Workbook Lesson Support Notes

by Allen Watson

Comments on Practice

Lesson 65 includes the interesting instruction to do the longer practice period at the same time on each of the following days and to decide this time in advance. It claims that being able to consciously set aside time in the day for God is an important part of the Holy Spirit’s training of our minds.

Lesson 66 includes a fascinating practice in which we spend ten to fifteen minutes thinking about a logical syllogism designed to prove that “My function must be happiness.”

Lesson 67: “Love created me like Itself.”

Meditation comes back in with this lesson, the purpose of which is to experience the blazing light of our changeless reality. We are asked to be confident that we will bring this awareness nearer, even if we feel unsuccessful. Note also that we are asked to repeat the idea 4 or 5 times an hour.

Lesson 68: “Love holds no grievances.”

An important forgiveness lesson in which we are told that we can let our grievances go if we are motivated, and we will be motivated if we can see how we would feel without them. Note also that with this lesson the practice again expands into the three-fold structure of longer practice period, frequent shorter ones and response to temptation.

Lessons 69–70: Going through the clouds

Practice comments:

These two lessons contain the same wonderful meditation: We visualize ourselves going through clouds to reach the light of our true mind. Lesson 70 contains the beautiful line that we can think of Jesus holding our hand and leading us and that this will be literally true. Note that lesson 70 asks for two longer practice periods. This holds through lesson 80.

Clarification:

What are the clouds? The Text (13.I.2:3 and 18.IX.8:1) called them the clouds of guilt. Lesson 41 called them our insane thoughts. Lesson 69 says they are grievances. Lesson 70 identifies them as all the external places from which we have sought salvation. The clouds, then, are all of these. They are our illusions, our insane thoughts, whose content is guilt, and whose form is the belief that we can find happiness in the things of the world.

Lessons 71–72: The “God’s Plan” series

Teaching goal:

To teach, of course, that the ego’s plan--which centers on holding grievances--will not work and is an attack on God’s plan. What is God’s plan? It seems to run the gamut from the basic path of forgiveness to specific events scheduled for each day.

Practice comments:

These lessons introduce a very important practice--asking God and listening for His answer.

Lesson 71 has many significant aspects, aside from introducing the practice of asking for guidance:

•          It focuses on the more specific aspect of God’s plan, asking very specifically what we should do today.

•          Note the encouragement that all you need is willingness to hear, and that doing the exercise means you have sufficient willingness. Doing the exercise means that you have the “little willingness” the Text speaks of.

•          Note also how full-blown this day’s practice is: Two ten-to-fifteen-minute longer practice periods; six to seven shorter practice periods per hour; plus a special practice given for response to temptation.

•          Also, note the important teaching in paragraphs 2 and 3, and the intimate connection between the idea of holding grievances and the previous lesson’s focus on seeking salvation outside yourself. “Each grievance…is a declaration…that says, ‘If this [outside thing] were different, I would be saved’" (2:4).

Lesson 72 also asks for an answer and also focuses on confidence in receiving that answer.


LESSON 65 -- March 6

My only function is the one God gave me.

Two things are necessary for total commitment to salvation: first, a decision to make that commitment, and second, a decision to relinquish any other commitment. If there is a secondary commitment it will detract from the first commitment, and make it less than total. Inevitably, it will compete with it. The same general idea was brought out in Lessons 26 and 27, “Above all else I want to see,” and “Above all else I want to see things differently.” In the current lesson, we are declaring that salvation is our “only function” (Title).

We’ve talked about the primary goal in a number of ways with different terms: salvation, spiritual vision, peace, forgiveness, happiness, our function. These are not different goals; they are merely different ways of describing one thing. But if I have a second goal there will be times when I find myself putting that goal ahead of salvation. For instance, I may decide that the satisfaction of having the last word is more important to me than being at peace, more important than forgiving. Total commitment to the goal of salvation means that I never allow anything to take precedence over my function of bringing salvation and forgiveness to the world, and over finding and maintaining my own peace of mind.

Notice the practice instructions: “Today, and for a number of days to follow, set aside ten to fifteen minutes for a more sustained practice period.” This long daily practice will continue through Lesson 80, the next two weeks! We are asked to try to do our practice at approximately the same time each day, at a time we set in advance and hold ourselves to. “The purpose of this is to arrange your day so that you have set apart the time for God” (4:3). This helps train us to make this our primary, our only goal. If other things can dislodge our set practice time, what does that say about our priorities?

