Having made that clarification, when a major event such as a terrorist attack takes place, when the apparent death of so many is witnessed, unless someone is genuinely conscious, usually all kinds of emotions are experienced. And denying these emotions using the excuse that “nothing is real” or “this is all just an illusion” leads to a state of denial which ends up being more harmful than beneficial, not to mention how unloving it would be to have such an attitude towards our brothers and sisters (illusions or not) who are being affected by the experience.
Therefore, how can an experience like that can be used to help heal the unconscious guilt? We should first understand the mechanism of the ego’s thought system (unconscious guilt) so that we can consciously choose another Teacher (Holy Spirit, Right Mind, Christ, etc.).
I will divide this article into three parts. The first is focused on seeing how the ego’s thought system operates so that we can clearly see how the focus is shifted to the world of form keeping us distracted from the Truth. That first part I'll call it, The Distractions of The Ego.
The focus of the second is directed toward denial so I'll call it: The Danger of Denying Our Experience.
And the third part will focus on how to act when we are presented with an experience such as that so that our actions spring from love and not guilt.
Part I: The Distractions of The Ego
This first part for some people may be very difficult to understand, or rather to accept if there is still a strong identification with the physical experience as if it were our reality.
However, if we want to eradicate suffering and guilt from the mind one must first look at the ego’s logical way of thinking so that we can consciously begin to turn our attention to what is True, which is the love of which we are a part of; the peace of God that dwells in everyone.
Using the same terrorist scenario, first thing we have to observe are the emotions that arise from that experience. Those emotions are the unconscious guilt that was hidden BEFORE the attack took place, and that now we want to PROJECT unto that scenario so that the guilt remains in our unconscious and unable to be healed.
For example: I feel angry because a terrorist has killed someone. That anger was in me BEFORE that terrorist committed this act, and now I justify MY anger by PROJECTING it and continue hanging on to the guilt; hanging on to MY unconscious desire to feel separated from God. In this case I project my anger to the terrorist saying things like, "... that terrorist is bad, is the executioner, is the perpetrator, and I'm the victim." That way I can blame some outside experience as the cause of my anger not realizing that the terrorist simply reflects the anger I do not want to see in me. I am not talking about his actions, I am referring to my feelings.
I am afraid to see others dying. The guilt, the fear of me dying will then be projected unto the scenes I see "outside”. That’s how I justify my fear of dying, my fear of remember that I am one with God and not this “separate body” living in a world of separation.
I feel sadness or suffer for the families of those killed, or the loss of a family member. That sadness is the one I use to justify my desire to suffer, my desire to feel sad only that I project what I feel unto any scenario so that I can continue to hang on to my suffering. Because, who would I be without my drama, without my sadness, without my anger, without my prejudice, etc.? I would be That (capital word), which words cannot describe. But the most common word to describe That would be God or Love. Not this “body”.
That’s why we are reminded; "There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: ‘I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself. Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.’” T-31.V.17:6-9
As we can see, even when we feel anger, sadness, fear, we are in a blind alley if we believe that our feelings have to do with what happens in the world. And again, what happens in the world is a projection based on the premise that "I" exist. And as "I" exist, my "world" also has to exist, and according to the laws of "my world," I have to feel affected by it.
And yes, as long as I continue to identify with the body I have to respect those laws. But I can choose another thought system to at least change my perception of the world and not suffer. It is not about denying what I feel, it is about changing my perception of what I feel, changing my perception about what I experience, about what I see, about what I hear. That’s why the Course reminds me: “…seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.“ T-21.In.1 7
And it is not “me”, the little “i” that change its perception. The change in perception is the natural effect of choosing the Holy Spirit thought system. Otherwise my perception won’t be change to undo the ego but to reinforce it. Because according to the ego a change in perception is seeing the world of illusion “differently”. The change of perception that the Holy Spirit offers us it to see that what the senses perceive has nothing to do with Who I Truly Am. This is why we have to be very cautious not to confuse the levels, form and content, or Physical experience and Truth.
When the course reminds us that there is no hierarchy of illusions such as when it says, "This principle evolves from the belief there is a hierarchy of illusions; some are more valuable and therefore true," T -23.II.2: 3 what is telling us is that in a dream some scenes cannot be more “real” than others, but that all are equally unreal and therefore has no power to affect the Holy Son of God (the one who is dreaming). That's what it is meant by: " Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists." T-in.2: 2-3.
That doesn’t justify in any way, shape or form anyone’s behavior. However, if we are not conscious of the ego’s mechanism, we will spend our lives blaming “others” for what we feel, therefore keeping the unconscious guilt locked in OUR mind experiencing the eternal fear and suffering that takes place.
Let's look at it this way: What is the difference between the anger I feel when there is a terrorist attack and the anger I feel when my partner does not do what I asked? Anger is anger.
What is the difference between the fear I feel when a person is dying because of an attack of violence and the fear I feel as a result of not knowing whether I will be able to grab the taxi to get to work on time? Fear is fear.
What is the difference between the sadness I feel when I see victims of a terrorist attack or when I see my son leaves home to study at the university (if I am attached to him)? Sadness is sadness.
And we could use the example of what would be the difference between the pleasure I feel when I eat a chocolate cake and the pleasure I feel when I seek revenge or attacking someone. Pleasure is pleasure.
