Susan Dugan ~ Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness

Crusader Rabbit Retires
by Susan Dugan*

 [as it appeared in the March 2011 Newsletter]

By far the most popular of the humiliating nicknames I endured in junior high (Susan of Arc, Susan of Troy, etc.) was “Crusader Rabbit;” in honor of the TV cartoon character of the same name whose efforts to save the day from his nemesis Dudley Nightshade in constant reruns enthralled my brother Michael and I  when we were little. Like Crusader Rabbit, I seemed to have come in with a keen eye for folly and an insatiable appetite for justice that belied mild-mannered first impressions.

I spent my childhood taking on neighborhood bullies and rescuing injured birds and animals.  In fifth grade I organized our class to remotely “adopt” a Korean child. By junior high, I attempted to launch Civil Rights and Vietnam War protests within a community then referred to as Nixon’s “Silent Majority” for reasons that defied logic given the frequency and volume of their opinions. Although I theoretically had access to persuasion through my role as student council president and newspaper editor I had yet to learn that no amount of cajoling, educating, or bargaining could necessarily convince someone to change his mind. And I did not yet understand that morality in this world exists only in the eye of the beholder.

I spent another two decades seeking and never really finding justice in one way or another–through political activism, volunteering, and the written word–an exhausting and ultimately isolating experience. I couldn’t figure out why people of my generation—even some of my friends–did not share the same perception of the world’s troubles let alone solutions I did. More importantly, I didn’t comprehend why nothing I worked for ever seemed to make a lasting difference, or why even when participating in groups in which members shared a common mission conflict and divisiveness reigned.  It wasn’t until I found A Course in Miracles 7 years ago that I began to realize I had been looking for justice where it can never be found, but with a little willingness to admit it wasn’t working could begin to seek and find a better way.

And yet, here I am again this morning bemoaning injustice; contemplating, for instance, the many ways in which lives appear to be randomly plucked from this world for no apparent reason. And wondering again how to answer the question of why when it comes to the subject of physical and emotional suffering. Culminating in death as it inevitably does for every embodied one of us who first get to witness its seeming brutality in those we love and finally confront for ourselves.

I suppose I found myself once more seduced into believing the ego’s world could offer any sane answers based, as it is, on the insane idea of fragmenting invulnerable, perfect wholeness. The “tiny mad idea” A Course in Miracles tells us the one child of God took seriously at the very beginning thereby seemingly fracturing invulnerable oneness and propelling itself into an entire hallucinated universe of forms competing for their very survival. Programmed to sooner or later self-destruct to prove they existed at God’s expense in the first place but completely unconscious of that original belief. I mean, really?

And yet, in grappling with the sudden death of a healthy, young person close to someone I love this past week, struggling to console the seemingly inconsolable; I discovered anew just how invested I still am in what A Course in Miracles refers to as “the hierarchy of illusions.” The idea we share that some problems are greater or lesser than others. That the injustice of someone cutting in line at the supermarket or on the highway for example pales before the injustice of a terrorist attack; the death of an elderly person in his sleep after a long, full life somehow makes more sense than the loss of an innocent child or an admired, generous person in the prime of her life.

Within the ego thought system, of course, such logic holds, along with the belief that God works in mysterious ways and has his own reasons for calling us home. But the ego’s God–like the thought system that engendered it—is; how to put this nicely: seriously disturbed. Unconsciously informed by and invested in it as we are, the only solution–regardless how trivial or conversely painful, unfair, and catastrophic the problem appears—remains calling on the sane part of our mind for help. Actively engaging the memory of eternal, perfect, all-inclusive safety and wholeness that followed us into the dream and patiently awaits our call to heal our mind in every circumstance.

“It is not difficult to understand the reasons why you do not ask the Holy Spirit to solve all problems for you. He has not greater difficulty in resolving some than others. Every problem is the same to Him, because each one is solved in just the same respect and through the same approach. The aspects that need solving do not change, whatever form the problem seems to take.” (A Course in Miracles, Chapter 26, II. Many Forms; One Correction)

And there’s the rub, from the ego’s point of view. What happens if we begin to depend on the part of our mind that sees beyond all illusory problems to the same old story of separation taken seriously at the beginning and offers us the same deeply comforting answer: it never happened; we remain awake in God dreaming of exile? Our blind and deaf allegiance to and belief in the ego eventually weakens while its frightening story that always ends the same heart-breaking way disappears into the ether from which it sprang.

Note to self: Crusader Rabbit needs to retire. He will never vanquish Dudley Nightshade. But the child within all of us that screams out for justice in the perceived face of this world’s bitter ways can find true, enduring, inalterable solace where it always resides. Patiently waiting in our one mind, providing healing instants of relief and release each time the injustice of the ego thought system in all its guises rears its ugly head and we remember to ask for help in seeing truly. We will be in pain until our confusion about where all seeming problems lie is healed. Then we will awaken to find ourselves eternally united within the perfect Love we never really left; fused with an infinitely living and loving God that is, thank God, oblivious to our silly dream of individualized, finite banishment.

“The one mistake in any form has one correction. There is no loss; to think there is, is a mistake… You who believe it safe to give but some mistakes to be corrected while you keep the others to yourself, remember this: Justice is total. There is no such thing as partial justice…Think, then, how great your own release will be when you are willing to receive correction for all your problems. You will not keep one, for pain in any form you will not want.”

When we look with the part of our mind that can truly see all problems reveal themselves for the ravings of a terrified mind tortured by guilt over a crime that never occurred. In gently accepting the certainty of shared innocence and protection the Holy Spirit offers for ourselves, we can confidently comfort others. Without speaking one word about this Course, allowing words filled with compassion for the injustice of the condition those of us in bodies all find ourselves in to simply flow from our forever indivisible heart. Internally resolved to awaken through forgiveness by changing our inner teacher again and again until all lingering guilt over the thought of separation dissolves and we open our eyes together on our true, invulnerable nature.


*Susan Dugan is an A Course in Miracles student, teacher, and writer. She posts weekly about practicing ACIM’s extraordinary forgiveness in an ordinary life at A collection of her forgiveness essays, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness is being published March 25, 20011 by O-Books and is available at Pre-order here.