Paraphrased and quoted (paraquoted?) from A Course in Miracles, with word choices that reflect my understanding.
“Dream softly of your brother. And from this dream, his Truth will be awakened.
Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him of his illusions, and give thanks to him for his helpfulness. Just because he does not appear perfect in your dreams, do not brush aside his many gifts. He represents his Source, whom you see as offering both life and death to you.
Brother, Source gives only life. The gifts you see as your brother’s represent the gifts you dream your Source gives to you. Let your brother’s gifts be seen in light of charity and kindness offered to you. Let no pain disturb your dream of deep appreciation for his gifts to you.”
That line, “Dream softly of your brother” originally has the description “sinless brother.” I liked the flow of the phrase without it, as the word “sin”—even with a “less” on the end—does not bring music to my ears. It’s important to note the significance of this word, however. “Sin” is the result of a pretty clever illusion. In Christianity, “Sin” is what separates us from God. With the coming of Jesus, it was decided that while “sin” might still separate us from God, we receive salvation from it, because Jesus so selflessly “died for our sins.”
That saying never made sense to me, even while I attended church.
What I’ve come to understand in A Course in Miracles is that we are not separate from our Source. And if we are not separate, we cannot “sin” against ourselves. What Jesus did was a beautiful example of recognizing his oneness with Source. Jesus is a symbol for the oneness that we all are.
Even though I changed some of the heavy-wording of the original text, I do love that A Course in Miracles uses traditionally biblical terms, like Lord of Heaven, or Holy Spirit, even the idea of Forgiveness. Its purpose is to provide a bridge for people who are traditionally learned—so they can see how the terms have been misinterpreted. From what I’ve observed in people who follow the Bible, they want to “become like Jesus.” I see Jesus as a type of self-mastering Yogi. Yoga means “Unity.” His “self” means “Source,” or in the Sufi world, “The Beloved.” Jesus would say, “Dearly Beloved, we are no different.”
The second part I did not include in the first line was, “Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence.” Again, the line interrupted the poetry for me, but it echoes the idea that we are innocent. We are, as mentioned, “sinless.”
Spotless. Unmarred. Without need for redemption. It is our illusions that might lead us to believe otherwise, either that we, or our friends and family (“brothers”), are inherently flawed. The Course teaches that the people outside of us are projections, or mirrors, of what we perceive about ourselves. It is a level of awareness, with a specific purpose. In this illusion that we are separate from our Source, and that others are separate from us, our mirrors act as teachers; they let us see what thoughts in us need to be healed.
Pain does not come from the outside; it comes from a misguided perception within us, and then is projected outward, so we can easily identify it. This is the precise moment of healing, where the illusion can finally be brought to the Truth. By seeing the suffering outside of us, we can do one of two things: 1. continue to behave and believe that the suffering is outside of us, that we are not responsible for it, that we are, in fact, victims of someone else’s violence. This is ego-territory. The ego is a person’s perceived identity based on its experiences in the world. The ego defines and redefines itself constantly; it believes that what you are is unique and separate from Source. Choosing to see others as separate from you is an illusion that serves the ego’s sense of identity. In Truth, with a big T, the ego does not even exist. Only Source exists. However, while in the illusion, that idea is not always so clear, or even believable. The idea of “sin” comes from the ego, if “sin” is what separates us from our Source. “Sin” creates guilt. A sense of guilt creates the need for redemption or punishment. We either attack others, as a way to relinquish the perceived guilt, or we allow ourselves to be “attacked,” or punished, because we believe it is deserved. By choosing to see the world as a force outside of us—even as a good, bad, or indifferent force—it still justifies the illusion of separateness. And, thus, we will continue to do what we have to to temporarily relieve the effects.
Choice 2 is to identify the suffering appearing to come at us as suffering that comes to us from us. Why would we consciously allow ourselves to suffer? We wouldn’t, right? That’s why we perceive it as an external force, as something happening to us. It is in this moment of identification—that all perceived suffering seeks expression from within us—that we are able to heal the illusory thoughts. By recognizing that there is no need for this suffering, that in fact, suffering does not even exist but in our ego minds, we realize another valuable Truth: without suffering, there can be no real harm.
By seeing ourselves in our “brothers,” it means we see who we really are, which is Source, The Beloved. The gifts perceived to be given to your brother, then, is a reflection of the gifts given to you. Accepting these gifts is also part of a path to healing. What is yours is mine, and mine is yours, and since we are both Source, we cannot be anything but Source. This leads us to make assumptions about what Source is. Is the “evil” of the world a reflection of Source’s evil? In my current studies, I do not feel it appropriate to argue that I understand that discourse. I don’t know that part of the Truth. The Course says that Source gives only Life. Evil, in my understanding, tends to “take” life. Still. The idea of what Source is, and what I am, is still something I am open to hearing clearly.
In the mean time, my peace lies in dreaming softly of my brothers, in being soft to myself.