Chapter Seventeen: Forgiveness and Healing
VII. Practical Forgiveness
57 The practical application of the Holy Spirit's purpose is extremely simple, but it is unequivocal. In fact in order to be simple, it must be unequivocal. The simple is merely what is easily understood, and for this it is apparent that it must be clear. The setting of the Holy Spirit's goal is general. Now He will work with you to make it specific [for application is specific]. There are certain very specific guidelines He provides for any situation, but remember that you do not yet realize their universal application. Therefore it is essential at this point to use them in each situation separately, until you can more safely look beyond each situation in an understanding far broader than you now possess.
58 In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is, "What do I want to come of this? What is it for?" The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome. In the ego's procedure, this is reversed. The situation becomes the determiner of the outcome, which can be anything. The reason for this disorganized approach is evident. The ego does not know what it wants to come of it. It is aware of what it does not want, but only that. It has no positive goal at all.
59 Without a clear cut positive goal, set at the outset, the situation just seems to happen and makes no sense until it has already happened. Then you look back at it and try to piece together what it must have meant. And you will be wrong. Not only is your judgment in the past, but you have no idea what should happen. No goal was set with which to bring the means in line. And now the only judgment left to make is whether or not the ego likes it—is it acceptable, or does it call for vengeance? The absence of a criterion for outcome set in advance makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible.
60 The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen. You will therefore make every effort to overlook what interferes with the accomplishment of your objective and concentrate on everything which helps you meet it. It is quite noticeable that this approach has brought you closer to the Holy Spirit's sorting out of truth and falsity. The true becomes what can be used to meet the goal. The false becomes the useless from this point of view. The situation now has meaning, but only because the goal has made it meaningful.
61 The goal of truth has further practical advantages. If the situation is used for truth and sanity, its outcome must be peace. And this is quite apart from what the outcome is. If peace is the condition of truth and sanity and cannot be without them, where peace is they must be. Truth comes of itself. If you experience peace, it is because the truth has come to you, and you will see the outcome truly, for deception cannot prevail against you. And you will recognize the outcome because you are at peace. Here again, you see the opposite of the ego's way of looking, for the ego believes the situation brings the experience. The Holy Spirit knows that the situation is as the goal determines it and is experienced according to the goal.
62 The goal of truth requires faith. Faith is implicit in the acceptance of the Holy Spirit's purpose, and this faith is all-inclusive. Where the goal of truth is set, there faith must be. The Holy Spirit sees the situation as a whole. The goal establishes the fact that everyone involved in it will play his part in its accomplishment. This is inevitable. No one will fail in anything. This seems to ask for faith beyond you and beyond what you can give. Yet this is so only from the viewpoint of the ego, for the ego believes in "solving" conflict through fragmentation and does not perceive the situation as a whole. Therefore, it seeks to split off segments of the situation and deal with them separately, for it has faith in separation and not in wholeness.
63 Confronted with any aspect of the situation which seems to be difficult, the ego will attempt to take this aspect elsewhere and resolve it there. And it will seem to be successful, except that this attempt conflicts with unity and must obscure the goal of truth. And peace will not be experienced except in fantasy. Truth has not come because faith has been denied, being withheld from where it rightfully belonged. Thus do you lose the understanding of the situation the goal of truth would bring. For fantasy solutions bring but the illusion of experience, and the illusion of peace is not the condition in which the truth can enter.
64 The substitutes for aspects of the situation are the witnesses to your lack of faith. They demonstrate that you did not believe that the situation and the problem were in the same place. The problem was the lack of faith, and it is this you demonstrate when you remove it from its source and place it elsewhere. As a result, you do not see the problem. Had you not lacked the faith it could be solved, the problem would be gone. And the situation would have been meaningful to you because the interference in the way of understanding would have been removed. To remove the problem elsewhere is to keep it. For you remove yourself from it and make it unsolvable.