Holy Spirit Decides for Us
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As you begin to realize the quiet power of the Holy Spirit's Voice and its perfect consistency, it must dawn on your minds that you are trying to undo a decision which was made irrevocably for you. That is why we suggested before that there was help in reminding yourselves to allow the Holy Spirit to decide for God for you.   
SonShip Workbook 
 L e s s o n 71
Only God's plan for salvation will work.
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1 You may not realize that the ego has set up a plan for salvation in opposition to God's. It is this plan in which you believe. Since it is the opposite of God's, you also believe that to accept God's plan in place of the ego's is to be damned. This sounds preposterous, of course. Yet after we have considered just what the ego's plan is, perhaps you will realize that, however preposterous it may be, you do believe it. 
2 The ego's plan for salvation centers around holding grievances. It maintains that if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved. Thus the source of salvation is constantly perceived as outside yourself. 
3 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 that is necessary for salvation is thus demanded of everyone and everything except yourself. 
4 The role assigned to your own mind in this plan, then, is simply to determine what other than itself must change if you are to be saved. According to this insane plan, any perceived source of salvation is acceptable, provided that it will not work. This ensures that the fruitless search will continue, for the illusion persists that, although this hope has always failed, there are still grounds for hope in other places and in other things. Another person will yet serve better; another situation will yet offer success. 
5 Such is the ego's plan for your salvation. Surely you can see how it is in strict accord with the ego's basic doctrine, "Seek but do not find." For what could more surely guarantee that you will not find salvation than to channelize all your efforts in searching for it where it is not?
6 God's plan for salvation works simply because, by following His direction, you seek for salvation where it is. But if you are to succeed, as God promises you will, you must be willing to seek there only. Otherwise your purpose is divided, and you will attempt to follow two plans for salvation which are diametrically opposed in all ways. The result can only bring confusion, misery, and a deep sense of failure and despair. 
7 How can you escape all this? Very simply. The idea for today is the answer. Only God's plan for salvation will work. There can be no real conflict about this, because there is no possible alternative to God's plan that will save you. His is the only plan that is certain in its outcome. His is the only plan that must succeed. 
8 Let us practice recognizing this certainty today. And 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. 
9 Begin the two longer practice periods for today by thinking about today's idea and realizing that it contains two parts, each making equal contribution to the whole. God's plan for your salvation will work, and other plans will not. Do not allow yourself to become depressed or angry at the second part; it is inherent in the first. And in the first is your full release from all your own insane attempts and mad proposals to free yourself. They have led to depression and anger. But God's plan will succeed. It will lead to release and joy. 
10 Remembering this, let us devote the remainder of the extended practice periods to asking God to reveal His plan to us. Ask Him very specifically: 
11 What would You have me do? 
    Where would You have me go?
    What would You have me say, and to whom?
12 Give Him full charge of the rest of the practice period, and let Him tell you what needs to be done by you in His plan for your salvation. He will answer you in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice. Refuse not to hear. The very fact that you are doing the exercises proves that you have some willingness to listen. This is enough to establish your claim to God's answer. 
13 In the shorter practice periods tell yourself often that God's plan for salvation, and only His, will work. Be alert to all temptation to hold grievances today, and respond to them with this form of today's idea: 
14 Holding grievances is the opposite of God's plan for 
    Salvation. And only His plan will work.
15Try to remember the idea for today some six or seven times an hour. There could be no better way to spend a half-minute or less than to remember the Source of your salvation, and to see It where It is
          ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM  

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
Lesson 71
Only God's plan for salvation will work.    
