A Course in Miracles teaches us a type of forgiveness that is different from the world’s definition. The Course’s forgiveness is recognizing that what you thought your brother did, never actually occurred because we are dreaming a dream. (NOTE: Keep in mind this is the “end point” of the Course’s forgiveness – we have a process to go through to get here).

To be completely honest, in my daily life, simply reading this definition has never been very helpful… at all! It feels way out of reach and like a ripe opportunity for spiritual bypassing (e.g. avoiding pain in the name of it being “not real”).

And yet, I’ve had experiences that have touched upon the truth of these words. I’ve had lifelong challenging family relationships undergo significant healing. I’ve had troubling memories from the past that no longer carry an emotional charge. I’ve had moments of lucid dreaming (while awake) in which I have felt that this world is not our reality.

These experiences have come about through a process that started with writing. I came up with a fancy term for this process. I call it journal dumping.

Journal dumping involves grabbing your journal and writing out everything you can possibly identify that is upsetting you. Dump it all onto the pages. You write until you empty yourself. You write until you feel open to experiencing a shift. You write until you are ready to let the Holy Spirit in.

The Holy Spirit is the key to forgiveness and healing.

The truth is that I (as my small self) do not know how to forgive. None of us do. We may be dreaming, but we’ve made this world VERY real for ourselves and cannot get out of it through the same thought system that got us into it. We need the Holy Spirit.

I also don’t know how to “choose love.” Nor do I know how to “see past appearances.” I don’t know how to truly heal. I don’t know how to “not make it real.” And I certainly don’t know how to choose the Truth.

But there is Something in me that knows how to do all of these things.

And that’s the Holy Spirit.

It’s tempting to step in and do the Holy Spirit’s job for Her. The ego, the voice of fear in the mind, will tell you that you know how to forgive, you know how to love, you know what healing looks like and how to heal. But doing the Holy Spirit’s job is going to arrest our growth and get us into a state of stagnation because it is not our function.

There are many references in A Course in Miracles to the Holy Spirit doing things FOR us. I used to ignore that little word, “FOR,” for many years. And yet it is in plain sight on many pages. Here are a few examples:

“I choose to let him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me” (The Holy Spirit decides for God FOR us). (FIP ACIM, T-5.VII.6:11)

“You will judge against yourself, but He will judge for you” (The Holy Spirit judges FOR us). (FIP ACIM, T-12.VII.12:8)

“And He will gladly exchange each [dark lesson] for the bright lesson He has learned for you” (The Holy Spirit even learns for us!). (FIP ACIM, T-14.XI.4:8)

“…join with me who decided for holiness for you” (The Holy Spirit and Jesus decide for holiness for us). (FIP ACIM, T-15.III.7:1)

“This is the time for faith. You let this goal be set for you” (The Holy Spirit sets the goal of faith for us). (FIP ACIM, T-17.V.6:1-2)

“Call upon Him, for Heaven is at His call. And let Him call on Heaven for you” (The Holy Spirit calls on Heaven FOR us). (FIP ACIM, T-16.VI.12:6-7)

The Holy Spirit does a lot FOR us. We are asked to do so little. Our part is to be willing to seek out and find the blocks to love in our minds so we can let miracle impulses (i.e. God’s Love) flow freely through us.

It’s our job to make room for the Holy Spirit. We must clear an open space to invite Holy Spirit in, so the Holy Spirit can choose FOR us. This is why I like to think about forgiveness as “for giving” a situation over to the Holy Spirit.

Everything that comes up within me is “for giving to” the Holy Spirit. I can “hold onto nothing” (FIP ACIM, W-189.7:3) and hand it all over, bringing my mind back into a state of open-mindedness and willingness. From this place I can be guided and directed on what to say and do.

So back to our journals.

If someone ever read my journal, they would probably think I was the most miserable person in the world, because I usually only write in it when I’m in pain and working through something. My journal is a tool for finding out what I need to look at with the Holy Spirit. I write until I feel peace again.

Let’s get to writing so grab your journal and a pen. Here are some suggested steps for journal dumping.

  • Step 1: Decide if you want to write in-depth about one particular upset or if you want to make a list of the many upsets that may be on your mind.
    • If writing in-depth about one particular topic:
      • Be willing to be raw, real and unedited. Write as much about your feelings surrounding this situation as you can. What are your fears? What makes you angry? What makes you hate? What makes you sad? What is painful about it? What sensations do you notice in your body when you think of this? Be radically honest with yourself and put it all down on the page. Write until you feel like you’ve gotten everything out and emptied yourself, or until you feel like you’re ready to conclude.
    • If writing about the many upsets that may be on your mind:
      • Make a “laundry list” of every fear or upset you can possibly think of. Since anxiety has been my primary teacher in life, here’s a sample from my book, From Anxiety To Love:

      • This is a list of my typical fears from my journal:
        • I’m afraid I’m going to die.
        • I’m afraid of suffering.
        • I’m afraid of being sick.
        • I’m concerned that situation X is going to turn out a certain way.
        • I’m afraid of my loved ones’ suffering.
        • I’m afraid of letting someone down.
        • I’m afraid of losing a relationship.
        • I’m afraid of being afraid, etc…

        Let your list be as long as it needs to be. Write until you feel you’ve emptied yourself, or until you feel like you’ve done enough writing for now.

  • Step 2: After you’ve written to a place of feeling empty (or empty-ish), recognize that you are not empty. You are filled with the Love of God. By writing out all of your concerns, you can get them out of your head and onto paper, and more easily access the Love that abides within you. See if you can feel this spark of Divine Love in your heart.
  • Step 3: Bring your mind into a place of willingness to see differently. As yourself, “Am I willing to see differently?” Or, “Am I willing to be willing to see differently?” Once you can answer with a “yes,” say something like, “Holy Spirit, I am willing to release all of this to you. Please help me. I want to hear you and do as you want me to do. I want a miracle.”
  • Step 4: Then cast all of your cares into the Holy Spirit’s loving arms. Remember that “You need be neither careful nor careless; you need merely cast your cares upon Him because He careth for you. You are His care because He loves you” (FIP ACIM, T-5.VII.1:4-5). As you give your cares to the Holy Spirit, remind yourself that you are loved.
  • Step 5: Give yourself permission to rest.

 

Journal dumping can help with the process of returning to a child-like beginner’s mind, which is characterized by openness, curiosity, and compassion. Beginners mind is a powerful place to be, because it is not clouded by judgments and perceptions. It allows us to step out of the way and be learners, instead of trying to do the Holy Spirit’s job.

Use this process whenever you need it. By clearing your mind and emptying yourself, you are making space to connect with the Holy Spirit, who has always been within you. From here, you can recognize that in your “busy doing” you are never alone (FIP ACIM, T-18.VII.8:3). You have a Mighty Companion who is with you every step of the journey.

Has journal dumping helped you? In what other ways have you used your journal to heal? Leave me a comment below.