Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.
W-pI.72.1. 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. 2 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.
Now we are getting to the crux of the matter. We have considered that we have our own plan for salvation and have looked honestly at it to admit that it is not working. We are told that God has a plan that will work but that it must be the only plan we use if we want the benefits. Now we are being shown that our plan (the ego’s plan) is an active attack on God.
It has been a long time since I first read this, but I am sure that I felt some trepidation at reading it. I would not have been comfortable with the idea that I was at war with God. A lot has changed since those early days and now I gladly embrace these ideas because I know I am not guilty, but am simply wrong and in need of correction. The title of the lesson assures me of a simple way to return my mind to its natural state of peace; I only need to give up my grievances and as we go through the lesson, we learn the root cause of all grievance, the grievance we have against God.
W-pI.72.2. The ego’s fundamental wish is to replace God. 2 In fact, the ego is the physical embodiment of that wish. 3 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. 4 The limit on communication cannot be the best means to expand communication. 5 Yet the ego would have you believe that it is.
Sometimes Jesus speaks to us as if we were the ego. That is because we think we are until we awaken to the truth. The truth is, we are not the ego. The ego is just a thought system representing our wish to be something we are not. Our error is that we have identified ourselves with the ego and have done so to the point of forgetting who we really are. We are like an actor who has played the same part for so long that he begins to take on the characteristics of his character even when not performing.
I am emphasizing this point because I understand this lesson now as a positive move toward God, but early on in my studies it seemed pretty scary to me. If the ego wants to replace God and I think I am the ego, that means I want to replace God. That is true only to the degree that I identify with the ego. I have awakened to the fact that I am not the ego and so I can look at this without guilt or fear. It is just a fact that needs my attention so that I can release the beliefs holding it in place within the mind.
In order for us to have an experience of separation, we needed a way to limit the unlimited, so we made bodies. These bodies gave us an illusion of being separate from each other. They seem to keep us alone and unable to reach other minds except through these bodies. In doing this, our communication was severely limited.
Instead of sharing all with all, we were sharing only what we wanted to share and only who we wanted to share it with, and the ego calls that communication. It seems normal to us, but it is a lonely way to exist and not our true nature. It also fosters suspicion. Have you not sometimes looked at a loved one and wondered if they were thinking unkind thoughts about you? That is just a single instance of how limited communication leads to unhappiness.
W-pI.72.3. 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. 2 But let us consider the kinds of things you are apt to hold grievances for. 3 Are they not always associated with something a body does? 4 A person says something you do not like. 5 He does something that displeases you. 6 He “betrays” his hostile thoughts in his behavior.
We might be suspicious of someone’s secret thoughts but it is in their behavior that we become certain of their betrayal. The body is the vehicle of behavior and we watch it closely to see if it is friend or foe in any moment. A husband appears uncommunicative and the wife thinks he is mad at her or does not love her. All the while, it may be that he had a bad day at work or is simply thinking of other things. A child grown and on their own no longer comes to her mother for advice or solace, and the mother feels abandoned. It may be that the young person is simply struggling for independence and learning how to be an adult.
W-pI.72.4. You are not dealing here with what the person is. 2 On the contrary, you are exclusively concerned with what he does in a body. 3 You are doing more than failing to help in freeing him from the body’s limitations. 4 You are actively trying to hold him to it by confusing it with him, and judging them as one. 5 Herein is God attacked, for if His Son is only a body, so must He be as well. 6 A creator wholly unlike his creation is inconceivable.
Oh my, how often have I done this? So many times, it seems. I have someone very close to me who is an alcoholic. When this first came to light and I watched as this body I loved seemed to be self-destructing in a way I could not understand, I attacked him. I didn’t think of it as an attack, but as an attempt to save him, but it was an attack. I was consigning him to the body and judging him to be the body. For a long time, I had almost completely lost touch with who he really is. In doing so, I failed to help him remember who he is.
Jesus says it goes further than this. He says that when we attack another, we attack God. If His Son is a body, and He created us in His image, then God must also be a body. We have, then in our minds, limited God in the same way we limited ourselves. And in so doing, we have attacked God’s plan for us.
W-pI.72.5. If God is a body, what must His plan for salvation be? 2 What could it be but death? 3 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. 4 The body’s apparent reality makes this view of God quite convincing. 5 In fact, if the body were real, it would be difficult indeed to escape this conclusion. 6 And every grievance that you hold insists that the body is real. 7 It overlooks entirely what your brother is. 8 It reinforces your belief that he is a body, and condemns him for it. 9 And it asserts that his salvation must be death, projecting this attack onto God, and holding Him responsible for it.
If we continue with this absurd conclusion that the body is real and who we are, and that God created us as bodies, then it can only mean that God who is supposed to be the giver of life is the taker of life. What a betrayal that is! We love God for giving us life and we hate God for His lie and fear Him for His power over us. No wonder we confuse love and fear and expect betrayal and abandonment from even those we love most.
Every grievance is against a body and overlooks entirely what we really are. I think we must hate bodies because buried deeply somewhere in our mind we know we are not small and fragile and doomed from the beginning to die. But when we think we are bodies, we tell ourselves that death is salvation. How often have you heard that we must die in order to reach Heaven, and when a loved one died, didn’t people say that he has gone to his reward?
