Ask: Overcoming Resentment
I'd really like your course related advice on something. My husband and I have been separated for two years but are still living in the same house because we can't afford to live separately. We have a son with learning difficulties who has two years left of high school. I'd like to try to remain in the house for another two years until he is finished school. I really need to forgive my husband though, because I'm finding the situation, my almost constant reflection on our relationship (most of which was awful and abusive), and the circumstances that lead to our separation very difficult to get past. Birthdays and holidays are cruel reminders of the family that I wish we could have been. I am stewing in a pot of resentment and hate, although I have, a few times, been able to get to a place of peace and forgiveness, through following the course. I find it difficult to make those times last though. One of my former course teachers remarked that I'm in the perfect place for learning forgiveness. Everyone else tells me I should get out. I need to finish my schooling before I leave, or else I'll have to forgo that, and for me, that's just not an option. Something inside me tells me that I AM in the right place for a major shift in forgiveness, only my ego seems to be fighting that with everything it has got. I'd really appreciate your wisdom here. – Anonymous First, because others will read this and there is much misunderstood about forgiveness, I want to make it clear that you never have to stay in a situation just to learn forgiveness, nor do you have to go looking for painful situations in which to put yourself just to learn forgiveness. True forgiveness recognizes that only God is Real, so if you hold onto or seek situations to forgive, you make them real to you, which is the opposite of forgiveness! Moreover, as you center your mind in Truth (God), you will find that forgiveness often manifests as you leaving behind unloving and painful situations, and if you insist on staying in or on making those situations, you are missing the lesson of forgiveness entirely. True forgiveness, then, can only really be practiced in the authentic unfolding of the life that is natural to you. In your case, for your own practical reasons, you are choosing to stay, temporarily, in a situation that is uncomfortable. But, you are experiencing much more than just a situation that is not ideal. As you stated, your almost constant reflection on a painful past, and your stewing in resentment and hate, are keeping you in conflict. If you want inner peace, then, you must address what is occurring in your mind. Inner peace is the result of an awareness of Truth, and nothing else. It does not come from an idealized situation in the world. In fact, it works the other way around: First you find peace of mind, then it manifests in your awareness as a peaceful and happy life for the body in the world. Your obstacle to being aware of Truth, therefore to being at peace, is your attachment to the story that you have for yourself as a personal self in a body in a world. Right now, the specific aspects of that story that are disturbing your peace is the story that you have for your marriage, its ending, and your continued relationship with your husband. It is good that you have had some experiences of peace and forgiveness, because that means that you are in touch with the thought system in your mind that knows Truth. Now, you have to be willing to let go of the story that is keeping you from maintaining an awareness of Truth. You can use your situation to stay in hell, or, as the other teacher suggested, as a rich opportunity to become more aware of Truth and find peace. Aside from communing with God daily and touching Truth again and again throughout the day, specifically, when thoughts about your husband, past or present, cause you to lose your peace, recognize that they are what are causing you conflict, and choose to put them aside. They do not represent the Truth in you, so they are not the way to peace. Come into the present and turn within to God, and remember that God within you is all that is true. As you touch God within, the specific thoughts that you need to release (forgive) the painful thoughts that you are having about your husband and your situation will come to you. This is a process that takes time and patience. As you choose peace over conflict again and again you are going to bump into your obstacles to peace. These are thoughts of guilt; fear of God; your desire for, attachment to, or belief in the universe of form as your reality, etc. But, bringing these thoughts forward, looking at them, and releasing them is the only way to peace. >>>>> Learn about The Plain Language A Course in Miracles at www.placim.com. Get answers by topic at www.acimmentor.com/answersbytopic.html. If you have a question that you want answered in the ACIM Mentor Newsletter/Blog, send it to Liz@acimmentor.com and indicate that you want it answered here.