Only God’s plan for salvation will work.
From ego’s perspective, our experience of living in the world is predicated on others – how they behave, how they act, how they affect us. Essentially, “our” living becomes an effect of “their” living.
This isn’t a form of unity but rather of upside-down, or backwards, cause-and-effect. We are victims of forces beyond our control. Grievances – which are closely-guarded and nurtured memories of wrongs done by others to us – are central to this confused and painful way of living.
This “backwards” thinking is characteristic of ego, and serves only the purpose of its survival.
Each grievance you hold is a declaration, and an assertion in which you believe, that says “If this were different, I would be saved.” The change of mind necessary for salvation is thus demanded of everyone and everything except yourself (W-pI.71.2:4-5).
Thus, under ego’s plan for salvation, we become judges. We notice wrongs and carefully catalog them, always emphasizing who has done us wrong, how that wrong has adversely effected us, and what the other needs to do to make amends and “save” us.
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 other medication. Or a new diet . . .
Thinking this way is basically an abdication of any kind of self-responsibility. It doesn’t work. And, by continually looking away from mind towards our image of others, and projecting all power and responsibility outward onto those images, we ensure that it never will work.
Lesson 71 both identifies and provides a means to actively remember the remedy to ego’s faulty plan for salvation. It reminds us that God’s plan for healing always looks to the source of the problem, not to the apparent symptom. Salvation is in us; in truth, there is nowhere else to look.
Ego argues – and its arguments are not unpersuasive – that this is ridiculous. It is naive and even dangerous. And its litanies of wrong-doers and their myriad wrongs can be very convincing.
A Course in Miracles says: will you at least consider there is another way? Can you at least consider that following the ego’s plan for salvation has made you miserable?
. . . let us rejoice that there is an answer to what seems to be a conflict with no resolution possible. All things are possible to God. Salvation must be yours because of His plan, which cannot fail (W-pI.71.7:2-4).
What do we do? We ask God to show us the plan for salvation established in Creation. We set aside our own “insane attempts and mad proposals” to reach happiness, and wait on that which promises to deliver us unto “release and joy” (W-pI.71.8:4).
Critically, we want to notice when grievances – those long-held and those under new construction – appear in our mind. They are signs that we have projected the cause of salvation unto something external and thus illusory. Can we let them go? If we can’t, why not?
Between God and ego there is no conflict, because what is whole does not recognize what is partial. What is perfect and true does not recognize what insists on error and deception.
Yet to a mind that listens to lies, it is possible to be deceived and confused. If we cannot relinquish grievances, it is because we are still invested in – we are still holding on to – the ego’s plan for salvation. This is not a crime! We will not be punished for this.
But it helpful to remember that our sadness, grief and loneliness are all a direct consequence of refusing to accept the simplicity and clarity of God’s plan. If we would be happy and helpful, can we not spend a few minutes looking for that which will gratefully teach us happiness and helpfulness? For it is already given. It is already working, already waiting on our acceptance.
Lesson 71 is an invitation to do just that. And, more, it is a promise that once we accept this invitation, the end is sure. Only God’s plan for salvation will work. What else do we need to know?