My salvation comes from me.
W-pI.70.1. All temptation is nothing more than some form of the basic temptation not to believe the idea for today. 2 Salvation seems to come from anywhere except from you. 3 So, too, does the source of guilt. 4 You see neither guilt nor salvation as in your own mind and nowhere else. 5 When you realize that all guilt is solely an invention of your mind, you also realize that guilt and salvation must be in the same place. 6 In understanding this you are saved.
W-pI.70.2. 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. 2 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 what you are. 4 This is not a role that can be partially accepted. 5 And you must surely begin to see that accepting it is salvation.
Jesus is reminding us of what he has been saying. Guilt is in our mind only and so is salvation only in our mind. We made up the idea of guilt and in our apparent life, we have established it as true for us. Salvation is in our mind as well. Nothing outside the mind makes us guilty and nothing outside our mind can save us. We might ask how it is that guilt is not real and is just an idea in our mind when it is so apparent that everyone is guilty of something nearly all the time.
For instance, we seem to be guilty of judging others and others are guilty of judging us. But where does that judgment come from except our own minds? If I judge my friend, it is because I have accepted some frame of reference on which to judge her. Once I judge her, our relationship suffers and so do I. I feel the darkness in my mind clouding my outlook and I feel a contraction in which I seem to be getting smaller. Love, joy, and peace cannot be known in that atmosphere. They are still in me, but now are unknown to me because I have turned my back on these attributes of my Father. All of this happens, not because of her behavior but because of ideas in my mind that I believe.
I could decide to believe the true ideas in my mind if I wanted to. One of those truths is that she is innocent because God created her innocent. Where is judgment then? It is no longer in my mind because the belief in guilt is no longer in my mind. And who saved me from the belief in guilt? No one outside my mind. My friend did not change. Rather, I chose to change what I believed and this was my salvation. The Holy Spirit healed me because I made that choice. Only thoughts within my mind condemned her and in so doing, condemned me, and only a change of thoughts by me saved me from the intolerable burden of judgment.
Now Jesus says something so remarkable we might be tempted to move past it without contemplating what is being said. He tells us that when we accept that both guilt and salvation come from us, we see that we are in charge of the universe. This is both stunning in its magnitude and terrifying at the same time. I, not my little ego self, but my Self as part of the Sonship, is in charge of the universe. But, to know this, to live this, I must fully accept that role.
I cannot say that I am the one who thinks my friend is guilty so I am in charge of how I feel, but she really did tell my secrets to everyone and so she bears some responsibility, too. I must, instead, simply accept the truth that I don’t need anyone else to be guilty because I am innocent as well, so I no longer believe I need to project guilt. I am going to release the idea that anyone can be guilty and I can do this and mean this as I let the Holy Spirit heal my mind of the belief that guilt exists anywhere except in the mind.
This universe that we rule is in our mind. This is why both guilt and salvation exist in my mind, not in some imagined universe outside me. This is why we are both the cause of guilt and the savior from guilt. It is all a product of our imagination and we have power to change our mind and undo all that we have done.
W-pI.70.3. 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. 2 God would not have put the remedy for the sickness where it cannot help. 3 That is the way your mind has worked, but hardly His. 4 He wants you to be healed, so He has kept the Source of healing where the need for healing lies.
Now that I know I am in charge of the universe of my mind that has been reflected as the world we see with our eyes, something can be done by me to save myself. Jesus makes it clear in his Course that we cannot heal ourselves, and that we cannot receive healing without asking for it. God wants His children to be healed and so He placed the Healer in our minds where we placed the sickness. But even though we do not heal ourselves, we have a very specific part in this healing.
The first step is to acknowledge the need for healing. (We will use the imagined story of betrayal to look at this idea. While this is not something I would do, it is a practical example and useful to our understanding.) In our example, I would acknowledge that I am unhappy judging my friend as guilty and that I want to be happy. I acknowledge that it is not what my friend did that makes me unhappy, but it is my belief in guilt that is the source of my unhappiness. Thinking that she is guilty and I am her victim is what has darkened my mind with anger and resentment. I can hardly think of anything except this betrayal. This thinking is reflected in the world as a mind distracted with seeking vengeance and depressed at the loss of friendship.