Do we love God for that anticipated reward, or do we hate him for our loss? Do we love the body that died, or do we hate it for abandoning us? The body betrays us all through our lives and in the end is the greatest betrayal of all as life is extinguished. God betrays us all as the giver of life gives us death. No wonder we hold grievances against bodies, even the body we think of as God.
W-pI.72.6. To this carefully prepared arena, where angry animals seek for prey and mercy cannot enter, the ego comes to save you. 2 God made you a body. 3 Very well. 4 Let us accept this and be glad. 5 As a body, do not let yourself be deprived of what the body offers. 6 Take the little you can get. 7 God gave you nothing. 8 The body is your only savior. 9 It is the death of God and your salvation.
W-pI.72.7. This is the universal belief of the world you see. 2 Some hate the body, and try to hurt and humiliate it. 3 Others love the body, and try to glorify and exalt it. 4 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. 5 Your chosen savior takes His place instead. 6 It is your friend; He is your enemy.
Never before A Course in Miracles had I given thought to what it means to believe we are bodies. We made the bodies and chose to live like this and in our confusion and fear, we projected this travesty onto God. Then, like an angry child denied what he wants and failed to give himself, the ego says, fine, we will make the best of it. We will revel in these bodies for as long as they last. God gave us nothing, so we accept that and claim the ego as our savior. As long as we continue to believe the body is who we are, we attack God’s plan for our salvation, holding our grievance against Him and refusing to hear the Voice of truth. We make of God our enemy.
W-pI.72.8. We will try today to stop these senseless attacks on salvation. 2 We will try to welcome it instead. 3 Your upside-down perception has been ruinous to your peace of mind. 4 You have seen yourself in a body and the truth outside you, locked away from your awareness by the body’s limitations. 5 Now we are going to try to see this differently.
W-pI.72.9. The light of truth is in us, where it was placed by God. 2 It is the body that is outside us, and is not our concern. 3 To be without a body is to be in our natural state. 4 To recognize the light of truth in us is to recognize ourselves as we are. 5 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. 6 And wherever His plan is accepted, it is accomplished already.
That light that Jesus has been encouraging us to seek within ourselves is really who we are. We are the light. As we give up the idea that we are the body, we begin to recognize our true nature. It can be hard to accept, at first, that we are not these bodies, that we are unlimited light and love. It feels so alien to us, and yet, here we are on this path Home. Why is that? We are waking up as must we all, and we are doing so because now is the time.
The light of truth is in us, placed there by God. The body is outside us and as Jesus says, is not our concern. We can stop looking for salvation in the body. We will not find it there. We can stop looking for love in bodies; bodies do not love each other. We, the Sons of God, are not these limited bodies, we are Love Itself and it is in acknowledging our reality that we, for the first time since the idea of separation occurred in the mind, remember what it is to love. Let us accept His plan, let it be accomplished.
W-pI.72.10. Our goal in the longer practice periods today is to become aware that God’s plan for salvation has already been accomplished in us. 2 To achieve this goal, we must replace attack with acceptance. 3 As long as we attack it, we cannot understand what God’s plan for us is. 4 We are therefore attacking what we do not recognize. 5 Now we are going to try to lay judgment aside, and ask what God’s plan for us is:
6 What is salvation, Father? 7 I do not know. 8 Tell me, that I may understand.
9 Then we will wait in quiet for His answer. 10 We have attacked God’s plan for salvation without waiting to hear what it is. 11 We have shouted our grievances so loudly that we have not listened to His Voice. 12 We have used our grievances to close our eyes and stop our ears.
We are not asked to do what is difficult. We are just asked to stop trying to save ourselves through the ego’s plan, and let ourselves be told of the plan that will work. We are asked to stop fighting God and abandon ourselves to His Love. Lay aside your grievances and your judgments and let God speak to you through His Voice.
W-pI.72.11. Now we would see and hear and learn. 2 “What is salvation, Father?” 3 Ask and you will be answered. 4 Seek and you will find. 5 We are no longer asking the ego what salvation is and where to find it. 6 We are asking it of truth. 7 Be certain, then, that the answer will be true because of Whom you ask.
W-pI.72.12. 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:
2 What is salvation, Father? 3 I do not know. 4 Tell me, that I may understand.
5 He will answer. 6 Be determined to hear.
Earlier in the lessons, Jesus tells us to approach all things with love, appreciation and Openmindedness. This is perfect for our lesson. What I ‘hear’ now is not words. I receive love and appreciation. I receive peace and contentment. I receive certainty and fulfillment. Those are the words I can think of that come even a little close to the feeling I know when I set aside what I think I need and want and just allow and accept.
W-pI.72.13. One or perhaps two shorter practice periods an hour will be enough for today, since they will be somewhat longer than usual. 2 These exercises should begin with this:
3 Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation. 4 Let me accept it instead. 5 What is salvation, Father?
6 Then wait a minute or so in silence, preferably with your eyes closed, and listen for His answer.