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Hear then the
answer of the Holy Spirit to
the questions which the ego raises. You are a Child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists, and
this is real. You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real, and God calls you to awake."
Workbook for Students
My salvation comes from me.
1 All temptation is nothing more than some form of the basic temptation not to believe the idea for today. Salvation seems to come from anywhere except from you. So, too, does the source of guilt. You see neither guilt nor salvation as in your own mind and nowhere else. When you realize that all guilt is solely an invention of your mind, you must also realize that guilt and salvation must be in the same place. Understanding this, you are saved.
2 The seeming "cost" of accepting today's idea is this: it means that nothing outside yourself can save you; nothing outside yourself can give you peace. But it also means that nothing outside yourself can hurt you or disturb your peace or upset you in any way.
3 Today's idea places you in charge of the universe, where you belong because of who you are. This is not a role which can be partially accepted. And you must surely begin to see that accepting it is salvation. It may not, however, be clear to you why the recognition that guilt is in your own mind entails the realization that salvation is there as well.
4 God would not have put the remedy for sickness where it cannot help. That is the way your mind has worked, but hardly His. He wants you to be healed, and so He has kept the Source of healing where the need for healing lies. You have tried to do just the opposite, making every attempt, however distorted and fantastic it might be, to separate healing from the sickness for which it was intended and thus keep the sickness.
5 Your purpose was to ensure that healing did not occur; God's purpose was to ensure that it did. Today we practice realizing that God's Will and ours are really the same in this.
6 God wants us to be healed, and we do not really want to be sick because it makes us unhappy. Therefore, in accepting the idea for today, we are in agreement with God. He does not want us to be sick. Neither do we. He wants us to be healed. So do we.
7 We are ready for two longer practice periods today, each of which should last some ten to 15 minutes. We will, however, still let you decide when to undertake them. We will follow this practice for a number of lessons, and it would again be well to decide in advance when would be a good time to lay aside for each of them and adhere to your own decision as closely as possible.
8 Begin these practice periods by repeating the idea for today, adding a statement signifying your recognition that salvation comes from nothing outside of you. You might put it this way:
My salvation comes from me. It cannot come from anywhere else.
10 Then devote a few minutes with your eyes closed to reviewing some of the external places where you have looked for salvation in the past—in other people, in possessions, in various situations and events, and in self-concepts which you sought to make real. Recognize that it was not there. Tell yourself:
My salvation cannot come from any of these things. My salvation comes from me, and only from me.
12 Now we will try again to reach the light in you, which is where your salvation is. You cannot find it in the clouds that surround the light, and it is in them you have been looking for it. It is not there. It is past the clouds and in the light beyond. Remember that you will have to go through the clouds before you can reach the light. But remember also that you have never found anything in the cloud patterns you imagined that endured or that you wanted.
13 Since all illusions of salvation have failed you, surely you do not want to remain in the clouds looking vainly for idols there when you could so easily walk on into the light of real salvation. Try to pass the clouds by whatever means appeals to you. If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy.
14 For the short and frequent practice periods today, remind yourself that your salvation comes from you and nothing but your own thoughts can hamper your progress. You are free from all external interference. You are in charge of your salvation. You are in charge of the salvation of the world. Say, then:
My salvation comes from me. Nothing outside of me can hold me back. Within me is the world's salvation and my own.
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Course in Miracles
Attack and Fear
V. The Only Answer
45 Remember that the Holy Spirit is the
Answer, not the question. The ego always speaks first because it is capricious and does
not mean its maker well. That is because it believes, and correctly, that its maker may withdraw his support from it at any moment. If it meant you well, it would be glad, as the Holy Spirit will be glad when He has brought you home, and you no longer need His guidance. The ego does not regard itself as
part of you. Herein lies its primary perceptual error, the foundation of its whole thought system.
46 When God created you, He made you part of Him. That is why attack
within the Kingdom is impossible.
You made the ego without love, and so it does not love
you. You could not remain
within the Kingdom without love, and since the Kingdom is love, you believe that you are
without it. This enables the ego to regard itself as separate and
outside its maker, thus speaking for the part of your mind that believes you are separate and outside the Mind of God. The ego, then, raised the first question that was ever asked, but one which it can never answer. That question, "What are you?" was the beginning of doubt.