Sarah's Commentary:  

Manipulating, planning, conniving and strategizing for our happiness is where we put a lot of energy to keep ourselves seemingly safe and satisfied. What plans do you have that you think will bring you happiness? What do you want to be right about? What grievances are you holding, and who needs to change or do something different in order for you to be happy? Our whole focus is on the idea that if someone acted differently, or we got what we wanted, we would be saved. In other words, we would be happy. The source of our salvation is seen to be outside ourselves. If something outside ourselves were different, we think we would be happy. We make demands of everyone when we follow the ego's plan for salvation, and we don't want to hear there is no hope in our plans for happiness. This is not good news to us as long as we identify with the ego. Jesus tells us all of us who came here hold some hope of finding happiness in the idols of the world.
It is so easy to get caught in power struggles with those around us and to hold onto grievances and complaints when we feel others are not acting the way they should. In other words, they are not fulfilling the function we have defined for them, and now this is a cause, in our minds, for grievances. The ego tells us we are just innocent victims of those people who betray us and leave us in their mercy. We feel like no one knows or understands us. "The ego's plan for salvation centers around holding grievances." (W.71.2.1) The ego's plan for salvation centers around our being angry, hurt, and holding grievances against everyone and everything for not saving us from unhappiness.
We tell ourselves if it weren't for this person, this situation, this event, we would not be experiencing the difficulties we have today. We make them responsible for how we feel. As far as we are concerned, they have failed us. All our complaints, manipulations and attacks are geared toward getting the changes we want. We think if we could show them how they wronged us, they would change their tune and we would be saved. In other words, we are projecting our own lack of happiness onto others. Projection is, in fact, the human condition. Healing is about withdrawing our projections and taking responsibility for them, seeing them for what they are, and thus seeing ourselves as the cause of all our distress.
Jesus tells us often this world is not our natural environment and we don't fit here. We will never find the comfort, happiness and peace we are seeking with the ego as guide. "The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise." (T.4.I.11.1)(ACIM OT T.4.II.18) "Only God could make a home that is worthy of His creations, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession." (T.4.I.11.4)(ACIM OE T.4.II.18) When we realize this is not our home, we give up trying to adjust to a world that does not fit who we are. We become motivated to do the work of undoing what the ego has taught. We begin to accept that true peace and happiness will never be found in the world. It can only be found when we accept "only God's plan for salvation will work." This is not exactly a thought we embrace while we still flounder to try to find our happiness in the world. When we are ready to acknowledge our plans will never bring real happiness, we start to look deeper into our own minds where true happiness lies.
This process requires a deep and sincere level of honesty with ourselves to see how we are constantly using others on behalf of our salvation. It is the nature of our special relationships, whether of love or of hate, that we are actively choosing against our salvation as God has defined it. He does not actually have a plan for us. We learn that our focus on winning, at another's expense, opposes our reality as we were created. Thus, it opposes God. Some of the strategies we use to try to extract what we want from others can be quite aggressive, while others can be very subtle. Some strategies we might recognize in ourselves are when we punish someone who has disappointed us by ignoring them, giving them the silent treatment, giving them a look of disapproval, shedding tears so they know how they have hurt us, threatening to leave, withdrawing, pleading, begging, or cajoling. Or, we may try bargaining by giving them something they want so they will give us what we want in return.
Can you see the many ways we try to get our needs met? It is essentially the human condition, but Jesus says, "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.71.2.4-5) All of us feel this way. That is why we are here. This thought system has made this world. It does not make us bad. Our part is now to look at this thought system, so we can see clearly how the ego has set it all up. It is set up to defeat our own best interests!
The ego tells us to keep seeking outside ourselves for our happiness, but it does not tell us we will never find it there. When we hold grievances, we are saying we are helpless victims at the mercy of those around us. We really do believe if these circumstances were changed, we would be saved, it is not up to us and we are these small, helpless, vulnerable, and limited beings put here in this cruel world to fend for ourselves.