Notice again that what I'm talking about are emotions not events. About what we feel, not about what’s “happening.”
What I am saying is, every event in and of itself is neutral. The emotion that I feel is the unconscious guilt that I now want to project unto any event in order to justify my fear. And that's why no matter how "big" or how "small" the event is, if our peace is being disturbed is simply because we are making the experience real in the mind, which makes us feel as separate beings from God, we feel separated from love. That is why we need correction on a ¡different level! Level of the Mind, not the form.
Correction is what the Holy Spirit does for us, if we let it. "Undoing is not your task, but it is up to you to welcome it or not." T-21.II.8 5
We are not asked to deny our experience, as the course puts it: "The body is merely part of your experience in the physical world. Its abilities can be and frequently are overevaluated. However, it is almost impossible to deny its existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial.“ T-2.IV.3: 8-11
We are asked to stop ¡interpreting it!
Because any interpretation on our part simply justify that we exist as ”separate individuals”.
If on the other hand I’m identified with the thought system of the Holy Spirit every experience will be perceived just as they are, free of interpretations, free of judgment, and the result is that I experience peace.
Part II: The Danger of Denying Our Experience
Becoming aware of how the ego’s thought system operates is not so that we can deny our emotions pretending they are not there and use all concepts we learn in the course to fool ourselves. That can be seen a lot when one is experiencing fear, anger, pain, including pleasure and then hides it under the carpet of, "This is an illusion, nothing is real, this does not exist, blah, blah ...". That is the fear of feeling, that’s avoidance.
That is the mechanism that the ego thought system uses to avoid looking at the content of the mind, which is what is projected outward. As someone once said, “what you deny you project.” Although the course explains very clearly that this is an illusion it NEVER asked us to deny our experience but to choose a different Teacher (Holy Spirit) so that we can look at the obstacles to peace. And yes, I said LOOK at the obstacles. Without looking we are denying. If we were not so afraid to look, this dream would be over ¡in a second! And although it was over long ago, since you believe you are reading these words, it is real to you now.
So, continuing, those emotions that arise from the belief in separation, we must look at them, we must feel them. That’s why we are told; "The escape from darkness involves two stages: First, the recognition that darkness cannot hide. This step usually entails fear. Second, the recognition that there is nothing you want to hide even if you could. This step brings escape from fear. When you have become willing to hide nothing, you will not only be willing to enter into communion but will also understand peace and joy." T-1.IV.1: 1-5 "Remember that you will have to go through the clouds before you can reach the light." W-pI.70.8 5
We must look. We must feel. What we don’t want to do however is do that with the ego because the ego´s thought system is what makes of anything terrifying. The Holy Spirit is the light with which we look at the darkness to see that there is nothing there!
So if a terrorist attack such as the one in Paris or any place takes place and all fear comes out, we are not asked to pretend that the experience is not taking place by avoiding our feelings. What is asked of ourselves is not to make the mistake of believing that our feelings have something to do with any outside “cause”. There is no way out within the ego’s thought system. There is ONE way out, however, Inward; through the practice of True forgiveness.
Therefore, when emotions rise up to the surface, which the ego’s thought system wants to justify them by looking for victimizers, by blaming, by looking for a place, a person, a circumstance where they can be projected on to, we bring our attention to the cause (mind) so that the Holy Spirit can correct our perception. Thus, as with every event, "large" or "small”, they are now used to heal. They are now used to practice forgiveness.
And how to we practice forgiveness? Believe it or not, this is the most overlooked theme, even where the whole Course is about that. Because we think that forgiveness is something we must do, we think it is an action. And forgiveness is simple dropping the meaning the mind gives to each present moment. That is it!
Forgiveness, on the other hand, IS STILL, AND QUIETLY DOES NOTHING. 2 It offends no aspect of reality, nor seeks to twist it to appearances it likes. 3 It merely LOOKS, AND WAITS, AND JUDGES NOT. W-pII.1.4:1-3
"When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself: I DO NOT KNOW WHAT ANYTHING, INCLUDING THIS, MEANS. AND SO I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO RESPOND TO IT. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now." T-14.XI.6: 6-9
Part III: How to act:
As the unconscious guilt is being eradicated from the mind, meaning, as we stop giving meaning to each present moment, events no longer have the power to distract us. We will then start to identify with the love of God which is our nature. And thereafter we will do what we feel inspired to do in any circumstance. Not because one feels guilty or obligated to, but because that's what love naturally would leads us to do.
If for example an organization is established that requires financial resources to support individuals whose being affected by such circumstances, love itself will lead us as to what to do, which in some cases may be to offer financial support, or we may feel led to help with our talents, with our time, who knows.
If someone who has been affected by that experience asks us to go to church and pray with him/her we do not judge his/her experience. We connect with the love within and may feel inspired to go to church and pray.
As we can see, the Holy Spirit does not ask us to stop being human nor be “cold”. The Holy Spirit simply ask us to identify with His thought system so that the unconscious guilt is not the one dictating our behavior. That way, we behave kindly and lovingly in this world of illusion, while simultaneously the unconscious guilt is being healed so when the time comes to leave this body it will be done in peace, and there will be no need to project another illusion to hide in a body because the fear of God is no longer in the mind.