Loving Compassion

I’ve been reading A Course in Miracles most every day. This is my third reading. I discovered this book in the wake of having a spiritual/metaphysical experience that jolted me into a different way of seeing and sent me on a quest to discover more about the self, consciousness and the true nature of reality.

What is expressed in ACIM most closely aligns with the sudden awareness and knowledge I had from that metaphysical/spiritual experience. ACIM is also aesthetically beautiful and deeply moving.

Today when I began my daily reading of ACIM I was astounded to see that I was at the exact point that coincides with Palm Sunday, which is today. How did I manage that, I don’t know? I’ve been reading at varying lengths, some days a whole chapter or chapters, other days a page, some days not at all.

When I first began reading ACIM, I had to get over my resistance to the religious, Christian terminology. Growing up I’d had exposure to the baptist religion, then catholicism. Our father was an atheist but sent us to bible school and such. Then when he remarried we were converted to being catholic.

There was talk of forgiveness and mercy, then all this judgment and condemnation, the hypocrisy hurt my brain, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It made me feel afraid and confused more than anything. I liked the loving, forgiving aspects, but could never make myself believe that we’re all sinners and we need to feel guilty, repent, believe blindly in what religion tells us or we’d burn in hell. The devil would get me? It scared me and made me feel really bad. Why do that to me? As a child, I hadn’t fully succumbed to society’s dictate of masochism yet, lol.

As an adult when I had more control over what I’d allow in my life, I chose to shun religion. It has some positive aspects, but all of the negative aspects made it unhealthy for me to participate in. It felt all kinds of wrong, more than the right parts about it. It felt like a sham way to exert power and control over me. It made me feel guilty, fearful, ashamed and powerless. It was oppressive and punitive rather than uplifting and healing.

I always believed in empathy, kindness, compassion and to treat everyone with love and respect. Do no harm, love your neighbor, peace and love. What had happened though is that I’d been socialized by family, society, religion to be too forgiving, too submissive, a “good girl” who knows her place, who takes care of everyone else, puts her needs, wants and unique self-expression on the back burner and be what everyone else wants her to be.

Conforming to the roles assigned to me, focusing on perfecting myself in the mold I thought would garner the most approval. I focused on the externals and tried to achieve a peaceful loving life by creating the least amount of turbulence based on how my loved ones responded. I also tried to discipline myself and achieve the level of physical attractiveness, talents and personality attributes that were the expected norms.

The part of me that knew religion was unhealthy for me stayed with me though I tried to keep conforming, being subservient, that knowing part of me began getting louder and louder. It spoke to me through my true feelings, it spoke to me through my frustrations, my deepening sadness, my inability to create lasting peace in my life. It finally hammered me over the head with health problems. It had me on my knees asking what am I missing? Is this how life’s meant to be? Surrounded by anger, hostility, unpredictability, feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, powerlessness, and despair.

The part of me that is love and truth guided me to think for myself, to educate myself, to wake up and love myself like I’d been loving everyone else. To please me for a change. To nurture me. To stand up for me. To do right by me. I began to shed the social conditioning that was imprisoning me. I began reclaiming my power. I learned and practiced healthy, loving boundaries. I had a dark night of the soul where I surrendered and consequently had that transformative metaphysical experience which led me to more loving ideas, practices, and ways of being. No more masochism or martyrdom. No more subservient me.

I read ACIM because it aspires to the highest most loving mindset spiritually where we become wholly loving of ourselves as well as others. Its main focus is on oneness and forgiveness. Forgiveness is what keeps us on the highest path to a more loving experience here. Reading ACIM is like getting a tiny glimpse of eternity while here on earth. It never fails to elevate and expand the love, peace, and joy from deep within me. It helps me begin my day on a highly loving note. There is no hellfire and brimstone to be found there, yay!

Most religions have too much hate interwoven within them to me. And people pick and choose how to interpret their religions in order to justify hateful, judgemental, punitive, authoritarian mindsets and behaviors. They use religion to justify their hate. It’s twisted and sick to me. A loving God would have no part of that. My head wants to explode sometimes when I encounter some religious arguments or people wanting to convert me. I know a lot of it is well-intentioned, but love is my religion, and there’s no hell or hate in love.

The one thing that continues to stump me is level confusion. The spiritual vs the actual physical experience of being here and surviving. A spiritual being having a human experience. A human must have boundaries and stand up for what is loving in action here because there is harm for a body, whereas in spirit we are eternal and nothing can harm or change that, we are always safe, whole, one with love/God.

The cure for me is forgiveness. On the level of form if we don’t forgive it eats us alive.

I can do my best within my human capacity to be peaceful, loving and kind, but that does not mean I need to martyr myself. I also need to act with some rules and boundaries to create a healthy, loving, just and kind world where there will be less need for forgiveness. We need to stand up for what we know is the most loving way to be.

If we all lived from the depths of loving compassion within us there would be little call for forgiveness in regards to how we treat one another. If we realized how much we are truly beholden to each other in every way, we wouldn’t dare dream of leaving others out in the cold if we can help it.

I believe as a world, humanity can help it.

Let’s see what happens on the other side of this. May acting from loving compassion and forgiveness carry us to better days ahead.

Eternal love and hugs ?

Michelle Miyagi
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