A Course in Miracles Lesson 71

Only God’s plan for salvation will work.

Torn between two teachers – the ego and the Holy Spirit – we are naturally poor learners. Because their curriculums are diametrically opposite, there is nothing rational or reasonable about listening to both. Either we are learning salvation from God through the Holy Spirit or we are stumbling through illusions at the behest of the ego. Only conflict can come from two mutually exclusive thought systems.

Few lessons strike so clearly at the heart of the problem we face. The ego’s mantra is “seek but don’t find.” That is how it pretends to guide us to salvation. We are always looking outward. If our spouse was more supportive . . . If we only made more money . . . If our house was bigger . . . If we lived on the west coast instead of the east . . . Salvation always rests beyond our control and so we remain perennially unsatisfied. And the ego is ever ready to point to new exterior “saviors.” Maybe we need a better shrink. Or some medication. Or a new diet . . .

Our search for salvation outside of us yields only depression and anxiety. It never works. It never has. What A Course in Miracles suggests is that we evaluate it on that basis. If we can reach the sane conclusion that the ego is not working for us, then perhaps we can consider another option. We are casting about here for motivation, looking for something that will turn our awareness just the tiniest bit. God asks only a little willingness. Given that, the rest is a breeze.

Or it can be a breeze. A point comes when we stop looking outside of ourselves. We recognize our grievances as evidence that we are relying on the ego’s version of salvation and so we give them up on that basis alone. And we look inside. We just begin to direct our attention to where Jesus says it ought to go: inside. The one thing we can do is change our mind and so we begin to engage there. It’s awkward and unfamiliar at first, but it won’t stay that way.

This lesson is powerful because it invites us to communicate directly with God and ensures that we will hear from God in direct proportion to our willingness to hear him. What happens when you ask God to tell you what to do? This is important! Me, I get scared. I think he’s going to ask me to do something I don’t want to do. I’m going to have to give something up. I’m afraid of God. It’s good to see that, to sit with that. If I don’t run from it – don’t stuff it away or project it out – then it loses its capacity to scare me. It stops being a problem.

When we stop looking for answers outside of ourselves, we are at last looking in the right direction. And the search within is only tricky at the outset. Very quickly it begins to feel both natural and easy. A sense of grace settles in, a sense that we are not alone. And we aren’t, of course, because God goes with us everywhere. We are literallly not separated. We entertain it as an idea but then it begins to change the way we think. We begin to look closely at our minds, looking for what we thought we had lost. And we know that we will find it, because we know at last where to look.

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