A Course in Miracles: Lesson 96

Salvation comes from my one Self.

The specific invitation that A Course in Miracles makes is always to give attention to what is within rather than what is without. We are not seeking a missing piece in the world which we can find and integrate and thus restore our self to glory but rather undoing our mistaken belief that anything is missing at all.

This is what the course means when it teaches us that salvation comes from the unified Self, the one Self that we are in truth, forever whole and perfect in Creation, as befits the Love that is our Creator.

You are one Self, united and secure in light and joy and peace . . . You are one Self, complete and healed and whole, with power to lift the veil of darkness from the world, and let the light in you come through to teach the world the truth about yourself (W-pI.95.12:1, 3).

Yet we cannot know this about our self if we experience as having degrees, or parts. If we project a dual rather than an nondual nature, we are lost and have deprived ourselves of salvation.

The fact that truth and illusion cannot be reconciled, no matter how you try, what means you use and where you see the problem, must be accepted if you would be saved. Until you have accepted this, you will attempt an endless list of goals you cannot reach; a senseless series of expenditures of time and effort, hopefulness and doubt, each one as futile as the one before, and failing as the next one surely will (W-pI.96.2:1-2).

This is a conflict between a self that we make and project, which has nothing to do with the Self that is united with God. The Self united with God cannot be divided. All our hope rests on accepting this, even if we do not yet believe it, or even see a way towards believing it.

Thus, it is a question of giving our mind and all its power of creation over to Spirit, holding on to not a single shred of egoic will. A mind that believes it is contained by a body will inevitably perceive itself as attacked, and will defend itself in kind.

The solution is simply to deny that the body is the mind’s home, and to allow the mind to remember the Holy Spirit’s gentle presence and sure guidance. This is actual experience that we have; we let go of the egoic narrative. What remains is the quiet confidence of Spirit, who quickly reminds us of our Creator and our place in Creation.

The Holy Spirit holds salvation in your mind, and offers it the way to peace. Salvation is a thought you share with God, because His Voice accepted it for you and answered in your name that it was done (W-pI.96.7:2-3).

Thus, our practice becomes one of giving attention to the stillness in which ego is undone because it is seen clearly that it never existed at all. And then, our practice becomes one of listening to the Voice that speaks in that stillness, teaching us that our mind can only “bless all things” (W-pI.96.10:4).

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10 Comments

  1. I appreciate your thoughts on the last three lessons, as I am finding them to be quite challenging, albeit in a good way! I can feel the resistance to doing the lessons as asked, both being “busy” at work and with other heath concerns filling my mind. What beautiful lessons these are to bring me back to who I am in truth, and remember that any “time” I spend with my true self is all I really need to do. Just lovely …

    1. I’m glad the posts are helpful, Julia. I agree that presence to and with oneself is a great gift – and in a lot of ways is the one gift the course is offering us! An invitation to remember what we are in truth and to dwell in that truth forever 🙂 I also hear you on the many distractions that pull us away – I live with these every day! But they also serve as gentle nudges to return to the prayer, the lesson, the work of just remembering that we are not bodies and the world is not real. It is not an easy course but it IS simple. I am grateful to practice it, and grateful for such good companions along the way.

      Love,
      Sean

  2. Hi Sean, thank you for sharing your thoughts on lesson 96, “Salvation comes from my one Self”, my lesson for today.

    This process of doing the daily lessons has been interesting for me. I can be going along for a few days without the lessons really resonating with me on any deep level, and then I will have a totally unexpected “aha!” moment. Lesson 96 was one such lesson, in that it helped me to re-examine, once again, my traditional, ingrained ways of thinking about spirituality, specifically the idea that I evolve as a spiritual being, vs. I already am a complete spiritual being.

    When I first read lesson 96, my traditional religious thinking came to the forefront and I thought it was sacrilege, because of course salvation can only come from God, and it’s the height of arrogance and pride to even suggest it comes from me. But today I had the wherewithall to set that thinking (and those semantics, really) aside and delve more deeply into what I think the lesson is actually saying.

    In your video for the lesson you talk about “an experience of self which is not subject to change.” That really resonated with me. It’s a new paradigm, and frankly one that’s easier to sit with than the notion I’ve carried since childhood – that I am ever-so-slowly evolving as a spiritual being, but I ain’t there yet.

    The problem with the “evolving” belief is that for me it has led to the idea that I have to DO something to achieve salvation, that it’s something I just haven’t gotten to yet, but if I just try harder (i.e., do enough good deeds, pray and meditate enough, etc.) I will somehow get there. Though that is what the very established Christian religion of my childhood taught me, it’s making less and less sense thanks to ACIM and other things I’m reading about nonduality.

