My salvation comes from me.
Much like lesson 34 – I could see peace instead of this – this lesson places us squarely in the proverbial driver’s seat, inviting us to steer directly towards peace and happiness, refusing all distractions and accepting no alternative. Salvation is simply a matter of accepting that we’re in charge of what is happening. What we don’t like can be changed. And when we’re ready to wake up, then we can wake up.
Awakening is a perceptual correction. Nothing outside is going to be changed or altered or transferred in any way. All that will change is the way we perceive. It is not unlike changing glasses. We have grown accustomed to a particular type of vision – and have forgotten other visions to which we might compare it. So cloudy and fogged and marred is the norm. Yet when we remove those glasses – what we might call the egoic lens – and place the Holy Spirit’s glasses, a clarity and brightness is revealed. What’s “out there” – what’s seen – is not different, but our way of seeing is. And so everything appears new.
This segment of lessons – which will culminate in 79 and 80 (we have only have one problem and it’s already been solved) – really aims at a major restoration of vision. Resistance is often high here – and sometimes quite subtle. We’re not aware of the degree to which the ego is fighting. Yet our mere willingness to engage with this lesson – to even consider that we might be in charge of salvation – is sufficient. Even when we’re not getting the big bells and whistles, these lessons often deliver a sort of quiet certainty. Trust in God is often their most direct and immediate result. We finally see that everything is going to be okay. And so we can relax and enjoy the ride.
That business of relaxing – and the related enjoyment – is very much at the heart of this lesson, even if Jesus isn’t exactly talking about it. Remember that our happiness and our function is one. Salvation, in other words, is not a condition apart from joy. To be happy is to be in the Kingdom and to be in the Kingdom is simply about paying attention to the Kingdom, allowing our full focus to rest on it. If you’re not happy, you can be. There are few more encouraging ideas contained in the whole body of A Course in Miracles. If we’re unhappy – even a little – then we are still using the ego’s glasses. We are resisting just that tiny bit. And we can see peace – we can know joy – in its place.
This lesson also offers the deeply personal assurance that we are not attempting to go from sleep to awakening alone.
If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy (W-pI.70.9:3-4).
There are few places in the Course where Jesus promises such tangible and direct support. He is literally telling us that what we are trying to do is hard and scary and that he will go with us, quite literally the way an older brother would. If we chafe at his – if we feel silly picturing ourselves hand in hand with Jesus while walking towards the light that is inside us, he reminds us that it is not silly at all but deeply practical. We are not alone and we are entitled to the real effects of that companionship.
Lesson 70 then is about making big strides, making them with one another and with Jesus, and with taking heart. It’s about letting go of our ideas of what works and what does not and trusting that God has a better plan and we aren’t in charge of it at all. All we have to do is reap the benefits. And we’ll know we’re doing it properly when happiness is the constant measure of our day.