Like to a dream of punishment, in which the dreamer is unconscious of what brought on the attack against himself, he sees himself attacked unjustly and by something not himself. He is the victim of this 'something else,' a thing outside himself, for which he has no reason to be held responsible. He must be innocent because he knows not what he does, but what is done to him. Yet is his own attack upon himself apparent still, for it is he who bears the suffering. And he cannot escape because its source is seen outside himself . " (T.27.VII.1.3-7)(ACIM OE T.27.VIII.62)
Jesus is showing us we can escape the ego's secret wish of maintaining the separation and maintaining differences. He is showing us how this was all set up and how to escape its grasp. It is up to us to bring awareness to how we are playing the ego's game, but we are not alone in this, as he is our helper and guide in this unknown territory. We made the choice for the separation and now we can choose to take responsibility for our attack thoughts, judgments and grievances and bring them to the inner altar in our minds where truth resides. As yesterday's Lesson reminds us, "My salvation comes from me." (W.70) I am responsible for my happiness. No one else. I am not the victim of the world I see. There is a way out. How much do we want it?
Holding onto grievances and projecting the guilt in our own minds onto others is a way we punish others for what we perceive they have done. We would rather feel rotten and hold onto grievances just as long as we get to be right. Sometimes we even find allies and build alliances to make ourselves even more right. This is the ego at work! As long as we believe in the ego's plan for our salvation we will strive to meet its requirements. These are based on the belief that if someone out there did it differently, we would feel safe and happy. If circumstances were different, we would be saved. We all came to this world to experience this kind of control and our own independence. We all want to hold onto our way, which explains why there is resistance to choosing God's plan.
As long as we look to anything external for our happiness, as long as we continue to feel like victims of the world outside our own mind, as long as we hold grievances, and as long as we project our own attack thoughts onto others and make them responsible for how we feel, the ego's plan is dominant, and we maintain our faith in its savage and tyrannical control. We continue on this road until the pain and misery of our failed relationships and our never-ending problems motivate us to find another way.
Seek but do not find' remains this world's stern decree, and no one who pursues the world's goal can do otherwise." (M.13.5.8) That is the ego's mantra, and that is what we do as long as we still have some hope the world has something to offer. We still keep trying to find this elusive happiness in the world, and when our plans don't work, and they never will, we "become depressed or angry." (W.71.8.3) Your "insane attempts and mad proposals to free yourself" (W.71.8.4) ultimately bring depression and anger. Haven't we tried our best? Aren't we just innocent victims of circumstances beyond our control? Isn't it important not to have people control us? Should we not set firm boundaries to protect ourselves? Are we not justified in holding onto grievances when people are being so unreasonable? Our plans for our happiness have always failed, yet we keep hoping they will work just this once. With each event and circumstance, we think this time it will work, already knowing deep down once again it won't. Even what we extract with our manipulations does not really satisfy. Yet we persist.
While we are inclined to justify our anger and defend our position, it is not the route to peace, happiness and real joy. The only way is by letting go of our grievances. The only answer is given us by God. Our own answers are always wrong. Does this threaten us? You bet. It would be the end of the ego, if we really stopped listening to its madness. In my experience, when I have been able to release my stubborn resistance, release my demands and expectations, and sincerely choose the Holy Spirit's script and not my own, miracles result. My mind then shifts to a place of quiet, of surrender, and of happiness. Anger never feels good. Oh yes, we all know its expression can have an immediate payoff, but then the guilt arises and we end up paying the price in loss of peace. Our fear increases because we always expect retaliation, whether real or imagined. Thus, we are only hurting ourselves when we project guilt onto others.
God's plan for salvation works simply because, by following His direction, you seek for salvation where it is. But if you are to succeed, as God promises you will, you must be willing to seek there only." (W.71.5.1-2) When we follow two plans, we are totally confused and miserable, and it becomes impossible to achieve either one. That is what we are doing currently. We are willing to accept that forgiveness brings us happiness because we have experienced this is so. We know that taking responsibility for our projections brings healing, but we still want to hold onto our special relationships and try to extract from them what we still think will meet our needs. We still try to find some happiness in the things of this world. This brings conflict, because we now hold two conflicting thought systems. We want to forgive and love, but we also want to retaliate and pursue our own goals. We want our specialness, which comes at seeing others different than us. We want to maintain our separation, and we want to enjoy it while making someone else responsible when pain arises. With God's plan for salvation, we see our brothers as ourselves. We are the same and this sameness reflects our oneness. In that joining with our brother, the separation is being healed.
