Heaven is Mutual Effort

A Course in Miracles aims at a complete transformation of our mind, the better to allow us to recollect our oneness with God. We often – or I often anyway – translate this to mean a lot of hard work on my part. Discipleship is a challenge! Yet sometimes, awakening is best served by allowing our brothers and sisters to reflect the light of Heaven here for us.

The idea that awakening is not all about me – or you – is a tough nut to crack. I can concede the point intellectually even as I cultivate a sense of my own personal grandeur and specialness at deeper levels. For example, I’ll write “we’re in this together” while simultaneously thinking, “wow – look at how I just wrote ‘we’re in this together’ – how spiritual of me.”

Most of us are in denial to some degree about the ego’s hold on our thinking. And when we do see it, we are all up in arms. But fighting the ego is never helpful. It’s like mud wrestling with a pig. The pig is just happy to be in the mud with you. It wins as soon as you jump in after it. So long as we’re tangled up in ego, the ego is content.

But the thing is, we aren’t doing this alone. Salvation really is a joint effort. And that doesn’t have to mean that we’re the leader and everyone else is our follower. We aren’t the spiritual head of some big Heaven-bound family. Every now and again I find myself looking around and seeing not potential apostles for my personal brand of ACIM-awakening, but teachers. Brothers and sisters who want the same thing I do: peace, fulfillment, joy, meaning. And there is a lot they can teach me.

Humility can be very nurturing in the way it opens up our experience.

The ego hates those moments, though. It is always quick to point out the many differences that separate us. It can be quite cruel in this regard. It wants us to be better than. Or the absolute worst. It’s ruthless in its efforts to sustain the separation. But more and more, I realize that sometimes waking up means letting someone else be the light. I don’t have to do it.

In other words, it’s okay to go through the day expecting kindness. Yes, we should be kind ourselves, but it’s fine – it’s more than fine – to accept kindness from others. It’s kind of fun to approach family and work and the world thinking, “okay Jesus. Show yourself!” Because you know what? Jesus likes to show up in our lives. He loves it. And people have a way of letting him through. All we have to do is sit back and enjoy the show.

It undoes the self a little. That’s the real benefit. The ego maintains the centricity of the body and our identity with that body. Seeing Jesus at work through the love of others is a great way to remember that we aren’t special. It just undoes the ego so simply. We see that we aren’t the only ones through which Jesus and the Holy Spirit work. It feels good. It makes us happy.

And it’s a great way to remember – and bring into application – the truth that we are only getting to Heaven together.

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