Read through the detailed instructions for the practice period in paragraphs 5 to 7 and try to memorize them.The following capsule summary (as applied to today’s lesson) may help:

Longer: One time, for 10–15 minutes.

·      Review idea. Close eyes and repeat idea again.

·      Watch your mind carefully to catch any thoughts that arise to interfere with idea. Note each one dispassionately and dismiss it by saying: “This thought reflects a goal that is preventing me from accepting my only function.” As you run out of interfering thoughts, try for a minute longer to find (without strain) any that escaped your attention.

·      Then say: “On this clean slate let my true function be written for me”--or words to that effect.

·      Repeat idea again and for remainder of exercise think about it, and about the importance, desirability and happiness of your function.

The general pattern is:

Repeat the idea eyes open, then eyes closed.

Watch your mind for opposing thoughts, and dismiss each as you detect it.

Offer your mind as a clean slate to God.

Positively affirm the idea for the day and related thoughts.

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LESSON 66 -- March 7

My happiness and my function are one.

It’s easy to demonstrate to ourselves that fulfilling our function (forgiveness) makes us happy. Just try it!

It is perhaps less obvious that attributing any other function to ourselves besides forgiveness does not make us happy. Instead it makes us miserable.

Our function is determined either by God, or by the ego (8:1). God has given us the function of forgiveness. If I have a goal besides forgiveness that I make of primary importance, it must come from my ego. Then if anyone or anything gets in the way of that goal, I will not want to forgive them. I may not be able to forgive them. They are blocking my main purpose in life! But if forgiving is what makes me happy, then being attached to any other goal, which leads to unforgiveness, will always wind up making me unhappy. That “either/or” aspect, the dichotomy between truth and illusion, is what the lesson is trying to teach us. Either we choose to align ourselves with God’s purpose for our lives and find happiness, or we attempt to follow our own ego and make ourselves miserable. There are no other choices.

Remember the general pattern of the practice instructions, given yesterday. Today’s lesson does not, at first, seem to fit that pattern, but the practice given is really a variation of the pattern. The opening part of the practice, repeating the idea of the day, is expanded to include a consideration of the logical syllogism (if A is true and B is true, C must be true), adding support to the day’s idea with logic. Then, you “think also about the many forms the illusion of your function has taken in your mind, and the many ways in which you tried to find salvation under the ego’s guidance” (9:2). You are asked to honestly remember that the alternative goals did not bring happiness. This is the second part of the practice: Noticing opposing thoughts and dismissing them.

The remainder of the practice, reaffirming your acceptance of today’s idea, is only intimated in the words, “try to make this choice” (10:1–2) between madness and truth, but it is there.

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LESSON 67--March 8

“Love created me like Itself.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Purpose: To experience the blazing light of your changeless reality, if only for a moment. To replace your definition of God with His Own and include yourself in His definition.

Longer: One time, for 10–15 minutes.

·      Repeat idea.

·      Then spend a few minutes adding relevant thoughts, such as: “Holiness created me holy. Kindness created me kind. Helpfulness created me helpful.”

·      For a brief interval then try to let go of all thoughts.

·      Then, for remainder of exercise, try to reach past all self-images to your Self. If you get distracted, repeat idea. If this is not enough, add more relevant thoughts.

Remarks: The Self that Love created must be in you and able to be found. Be confident you will bring awareness of It nearer today, even if you feel unsuccessful.

Shorter: Four or five per hour.

Repeat the idea, think about it for a minute or less.

Remarks: Remember that this is not your tiny voice telling you this, but the Voice for God reminding you of the simple truth about you, replacing what you have told yourself.

COMMENTARY

The Course spends a disproportionate amount of space telling us what we are, how we were created like God, Who created us, and how that reality is “unchanged and unchangeable” (2:1). Lesson 229 virtually duplicates today’s thought: “Love, Which created me, is what I am.” Review V has us repeat the thought, “God is but Love, and therefore so am I,” every day for ten days. And then there are all the lessons on the theme, “I am as God created me;” three lessons with that direct topic (the only lesson given more than once in the same words, in 94, 110, and 162), several others in which the idea is repeated (132, 139, 237, and 260), and twenty review lessons (201 to 220) in which we repeat the words, “I am still as God created me,” daily. Evidently the Course thinks this idea is worth repeating!

