So I wrote a post a few weeks ago about my own deep struggles with forgiveness and lamenting the world I see (1). From that post I got a few responses asking me questions on how I forgive. So the song of prayer states that:
To you who are in time a little while, prayer takes the form that best will suit your need (ACIM, S-1.in.2:1).
I love the permission given us to use the form that best suits our needs when we pray. How liberating is that? So what I do is my personal expression and concoction of forgiveness but any form of prayer that suites you needs is brilliant and I would always encourage you to follow your own heart. Here are just simple steps and tips of some of my favorite phrases I will repeat over and over again on a rosary and though I only include 3 phrases, you could easily do any italicized phrase in the text of ACIM (i.e. prayers) or any workbook lesson . . . etc.
Sometimes I will take my rosary and find a picture of the person I struggle fully forgiving. I'll repeat a phrase as I look at them. At other times I will be in a more traditional upright meditative posture and repeat phrases while I witness my own breath and heart beat.
I have three go to phrases I like to use, but as I mentioned there are much more then these everywhere in ACIM. Here are my personal three:
1. The beginning of this prayer in the text really says it all. Often I use this one if I'm lamenting the world I see, if I am judging bigger picture things. This is a weakness of mine because I've actually been overly educated and taught to be critical. It fits the fake world, my ego, and family genetics well but it doesn't serve my holiness and what we truly are in Spirit. So when I catch myself struggling to forgive the narrative of the world I see (which is often) I repeat this phrase:
I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
⁸I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
⁹I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
¹⁰I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
¹¹I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me. (ACIM, T-5.VII.6:7-11)
2. This one is also in the text and I use this one on myself as much as on others. I struggle forgiving myself and when this self forgiveness is in my face I'll repeat this phrase, both because it is an intimate prayer for myself and an intimate prayer for my enemy. I often say to people our enemies are safest with us as ACIMers. This prayer from the text illustrates exactly that:
⁵I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself.
⁶I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself.
⁷In the name of my freedom I choose your release, because I recognize that we will be released together. (ACIM, T-15.XI.10:5-7)
3. Finally I use Gary's phrase that Arten and Pursah gave him in The Disappearance. I use this one with a specific person when I'm really struggling to forgive a person. I feel I need to get deep into the nitty gritty of forgiveness and this one for me does just that. This comes from the Disappearance of the Universe page 256:
You're not really there. If I think you are guilty or the cause of the problem and if I made you up then the imagined guilt and fear must be in me. Since the separation from God never occurred, I forgive "both" of us for what we haven't really done. Now there is only innocence and I join with the Holy Spirit in peace (Renard, 256).
While forgiving I focus on the feelings. Once I find some sense of internal peace I'm done for that moment. In some cases that happens quickly, in others it can take months or years. It depends on factors unseen and much more internally felt. With all of these phrases I sometimes shift words slightly or remember them differently, but the ascendant masters assure us if your intention is right, you are on your way. I'll take their word for it.
Some of the enlightened teachers among us, like David Hoffmeister, mention the importance of noticing our feelings. The Course's language on thoughts is parallel to the Muslim emphasis on the Heart and clearing it. For me my emotions get addressed as a Courser remembering we are seeking the eternal internal peace of God. The Center for Inner Peace -the Course's official publisher- is aptly named. When that's achieved we are complete. It can feel like you are going no where fast, I simply trust a higher power is taking care of the details. We are releasing millennia of unconscious guilt as Courses, it might be hard to see the results, but the work is happening, and our inner feelings, not something or someone external, are always our measure.