Recently, I had a revealing conversation with a dear friend about how she had continued to fall into a common trap of beating herself up. She has been on the spiritual path for many years and is a devoted student of A Course in Miracles, yet there was still this persistent sense of guilt that seemed to recur even amidst her most diligent practice. I wonder if you can relate to this too.
She shared with me: “For so long I’ve recognized that I am responsible for what I see. One of my mantras from the Course has been “You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there.” But I used it to beat myself up!”
“I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.” T-21.II.2:3-5
One of the first steps in our ascent back up the ladder of separation is to recognize that we are not victims of the body and world we seem to see. A crucial truth required is to recognize that in having chosen the ego as our default, it then projects a body and world that appears to be done to us and not by us. The unfortunate outcome of this is the erroneous belief that we are indeed victims of people, the body, the past and the world.
As we begin our journey through the six stages of the development of trust – awakening from fear – we learn to forgive others, the past and the world. We gradually learn to withdraw the ego’s projections of blame and guilt. However, a strange phenomenon often takes place in this initial period of learning to forgive.
We may find suddenly that while we seem to be able to forgive others more consistently, it feels as though our self-blame increases. We may try to watch our thinking and judgments like a hawk, catching at times the almost automatic compulsion to judge others. And then, without really recognizing it, the same false-self (guilt) that methodically projected blame externally onto others, is now turning that venom within.
This results in periods of beating our self up, characterized by feelings of worthlessness and self doubt. So, what exactly happened?
Believe it or not, the ego is the first one that tries to learn forgiveness. Although because this false-self concept is guilt itself, it cannot possibly apply quantum forgiveness which amounts to the complete eradication of all belief in sin, guilt, blame and fear – which is its demise.
The ego must retain guilt in order to survive and the only way it can do that is to project it somewhere, anywhere. If it can’t blame others anymore during this phase, then it usually turns it within.
Still identifying largely as the false-self during this phase of unlearning, we inadvertently take on false responsibility for its errors instead of taking a deep breath, stepping aside from this imposter, and accepting the Atonement by giving the ego’s mistakes over to Holy Spirit to erase.
Remember this, the ego is not who we are. We are the eternally innocent Child of God. We are the Holy Self. We cannot be both!
When feeling personally responsible to solve the ego’s illusory problems, we find our self weighed down by the crushing burden of self-judgment. But what we don’t realize is that the ego must always have someone to blame, to project its guilt onto, so it can keep its illusory thought system alive. Any blame at all is always the ego … no matter what. Self blame is exactly the same mistake as condemning others.
“The beginning phases of this reversal are often quite painful, for as blame is withdrawn from without, there is a strong tendency to harbor it within. It is difficult at first to realize that this is exactly the same thing, for there is no distinction between within and without. You cannot enter God’s Presence if you attack His Son.“ T-11.IV.4:5-6,5:5-6
In the early phases of our spiritual journey, the ego can often appear to become more spiritualized and is quite content to recognize that “it” is responsible for what it sees, and that it sees suffering and injustice because it wants them there. Why is it happy to see this? Because when we confuse our self with the ego, we will feel guilty, and we will beat our self up. As long as we feel guilty, as long as we’re plagued by self-doubt and self-judgment – the ego as the mistaken belief we’re separate from God’s Love – is increased due to our attraction to guilt.
Any guilt feelings at all immediately reveal that I must unwittingly believe that I am an isolated illusory self split off from my incorruptible and innocent Holy Self. Only this imagined self is capable of guilt. While my Holy Self is not. Any fear or concern for either myself or another also reveals that I have confused myself with this imposter. A sure sign that I have made this error is my subsequent effort to solve the problem, apart from Holy Spirit. This confusion will result in impossible attempts to remedy the ego’s problems through the very guilt and fear that caused them in the first place.
If I take false responsibility for the mistakes made through the false-self instead of giving them over to Holy Spirit to erase, I will keep the guilt which initially caused them. This is why all healing, all forgiveness must be self forgiveness. I forgive my self for having made the mistake of misidentifying as the ego, the imaginary opponent to God.
“Every disordered thought is attended by guilt at its inception, and maintained by guilt in its continuance. Guilt is inescapable by those who believe they order their own thoughts, and must therefore obey their dictates. This makes them feel responsible for their errors without recognizing that, by accepting this responsibility, they are reacting irresponsibly. If the sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself, and I assure you that it is, then the responsibility for [what] is atoned for cannot be yours.” … “The continuing decision to remain separated is the only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings.” T-5.V.7:5-8,8:1
The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself. When we accept the Atonement, the undoing of fear, we are no longer responsible for what Holy Spirit erases. To continue to feel guilty is a desire to remain separate and alone, apart from God. This, as the attraction to guilt, is the ego’s strongest defense against embodying our beloved Holy Self. NOTE: Here is the audio of The Seven Essential Principles of Quantum Forgiveness
At some point in our transfer of trust from fear to Love we will be required to practice making the positive separation between the illusory identity, the one we are not (false-self), and the Identity we are shared with God and all our brothers, as the beloved Holy Self. We are not both human and divine. We are not both ego and Holy Self. We are the Holy Self exclusively. Jesus explains this well in the following passage:
“This is a crucial period in this course, for here the separation of you and the ego must be made complete.”… “Now must you choose between yourself and an illusion of yourself. Not both, but one. There is no point in trying to avoid this one decision. It must be made. Faith and belief can fall to either side, but reason tells you misery lies only on one side and joy upon the other.” … “There is no part of Heaven you can take and weave into illusions. Nor is there one illusion you can enter Heaven with.” T-22.II.6:1,6-10,8:1-2
For many of us, guilt, fear and feelings of unworthiness often seem to be so totally overwhelming at times that we just cannot seem to pull our self up and out of them. As a result of my desire to extend a “life-line” to those of us who genuinely want to be done with beating ourselves up, I joined with Jesus to record a powerful guided meditation, one that will bring miracles to those who are sincerely willing to trust Him. Here is that meditation titled, The End of Fear: https://nouksanchez.com/nouks-blog/the-end-of-fear-guided-meditation/#audio