In fact, today’s lesson tells us exactly why this thought is so important, and why repetition of it is so necessary:

“It will be particularly helpful today to practice the idea for the day as often as you can. You need to hear the truth about yourself as frequently as possible, because your mind is so preoccupied with false self-images. Four or five times an hour, and perhaps even more, it would be most beneficial to remind yourself that Love created you like Itself. Hear the truth about yourself in this.” (Paragraph 5)

We need to hear the truth about ourselves as often as we can because we have taught ourselves a false self-image, and we have taught ourselves very, very well. “Teach only love, for that is what you are” (T-6.I.13:2), is one of the most famous sayings in the Course, and emphasizes the same thing: What we are is Love, because Love created us like Itself.

How many of us, if asked, “What are you?” would find the word “love” springing immediately to our minds? For most of us, to think of ourselves as being love and only love is, to be kind, a stretch. We may think we have some love in us, but to think that Love is what we are? Not hardly. That’s why we need to hear it as often as possible, why we need to repeat the idea today four or five times an hour or more (5:3) during the day. That’s something like eighty times today, if we are awake sixteen hours.

Love is what I am. That is why I am the light of the world. That is why I am the world’s savior, and why the Christ in everyone looks to me for salvation--because what I am is the salvation of the world. (1:2–5) How differently would I live today if I knew this about myself?

Notice that the lesson does not expect us to “get” this idea all at once. If we were expected to grasp it right away, we wouldn’t have to repeat it eighty times. All we are looking for is to “realize fully, if only for a moment, that it is the truth” (1:6). Love is in us as our true Self, and we are attempting to get in touch with the Love within ourselves (3:2,3). We may not contact It directly today, but even the effort is worth it, although we may not feel we have succeeded: “Be confident that you will do much today to bring that awareness nearer, whether you feel you have succeeded or not” (4:4).

Some day, though, some time, we will succeed; perhaps even today. It’s inevitable because we cannot hide forever from what we are, we cannot escape from what is within us. At some point it will happen: “You will succeed in going…through the interval of thoughtlessness to the awareness of a blazing light in which you recognize yourself as Love created you” (4:3).

“You were created by Love like Itself” (6:4).

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LESSON 68--March 9

“Love holds no grievances.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Longer: One time, for 10–15 minutes.

•          Search your mind for those you hold major grievances against.

•          Then search your mind for those you hold seemingly minor grievances against.

•          Resolve to see them all as friends. Say to each in turn: “I would see you as my friend, that I may remember you are part of me and come to know myself.”

•          For the remainder, think of yourself surrounded by safety, at peace in a world you love and that loves you, in which nothing can harm you.

•          Conclude by saying: “Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.”

Remarks: You will realize you hold grievances against everyone. This has left you alone in your perception. You may think you cannot let these go, but you can if motivated. If you succeed today, you will never be without motivation again. For you will see how you would feel without grievances.

Shorter: Several per hour.

Say: “Love holds no grievances. I would wake to my Self by laying all my grievances aside and wakening in Him.”

Response To Temptation: Whenever you feel a grievance against anyone, quickly respond: “Love holds no grievances. Let me not betray my Self.”

COMMENTARY

This lesson is a powerful teaching on the effect that holding grievances has on our minds and our thinking.

To hold a grievance is to wish harm on someone; it is, whether we think of it that way or not, to “dream of hatred” (2:5). Some of us--perhaps most of us--have, at times, literally dreamed of revenge on someone we perceive as a victimizer. We have, possibly, consciously wished someone were dead. Probably, however, we have repressed conscious awareness of such thoughts and have deliberately forgotten we had them. Yet even “minor” grievances are the same thing, just in milder form. To hold a grievance is to feel you have been wronged, and the victimizer deserves to be punished for his or her wrong-doing. To wish someone would “get what s/he deserves” is no less hatred than to wish them dead.

“Love holds no grievances.” Holding a grievance is the converse of love; love and grievances are mutually exclusive. Yesterday’s lesson taught us that “Love created me like Itself.” To hold a grievance, then, is to deny that truth; it is an assertion that I am something other than love. We cannot know our Self as Love if we hold any grievances because holding a grievance is teaching us the exact opposite.

“Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind” (1:5). The teaching in the next several lines is meaty. Our Source is Love, and we are created like that Source. When we hold a grievance, we seem to be different from our Source, and therefore seem to be cut off from Him (1:6). We are not Love, and God is; we must be separate.

However, the mind cannot quite conceive of a source and its effect as being totally different; therefore, to cope with the logical dilemma, our mind conceives of God in our own imagined image: “It makes you believe that He is like what you think you have become” (1:7). We think God holds grievances, and dream up religions that speak of “sinners in the hands of an angry God.” We make an image of a vengeful, punitive God, and cower in terror away from His presence, fearful of our very existence.