The conflict between our two thought systems, of the ego and of the Holy Spirit, will be resolved only when we realize there truly is no other alternative to God's plan for our happiness. We are told His plan cannot fail. We have seen our plans always fail to deliver lasting happiness. We need to get very honest with ourselves to truly see this is so. "And let us rejoice that there is an answer to what seems to be a conflict with no resolution possible." (W.71.7.2) It may seem like a demand where we need to give up our way for His. It may seem unjust and restrictive. The ego does not like that! We may feel depressed and angry about giving up our plans for our salvation, but we need to look very honestly at the results of what the ego offers and recognize that deep peace has never been delivered through our own efforts.
Today, let us tune into God's plan and ask, "What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?" (W.71.9.3-5) If you think you are not hearing a response, remember "He will answer in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice." (W.71.9.7) This is just a matter of willingness to silence the voice of the ego we listen to all the time. In order to hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we need to tune into our prompts and our nudges. We need to stop listening to the ego. We may be concerned we won't succeed in hearing, but Jesus reminds us we have a right to His answer and we must not refuse to hear. We approach this exercise with as much confidence, openness and willingness as we can.
When we listen to the Holy Spirit, we get a sense of knowing what is the right thing to do. We receive prompts that guide us in what to do next. If I lay aside my plans for the day and really quiet the mind, I get an answer to questions like these. Remember, the Holy Spirit is in our mind now. We need not find Him. He is our own Voice of truth. When have a sense of peace with regard to our decisions, we can be assured He is guiding us.
We need not get attached to the outcomes. Remember this is about giving up control, not controlling what others will do. It is not up to us. We must leave it in God's hands. "Only God's plan for salvation will work." (W.71) We are doing this Course in order to change our minds, not to get something in form, not to have a prettier illusion, not to manifest what we think will bring us happiness. Our only happiness comes from His plan, which is to release our grievances so our light can shine forth. That is what David Hawkins calls true power, while our way is to use the force of our own thinking mind. True power comes from within. It comes from the heart.
God's plan for our salvation is actually delivered in the words of this Course, which is about forgiveness. He does not actually hold any specific plans for us because He already knows we are safe at home with Him. However, His plan is beautifully laid out here for us, to help us remember who we are. We never separated from Him because the Atonement Principle assures us we can't do so. We are only dreaming we have left our home in God.
This Course is totally uncompromising. That is what makes this so path so difficult and yet so clear. We want spirituality added to our own goals, but this leads to divided purpose and thus conflict. Until we step over to only one side of this conundrum, we will have a divided purpose and will be continually compromising our goals. Only God's plan will bring the end of conflict and misery, and for that we can rejoice. But to say yes to God's plan would mean we would have to say no to the ego's plan, and there is still resistance for us in this. Jesus recognizes it is all a process of undoing our fear and thus developing trust in him. With motivation to do this practice, we find that Jesus delivers on his word and happiness abounds. It is all a matter of doing what he asks, not because he asks, but because of our deep desire for peace and happiness.
Love and blessings, Sarah
V.b. To Have Peace, Teach Peace to Learn It         

70 All the separated ones have a basic fear of retaliation and abandonment. This is because they believe in attack and rejection, so this is what they perceive and teach and learn. These insane concepts are clearly the result of their own dissociation and projection. What you teach you are, but it is quite apparent that you can teach wrongly and therefore teach yourselves wrong. Many thought that I was attacking them, even though it was quite apparent that I was not. An insane learner learns strange lessons.
