Miracles News

January-April, 2024

Stepping Out of the Dream

by Rev. Joyce Peebles, Ordained Ministerial Counselor

Central to the idea of forgiveness is stepping out of the dream and knowing what is true and what is untrue. My ego tells me I need to do things that are not true. Some examples: The ego tells me I need to understand someone else or a situation I find disturbing. This is not true. “Today I will judge nothing that occurs. I will not think I understand the whole from bits of my perception, which are all that I can see.” (W-243.1:2)

Fact is, I do not have a clue what someone else is working on in their life. It is not up to me to interpret where they are in their spiritual progress. I may live with them, or be a parent, or spouse, but their spiritual development is not my business. My business is to allow the Holy Spirit to change my perception of how I see them and the circumstances. Stepping out of the dream is being willing to go above the battleground with Jesus and look beyond the ego personality. Therefore, “Today I will judge nothing that occurs.”

The ego also tells me I need to do or fix things. Neither is this true. The Holy Spirit tells me the opposite. I need do nothing. Forgiveness does not twist things around to how the ego likes them. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not.

The ego proclaims something needs to change in order for me to be happy. The Holy Spirit’s guidance is to quiet the mind, relax, and recognize that what you are feeling is fear. You think if someone or something does not change, something worse may happen or you can’t live with the way things are at the moment. Instead allow the fear to just be there; it diminishes as you are willing to step out of the dream and go above the battle ground with the Holy Spirit. This does not mean you do not care. It means you see it from another point of view because you have stepped out of the dream.

Jesus says, “I know fear is not real, but you do not.” The Course tells us all healing is essentially the release from fear. The truth will set you free. It’s talking about freedom from fear. All of us want to suffer less. We are really saying we want freedom from fear.

On the most basic level, we practice forgiveness by realizing we are in a dream state and what is immediately in front of our faces is our workshop at the moment. This means our special relationships such as coworkers, family, and neighbors. We have numerous chances all day long as what comes up each day shows us where our mind needs to be healed.

There are no accidents or coincidences. You have made up your world and decided on a higher spiritual level that precisely these people and circumstances are your best classroom to learn forgiveness. Accept this and see yourself as a student. Always ask, “What do I have to learn from this?” This means I can’t justify my point of view and I voluntarily give up my being right about anything.

The “I don’t know” attitude is priceless. It empties your mind of all that is keeping you from seeing clearly. You are willing to do this because wanting peace of mind and guidance from the Holy Spirit is more valuable than being right. Remember you are afraid of being wrong, so you feel compelled to be right until you understand being right only brings sadness and separation between you and another. Walls are not broken down by being right, they crumble when you are willing to see differently.

The interesting thing about practicing forgiveness is it does not involve the other person or situation changing at all. Although ironically this sometimes occurs. If nothing outwardly does change you are no longer bothered by what you are looking at or experiencing. You are willing to be an observer and let it be. The reason for this is you are at peace. For example, if there is strife between you and a family member, you can within yourself decide to see their innocence, the essence of who they are. You recognize and accept responsibility for your projection of guilt upon them.

You do not verbally say this but your interactions with them change. You react and speak differently. They may not respond differently for a long time or ever. It was never the goal that they change. When you change, on a spiritual level they get the message you are no longer judging them. This is how real change takes place. You are not invested in any particular outcome concerning their behavior. You only care about following the guidance you receive from the Holy Spirit and having peace. Plan on failing many times at first. It gets easier with practice, and the rewards are worth it.

Once we step out of the dream, we understand lesson 248: “What suffers is not part of me. What grieves is not myself. What is in pain is but an illusion in my mind.” (W-248.1:3-5)

Forgiveness brings a different point of view, an acknowledgment that we are not the figure in the dream. All pain comes from identifying with the dream figure, thinking we are it.

Every single day I am tempted to believe I am this ego in this story. This tells me there is still a desire in my mind to want this illusion to be real. The sane part of my mind knows this projection brings suffering. I alone decide how much I want to suffer by believing God is wrong that I am not as he created me. The following quote has been helpful:

“Then let us wait an instant and be still, forgetting everything we thought we heard; remembering how much we do not know. This brother neither leads nor follows us, but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.” (T-31.II.6:4-9)

I am reminded I do not wake up alone. My brother, the one I viewed as a problem, goes with me on this journey. We go together or not at all.
Equally important as the text in A Course in Miracles are the lessons. They give detailed instructions on how to apply this course.

For example, “I have indeed misunderstood the world, because I laid my sins on it and saw them looking back at me. How fierce they seemed! And how deceived was I to think what I feared was in the world, instead of in my mind alone.” (W-265.1:1-3)

This is stepping outside of the dream and acceptance of this lesson is more spiritual progress than most people make in their entire life. You understand that the sin you thought was in your brother is from your desire to see him as guilty instead of yourself. You also understand that the only way to see yourself as innocent is to see your brother that way also. It is the idea of sin and guilt that is the problem, not what you thought someone did.

How do you know when healing has occurred? When a memory comes up and there is no pain or discomfort of any kind associated with that person. You were willing to see beyond their personality, knowing that is not who they really ARE and knowing they are a part of you. You have decided you want Oneness instead of separation between you and another.

Rev. Joyce Peebles, OMC is a Pathways of Light minister. Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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