47 The ego has never answered
any questions since, although it has raised a great many. The most inventive activities of the ego have never done more than
obscure the question, because you
have the answer and
the ego is afraid of you. You cannot understand the conflict until you fully understand one basic fact that the ego does
not know. The Holy Spirit does not speak first,
but He always answers. Everyone has called upon Him for help at one time or another and in one way or another
and has been answered. Since the Holy Spirit answers truly, He answers
for all time, which means that everyone has the answer
48 The ego cannot hear the Holy Spirit, but it
does believe that part of the same mind that made it is
against it. It interprets this as a justification for
attacking its maker. It believes that the best defense
is attack and
wants you to believe it. Unless you
do believe it you will not side with it, and the ego feels badly in need of allies though
not of brothers. Perceiving something alien to itself in your mind, the ego turns to the body,
not the mind, as its ally, because the body is
not part of you. This makes the body the ego's friend. It is an alliance frankly based on separation. If you
side with this alliance, you
will be afraid because you are siding with an alliance of fear.
49 The ego and the body conspire
against your minds, and because the ego realizes that its "enemy"
can end them both merely by knowing they are
not part of him, they join in the attack together. This is perhaps the strangest perception of all if you consider what it really involves. The ego, which is
not real, attempts to persuade the mind, which
is real, that the mind is its own learning device and that the learning device is more real than
it is. No one in his right mind could
possibly believe this, and no one in his right mind
does believe it.
50 Hear then the
one answer of the Holy Spirit to
all the questions which the ego raises. You are a Child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists, and
only this is real. You have chosen a sleep in which you have had bad dreams, but the sleep is not real, and God calls you to awake. There will be nothing left of your dream when you hear Him because you
will be awake. Your dreams have contained many of the ego's symbols, and they have confused you. Yet that was only because you were asleep
and did not know. When you awake, you will see the truth around you and in you, and you will no longer believe in dreams because they will have no reality for you.
51 Yet the Kingdom and all that you have created there will have great reality for you because they are beautiful and true. In the Kingdom, where you are and what you are is perfectly certain. There is no doubt there because the first question was never asked. Having finally been wholly answered,
it has never been. Being alone lives in the Kingdom, where everything lives in God without question. The time that was spent on questioning in the dream has given way to creation and to its eternity.
You are as certain as God because you are as true as He is, but what was once quite certain in your minds has become only the
ability for certainty. The introduction of abilities into being was the beginning of
uncertainty because abilities are potentials,
not accomplishments. Your abilities are totally useless in the presence of God's accomplishments and also of yours. Accomplishments are results which
have been achieved. When they are perfect, abilities are meaningless. It is curious that the perfect must now be perfected. In fact, it is impossible. You must remember, however, that when you put yourselves in an impossible situation, you believed that the impossible
53 Abilities must be
developed, or you cannot use them. This is not true of anything that God created, but it is the kindest solution possible to what
you have made. In an impossible situation, you can develop your abilities to the point where they can
get you out of it. You have a Guide to how to develop them, but you have no
commander except yourself. This leaves
you in charge of the Kingdom with both a Guide to
find it and a means to
keep it. You have a model to follow who will
strengthen your command and never detract from it in any way. You therefore retain the central place in your perceived enslavement, a fact which
itself demonstrates that you are
54 You are in an impossible situation only because you thought it was possible to be in one. You
would be in an impossible situation if God showed you your perfection and
proved to you that you were wrong. This would demonstrate that the perfect were inadequate to bring
themselves to the awareness of their perfection and thus side with the belief that those who have everything need help and are therefore helpless. This is the kind of "reasoning" which the ego engages in, but God, Who
knows that His creations are perfect, does
not insult them. This would be as impossible as the ego's notion that
it has insulted
55 That is why the Holy Spirit
never commands. To command is to assume
inequality, which the Holy Spirit demonstrates does not exist. Fidelity to premises is a law of mind, and everything God created is faithful to His laws. Fidelity to other laws is also possible, however, not because the laws are true, but because
you made them. What would be gained if God proved to you that you have thought insanely? Can God lose His own certainty? We have frequently stated that what you teach you
are. Would you have God teach you that you have sinned? If He confronted the self you made with the truth He created for you, what could you be but afraid? You would doubt your sanity, which is the one thing in which you can
find the sanity He gave you.
56 God does not teach. To teach is to imply a lack, which God
knows is not there. God is not conflicted. Teaching aims at change, but God created only the changeless. The separation was not a loss of perfection but a failure in communication. A harsh and strident form of communication arose as the ego's voice. It could not shatter the peace of God, but it
yours. God did not blot it out because to eradicate it would be to attack it. Being questioned, He did not question. He merely gave the Answer. His Answer is your Teacher.
My salvation comes from me.
We look outside ourselves to be saved. We look to relationships, jobs, money, medicines, gurus, and all kinds of idols for our salvation. We look for special people, circumstances, or activities we deem would make us happy. It is all about trying to find happiness outside of ourselves. Yet Jesus tells us that the cause of any distress is within, and it all comes from the guilt in the mind
. "Salvation seems to come from anywhere except from you. So, too, does the source of guilt. You see neither guilt nor salvation as in your own mind and nowhere else."
