[acimlessons_list] Lesson 72 - March 13
sue at circleofa.org
Sun Mar 13 13:57:00 EDT 2011
Lesson 72 - March 13
"Holding grievances is an attack on God's plan for salvation."
Purpose: to stop attacking God's plan by miscasting it as something it's
not. To instead welcome it as it is, and realize it has already been
accomplished in you.
Longer: 2 times, for 10-15 minutes
This is another exercise in trying to hear God's Voice. This time you are
asking God what His plan for salvation is, in order to replace your
assumptions about what it is. Your grievances have depicted God in your
image, as a separate body who feels wronged by the misbehavior of others
(which includes your misbehavior). In this view, for you to become
reconciled with Him, He demands (like any ego) that you sacrifice your
pleasures on His behalf and pay the price for your misdeeds. Can't you see
that this view of His plan is why you've pushed it away? In the practice
period, lay aside your assumptions about what God's plan is and ask Him what
it is. Ask, "What is salvation, Father? I do not know [try to mean this].
Tell me, that I may understand." While listening, the attitude you hold is
everything. Be confident that He will answer. "Be determined to hear"
(12:6). When you feel your confidence wane, repeat the question again,
consciously "remembering that you are asking of the infinite Creator of
infinity, Who created you like Himself" (12:1). It may help to vary the
wording of the sentences. For instance, "What is Your plan for salvation? I
let go of my assumptions. I really want to understand it." Listen for the
faintest promptings. Trust what you hear. You may want to write it down
Frequent reminders: 1, maybe 2, per hour, for a minute or so
Say, "Holding grievances is an attack on God's plan for salvation. Let me
accept it instead. What is salvation, Father?" Then wait in silence and
listen for His answer, preferably with eyes closed.
This is a long lesson, and a tough one. The scope of ideas presented here is
daunting even to an experienced student of the Course (including me). There
is no way I can give any detailed explanation of all the ideas in this brief
commentary, so I am mainly going to focus on a few interesting ideas.
The general thrust of the argument here is that holding grievances is always
concerned in some way with the behavior of a body. Grievances thus confuse
the person with his body; they are based on the assumption that bodies are
what we are, and bodies are what God created. Since bodies die, God is a
liar when He promises life. Death is the ultimate punishment for our sins,
and that is what God gives us.
The ego then comes into the picture in the role of "savior," telling us,
"OK, you're a body. So take the little you can get" (6:6). We see salvation
as some kind of bodily function. Either we hate our bodies and humiliate
them or we love them and try to exalt them (7:2-3).
As long as "the body stands at the center of your concept of yourself, you
are attacking God's plan for salvation" (7:4). Because God's plan has
nothing to do with the body; it concerns the mind, the being you are.
One primary thing the lesson is trying to get across is that we are not
bodies. "It is the body that is outside us, and is not our concern. To be
without a body is to be in our natural state" (9:2-3). This flies in the
face of our common perception. The nearly universal assumption of man is
that we are <inside> our bodies. To say the body is <outside> us seems to
make no sense at all. But actually, it isn't an entirely inconceivable idea.
There is a way of understanding how our awareness can <appear> to be in the
body when in fact it is elsewhere.
You are all, to some degree, computer folks, so probably you are at least
familiar with the idea of virtual reality. My son, Ben, is getting his Ph.D.
at Georgia Tech in virtual reality. Not long ago he visited VR laboratories
in Japan, where they were experimenting with VR in connection with robots.
He put on a VR helmet (so his eyes and ears now beheld and heard what was
projected on the screen of the helmet or played through its speakers); he
wore a VR sleeve on his arm and hand. These were connected to a robot, which
had a camera and microphone on its "head" and whose mechanical arm and hand
responded to the movements of Ben's arm and hand. He was seeing what the
robot "saw," hearing what it "heard," and picking up objects with its hand.
Then, he had a very odd experience. He turned his (the robot's) head, looked
across the room, and saw his fleshly body sitting on the other side, wearing
all this weird-looking gear. Ben's awareness was inside the robot, although
his body was on the other side of the room. He seemed to be separate from
Our bodies, I believe, are very much like that VR robot. Our minds receive
only the input of the body's eyes and ears, and so we are fooled into
thinking we are inside of it. In reality we are "somewhere else," not inside
the body at all. What we are seeing in our bodies is, in truth, only
"virtual reality." The body is "outside" of us in fact, and being without a
body is our natural state.
One of the aims of the Course is to help us "see our Self as separate from
the body" (9:5). I hope these thoughts provide a little help in
conceptualizing that possibility.
The practice periods have us focusing on asking, "What is salvation, Father?
I do not know" (10:6-7). The intent is to get us to let go of our existing
ideas of "salvation," which are all focused on the body, either exalting it
or abasing it, so that something else can take the place of those ideas.
Salvation lies in acceptance of what we are--and what we are is <not> a
body. The lesson leaves the answering of the question about salvation to our
inner listening. If we ask, it says, something will answer us (11:3; 12:5).
<Explanatory note: The logic behind the first two sentences of paragraph
five is particularly difficult to grasp. Why, if God is a body, must His
plan for salvation be death? Robert and I puzzled over this one morning and
decided that the meaning seems to be that, if God is a body as we are (in
the ego's eyes), then any plan of salvation such as God's real plan which
involves dis-engaging from the body and identifying with spirit must really
be an attempt to kill us--to remove us from our bodies which are our
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