"My salvation comes from me."
Purpose: To realize that your salvation is not outside you, separate from the inner sickness it must heal; and that you are joined with God in wanting this, in wanting your sickness to be healed.
Longer: 2, for 10-15 minutes each.
- Say: "My salvation comes from me," and add a statement to the effect that it does not come from outside you. For instance: "It cannot come from anywhere else."
- Close eyes and for several minutes review external places in which you have sought salvation--people, possessions, situations, events, self-concepts. Then tell yourself: "My salvation cannot come from any of these things. My salvation comes from me and only from me."
- Then try again to reach the light in you past the clouds. Remember you have not and will not find salvation in the clouds. Try to pass the clouds, using whatever means appeals to you. If it helps, think of Jesus leading you by the hand.
Remarks: Try to do the two longer practice periods the same times today and each of the following days. Try to decide this time in advance and adhere to it.
Say: "My salvation comes from me. Nothing outside of me can hold me back. Within me is the world's salvation and my own."
The message of this lesson is really one of the central teachings of the Course. Guilt and salvation are in my own mind and nowhere else. "All guilt is solely an invention of your mind" (1:5).
It is severely tempting to lay the blame for my problems somewhere outside of me. I instinctively shun taking responsibility for any of my problems, and the idea that all of them are in my mind and nowhere else seems devastating. However, consider the consequences of the alternative view: that the source of my problems and the source of my guilt lies outside of me. If that is the case, I am the helpless victim of these outside forces. I cannot do anything about them except to rant and rave at them, hurling invectives of blame and begging for mercy from uncaring powers.
If, however, the problem lies solely in my own mind, then I am capable of doing something about them. In fact, only I can do anything about them, and nothing outside of me can prevent me from doing it. "Nothing outside of me can hold me back" (10:8). I am in complete control; my salvation comes from me and me alone. I am not dependent on anything outside myself, and therefore I am already free.
The "cost" of recognizing that my salvation comes from me and nowhere else is that I have to give up any idea that the "cavalry" is going to show up to rescue me. "Nothing outside yourself can save you; nothing outside yourself can give you peace" (2:1). Nothing and nobody can do it for me. It's up to me. My partner in romantic love isn't going to do it for me. My wealth and position isn't going to do it for me. My analyst isn't going to do it for me, nor my guru. Not even Jesus will do it for me. The Course won't do it for me. Any or all of these may support me, help me, encourage me; in the end, however, my salvation will come from myself, from the choices of my own mind. "Today's idea places you in charge of the universe, where you belong because of what you are" (2:3). Awesome, and a bit frightening. I don't want to believe I have that much power, but not believing it is what got me into this mess in the first place. Therein lies my sickness.
Good news! God want us to be healed and happy; so do we. Therefore our will is one with God's. We have been choosing this sickness but we don't really want it, because it makes us unhappy. So we can agree with God and choose again, choose to be well rather than sick.
In today's exercise we picture ourselves pushing past the clouds again towards the light. Yesterday the clouds represented our grievances; today, they represent the things we have looked to for salvation. "You cannot find [salvation] in the clouds that surround the light, and it is in them you have been looking for it" (8:2). Oddly, objects of salvation and grievances are not all that different; a grievance against a brother is also an assertion that something in that brother is making me unhappy, which is also making him a potential source of salvation: I would be happy if he would change. To see salvation outside myself, or to see a grievance, are both means by which I give away my power and deny my sole responsibility for the universe of my mind.
In the exercise of pushing past the clouds, we are told, "If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. And I assure you it will be no idle fantasy" (9:3). For some of us, it will be helpful to picture ourselves taking the hand of Jesus and being led through the clouds. For others, the picture would be more disconcerting than helpful; there is, perhaps, healing needed in our relationship with him before we could find that image appealing. I, for one, find it immensely helpful to envision one who has already been there and back, and who is willing to lead me through. He can't do it for me, but he sure can help.
Sometimes I think of Jesus as simply the part of my mind that has already wakened. And he is part of me, just as you are, and as everyone is. He is not some awesome divine being I cannot ever hope to be like. He is me, remembering. He is me, awake. To take his hand is to identify with the Christ in myself.
Go for the light today!
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