(W.70.1.2-4) We tend to point to something or someone outside of ourselves as responsible for every problem we have. In our warped perception, our guilt is thus projected onto people and situations that we blame for our condition. In the same misguided way, we look for happiness in the world.
What is salvation? We have some interesting connotations with regard to this word. Most of them are religious connotations, meaning we ultimately see ourselves saved from the wrath of hell or some other disastrous event or terrible punishment for our sins. However, the Course is clear that
"You are not saved from anything, but you are saved for glory."
(T.11.IV.1.4) (ACIM OE T.10.V.31) In this sense, our salvation is about recognizing our true inheritance and accepting the healing of our minds by releasing the thoughts that impede our recognition of the glorious Self we are.
The definition of salvation from the glossary of terms provided by the Circle of Atonement is:
“Being saved from the experience of separation from God, from guilt, and from all the human ills that come from separation and guilt. Comes through the Holy Spirit's healing of our minds. Our spirit was never lost and so need not be saved. Forgiveness affirms this; it makes way for salvation by recognizing that who we are was never lost and that all that impedes salvation is unreal. Salvation is thus an illusion, but one that brings the end of illusions. The ego's plan for salvation is attack, which it promises will make us safe and obtain for us idols and special relationships. Yet this really brings guilt and self-punishment. The ego ascribes this punishment to God, saying that this is how He saves and that His salvation should thus be feared. In this way the ego seeks to save itself from God."
In other words, salvation and forgiveness are synonymous in the Course; both are illusions, as there is nothing to forgive and nothing to be saved from. Thus, they are illusory concepts but very valuable in that they end all illusion.
"Salvation is a promise, made by God, that you would find your way to Him at last. It cannot but be kept. It guarantees that time will have an end, and all the thoughts that have been born in time will end as well. God's Word is given every mind which thinks that it has separate thoughts, and will replace these thoughts of conflict with the Thought of peace."
(W.PII.Q2.1-4) Thus, salvation is a certainty because it is already given and already in our minds, awaiting our acceptance.
Jesus says we are all tempted to believe there is something "out there," outside our own minds, that will save us. This is the same as the belief that something outside of us is the cause of our guilt. Jesus tells us both guilt and salvation are only in our own minds. We are saved when we understand this is so because we then have the power to choose to condemn and judge, or to forgive. In other words, we are choosing murder or the miracle, guilt or our salvation. We are not the victims of the world we see, nor are we at the mercy of the world or of anyone or anything for our salvation. It is all up to us. No one is coming to save us. The Answer is within us.
"You are free from all external interference. You are in charge of your salvation."
(W.70.10.2‑3) This is good news! It makes us totally responsible for our condition and allows us to recognize the power within us.
Why are we afraid to hear this? We are afraid because at some deep level of the unconscious, we believe we misused this power when we chose to separate from our Source. It was our first experience of seeming change, and it was an experience of terror. We don't want to be responsible for what we believe we have done. We project the burden of guilt in the mind onto others over the choice we made to separate. Now we have reversed cause and effect. No longer wanting to see ourselves responsible for the separation, we made the world the cause of how we feel. Now we see ourselves as the effect of circumstances seemingly beyond our control. We see ourselves as powerless victims of the world; but Jesus tells us,
"Today's idea places you in charge of the universe, where you belong because of what you are. This is not a role that can be partially accepted. And you must surely begin to see that accepting it is salvation
What is it that Jesus wants us to see? He is asking us to take responsibility for the decisions we make in every instant. When we choose to judge and condemn, we are choosing separation. This same choice made over and over was initially made when we seemed to separate from totality. Since we are the ones who made that choice in the first place, we can now choose to awaken from this dream. The choice was made by the decision-maker in the mind, which can now choose to correct the original error. With vigilance, we watch our minds for the temptation to blame and attack, and in each situation, where we are tempted to believe that others are responsible for our condition, we ask for help to see that it all comes from our own minds; and we can choose again. This is a total commitment to the truth and not to be partially accepted.
"The seeming cost of accepting today's idea is this: It means that nothing outside yourself can save you; nothing outside yourself can give you peace."
(W.70.2.1) The idea that there is no one to save us can be daunting. If the power is within, it is up to us to save ourselves. It does not mean we don't have help. Jesus says,
"If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy."
(W.70.9.3-4) I love that, and I find great solace in this thought. I also find strength in the idea that we can't do this alone, and we need to join with others including Jesus. He is just a symbol of the strength within us but a very helpful one for us to rely on. We have Jesus and many mighty companions to hold our hands and remind us of the truth in every moment.
