A Course In Miracles Lesson 71
A Course In Miracles Lesson 71 states: Only God’s plan for salvation will work. Which I translate as: There is only one way that leads to Grace.
Today’s lesson points us towards the idea that there are many many ways of doing something and many possible arrangements of situations. And within all these options, there is one arrangement that will yield perfectly graceful results. There is a way to do things rightly. There is a way to respond that leads to astounding symmetry. And that particular arrangement brings us into contact with the grace of Creation.
This idea of the right order to things can best be seen in Albrecht Dürer’s painting Melencolia where he recorded what is known as a “magic square.” In this square, it can be seen that this specific arrangement of numbers enables every single column, including the diagonals to total the sum of 34. The sum 34 can also be calculated from the corner squares, each quadrant of four, the center four squares as well as in the 3 x 3 grids… 34 can in fact be calculated in any number of arrangements you might be able to discover. To have one number out of place would prevent the astounding grace of this expression which is a visual teaching that there is one specific way of doing things that leads to Grace.
So today’s lesson indirectly draws our attention to how we are going about life. What motivations are fueling our actions and our words? What are we after? What do we think we are after but in fact are headed in the opposite direction? Can we ask ourselves why we want what we think we want? If we got it, what would that bring us? Once we identify what it is we are really after, can we open ourselves up to receiving that aim in other ways? Can we consider that we may not need to achieve that goal in the exact play-by-play scenario we have conjured? Can we let ourselves not know where Grace might come from and situate our attitude to be one of curiosity and discovery?
From yesterday’s lesson, we learned that when we hold a grievance we are unhappy about how something turned out. A grievance indicates that we believe we know how things should go for us in order to lead to our happiness. But if we recall from Lesson 25 that in actuality, we do not have all the information we need to be able to know what would truly be best for us and everyone. When we pursue a specific outcome we want, we are not mentally capable of considering all the ripple effects that outcome would have on us and others. This is why we often feel a swinging back and forth from good fortune to bad fortune, good news to bad news.
What we think will bring us peace is not fully informed and we are constantly learning how our ideas of something did not lead to what we thought they would lead to. When we hold an awareness of the fact that we do not perceive our own best interest and we develop a trust in the Creative Field which does perceive (and want) our best interests, we can let ourselves be guided through the strangeness of all the scenarios we encounter.
A Course In Miracles Lesson 71 wants us to release the strain of trying to make decisions without all the information and to realize that there is a way of perceiving, there is an attitude of discovery that can best serve us in achieving our inherent desires. All our desires are a desire for peace and joy. Keeping that aim in mind, we can let go of how we believe peace and joy are achieved. Finding peace, joy, and grace is a science. Science is the discovery of that which is true and enduring regardless of conditions. Something true does not change. Truth is always true. It is an eternal state of being. This is why truth is very difficult to locate in physical objects which all shift and fade away. What is true is of an energy quality, not a physical structure. The structure may hold the energy, but it will not hold it forever. All structures fade. What is true remains even when the physical expression of truth has shifted away.
In our daily life, we do not have the ability to know how all the myriad of scenarios ought to unfold for our happiness to be maintained. All we can know is that all our desires are founded on the one desire for peace and wellness. There is only ever one strategy we need to navigate any situation. Determine what action or word will lead towards relief and peace?
As human beings, we are always navigating the difficulty of having a split mind. Our brains are two brains. One half of our mind believes we are separate, alone, and fully responsible for making sure we get what we deserve in this life. The other half of our mind knows we are connected, important, and not responsible for figuring things out. The isolated mind within us makes very different decisions and draws very different conclusions compared with the connected mind within us.
The isolated mind believes that isolation is what is true and real. This part of our mind teaches us to never stop striving for unity but at the same time, never believe that achieving unity will ever be possible. The separated part of our mind (the ego) teaches us to seek but never find, to stay separate but ache for wholeness. The ego asks us to believe that wholeness is unattainable and that pain is what life is all about. To follow such instruction will always lead to suffering because that is its main aim. To follow such a plan will never lead to what it promises to lead to.
The connected part of our mind is silent and peaceful in response to the ego part of us. The connected part of us does not argue with the ego because the connected part (being connected as it is) KNOWS that all is well. We have within us, a true knowing of truth because it is not possible to not know truth. Truth is. And it speaks for itself always. Our connected mind has no need of convincing anyone of actual facts. It simply knows connection is reality and that the separated mind is simply in error. The error is not a problem to the connected part of our mind and it does not trouble us. The error in belief, (the belief that isolation is possible) is only a problem for the part of us believing that error. It does no other harm than to that part of us, causing it suffering because to believe in separation is deeply painful. A Course in Miracles invites us to release all belief in separation and sense our connections. We are part of a woven fabric. The single thread that we are is essential in the whole and it can not ever be removed.