71 What you must understand is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them. This is because everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are. If the center of the thought system is true, only truth extends from it. But if a lie is at its center, only deception proceeds from it. All good teachers realize that only fundamental change will last, but they do not begin at that level. Strengthening motivation for change is their first and foremost goal. It is also their last and final one.
72 Increasing motivation for change in the learner is all that a teacher need do to guarantee change. This is because a change in motivation is a change of mind, and this will inevitably produce fundamental change because the mind is fundamental. The first step in the reversal or undoing process, then, is the undoing of the getting concept. Accordingly, the Holy Spirit's first lesson was "to have, give all to all." We said that this is apt to increase conflict temporarily, and we can clarify this still further now.
73 At this point, the equality of "having" and "being" is not yet perceived. Until it is, "having" appears to be the opposite of "being." Therefore, the first lesson seems to contain a contradiction since it is being learned by a conflicted mind. This means conflicting motivation, and so the lesson cannot be learned consistently as yet. Further, the mind of the learner projects its own split, and thus does not perceive consistent minds in others, making him suspicious of their motivation. This is the real reason why in many respects the first lesson is the hardest to learn. Still strongly aware of the ego in himself and responding primarily to the ego in others, he is being taught to react to both as if what he does believe is not true.
74 Upside-down as always, the ego perceives the first lesson as insane. In fact this is its only alternative here since the other one, which would be much less acceptable to it, would obviously be that it is insane. The ego's judgment, then, is predetermined by what it is, though no more so than is any other product of thought. The fundamental change will still occur with the change of mind in the thinker. Meanwhile, the increasing clarity of the Holy Spirit's Voice makes it impossible for the learner not to listen. For a time, then, he is receiving conflicting messages and accepting both. This is the classic "double bind" in communication.
75 The way out of conflict between two opposing thought systems is clearly to choose one and relinquish the other. If you identify with your thought system, and you cannot escape this, and if you accept two thought systems which are in complete disagreement, peace of mind is impossible. If you teach both, which you will surely do as long as you accept both, you are teaching conflict and learning it. Yet you do want peace, or you would not have called upon the Voice for Peace to help you. His lesson is not insane; the conflict is.
76 There can be no conflict between sanity and insanity. Only one is true, and therefore only one is real. The ego tries to persuade you that it is up to you to decide which voice is true, but the Holy Spirit teaches you that truth was created by God, and your decision cannot change it. As you begin to realize the quiet power of the Holy Spirit's Voice and its perfect consistency, it must dawn on your minds that you are trying to undo a decision which was made irrevocably for you. That is why we suggested before that there was help in reminding yourselves to allow the Holy Spirit to decide for God for you.
77 You are not asked to make insane decisions, although you are free to think you are. It must, however, be insane to believe that it is up to you to decide what God's creations are. The Holy Spirit perceives the conflict exactly as it is. Therefore, His second lesson is:
78 To have peace, teach peace to learn it.
79 This is still a preliminary step since having and being are still not equated. It is, however, more advanced than the first step, which is really only a thought reversal. The second step is a positive affirmation of what you want. This, then, is a step in the direction out of conflict since it means that alternatives have been considered and one has been chosen as more desirable.
80 Nevertheless, the evaluation "more desirable" still implies that the desirable has degrees. Therefore, although this step is essential for the ultimate decision, it is clearly not the final one. It is clear at this point that the lack of order of difficulty in miracles has not yet been accepted because nothing is difficult that is wholly desired. To desire wholly is to create, and creating cannot be difficult if God Himself created you as a creator. The second step, then, is still perceptual, although it is a giant step toward the unified perception which parallels God's knowing.
81 As you take this step and hold this direction, you will be pushing toward the center of your thought system where the fundamental change will occur. You are only beginning this step now, but you have started on this way by realizing that only one way is possible. You do not yet realize this consistently, and so your progress is intermittent, but the second step is easier than the first because it follows. The very fact that you have accepted that is a demonstration of your growing awareness that the Holy Spirit will lead you on.

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