While Jesus is there to help us, it is we, ourselves, who have to make the choice to receive that help. He makes this very clear when he says,
"You may still complain about fear, but you nevertheless persist in making yourself fearful."
(T.2.VII.1.1) (ACIM OE T.2.V.93) He says that we can't ask him to release us from our fear because we are the ones who made it. While he says he is there to help us, it is up to us to identify our fearful thoughts and bring them to the truth. He goes on to say,
"I know it
[fear] does not exist, but you do not. If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect; the most fundamental law there is. I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course.
(T.2.VII.1.3-6) (ACIM OE T.2.V.93) Wow! That should get our attention. We now see how fundamental this law of cause and effect is and why it comes so early in our reading of the Text!
Jesus is saying that our minds are as powerful as his. He is saying, it is in our power to save ourselves. The Lesson goes on to say,
"Today's idea places you in charge of the universe, where you belong because of what you are,"
(W.70.2.3) but it is a role we must accept wholly. Indeed, it is a demanding role. As the final Lesson of the Holy Spirit tells us,
Be vigilant only for God and the Kingdom.
(T.6.V.C.2.8) (ACIM OE T.6.V.c.85) Until we are vigilant, our minds will be in conflict, with part of the mind looking for salvation in the world and projecting our guilt onto the world, while still professing a desire for peace.
Salvation is the process of translating the nightmare of this world into the happy dream as we release our thoughts of distress and allow the Holy Spirit to undo the guilt in our minds. The world is our classroom for this. Every morning we ready our minds for this purpose so we can use every circumstance as an opportunity to take responsibility for the way we interpret every situation. We have all kinds of opportunities to watch our thoughts and release our judgments. Be content with this learning. There is no need for impatience and self-flagellation. It is all a perfect karmic learning environment. We are going at the pace our fear will allow in the undoing of our misperceptions about everything. It is a process where we are shifting responsibility for how we feel from anything outside of ourselves to seeing everything as a product of our own minds.
In Chapter 16, we are reminded to
"Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted and hurled into reality"
(T.16.VI.8.1) (ACIM OE T.16.VII.65) because that would be terrifying to us. We are exactly in the right place and in the right situation for our learning. It is all perfectly designed by our own minds from outside this dream for what we need for our awakening (salvation). We may tell ourselves we should be further along in our spiritual journey after many years of study. We get impatient with ourselves. We blame others or our circumstances for where we see ourselves. We think that if things were different, if we had a different partner, a better group, a spiritual center, a retreat to go to, a better guru/teacher, more time, less work, or fewer responsibilities, we would be further along in our journey and have more peace. When we complain, it just affirms what this Lesson says. We think that if things were different, we could have more peace. Remind yourself when you are tempted to think this way,
"My salvation cannot come from any of these things. My salvation comes from me and only from me."
The ego tells us to look for our salvation where it can't be found, and we have paid attention and tried to find it
"---in other people, in possessions, in various situations and events, and in self-concepts that you sought to make real."
(W.70.7.5) Isn't that what our lives have been about? Our sources for salvation have been about seeking relationships, status, money, safety, and material things, all because we thought that if we could just rearrange all the externals (clouds) exactly right, we would be happy, but it has never worked. Has it? Oh yes, there have been some temporary pleasures and even some periods of happiness, but they are not lasting and come with their share of pain and fear that they would not last. Now Jesus is telling us that all this external seeking for happiness has been designed by the ego to keep our sickness intact.
It is all about the ego story of seeking but never finding. When we realize this, it loses some of its appeal. It has all been about
". . . making every attempt, however distorted and fantastic it might be, to separate healing from the sickness for which it was intended, and thus keep the sickness."
(W.70.4.1) External seeking can never be the answer to any problem. Yes, there may be temporary fixes, but the problem will just return in another form. We will continue to seek and yet continue to suffer, which is the purpose of the ego---to keep us distracted. We keep looking for the answers in the world, where they can never be found.
Jesus assures us, God's Will and ours are the same. He wants our healing, and we don't want to be sick. We want the same thing. He is trying to overturn our bias, which is that God is not part of our happiness, and we will have to sacrifice our "pleasures" if we choose salvation. His plan seems to be a threat to our happiness because we believe it involves sacrifice. As long as we believe we can be helped and made happy by something other than God, we won't be convinced that we share God's Will. When we start to get that nothing outside of our own minds can bring us happiness, then our motivation will be enhanced to end the misery and pain by committing to the study and practice of this Course.
Love and blessings, Sarah
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