Monday, May 19, 2008

LESSON 72 Holding grievances is an attack on God's plan for salvation.


Holding grievances is an attack on God's plan for salvation.

While we have recognized that the ego's plan for salvation is the opposite of God's, we have not yet emphasized that it is an active attack on His plan, and a deliberate attempt to destroy it. In the attack, God is assigned the attributes which are actually associated with the ego, while the ego appears to take on the attributes of God.

The ego's fundamental wish is to replace God. In fact, the ego is the physical embodiment of that wish. For it is that wish that seems to surround the mind with a body, keeping it separate and alone, and unable to reach other minds except through the body that was made to imprison it. The limit on communication cannot be the best means to expand communication. Yet the ego would have you believe that it is.

Although the attempt to keep the limitations that a body would impose is obvious here, it is perhaps not so apparent why holding grievances is an attack on God's plan for salvation. But let us consider the kinds of things you are apt to hold grievances for. Are they not always associated with something a body does? A person says something you do not like. 5 He does something that displeases you. He "betrays" his hostile thoughts in his behavior.

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. 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.

If God is a body, what must His plan for salvation be? What could it be but death? In trying to present Himself as the Author of life and not of death, He is a liar and a deceiver, full of false promises and offering illusions in place of truth. The body's apparent reality makes this view of God quite convincing. In fact, if the body were real, it would be difficult indeed to escape this conclusion. And every grievance that you hold insists that the body is real. It overlooks entirely what your brother is. It reinforces your belief that he is a body, and condemns him for it. And it asserts that his salvation must be death, projecting this attack onto God, and holding Him responsible for it.

To this carefully prepared arena, where angry animals seek for prey and mercy cannot enter, the ego comes to save you. God made you a body. Very well. Let us accept this and be glad. As a body, do not let yourself be deprived of what the body offers. Take the little you can get. God gave you nothing. The body is your only savior. It is the death of God and your salvation.

This is the universal belief of the world you see. Some hate the body, and try to hurt and humiliate it. Others love the body, and try to glorify and exalt it. But while the body stands at the center of your concept of yourself, you are attacking God's plan for salvation, and holding your grievances against Him and His creation, that you may not hear the Voice of truth and welcome It as Friend. Your chosen savior takes His place instead. It is your friend; He is your enemy.

We will try today to stop these senseless attacks on salvation. We will try to welcome it instead. Your upside-down perception has been ruinous to your peace of mind. You have seen yourself in a body and the truth outside you, locked away from your awareness by the body's limitations. Now we are going to try to see this differently.

The light of truth is in us, where it was placed by God. It is the body that is outside us, and is not our concern. To be without a body is to be in our natural state. To recognize the light of truth in us is to recognize ourselves as we are. To see our Self as separate from the body is to end the attack on God's plan for salvation, and to accept it instead. And wherever His plan is accepted, it is accomplished already.

Our goal in the longer practice periods today is to become aware that God's plan for salvation has already been accomplished in us. To achieve this goal, we must replace attack with acceptance. As long as we attack it, we cannot understand what God's plan for us is. We are therefore attacking what we do not recognize. Now we are going to try to lay judgment aside, and ask what God's plan for us is:

What is salvation, Father? I do not know. Tell me, that I may understand.

Then we will wait in quiet for His answer. We have attacked God's plan for salvation without waiting to hear what it is. We have shouted our grievances so loudly that we have not listened to His Voice. We have used our grievances to close our eyes and stop our ears.

Now we would see and hear and learn. "What is salvation, Father?" Ask and you will be answered. Seek and you will find. We are no longer asking the ego what salvation is and where to find it. We are asking it of truth. Be certain, then, that the answer will be true because of Whom you ask.

Whenever you feel your confidence wane and your hope of success flicker and go out, repeat your question and your request, remembering that you are asking of the infinite Creator of infinity, Who created you like Himself:

What is salvation, Father? I do not know. Tell me, that I may understand.

He will answer. 6 Be determined to hear.

One or perhaps two shorter practice periods an hour will be enough for today, since they will be somewhat longer than usual. These exercises should begin with this:

Holding grievances is an attack on God's plan for salvation.
Let me accept it instead. What is salvation, Father?
Then wait a minute or so in silence, preferably with your eyes closed, and listen for His answer.

The Following is forwarded by Devan from Pathways of Light

Lesson 72
“Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.”

This lesson is one of the clearest places in the Course where it demonstrates that the Course’s thought system is diametrically opposed to the thinking of this world. The thinking of the world reflects the projected belief that God made the body. Yet in this lesson it says that not only did He not make the body, but He could not, because He cannot create unlike Himself.

