Our experience of awakening is that it takes time. We believe in this life and this world so its most likely that we are not going to awaken fully today. It’s not to say it is impossible and that it doesn’t happen, and we may even experience moments of deep knowing, but the ego will assert itself. We will succumb to fear and we must make the journey again. But we do not need to suffer, we do not need to struggle, to feel hopeless. We can always choose how we are using our mind.
Our main intention for our spiritual practice is to make room for the truth in our mind. We are not here to make ourselves better, to fix anything. We want to end the distractions of trying to make ourselves better. Even healing is a distraction in the end, for only the ego can believe in sickness. The body is a distraction. The world is a distraction. You may say that we need to take care of these things, that there are practical realities that must be dealt with, but the truth is that we have the power to deal with practical realities in an instant. We choose these distractions, we create them, and we want them. And every time we choose them, we create more suffering and struggle. Every time we agree that there is something wrong, something that needs to be fixed or isn’t as it should be, we create more suffering. Because we are so used to it we don’t see it.
But it was said earlier that we do not need to suffer even though we are not fully awake. There are two key qualities we can turn our mind to that will change our experience right now. They are faith and forgiveness. These two qualities can change our mind and change our heart in any moment if we will give them our attention to make them real in our experience. Faith is telling ourselves the truth, that there is the truth that exists and is real. And that which is not the truth is not real and has no power. Faith is believing in the truth, believing that there is one source, one power, and that we are one with it – that we exist completely within it and are not alone and separate.
Ask yourself what is your level of faith. How much do you believe that the truth of you is perfection, that you are the perfect expression of a perfect source? How much do you believe that? We know that for the most part we have very little faith because we continue acting in a way that shows we don’t. We continue to make deals with the world to try to assure our safety and security because we have no faith. We must question our degree of faith at every opportunity because it only takes a tiny amount to change our mind. Are you going to trust in the truth or not?
There is nothing the ego will do to help you with this process. This is a decision that you must make outside of the ego. It is easy to forget that the ego is a choice, a creation, and that mind which makes that choice is available to make other choices, for instance, to have faith, to trust. It may not seem possible to find any faith in any given moment, and that is why the other important quality is forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the opening of the heart, the realizing that no one, including ourselves, is ever bad. In the end it is ourselves that needs forgiving. But until we are ready to forgive ourselves there are others we can forgive. We can practice forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean that you have somehow deigned to accept somebody’s shortcomings or bad behavior. It means you are willing to accept that there never was any wrong, there never was any bad. Forgiveness means that you are willing to see the truth, to accept the truth.
Forgiveness of ourselves is a huge step to ending suffering. Forgiveness of others is the same. Both faith and forgiveness require understanding of the truth but they are not intellectual processes. They are an opening of the heart – a willingness to use and trust the right mind, the mind of the heart. The truth is plain when the heart is open. We have much fear around opening that which has been held so tightly closed for so long. Forgiveness can help. We can forgive ourselves for everything. We can forgive ourselves for not having faith. We can forgive ourselves for having a closed heart. We can forgive ourselves for having been deceived by our own mind for so long. Faith and forgiveness are our companions on the road to peace. There is nothing else we need.
If we will devote our mind to these two qualities our journey will change completely. It will take practice to develop faith and to give in to forgiveness. We must practice it constantly. With faith we ask ourselves, “Am I willing to believe in the truth even when I can’t feel it?” Forgiveness says, “Am I willing to accept the truth of myself and others? Am I willing to know the truth about myself and others?” The mind that can develop faith and that can surrender to forgiveness will be free and will know the truth.