Almost every American is aware of “The Music Man,” Mr. Harold Hill, and his story in River City, Iowa, as it happened in 1912. If you have never seen this musical, please have a look in your local video shop and see it. I was just recently invited by the Master Teacher to see a live-performance of the Music Man in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. What an excellent example to demonstrate a change of mind, in Harold’s case the transformation of a cunning and greedy salesman (of musical instruments and uniforms, but he himself doesn’t recognize a single note) to a loving and forgiven director of a marching community, celebrating the 4th of July.
There is an action of mind worth mentioning that turns this funny story into a miraculous happening and makes Harold a living saint: it’s called “forgiving oneself.” Harold demonstrates something so extraordinary that changes the entire continuum for everyone in River City and he becomes literally everyone’s savior, first mistrusted, judged, condemned and persecuted, but at the end allowed to step into his true mission and his own fulfillment of experience of love and joy.
I am reminded of Jesus words to the disciples when he told them that one of them shall betray him, and tells Peter after he (Peter) tells Jesus that he would lay down his life for him that “…before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” In other words he says that even his first disciple will contribute to his persecution. And I am also reminded of the many father – son stories that start with communication problems and are acted out in punishments as result of unsolved authority problems through which particularly the son, feeling himself as a victim, comes up with all kinds of ideas how to manage the problem. What did I do differently when I was one of the world? Nothing different! Besides trying to ignore the problematic situation, running away or applying human ideas how to get rid of the problem through compromise or suffer lack of getting what I wanted and trying to cover it up with all kinds of addictions to death, I had not much to contribute to an alternative, and for sure not for THE Alternative. My entire “life” was based on condemnation. The worst as I had harmed myself was in accepting how I saw “others” treat my fellows or me in a verbal or physical abusive way of expressing their authority problem.
In the Workbook of A Course in Miracles I find in lesson 195 “Love is the way I walk in gratitude” the following confrontation:
“Your brother is your “enemy” because you see in him the rival for your peace; a plunderer who takes his joy from you, and leaves you nothing but a black despair so bitter and relentless that there is no hope remaining. Now is vengeance all there is to wish for. Now can you but try to bring him down to lie in death with you, as useless as yourself; as little left within his grasping fingers as in yours.”
An enemy, a plunderer…, these were exactly my fears of my brother before I woke up from this dream of pain, suffering, loss and death. And these fear-thoughts were interwoven with guilt and arrogance. What would I do? Since I wanted to be right or left untouched, I lived for a long time ignoring the problem, or exactly as you can read it in the New Testament, in either the “Get thee behind me, devil!” or I was “turning over the tables.”
But did it solve my problem? Certainly not more than Jesus’. A new understanding of forgiveness beyond any continuation of defense or attack thoughts had to take place. What meant to me “…do not resist evil: but whosoever shall smite you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” It has been offered to me by A Course in Miracles, Jesus Himself, and also through his Sermon on the Mount, and it was (as still is) sheer mind-blowing. I came to accept an action of mind in me that can save the world: forgiving myself! Also having utilized the 12 Step-Program by working the steps 8 & 9 and the many lessons in the Course that teach the necessity to let go of grievances and forgive in a true sense and all inclusive, I had to admit and understand that “I am doing this to myself,” and “I don’t have any use of this any longer.” And there was my choice; to continue with defending and attacking myself or simply stop, ask for help and accept the healing in my own mind and declare myself! Secondly I recognized that nothing has been done to me by anybody, and indeed there is nothing going on whatsoever in this world. It’s all an illusion and already over. Finally I could relax and see deep inside myself that nothing is or ever can threaten me, an that it’s impossible that I be affected by a dream-image that has no real cause, thus understanding that the introductory sentence in the Course is true, stating “Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists.” I also came across a paragraph in the Workbook lesson 198 “Only my condemnation injures me” that I acknowledge with much gratitude:
“Condemn and you are made a prisoner. Forgive and you are freed. Such is the law that rules perception. It is not a law that knowledge understands, for freedom is a part of knowledge. To condemn is thus impossible in truth. What seems to be its influence and its effects have not occurred at all. Yet must we deal with them a while as if they had. Illusion makes illusion. Except one. Forgiveness is illusion that is answer to the rest.
Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others. All illusions save this one must multiply a thousand fold. But this is where illusions end. Forgiveness is the end of dreams, because it is a dream of waking. It is not itself the truth. Yet does it point to where the truth must be, and gives direction with the certainty of God Himself. It is a dream in which the Son of God awakens to his Self and to his Father, knowing They are one.”
I love to hear these words as I love to teach them. Yes, “forgive and you are freed,” because that’s how God remembers His Son Who I am; complete, whole and healed. The Love that moved Harold and made him the “Music Man” and let him love reflected his action of forgiving himself. He just allowed to be loved by sweet Marion whom he adored and all channels opened in him and he became a vessel to extend love in the truest sense. Thus he could forgive everyone who wished him bad. And finally he accepted to step into an assignment he always dreamed of but had shut it out in self-pity and feeling worthless or unable to do the job.
“Forgiveness is the only road that leads out of disaster, past all suffering, and finally away from death. How could there be another way, when this one is the plan of God Himself? And why would you oppose it, quarrel with it, seek to find a thousand ways in which it must be wrong; a thousand other possibilities?
Is it not wiser to be glad you hold the answer to your problems in your hand? Is it not more intelligent to thank the One Who gives salvation, and accept His gift with gratitude? And is it not a kindness to yourself to hear His Voice and learn the simple lessons He would teach, instead of trying to dismiss His words, and substitute your own in place of His?
His words will work. His words will save. His words contain all hope, all blessing and all joy that ever can be found upon this earth. His words are born in God, and come to you with Heaven’s love upon them.”
Finally, now, we have become God dependent and don’t care about the form anymore because we know that the solution is not revealed by protecting a form, and because we realize, one by one, that by extending the Light of Heaven all forms work perfectly, because the miracle works perfectly through us, each and everyone. And I am just a vessel for the miracle or say a miracle myself, but the Power comes from God Himself given me, His only Son, on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.
I love you so much and want to share this Holy Instant of release with you. Of course. I have forgiven myself and can now love you freely without holding onto any identities and limited meanings. We are one, and go Home as this One Self no matter if you agree with me or not. Thank You, God. Thank you, my brother in Light. All conflict is truly over.