The effects of grievances do not stop with seeming to split us off from God, making us different and separate, and then remaking God Himself into a terrifying, vindictive demon. Within us, our true Self seems to fall asleep and thus to disappear from active participation, while the part of us that “weaves illusions in its sleep appears to be awake” (2:1). We lose sight of our Self and imagine we are something else, a grievance-holding, petty “self,” angry at the world.

“Can all this arise from holding grievances? Oh, yes!” (2:2,3) We have redefined God in our own image. We suffer guilt. We have forgotten who we are. All this was inevitable for those that hold grievances.

We have not realized what damage we are doing to our own minds by holding grievances. This is why the Course teaches that forgiveness is not something we do for the sake of others; we do it for our own well-being.

It may not seem possible to give up all grievances; that’s understood by the lesson (4:2). It isn’t really a matter of possible or impossible, however; it’s just a matter of motivation. We can give up any grievance; the question is, do we want to? So this lesson sets out to increase our motivation by asking us to perform an experiment. Basically, it asks us to “try to find out how you would feel without them” (4:4). The idea is, quite simply, that if we can get a taste of what it feels like to be without grievances, we will prefer the new feeling. “Try it; you’ll like it!” as the commercial says. And once we are motivated, once we want to let grievances go--we will. Our minds have that much power.

Notice the use of the words “trying” and “try” in paragraph 6. We are basically doing an exercise in imagination here. Imagine being at peace with everyone. Imagine feeling completely safe, surrounded by love and loving all that surrounds you. Imagine--even just for an instant--that nothing can harm you; that you are invulnerable and totally secure, and that what’s more, there is nothing that wants to harm you even if it could. If you can “succeed even by ever so little, there will never be a problem in motivation ever again” (4:5).

Once you get a taste of what this state of mind feels like you are going to want it. Because it feels really good! You are going to become willing to do whatever it takes to experience this more and more, for longer and longer, until it becomes permanent.

I want to emphasize that today’s lesson isn’t telling us, “Get rid of all your grievances.” It isn’t laying down a law and making us guilty for having grievances. It is simply trying to motivate us to want to let them go, first by showing us how much pain (illusory harm, but real in our experience) our grievances are bringing to our minds, and then by getting us to experience what a mind without grievances feels like. It is getting us to recognize that holding a grievance is a betrayal--not of God, not of anyone else, but a betrayal of ourselves as Love. Grievances make us believe we are something we are not, and that we are not what we really are.

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LESSON 69--March 10

“My grievances hide the light of the world in me.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Purpose: Another attempt to experience the light in you.

Longer: One time, for 10–15 minutes.

·      For several minutes think about the importance to yourself and the world of attempting to see past the veil that hides the world’s salvation. Realize that salvation is our only purpose, goal, function and need, and be determined to look on it.

·      Then, with eyes closed, let go of all your thoughts. Picture your mind as a vast circle of light surrounded and hidden by a layer of dark clouds. You seem to be standing outside your mind and so the clouds seem to be all there is.

·      In perfect stillness be determined to pass the clouds. Feel yourself travelling through them. Feel them on your face. If you are successful, you will feel the power of God lifting you up and carrying you ahead. Hold in your mind the confidence that what you attempt with God must succeed because God will answer your attempt. Then let His power work in and through you.

Shorter: As often as possible.

Say: “My grievances hide the light of the world in me. I cannot see what I have hidden. Yet I want to let it be revealed to me, for my salvation and the salvation of the world.”

Response To Temptation: Whenever tempted to hold a grievance, say: “If I hold this grievance the light of the world will be hidden from me.”

COMMENTARY

I am the light of the world, but the light cannot shine out because my grievances hide it. When I let my grievances go, the light is released, and releases my brother and myself. My job with everyone I meet is to share my salvation with him.

Today’s practice is another time of attempting to “reach the light in you” (2:1), or in other words, to become aware of my Self as God created It, wholly loving and wholly loveable. Notice how the form of this practice is similar to what we’ve seen before; it is a pattern that is repeated often in the Workbook in different forms. In general, the pattern is one of attempting to move past, or move through, or let go of the thoughts that normally occupy my mind, settling down in deep stillness, and reaching beyond my surface thoughts to something deep within myself, a Self I am not normally aware of. This could be called the Course method of meditation. It is one of the tools given to us by the Workbook, and should be learned and used even after Workbook practice per se has ended.