The statement that as long as the body is the center of our concept of ourselves, we are attacking God’s plan for salvation has been a real eye opener to me. I am seeing that thinking I am a body is an attempt to defy God and be what God did not create me to be.

Identifying myself with a body inevitably leads to grievances, for if I am a body, then everyone I see with the body’s eyes is also a body. What bodies do then exemplifies what they are in this thought system. Whether or not I am pleased with what they do, just believing they are a body, a separate identity, is an attack on the unity of God.

I may think I am not holding a grievance toward someone, but if I am regarding them in my mind as a separate identity, I am insisting that my brother is not what God created him to be. This belief in separate identities shows me that I am still holding a grievance against God.

The idea that I am not a body, that the body is outside me, that no one is a body, is far reaching. Take away the body and all the images associated with a body, the behavior, the personality characteristics, the sense of individuality, and what is left? The ego would say, “nothing.” God says, “everything.”

All that we are has nothing whatsoever to do with the body. To be without a body is our natural state. To be Love and nothing else is our natural state. To be unified with all that is real is our natural state.

I am coming to see that all my grievances, my upsets about anything that occurs, are just projections of the grievance against God that the body represents in the ego thought system. I want peace. I want happiness. To experience this, I must learn to see beyond the body to the Light that I share with all that is real, to the Light of God in all things. This is letting go of grievances. This is forgiveness. This is going through the clouds to the Light. Today I acknowledge that it is my will to see the Light in everyone and see it as part of me.

The Course tells me that when I join with the ego thought system, I am joining with the wish to replace God. The body is the ego’s principle tool to hide God from my awareness. The more I focus on the body and what the body does, the deeper I go into the ego’s thought system.

The ego’s plan for salvation is to forget Reality and replace it with a world where everything is separate and alone, made so by image making. This image making gives the appearance that individual bodies are all that is real. The bodies have individual stories of birth and death, of conflict and war with other bodies. The stories include bodies in competition with each other, winners and losers, success and loss.

God’s plan for salvation is to let go of all this. God’s plan for salvation centers on a return to the truth through the Holy Spirit, Which is in everyone’s mind. The Holy Spirit teaches that the body is not what I am, or ever was or ever will be. The Holy Spirit teaches me to remember that I am Spirit, the Spirit of Love. The Holy Spirit teaches me that everyone is that same Spirit of Love. The Holy Spirit teaches me that when I focus on individual personalities and make it real in my mind, this is the same as trying to replace God. It is holding a grievance against my true nature.

The Holy Spirit shows me, day by day, how to let this image making go. The Holy Spirit reminds me again and again that the stories of individuality are not true. The Holy Spirit helps me lay these stories down.

These stories always lead to conflict and can never bring true happiness. They never bring peace of mind. My salvation lies in being willing to lay the stories down. They were just a barrier to my remembering the truth that All is Spirit, the Spirit of Love. Love is One. Love is All. I need not try to replace It with false stories of separate identities. Herein lies my salvation. Herein lies my true and eternal happiness.

Have you ever had an argument with someone when that person wasn't there to take part in it? That is what I did this morning. I imagined a whole conversation (both sides of it!) and then argued with the absent person and became angry with him. When I stopped and thought of what I was doing, I didn't know whether to laugh or what.

It is not the first time I've done that, but this time it really made me aware of how illusory my grievances are. To make the whole situation even sillier, I was upsetting myself over an imagined $5.00. This made me realize how cheaply I am willing to sell my peace.

I took the situation to Holy Spirit and asked how I could have salvation instead. I was blessed with the realization that I wasn't angry with the absent person at all. I was just using that person's persona as a mirror which showed me my own faults. I was seeing in that person what I really recognized in myself. I insisted it was the other person's faults because I didn't want to accept that it is really me that I don't like.

I also realized that my vehemence was caused by my fear of recognizing myself in this other person. I don't want to be that kind of person. I would rather think he is like that, instead of me. I was then reassured that it is OK to recognize this behavior because this isn't really me either. It is a behavior I might have identified with, but it isn't me. Who I am is unassailable. What I sometimes act like is just something to change my mind about.

The greatest blessing in this is that now I don't have to be afraid of what I think I am, so I don't have to attack the person I imagine is showing me this picture of myself. Where there is no fear, there is no need for attack. I feel so blessed that Holy Spirit used this silly little incident to show me another way to live.

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