It is true that salvation appears to come by degrees. We are a little wiser and happier this year than last, and quite a bit wiser and happier than five years ago. We practice A Course in Miracles in part to get better at it, to quicken the pace by which we approach Heaven.
But salvation – which is our restoration to knowledge of the Oneness we share with God – is neither a process nor capable of division. It is always total and so even a hint of compromise renders it beyond our grasp.
To compromise is to accept but part of what you want; to take a little and give up the rest. Salvation gives up nothing. It is complete for everyone. Let the idea of compromise but enter, and the awareness of salvation’s purpose is lost because it is not recognized (T-23.III.3:1-5).
When we compromise, we are acting as if we have the necessary knowledge to know what salvation is, and how it works, and what love is, and how it works. But we have none of that. Indeed, that is the whole premise upon which A Course in Miracles works: it is, as Bill Thetford said prior to its inception, “the other way.”
When are willing to surrender ego-based thinking, miracle-mindedness naturally takes it place. It’s like pulling a curtain back from a window so the light can stream through.
How does this work in our lives as we experience them?
For me, peace is most prevalent when I am actively remembering the need to surrender to God’s will. This often takes the form of prayer: “There are better hands than mine for this job – let me not get in the way of them.” Or “help me remember the Holy Spirit knows what’s going on here and I don’t.”
We don’t have to abuse ourselves, we simply to remember that we haven’t really got a clue. Paradoxically, as we do this more and more, we begin to realize that the Holy Spirit does have a clue and – importantly – that what we are in Truth is not separate from the Holy Spirit. It may not feel that way at this stage, but it’s still true.
We compromise salvation when we insist on our way. When I am not bringing Jesus and the Holy Spirit into my daily affairs – in those quick, small and silent prayers (always variations of “help” and “thanks”) then I am relying on the ego. There is no middle ground!
In the end, that is what makes salvation so simple – and A Course in Miracles so easy to practice and grasp. Neither salvation nor this particular form of its practice indulge compromise. We cannot love a little, or forgive some things but not others, or give one aspect of our lives over while holding another back. It just won’t work. And we know that. That’s why we’re here studying ACIM – that’s why we’re trying so hard. We want the other way.
Mistake not truce for peace, nor compromise for the escape from conflict. To be released from conflict means that it is over. The door is open; you have left the battleground (T-23.III.6:1-3).
For a little while longer, we are going to experience salvation as little steps: a little progress today, a little less tomorrow. That’s okay. The real measure of our progress is our willingness to take those steps: in prayer, in surrender, in love. It’s not our job to judge our spiritual progress or condition. That’s in better hands, too. Our job is to show up, work the Course, and let it work us the way that only Truth can.