One of my favorite teachers, Ken Wapnick, recently shared a Youtube chat on the Gulf oil spill disaster. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bue4vaEeum4). He emphasized that this event is another opportunity to remind ourselves again of the importance of forgiveness. I personally was reminded and moved again by this idea.
As Ken shared, we all exist here on earth with guilt in our minds. To be in a body is to have guilt since bodies are not our natural state. Spirit is our natural state. From birth on we look outward from ourselves for people and events to blame and upon which to project our guilt. We began early with our parents and any siblings. Then blame spread to teachers, schools, friends, spouses, communities and our most favorite scapegoats, politicians and big businesses. Natural disasters occur human made ones such as oil spills and wars. We become sick and infirm with cancers and aging issues. These become major events in which to express blame and disgust for they also seem to be beyond our control. No wonder one of our major blame outbursts is simply the oft used phrase, “God damn it!” And we get “mad as hell.”
Why is there so much guilt and anger about being in bodies? Because on a deep, mostly unconscious level, we realize this has been a mistake in choosing to come here as a body. Our natural home is with God, our Creator, but as taught in ancient mystery religions, and in the modern form in A Course in Miracles, we came here as part of a mad dream to see what it would be like to be on our own. And in our journey here, as part of the guilt we incurred, we live with daily stress, disappointments, anger, and a sense of hopelessness. We are endlessly searching for remedies and elixirs to assuage our pain, but nothing seems to work.
The path to peace begins when we finally awaken to our true identities, the Eternal Children of God. Even though we thought we could leave our Creator, we didn’t. As creations of God, as Spirit extensions, we never left our Creator. We have always remained in God’s Mind, so to speak. To be able to leave our Source would be a contradiction of the very idea of God as a Universal, Ever-Present Spirit. We awaken when we become aware that we are not these bodies and all that identifies with them in our egos body identification. It is a hard nudging to follow, because we have such investments in our bodies and earthly, time bound identities. Aging can help one look deeper, as the body is seen as passing and life’s disappointments continue to add up. Some even believe awakening may take several life times but in the end, it was really all a dream; we never did, never could leave our Source, the Creator.
So where does the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico come in? It’s a wonderful chance to excise our anger and blame. It fits our natural tendency to blame people and events for the perceived wrongs in life; from our personality and bodily disorders and imperfections, to all the problems in life which are never solved. As the Course so beautiful teaches, "Real choice is no illusion. (the choice of being Eternal Spirit) But the world has none to offer. All its roads but lead to disappointment, nothingness and death. There is no choice in its alternatives. Seek not escape from problems here. The world was made that problems could not BE escaped." (T.ch. 31.IV.2)
Not realizing this dead end in form and body, we keep seeking for solutions and then blame others when the solutions don’t work, or never last for very long. We refuse to take responsibility for our own choices in coming here. We could have better lives if not for "crooked politicians." A popular sign says, "I am mad as hell!" I often think, "What for?" It’s just the madness of the guilt and issues which living here brings! If the guilt and anger could be lifted, we could put signs out saying, "I am happy as heaven!"
In the Gulf oil spill mess, it provides us another opportunity to forgive ourselves by forgiving those who appear to be responsible. As yet, we really don’t know who caused it and probably never will; do we blame the politicians or the oil executives? Or do we blame the manufacturers, the drill makers, the makers of oil consuming engines, or even our use of the oil? Yes, the air waves and electronic news media are full of blame stories. People feed at this trough hourly to find some relief, some justifiable blame. These are just scapegoats for our own guilt and anger in choosing to leave heaven and come to "hell" in the first place. But we can move past this awful way of living in constant anger and blame by learning to forgive ourselves and those "in charge." For in this world, accidents happen each minute killing innocent people and wildlife. This IS the world of physical existence. Get over it!
If your friend or loved one was the oil executive, you’d love them and forgive them I’m sure. If you parent or loved one is the politician, you’d love and support them. They are all the same. Yes, committees can investigate and make penalties and improvements in securing oil, but troubles won’t end here. Remember, this world as made that problems could not be escaped or solved! It’s just an endless battle in time and space, which in the end, never really happened anyway. Time and space, scientifically, aren’t real either as the ancient mystics discovered and scientist teach. As they taught and I believe, it’s all just a dream, an “optical illusion of reality.” It’s a dream with daily hurts, fears, stresses and misjudgments. It’s just the way it is here.
Does it mean we never work for justice and improvements in this life on earth? No, we do what we feel is right but always without anger and hatred and blame. We work to not hate our "captors" as one of the Dalai Lama’s disciples said after being imprisoned by the Chinese for several years. Working in a church or group is always a good test for this ability. Churches, of course, have as many resentments and differences as any groups. Anytime a group attaches "God’s Word" to their pronouncements, people will be hurt and angered even more radically! But seek to live above it. Work to change, reform, feed the hungry and poor, but do it in love or don’t do it. You will be only using others to treat yourself to some temporary relief from guilt and anger.
In Rwanda back in the 1990’s, two tribes which hated each other finally came to blows and thousands of one tribe were killed and hacked to death by the other. Some thought the cause went back to part of the 19th century missionary movement when Roman Catholic converts despised Protestant converts and vice versa. (Too bad there ever was such a "missionary movement" in my thinking.) A year or so after the terrible killing ended, a widow woman of one tribe was interviewed by an NPR reporter. She had lost her husband and children to the purging. She was asked how she could now go on living with the enemy tribe now in control. She said, "Forgiveness, it’s the only way!" She was asked how? And she said, "There is no other way unless we just want the killing of each other go on endlessly." I was moved to tears. I thought of the story of Jesus dying on the cross, innocently, and praying, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
In the 5000 year old Chinese document called the “I-Ching” there is a section which translated means “No blame.” Ken Wapnick refers to this source in his Youtube chat. Whatever happens, “No blame.” It is just part of the illusion of the world being real. It was known back then. It’s like Jesus dying on the cross and saying, “No blame! I’m free.”
Sri Ramanah Maharshi taught the best way to effect social change in the world, this temporal world, was to live and practice “ahimsa” or non-violence and kindness. Easier said than done, but to me this is the way of all great teachers, including the Jesus I was taught about as a child. Yet how many of his followers use his name to justify killing and “dropping bombs” on whole nations!
Today, if we want peace, we begin by remembering we are not our bodies, but eternal Spirit in Oneness with God and all others of this universe. We learn to forgive ourselves for guilt and anger as we live out this phase of the dream. We practice it by granting others the same forgiveness. For who among us is without sin? As many pray daily, "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." To not forgive another is not to forgive ourselves, and the fear, stress, pain, and hatred remains in our hearts, and grows.
So who is to blame for the oil spill, for wars that never run dry, and for hunger that never ends? We all are, but in the Creator’s Sight, we are all forgiven and loved anyway. Reality is not here; this is but a dream of terror and guilt, of never doing enough, never being good enough, never being kind enough. Well, enough of that! It was made to be unfixable. Come Home to your Self in silence, in reasoning, in truth. Be free, be happier for longer times, and be closer to the Real You which is eternal, timeless, formless, and One with Love.
Remember, “No Blame!” Use forgiveness instead as we practice each day random acts of kindness and compassion. Sometimes, we can ever organize them. A little bit.