    For years I’ve lived with the idea that my creation as a spiritual being is actually a lifelong process, rather than a one-time event. It seemed a cool way to think about the very purpose of life, but what I’m beginning to see is that perhaps that kind of thinking is not psychically helpful.

    What is helpful is to think about it in terms of awakening to what already is, vs. becoming something I’m not yet – , in this case, a whole person. If I’m understanding correctly, ACIM tells me I am already whole (one with God), I just have to awaken to that truth.

    I remember a middle school teacher telling the class about a philosopher (Plato maybe?) who believed that before we are born into this world we know everything, that the trauma of birth causes us to forget it all, and that our earthly life is spent remembering what we’ve forgotten. An interesting idea, for sure.

    Jesus said “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I’d like to think now that he wasn’t talking at all about morality or behavior. He was pointing to the idea of awakening to our oneness with God (our perfection), rather than talking about becoming good enough (perfect enough?) to be accepted by God.

    In your video you say we experience ourselves as subjects of whims of the body and whims of the world, but that what we are in truth is not subject to variability. It’s a thought I’ll carry with me today. As always, thanks for giving me some things to think about!

    Mark

    1. Hi Mark,

      Yeah those are good insights around ACIM. Honestly, one of the things that happened for me with the course was that the early lessons – at least through 80 – just really up-ended a lot of my traditional understanding of God and spirituality. I reached a place where I became deeply curious – was it possible I was wrong? I felt like I’d been a thoughtful about God and spirituality and the course seemed to be saying that I needed to start over.

      It’s a funny path to end up on in a lot of ways. For me it was profoundly transformative and challenging – and still is, in a lot of ways. It’s unsettling sometimes but that’s not always bad, as you know.

      I write a lot about how I think the big thing ACIM does is reshift our sense of who and what we are. It’s like we’ve been suffering a spiritual identity crisis and we didn’t know it! I feel that ACIM is always offering an invitation to us to see experience in a new frame or light, a new understanding, in which our identity is no longer conditional on bodies or the experience of bodies.

      That leads often to a lot of supernatural detours but I think it’s closer to just realizing that before we label ourselves, judge ourselves, we are. So the question is, what are we before thought interjects?

      Eastern traditions seem to have done a better job of navigating that question than the west – in the west it has been more the subject of philosophy and science. ACIM does feel corrective in that regard, or at least shifts our emphasis away from the external and material to what is more abstract, psychological, et cetera.

      I really appreciate and resonate with that reframe you share of Jesus’ ideas about being perfect.

      I’m glad the work I’ve done is helpful. I very much feel like I am just leaving little notes or whatever for friends who are also wandering this particular trail. I’m grateful that you’re here 🙂

      ~ Sean

  3. I practiced this lesson today: ‘Salvation comes from my one Self’.

    This is my recount of it.

    As l read the lesson notes and paused at one point, the Holy Spirit asked me “Do you want it?”. l replied “Yes”. He asked “Why?” (This is a pattern of questioning that has occurred throughout the Course lessons and is not new at all). I replied “Because l am open minded. l am willing. l am a seeker of the truth. Because there is some part of me that’s buried, that says this is what l should do. lt says this is right for me. l knew this Course was different. l didn’t start it to be ‘learning’ what l already know”. He replied “Then you shall have it”.

    After reading the lesson notes and directly before beginning the 5 minute practice, l had no expectations at all. No preconceived ideas. l actually thought it might be an exercise in futility, but l held out a glimmer of hope that it wasn’t. l said “Ok. Let’s give it a go. l’ve got no idea how to do this. l don’t know where l’m supposed to place my attention, or on what l’m supposed to place it on, except on my mind. l’m a babe in the woods. l don’t know what l’m supposed to picture. l’ve got nothing to go on. Shall we give it a go?” (All this l thought, to a ‘recess’ in the back of my mind, to the Holy Spirit). “Are you ready?”

    Then l closed my eyes, said the words “Salvation comes from my one Self. lt’s thoughts are mine to use” and listened carefully. To my utter astoundment, l heard very clearly an inner voice from the same ‘recess’ of my mind repeating over and over “You are saved. You are saved. You are saved.” l knew it to be true, because it was the same way the voice has been speaking to me recently when it’s been saying other messages such as “Think with me. Think with me. Think with me.” So stunned, it took me a while to respond … “Thank you”. l was then shown an image of our hands folded together, that l’ve been shown recently before. Then l said “This stuffs incredible”. “We know”. This was conveyed quite emotionally with a type of reverence. l said, “l feel like l’m going to cry”. Then paused before saying “Thank you” again. Then l gathered my wits, got up and went to the kitchen. The Holy Spirit said “Share.”, several times. l said “lt might help others?” “Yes”. l began pottering and he said quite firmly “Share it”, several times. l replied “Share it?” “Yes”. “Ok. l will”. l was then given the image of our hands folded together again and he said “Strength”.

    Jayney

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