Salvation comes from my one true self.
Few lessons make as clear the fundamental course principle that illusion and truth cannot be reconciled as this one. And few are as insistent that the miracle – the objective of this course – is simply a change of perspective, a new way of thinking about what is and has always been. We are simply changing our minds about who and what we are. No more and no less.
So what is the problem? The problem is separation. What is the separation? The tendency of eternal mind to associate itself exclusively with a terminal body, forgetting entirely its fundamental identity with spirit.
[T]he mind which serves the spirit is at peace and fill with joy . . . Yet mind can also see itself divorced from spirit and perceive itself within a body it confuses with itself. Without its function then it has no peace, and happiness is alien to its thoughts (W-pI.96:4:2, 4-5).
Really, this lesson an intense abbreviated review of what the separation is and why it hurts the way it does. It also points out the utter futility of trying to resolve our separation from God on the terms of separation. There is no solution in the world we’ve made and the self that inhabits that world is not going to be much assistance either. Both need to be given up – shed off and left aside without much more thought than we give to a sneeze.
Who can resolve the senseless conflicts which a dream presents? What could the resolution mean in truth? What purpose could it serve? What is it for? Salvation cannot make illusions real, nor solve a problem that does not exist (W-pI.96.6:2-5).
Of course, accepting that – and letting the false self and false world go – are easier said than done. In fact, they cannot really be done by us at all. They are done by the Self that knows they are dreams and so knows what it is letting go. It is that Self whose guidance cannot fail us for it remembers it is of God. That self is fearless because it knows nothing of death, nothing of conflict, nothing of duality.
And so this lesson invites us to make contact with that Self. It is an active lesson. Sometimes we are simply to sit without our thoughts and await some internal action. But this lesson invites us to seek out the Thoughts that we think with God, the Thoughts that our one true Self thinks. We are ready to do this. Indeed, we must.
It is this seeking that makes this lesson so exciting and so challenging. Left to our thoughts we are apt to feel overwhelmed. How are we supposed to know which one is true? And we can’t simply stand aside and wait for God to act. We’re supposed to do the legwork ourselves! And so we pick through our thoughts – looking at this one, looking at that one – and wondering: is that it? Is that it?
If we are lucky, we are going to encounter the ego very clearly: it is the ego who will tell us that we are not fit for this job, that we shouldn’t bother. It will tell us that the lesson is too hard, or that Jesus is asking too much. It will remind us there are other paths – probably easier, certainly less ambiguous. See if you don’t encounter that voice! It is almost always the first one I hear.
But if you don’t fight it – don’t resist it, don’t accept it – then something else will happen. This something else is quiet and sort of basic. But you will find that there is something else beyond the ego – the space in which the ego speaks, if you will. It is like there is this silence and the ego rushes to fill it but if you don’t pay too much attention, you will experience that inner silence. You will sort of hear it and realize that it’s got nothing to do with you. You didn’t make it and the ego didn’t either. It is not asking anything of you. It is just there.
Find that space, that silence. When you do, you will want more of it. The five minutes each hour will not be enough. And you will come back, and you will find that quiet easier and easier, and then one day – no warning – it will speak to you. This lesson is preparing us for that moment. Perhaps it will happen today, perhaps in a year and perhaps in another lifetime. I don’t know. But that you will have this experience is sure. Approach the moments of prayer and meditation with expectancy, then. Approach them with confidence. Salvation is a gift that you extend to yourself. Why not offer it – and accept it – today?