What we are trying to reach is “dearer to us than all else” (3:1). Reaching it, finding it, and releasing it to the world is our only purpose and only function on earth. “Learning salvation is our only goal” (3:4). I love the poignant imagery of this sentence: “We are trying to let the veil be lifted, and to see the tears of God’s Son disappear in the sunlight” (2:5). Can you feel that tug with me, that longing to release the light of the world that is in you?

There is a light that this world cannot give. Yet you can give it, as it was given you. And as you give it, it shines forth to call you from the world and follow it. For this light will attract you as nothing in this world can do (T-13.VI.11:1–4).

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LESSON 70--March 11

“My salvation comes from me.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

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: Two times, 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 at the same times today and each of the following days. Try to decide this time in advance and adhere to it.

Shorter: Frequent.

Say: “My salvation comes from me. Nothing outside of me can hold me back. Within me is the world’s salvation and my own.”

COMMENTARY

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 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 aren’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 wants us to be healed and happy; so do we. Therefore our will is one with God’s. We have been choosing 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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LESSON 71--March 12

“Only God’s plan for salvation will work.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Longer: Two times, for 10–15 minutes.

·      Think about the two parts of today’s idea: 1. God’s plan will work; 2. Other plans will not. Do not be angry at the second, for it is implied by the first, and the first is your release.

·      For remainder of exercise, ask God to specifically reveal His plan to you: “What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?”

Remarks: God will answer according to your willingness to hear. The fact that you are doing the exercise means you have some willingness.

Shorter: Six or seven per hour, for half a minute or less.

Repeat idea, remember the Source of your salvation and where It is.

Response To Temptation: Whenever tempted to hold a grievance, say: “Holding grievances is the opposite of God’s plan for salvation. And only His plan will work.”

COMMENTARY

After being told yesterday that salvation comes from me and only from me, it is a little annoying the next day to be told that only God’s plan will work and that the plan I believe in (which is the ego’s) isn’t worth anything. It kind of seems like give and then take away, doesn’t it? But it isn’t really saying anything different. The ego’s plan involves looking for salvation outside of myself; God’s plan is wholly centered on my change of mind. In God’s plan, salvation comes from me; in the ego’s plan, it comes from any place except me.

To the ego, salvation means “that if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved” (2:2). In the ego’s view, basically I’m okay, I am the innocent victim; the problem is with something outside of me. Whenever I am thinking, “If this were different, I’d be okay,” I am believing in the ego’s plan of salvation because I am demanding “the change of mind necessary for salvation…of everyone and everything except” myself (2:5).

Don’t get tripped up by the religious sounding phrase, “plan for salvation.” It may remind you of some cheap Bible tract announcing “God’s plan of salvation.” What salvation boils down to here is simply, “I‘d be okay; my problems would be solved.” And the ego’s plan, simply stated, is “If this were different, I would be saved.”

In the ego’s plan, the mind’s only purpose is to figure out what has to change for me to be saved (which presupposes that it isn’t me that has to change). The ego will let us pick anything that won’t work (which includes everything in the class of things I am looking at--things outside of myself--since salvation comes from me and not something outside me). The ego has me look everywhere but in the one place in which the answer lies--my own mind.

God’s plan for salvation is that I look for it where it is: in myself.

For this plan to work, however, there is a condition: I have to look in myself and nowhere else. I can’t be looking for salvation in myself and from outside. This just divides my efforts between two different plans. There are two parts to today’s idea: 1) God’s plan will work, and 2) Other plans (i.e. the plans I make up) won’t work.

The second part, the lesson implies, may seem depressing. We may feel a flare of anger. In fact, what keeps us from simply accepting God’s plan is that we want to be right; we want our plans to work. We’d rather be right than happy, most of the time, although we don’t consciously think that. But the ego’s plan consists of holding grievances. Haven’t you ever had the experience of realizing that you could just let a grievance go and be happy, but that somehow it seems to feel good to be angry? You don’t want to let go. You’d rather be right than happy.

The lesson is saying, “You can be saved simply by changing your mind. Nothing outside you has to change in order for you to be happy. You can simply choose happiness, right now.” And our response, typically? “Hell, no! I won’t be happy unless s/he changes first.” We’re holding on to our plan for salvation and refusing God’s.

Surprisingly, the practice for today is not primarily about letting go of grievances, or looking within for salvation. It is about listening. It is about asking guidance from God. The emphasis is on taking our hands off the reins of our lives and giving them over to God. If we can learn to do that, we may begin to learn that His plans work better than our own.