“...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…” ACIM, Workbook page 124, Lesson 72
God’s Will for mankind is the return to the original state of oneness in Heaven. “God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you…” T268. God’s Plan for us seemingly separated individuals is to awaken from the dreams of the ego and to remember our oneness with each other and with Him. One method of awakening is forgiveness—forgiveness of others for what they haven’t really done (because the separation hasn’t really happened) and forgiveness of oneself for having the dream of separation. If you hold a grievance against someone it means you haven’t forgiven him and so you are unable to awaken from the dream because you are taking the ego seriously. It also means you are identifying with that person’s physical form, which is the home of the ego. That is why holding a grievance is an attack on God’s plan of forgiveness and awakening.
Jesus explains in Lesson 72 that whenever we hold grievances it is because of what the ‘body’ of another person has done, such as saying or doing something upsetting. Therefore, we are confusing others with their bodies, when they are not their bodies. If we consider others to be bodies, this means that we are attacking God because, “…if His Son is only a body, so must He be as well. A creator wholly unlike his creation is inconceivable.” W124. If we believe that God is a body, we are placing limits upon Him that cannot exist and in this way we are attacking Him and His plan for salvation.
In Lesson 71, Jesus explains that the ego’s plan centres on holding grievances and blaming external factors, other people and circumstances for our problems. If we blame someone, it means we haven’t forgiven him. The ego maintains, that, “If someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance of event were changed, you would be saved. Thus the source of salvation is constantly perceived as outside yourself…” W121. But God’s plan involves going within and asking the Holy Spirit for guidance to help lead us to the truth and to awaken from the dream. If we remember that the Holy Spirit is the Voice for God, then we can see that God’s plan will lead us from illusion to truth, whilst the ego’s plan will keep us in darkness.
Lesson 72 makes a very important point: “To be without a body is to be in our natural state.” Yet, all of us spend most of our lives preserving, protecting, feeding, clothing and pampering the body. Jesus is not asking us to sacrifice our bodies but he is pointing out that, “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.” W125. We don’t neglect our bodies but we try to remember that we are not our bodies, and we use our bodies to help us awaken from the ego’s dream world.
In Chapter 27, Section VIII, entitled The ‘Hero’ of the Dream, Jesus tells us that everything we do focuses on the body. The following passage is particularly interesting: “The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to prove it is autonomous and real. It puts things on itself which it has bought with little metal discs or paper strips the world proclaims as valuable and good. It works to get them, doing senseless things, and tosses them away for senseless things it does not need, and does not even want. It hires other bodies, that they may protect it, and collect more senseless things that it can call its own. It looks about for special bodies which can share its dream….” T585.
We can all identify with the previous passage because these are things we do all the time in our dream world. In Lesson 72 Jesus is trying to get us to realise that we are eternal spirit, because that is how God created us. He says that we believe we are our bodies and that the truth is outside us but we need to see things differently. We need to go within and ask God for the truth. He asks us to call upon God and say, “What is salvation, Father? I do not know. Tell me, that I may understand.”
I called upon the Holy Spirit and asked Him about salvation. This was His reply: “Salvation is being restored to your oneness with God. It is very simple. It is returning to your pre-separated state of pure spirit, created by God as an extension of Himself. And as He extends only love, you are an aspect of God’s Love.” I then asked Him how I could achieve salvation whilst I still appear to have a physical body. He replied: “You begin to identify less and less with your physical body. You just know that you are the Self, created by God, who has chosen for some reason to manifest a physical form. Yet, you do not worry about the body, because the spirit has eternal life, which is something the physical body can never achieve. You don’t neglect your body but you use it to extend love to others and to extend forgiveness. And when the time comes for your mortal body to pass away, you feel no regret only joy at the thought of returning to your oneness with God in Heaven.”
Wow! But I suppose for that to happen it means we must have completed all our forgiveness lessons and awoken from the dream of separation because, if not, we can be pretty sure that we will be back here (or elsewhere) again, identifying with another physical form until we ultimately awaken.
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