of-thoughts will work is that by choosing to be the observer instead of the self-inflicted victim, there is no repression. If you can accept (embrace) everything as it is now, there is nothing to hide. And when there’s nothing to hide, there’s nothing to project. And without projection, there is no guilt. And it is this ‘melting away of the iceberg of guilt’ that will truly bring us back Home into the Heart of God that in reality we never left (we only convinced ourselves we did, in a hallucinatory nightmare called the time-space universe). Once we become the observer, we begin to see the silliness of all self-centered ambitions, anxieties and happenings. Once you make that practice into a habit, you’ll never watch your television screen the same way again. In fact, there’s a fair chance the time will come when you’ll discard that silly thing.

This is not to say that you will turn your back on everything that happens in the world, ‘since it’s all an illusory dream anyway’. On the contrary: you may still be very involved in happenings in the world, helping out wherever you can, but you will do it following a different teacher. The goal will shift from ‘feeling good because I’m more advanced than others’ to truly seeing the sameness in everyone and everything; I will realize that whichever way I look upon anything outside of me is really how I see myself and my relationship to my Creator. Practice, therefore, on a daily basis to watch your own thoughts, and tell yourself a thousand times a day that it’s okay to love yourself and to forgive yourself for anything that is not pure love. Forget about your silly demand to become enlightened this very day, but gratefully enjoy your own journey back Home, a journey in which all things, events, encounters and circumstances can be reinterpreted as helpful to that End. (M-4.I-A.4:5).

— Jan-Willem van Aalst, November 2022


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