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How are guilt and people-pleasing released? Can the Holy Spirit help increase our willingness, or is that solely our own responsibility?

Question: The hardest thing for me is the constant sense of guilt. Would you speak about that? You said that guilt comes from accepting ego roles. ACIM seems to say that guilt comes from believing you can attack your brother and therefore yourself. Can you clarify this for me? Also, can the Holy Spirit help with willingness, or being our only responsibility, is it solely ours and not His?

Finally, I read your letter titled "Experiment in forgiveness" about a child returning home as a houseguest. My 25-year-old son has been in my home for about a year now. I have felt led by the Spirit to treat him as a house guest; we had agreed that he could live in a trailer behind my home, that he would refurbish it and I would supply what he needed to do so. He was separated from his wife when he first came here, but now she has moved in and his two children are here. I seem to find myself taking care of them a lot. I am also the sole caregiver to my mother, who is bedridden. How do I untangle from being not only the caregiver of the children but also, from being the one who cleans up after that family, cooks for them, laundry, etc.?

Answer: The belief that a Divine Mind in Union with God can be broken apart into bits and pieces and fragments is the belief that attack is possible. To see a brother as a separate individual with a private mind and private thoughts is a reflection of the belief in separation from God. Mind is One and forever Eternal, yet the "mortal mind" that is the ego invention is an illusory belief in fragmentation. The ego assigns each fragment a "life" of its own and calls the fragment by a name, and this false memory package is assigned a series of roles. This is how the ego attempts to make something from nothing. It tries to see "life" in graven images made to take the place of Christ. None of the make-believe roles are true. Indeed all the world's a stage, though Divine Mind can play no part. Oneness can never shrink into a little role that seems to play out on a timeline. All that is asked is that you be willing to call upon the miracle and see the world anew with the Holy Spirit. The willingness is our responsibility, and this joins with the Might of the Holy Spirit. The reason willingness is required is because the Will of God can only be experienced voluntarily. If it is your single desire you will recognize that what is whole has no need of healing, and this is the Atonement or Correction to the error that never was.

This world is based on false roles. Guilt is kept buried and hidden in awareness as the mind attempts to identify and act out these roles, for the ego belief that made them is kept out of awareness as they are blindly pursued. The ego uses guilt to keep the mind in the illusion of bondage because it is impossible to live up to ego ideals that never had any life or substance in Reality. The "person" never lives up to the "ideal" and this is where the guilt SEEMS to arise. Yet neither the person construct or the ideal or role construct is real. You have been measuring your "self" against an illusion, yet you are not two selves. You are One Self united with our Creator and far beyond any measurement or comparison. Not being a good enough mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, neighbor, student, citizen, ACIM teacher, etc. is never the source of the guilt that imprisons. It is the ego belief beneath all the roles that is the "source" of guilt as long as it is believed to be real.

Your work with ACIM and the music is Calling you into your true function, and that function IS your happiness and freedom and peace! You are not your brother's keeper and the mother role was but a temporary role to be laid aside in the undoing of the ego. You are Spirit, yet you will not remember this until you release the little roles the ego made to keep you unaware. The Holy Spirit will offer more expansive roles (i.e., teacher of God) in exchange for the limiting roles of the past as you begin to Awaken. Yet even the seemingly more expansive roles will be transcended as you learn to forgive illusion entirely. The stepping stones to Enlightenment are just backdrops of scenes and scenarios that allow you to practice releasing all limiting belief and accept the only belief that will set you free: Atonement.

You will see your "son" as what you believe you are. Are you flesh? Then is your "son" flesh and confined to the flesh. Are you Spirit? Then your "Son" is the Christ, our very Self, and the past has been forgiven of all the images and memories that seemed to hide the Face of Christ. When you play the "caretaker" role you lay the limit upon your own mind in awareness, for you witness to the belief that the ego is still in charge and still responsible. Give this "care-taking role" to the Holy Spirit, Who careth for our Holy mind. As you follow the Holy Spirit's Guidance you will see that you are not sacrificing anything to fulfill the function Given you. Forgiveness suits your need, and you have no other.

Be straightforward and honest in this matter and let the Holy Spirit put the words in your mouth when you speak to your son. You will feel a calm assurance when you speak from your heart and say what is truly most helpful. And as you do the past patterns and habits and people-pleasing thoughts of guilt will dissolve away, for they were never truly a part of the Real You. Once they are given to the Holy Spirit they are already gone, and if you cease to protect and cling to these people-pleasing thoughts they will seem to vanish quickly. Your true function is waiting in your mind for you to immerse into it. Take the lid off of the pot of past thoughts, for it is a waste of energy to try to keep the lid on and pretend to be what you are not. When you pray remember this: You do not ask for too much, but far too little. Do not limit your asking, for Joy is what you deserve in awareness, and Joy is what You are in Reality. Your true function will show you this. In your true function I will come as a witness to your willingness to Awaken. And we shall "gather" and give all the Glory to God, for the Light has come!

Love always, David