The Face of True Innocence
Obviously, you say. And besides, what's wrong with that?
Well, I am just thinking this through here, but something's definitely fishy. Or maybe the fish that is the sleeping "I" is beginning to discover water.
Here it goes:
Laura is a concept, a body, a collection of events that have occurred over time, a separated identity, an image, etc. In other words, she can't be real. If she is the one awakening -- or hoping, striving, trying to -- what is really going on? Isn't "Laura Awakening" a contradiction in terms?
Let me add that I know how to talk the Oneness talk. Laura is good at that. Laura gets it "intellectually" in her brain, in her head, in her body. She explains it with great passion and conviction and clarity to other bodies. Hopefully, you are beginning to see the problem here. :)
As happens so often, Life had a lesson plan prepared for this subject. Oh lucky me!
The other day I ran into the ego in the form of The Accuser. This was an image -- "out there" in my seeming world -- that seemed to be itemizing for me, in technicolor detail, all my "sins." I, for once, sat there and really listened.
I watched my mind going through all the painful contortions of defense and counter-attack. It would analyze and rationalize and periodically it would mutter - no, scream -- well-crafted "oh-huh's" that would fling the Guilt Hot Potato back into The Accuser's court like a blistering tennis ball.
I watched my mind do all this, but I didn't. I listened. My body (of which my mouth is a part) stayed still and quiet.
Who is this Laura that needs defense, I wondered? Who is this that has all these stories in a weapons arsenal that she/it can use to "protect" herself?
As I watched like an audience member at a stage play, I could see that she, who/whatever she is, certainly felt strongly about the situation (understatement). In fact, she felt the whole thing was an affront to her endless toiling and selfless attempts to create harmony and happiness for the thankless Accuser. What she felt most indignant and murderous (let's not hedge here) about was the fact that she had wasted all this time "forgiving" this Accuser all his sins...."and this is the thanks I get?" She said that (again, in my mind) with the exact same whiney inflection that you might imagine from the stereo-typical Jewish Mother. No exaggeration.
So now I take stock of the situation: 1) On the one hand, it's good that I am truly listening. ("in my defenselessness my safety lies"), and 2) it is good that I'm noticing that all these accusations are my own ego taking form ("you are never angry about what your brother has done to you but about what you believe you have done to your brother").
But 3) tell me this -- who the hell has been in charge of forgiving all this time, 'cuz after all these years of practicing the other F-word, that ain't sounding much like Love. And really, it should be by now, shouldn't it?
I wait with great patience as the episode unfolds and finally concludes. I gather myself up and take myself out for some good quiet time. I reflect. I learn. I see. I thank my mirror.
But then, a few days later, it all surfaces again!
Back to my Teacher, I go....
Me: Okay, NOW what am I doing wrong? Help me see this another way, PLEASE!
Holy Spirit: Do you wish to see your Brother innocent?
Me: Yeah, but....
H.S: No buts. We've been over this.
Me: I guess I have to say "no" since I'm clearly not.
Me: Good? How can that be good?
H.S: Honesty is essential. You like being murderous. You like being a separated, individuated You/Laura, even if you had to kill God off in your mind to do so, which you re-enact every time you judge, accuse, condemn another. Now we're getting somewhere!
The Holy Spirit may have been pleased, but the "I" that still has a grip on me had a rough time of it. Laura had several nights of no sleep as her mind raced in a circular track of hating, fearing, finger-pointing, accusing, suffering, murdering, slaving, victimizing, dying No-thingness. This is the un-merry-go-round of the ego mind.
Things "out there" in my world quickly smoothed themselves over, once again, as things tend to do. Life as we know it (such as it is) continues. Still my self-concept feels shaky.
Here's the deal:
Awakening through the Path of Forgiveness as taught by ACIM is ultimately about finding your Innocence in Truth. But Laura has "sinned" in this reality by The Course's standards, even if she's never been convicted and gone to jail according to the world "out there's" standards. From being "mildly annoyed" (happens every day), to uttering white lies, to getting angry, to needing to be right, to being competitive, etc etc etc....Laura is, in effect, murderous in her intent. So, therefore -- follow me as I go out on a limb here -- Laura, by this definition, can't really be innocent, can she. (If you said "no," Plato can sleep soundly in his grave another night.)
But if she's not innocent, but I am, who am I?
And it's that question I come back to every time. Who am I while I think these things? Who am I while I type this blog? Who am I when I talk to the Holy Spirit... while I read the blue book?
When I am looking at The Accuser and seeing his innocence in order to know my own, as The Course teaches, who am I and who is he? Do I think the image of Laura gets sweeter every time I "forgive" the image of The Accuser and that by some magic the image of The Accuser gets a little sweeter (out of my good work) too?
Umm....yes, I think I sub-consciously have thought that. That is what the Holy Spirit is showing me. I want to look like I'm forgiving, but keep my individual self. I want to be a more peaceful..to stick with the example...murderer. Hmm, that does sound kinda funny/impossible, doesn't it.
Indeed, like it or not, I have been practicing "forgiveness to destroy" (the world's kind of forgiveness that says "I have something you don't have" and "I will overlook this rotten thing you really did") even while I thought I wasn't.
And I think that's exactly where I've been off-track. And yet a part of my mind must have been opening, too, or I wouldn't be able to see this at all. We gotta be gentle with ourselves and our temporary limits and mistakes.
I know I must be getting somewhere, too, because I feel a deepening Trust in the Mind of who I Am. Again, Laura can't forgive anything because Laura's existence depends on being separate (i.e. keeping guilt intact by projecting it on to others.) But I feel a deeper okayness with letting go of the Laura-ACIM-Student-wife-mother-woman-American-earthling-body-history-of-who-I-am me. The Laura-body-etc can only teach false innocence -- a shadowy temporary "innocence" that is vulnerable to attack by others (no matter how much she protests this truth and claims the contrary) and that is suspiciously quick to say at the least provocation, "Look at me and what you have done to hurt me! I was innocent, and now I suffer at your hands. In fact, the sick, murderous, suffering, victim self I am right now is what YOU have made of me, you shit head!" when the special relationship inevitably fails. This "innocence," even when it looks like it is a person studying A Course in Miracles, is just another sneaky mask the ego puts on.
Our real Face of True Innocence is, perhaps, not a face at all. It is a Light we find in our Minds. I think we find this Light first by wanting it (or at least wanting "a better way") and then being honest about how we don't want it.
When I am honest about how I don't want it at all, not really (I know that must be true at some level because I don't have it and so I must be the one pushing it away), the contrast between the hell I've created and the Peace that is my Truth becomes so strong. And that's because I've cleared away some of the heavy veil of denial. I finally start to allow it back into my mind. Finally. A little bit at a time, I thaw in this Light...like the gentle morning sun of spring begins to melt the thick winter ice.
And, perhaps, when I allow this Light in my/our Mind to thaw me thoroughly -- a Perfect Love that has the most powerful and alluring Pull I disappear to its All-ness -- then I see only It in all the images I've made up "out there," including the one I may see in the mirror for a little while more.