The second step, and the only other step that is our responsibility, is to decide that I want to be happy, that I want a clear mind, and that I want this so much that I am willing to reject the ego thoughts and accept the healing offered by the Holy Spirit. This can feel hard to do if my belief in guilt is strong, but Jesus helps us by giving us this Course through which we learn to desire happiness and peace, and peace of mind. I know that the peace of God is my only goal and that holding grievances is counterintuitive to my goal. I decide that while I may not know how to let go of the judgment, I know I want to. The Holy Spirit only needed my permission and then He is able to do the rest. A miracle occurs and I am free! I have no more anger or resentment, only love for my friend.
W-pI.70.4. 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. 2 Your purpose was to ensure that healing did not occur. 3 God’s purpose was to ensure that it did.
When I believed my anger and resentment were valid in this circumstance, I was determined to keep my sickness no matter how miserable it made me. Instead of my purpose being to awaken to my true Self, it became to make sure healing did not occur. I was saying that holding this grievance was more important than even Heaven. Crazy to think this way, right? The problem was that God’s purpose was my healing and my purpose was to stay sick. It seemed I was at odds with God. That just caused more guilt in the mind.
W-pI.70.5. Today we practice realizing that God’s Will and ours are really the same in this. 2 God wants us to be healed, and we do not really want to be sick, because it makes us unhappy. 3 Therefore, in accepting the idea for today, we are really in agreement with God. 4 He does not want us to be sick. 5 Neither do we. 6 He wants us to be healed. 7 So do we.
This kind of thinking is why we need these gentle step-by-step lessons to practice and why we want to be as dedicated to doing them as we can be. We think that our will and God’s Will are different. This isn’t true. That belief is just part of the illusion of separation that is the only problem we really have. It is the source of all other problems. As we learn through these practices that we really do share the Will of God, we return to our true Self, to Heaven. So, for today, we work on whatever thoughts that are keeping us in hell knowing that this work will bring us closer to the ultimate goal of awakening from the dream we are different from and separate from God.
W-pI.70.6. We are ready for two longer practice periods today, each of which should last some ten to fifteen minutes. 2 We will, however, still let you decide when to undertake them. 3 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 then adhering to your own decisions as closely as possible.
Jesus knows that we need to learn to discipline our unruly minds and so he gives us tips along with each lesson as to how to do this. First, he was very specific as to when and how to do each lesson, and now he is increasing the time we spend with it and also asking us to determine when we will do it. We are the makers of our universe and we must learn to accept the responsibility of undoing it. This process is perfectly planned by one who has escaped. We would be foolish not to take his advice.
W-pI.70.7. Begin these practice periods by repeating the idea for today, adding a statement signifying your recognition that salvation comes from nothing outside of you. 2 You might put it this way:
3 My salvation comes from me. 4 It cannot come from anywhere else.
5 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 that you sought to make real. 6 Recognize that it is not there, and tell yourself:
7 My salvation cannot come from any of these things. 8 My salvation comes from me and only from me.
We begin this practice by reviewing how we have been looking for salvation. By this time, we should have no problem seeing the ways we have tried and failed to save ourselves.
W-pI.70.8. Now we will try again to reach the light in you, which is where your salvation is. 2 You cannot find it in the clouds that surround the light, and it is in them you have been looking for it. 3 It is not there. 4 It is past the clouds and in the light beyond. 5 Remember that you will have to go through the clouds before you can reach the light. 6 But remember also that you have never found anything in the cloud patterns you imagined that endured, or that you wanted.
Again, I recognize that the clouds are my thoughts that are sourced by the ego-mind that desires separation and is focused on guilt and fear. They also represent the manifestation of these thoughts as the world I seem to have made. It is no more real than the thoughts that made it however tangible it seems. I will not find my salvation in those thoughts or in the world.
W-pI.70.9. 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. 2 Try to pass the clouds by whatever means appeals to you. 3 If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. 4 And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy.
These may be my favorite sentences in the Course. 3 If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. 4 And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy. It was in reading this that I realized Jesus is here with me, helping me, loving me, and bringing me home. Now I know that Jesus is not the man/personality of the Bible any more than I am this character, Myron. But he is my brother and he is in charge of the Atonement and he is here for me in whatever form that is. He cares deeply for me and my healing. He knows that we must all be healed if we are to be One again, and though the healing of the Sonship is a certainty, the time it takes is time in which we suffer. Jesus wants to shorten that time and I want this as well.
W-pI.70.10. 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. 2 You are free from all external interference. 3 You are in charge of your salvation. 4 You are in charge of the salvation of the world. 5 Say, then:
6 My salvation comes from me. 7 Nothing outside of me can hold me back. 8 Within me is the world’s salvation and my own.
Nothing but my own thoughts can hamper my progress.