Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.
Properly understood, the ego is not so much a psychological reality as an embodied attack on God’s plan for salvation. Our grievances confirm as nothing else can that we are all of us separate bodies in competition with one another for limited resources. What you have is taken from me, and vice-versa. This ACIM lesson spells out the gravity of that error, and urges us to waste no time in its undoing.
That undoing begins with a recognition that we do not know what salvation is, nor what it is for. Our attack on salvation keeps knowledge of it at bay. Attack is the opposite of acceptance. Yet there is a silver lining here. One does not attack nothing. Even if we – in our egoic mode – are clueless about what salvation is, we remain aware of its existence. We deny this, but if we truly believed it wasn’t real, then why the ferocious attack on it?
If we question this – the ego’s insistence on attack – then we can begin to understand what is meant by the teaching that salvation is a gift already given, already recognized and already brought into application.
This is salvation: the recognition that we need do nothing but accept what is already there, already done. Everything that stands between us and the Kingdom is but our own resistance given form. It seems to be other people, other belief systems political or sociological in nature, but it’s just us. It’s just our refusal to see what is.
There is a delicate balancing act here. On the one hand, we are part and parcel of God, perfect creations in the Creator’s mind. On the other, we are deeply confused and lost and in need of radical guidance. How can we be both?
In truth, we cannot be. In truth, we are not. In many ways, this lesson presages lesson 199: “I am not a body I am free.” We dream a dream of separate bodies in which some vague self resides, trapped in flesh and bone, ever restricted to the material world. That is what we are, and all our spiritual yearnings merely add a gloss to what is indisputable. We are here in the world. Cut, we bleed. Deny food, we starve.
Yet this lesson urges us – subtly, indirectly – to rethink this idea of reality. To accept an alternative. Consider, it says, how we see our brothers and sisters when we perceive grievances.
You are not dealing here with what the person is. On the contrary, you are exclusively concerned with what he does in a body. You are doing more than failing to help in freeing him from the body’s limitations. You are actively trying to hold him to it by confusing it with him, and judging them as one (W-pI.72.4:1-4).
If this is true of our brothers and sisters – whom we perceive as “out there” – is it not true of ourselves as well? Thus this lesson contemplates that our bodies – which for most of us are as surely real as anything can be – are mere hallucinations, cast by a confused self that has grown fearful of the Loving God that made it.
Herein is God attacked, for if His Son is only a body, so must He be as well. A creator wholly unlike his creation is inconceivable (W-pI.72.4:5-6).
And so this lesson then makes clear that our grievances are powerful – they are literally our attack on God’s plan to save us. Moreover, they function as attack by seeing and believing and accepting as real both our own body and those of our brothers and sisters. The mind is not a substrata of the brain – not a collection of ideas located in our skull – but literally outside of us, and outside of space and time, all of which exists only as a nightmare.
The scale of the envisioned change is so massive that we are given only a glimpse of it here. But the undoing that is at work, and with which we are now active collaborators, is great. We have begun – whether we recognize it yet or not – to undo the physical world. We are moving away from the experience of the body for that of the soul, or spirit. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a place and it is not a condition one arrives at in the future. It is a present healing, a present awareness in which all error – including the dense and complex of the physical world perceived by the senses – is undone entirely.
It is quite a journey! And when we see it – and accept it – we begin to understand what Jesus truly means when he calls us children of God.