Lesson 71 2021

Lesson 71

Can a special relationship be salvation? The ego thinks so.

Only God’s plan for salvation will work.

W-pI.71.1. You may not realize that the ego has set up a plan for salvation in opposition to God’s. 2 It is this plan in which you believe. 3 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. 4 This sounds preposterous, of course. 5 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 in it.

W-pI.71.2. The ego’s plan for salvation centers around holding grievances. 2 It maintains that, if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved. 3 Thus, the source of salvation is constantly perceived as outside yourself. 4 Each grievance you hold is a declaration, and an assertion in which you believe, that says, “If this were different, I would be saved.” 5 The change of mind necessary for salvation is thus demanded of everyone and everything except yourself.

Oh, yes, this is what I used to believe. I never thought of it as the ego’s plan for salvation, but of course, it is. For a while, as I was learning to release this thought, I would often remind myself that “If this were different, I would be saved” was the ego and would not help me. That consistent reminder that I was on the wrong track if I wanted to be happy, helped me to change my mind and to ask for another way to see it.  

W-pI.71.3. 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. 2 According to this insane plan, any perceived source of salvation is acceptable provided that it will not work. 3 This ensures that the fruitless search will continue, for the illusion persists that, although this hope has always failed, there is still grounds for hope in other places and in other things. 4 Another person will yet serve better; another situation will yet offer success. 

I never hold this belief, but I do sometimes still have the thought show up. There was a TV show, The Mentalist, where I found the main character really appealing. When the show ended, I felt surprisingly sad. When I asked what that was about, I was given the thought that this represented a special relationship, one that I am unlikely to experience again in this lifetime, and that I was mourning that.  

So, I asked the Holy Spirit to heal the belief that there is any value in special relationships. It is an old belief that if only I found that one person to love, then life would be complete. This is the kind of “seek and do not find” salvation the ego offers us. That said, should another relationship occur in my life, I might accept it and offer it to the Holy Spirit for purification.  

This is not about doing or not doing something; it is about why we are doing it. If I think that I need something outside my own mind to be happy, I am mistaken, and I have no desire to look there anymore in spite of the ego’s attempt to attract me to it, or to at least regret that it isn’t happening. The ego would like to set aside at least this one area in which there is more to explore and maybe this time things will be different. Maybe this time, specialness will be mine and I will be satisfied. I know that this will never work and so I am not tempted to try once again to gain happiness where it can’t be found. 

W-pI.71.4. Such is the ego’s plan for your salvation. 2 Surely you can see how it is in strict accord with the ego’s basic doctrine, “Seek but do not find.” 3 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? 

There are so many ways in which we look for salvation where it cannot be found. Some of them are obvious, but sometimes they can be more subtle. Because that is so, I watch for feelings of regret or longing, or simple discontent. If my mind thinks I would be happy if only… that tells me that I think I would be saved if I could have my way.  

Because circumstances have changed since I bought my house, I had the thought that I would really like to move. I could see the thought that moving would make me happy (save me) and so I gave that thought to Jesus and told him that if it was in my best interest, I would like to move. Otherwise, I was happy to have my little house and grateful for it. I feel the truth of that and watch for feelings otherwise so I can laugh at the idea a different place to live was salvation. 

W-pI.71.5. God’s plan for salvation works simply because, by following His direction, you seek for salvation where it is. 2 But if you are to succeed, as God promises you will, you must be willing to seek there only. 3 Otherwise, your purpose is divided and you will attempt to follow two plans for salvation that are diametrically opposed in all ways. 4 The result can only bring confusion, misery and a deep sense of failure and despair. 

Ah, this is so important. We must be willing to seek there only. If I hold some part of the mind separate to do the will of the small ego, I will not succeed. It would be like trying to get to a place in the north by traveling both east and west. Or even if I traveled north and then would travel awhile south and back and forth, if I ever arrived at my destination, it would have taken a very long time. I have decided that I want to arrive and so I go in the direction given me by the Holy Spirit, ignoring any ego desire to take a side road. 

W-pI.71.6. How can you escape all this? 2 Very simply. 3 The idea for today is the answer. 4 Only God’s plan for salvation will work. 5 There can be no real conflict about this, because there is no possible alternative to God’s plan that will save you. 6 His is the only plan that is certain in its outcome. 7 His is the only plan that must succeed. 

W-pI.71.7. Let us practice recognizing this certainty today. 2 And let us rejoice that there is an answer to what seems to be a conflict with no resolution possible. 3 All things are possible to God. 4 Salvation must be yours because of His plan, which cannot fail. 

I am 72 this year and I have tried so many paths that the ego said would make me happy, that would save me. None have ever done so. Now I am relieved to know there is a Guide that I can depend on. I don’t have to figure out what to do or where to go or what to say. I just follow. My strong desire for the final resolution overrides any temptation from the ego. The ego still tries to assert itself but I don’t have any interest. I know my purpose and I will stay with it. If I do wander off the path, the rocky ground will remind me to return to the smooth easy path of the Holy Spirit. 

W-pI.71.8. 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. 2 God’s plan for your salvation will work, and other plans will not. 3 Do not allow yourself to become depressed or angry at the second part; it is inherent in the first. 4 And in the first is your full release from all your own insane attempts and mad proposals to free yourself. 5 They have led to depression and anger; but God’s plan will succeed. 6 It will lead to release and joy. 

I have done enough clearing of my mind to witness to this truth. It is not perfectly done yet, but enough so that I am happy and peaceful most of the time. This success strengthened my resolution. I used to think it was hard work undoing the ego. Now I understand that the only thing that made it hard was my delay in making God’s plan my only plan. It was the conflict of choosing first one plan and then another entirely contradictory plan that wearied me. It all began to come together once I decide on one goal. I knew that above all else, I wanted the peace of God, and so I kept deciding on what brought me closer to that goal. The more I did this, the easier and more joyful the work. 

W-pI.71.9. Remembering this, let us devote the remainder of the extended practice periods to asking God to reveal His plan to us. 2 Ask Him very specifically: 

3 What would You have me do?
4 Where would You have me go?
5 What would You have me say, and to whom? 

6 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. 7 He will answer in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice. 8 Refuse not to hear. 9 The very fact that you are doing the exercises proves that you have some willingness to listen. 10 This is enough to establish your claim to God’s answer. 

We don’t have to be fully committed to this Course to begin it. When I first started, I spent years just building my willingness so that I could commit further. Everyone moves at the rate that is best for them. Slow and steady was perfect for me and I don’t regret a moment of it. But for someone else, a faster pace might be just the thing. It is really all about willingness.  

I will say that for a while I refused to believe that I could hear the Voice for God when all along, I could hear it but refused to accept it. That was my resistance. God gave us a Voice because He wanted us to hear it. Could it be He would have made it hard or impossible to receive what He wants us to have? If you have trouble overcoming the ego voice, many people have received help in learning how to hear His Voice through a simple, inexpensive self-study course from Pathways of Light. It is Listen and Receive. I am going to include the link in case you might like to make use of this very helpful tool.  

W-pI.71.10. In the shorter practice periods, tell yourself often that God’s plan for salvation, and only His, will work. 2 Be alert to all temptation to hold grievances today, and respond to them with this form of today’s idea: 

3 Holding grievances is the opposite of God’s plan for salvation. 4 And only His plan will work. 

5 Try to remember today’s idea some six or seven times an hour. 6 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. 

Being alert to temptation to hold grievances and responding with today’s idea is a sure way to clear the mind of ego thinking. 

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