A Course In Miracles Lesson 71 explains today that our separate mind has plans for us. That plan ensures that separation and isolation continue to be our main experiences because the separated mind wants to make true something that will always eventually be revealed as untrue. The technical way the separated mind goes about trying to maintain a belief in isolation is through the process of holding grievances. A grievance is actually a hope that physical reality will one day be forever reliable. A grievance is a belief that something should have happened differently than it occurred. A grievance is a belief that peace can not be achieved until that situation has been addressed properly either with apologies from someone or with justice and punishment being served to a wrong-doer.
We do not need anything to happen to anyone else in order for us to locate our own well-being. Everyone’s decisions lead to the results of those decisions. Rest assured that no one who has behaved wrongly will be able to evade the results of that error. We may not be there when those results arrive for that person, but we do not need to spend time making sure the score is settled. Leave it to the larger, greater Field to settle someone else’s situation and focus solely on how your choices, your attention, your actions can begin to align, like Durer’s magic box, in the way that leads to experiencing peace and joy more often.
If someone is not going to listen to us, nothing in our power will get them to do so. The fact that we are not getting through to them is the reality we need to recognize. What we think should happen is not happening. How long will we follow a plan for restoring peace with someone who is choosing to align with conflict and isolation? In such a situation, choosing peace would be choosing to let that person go on their own way and put down the fight with them. Putting down the fight with them is equal to putting down the fight within ourselves and choosing the connected mind.
There is only one way through any painful outcome. Release all need for the situation to be different from what it is, release all grievances, and remember we do not understand how this world works. We alone are not capable of determining the best outcome for our lives. But as we learn more and more how to follow peace, our responses begin to guide us towards more and more satisfying results. We will never reach a Nirvana state while alive. Such a state is not needed in a physical form. And that state is ultimately guaranteed at the end. While we are here, we are learning how to expand our capacity to expand. We are learning how to learn. We are experiencing adversity as a means towards peace until ultimately, we will no longer need the tool of adversity to confirm the existence of peace. We will put down learning through pain and begin, for the first time to start learning through joy.
Do not let ending pain be what motivates you towards seeking peace. Seek peace even before the pain starts simply because feeling good feels good! The symbol and story of Christ on the cross was meant to be say, put down pain as a tool for learning. Put down learning what pain teaches. It only teaches pain. Do not carry a cross. Life is not a burden. Decide that joy is the meaning of life.
The ego wants you to believe that you need a person or a situation to change before you can be at peace. The problem with this plan, (which the ego is well aware of) is that it requires the volatile to be reliable, which it can never do. The physical world is not where we look to find peace. The physical world is what we learn how to move through in a peaceful way. The Self wants you to understand that you ARE peace and can not be anything else, no matter how deeply you have forgotten yourself. Nothing needs to be different from what it is now for you to find peace now. You can get to anywhere from anywhere. Move in the direction of believing in the existence of eternal wellness. Hold space for the argument occurring within you that wants to doubt your interconnectedness.
The path to peace is a decision to align with a belief in connection and to refuse any other teachings but that. If we do not decide to recognize the one pathway as the right way towards peace, we will hold two different plans at once. Our actions will counter each other because we will be working at cross purposes. We must choose truth actively and with conviction as the only way to peace. This choice comes from a strong conviction that these daily exercises are strengthening. Finding the truth inside illusions can not be a mere interest. It must be a passion… it must be our only passion. Because that is the purpose of this life. We must, above all else, want to believe in connection rather than isolation. The strength to choose connection grows stronger the more you choose to believe in connection. Truth is a way of life, a vow, and the only Self-made purpose there is to find.
When A Course In Miracles Lesson 71 states that Only God’s plan for salvation will work, it is recognizing the first step needed to achieve peace. Stop arguing about the existence of an eternally peaceful spiritual dimension and let that dimension be recognized as real in your daily life. Let that dimension be where your mind goes for help through situations and when you can not hear any guidance, we are asked to learn how to sit quietly and grow still enough for the answer to be able to reach us. If we can not hear or see clearly what our next action should be, sit, connect to the Loving Field and ask,
“What would you have me do here? Where would you have me go? What would you have me say and to whom so that peace can unfold through me into this world?”
Sit, listen, wait and know, you will be told what you need to know exactly when you need it. There is nothing the power of the Universe cannot do and the Universe loves love. Align with this power and let it move you. Be restful in order to receive the movements that will amaze and transport you and others forward. Relaxation is essential for receiving the movement that is Grace.
You may be asking why it is so hard to hear that inner voice? Why doesn’t it speak up and run things more affirmatively? To this question, we remind you that free will is the foundation of all creation. Creation is voluntary and never forced or imposed. You must always choose to let Creation in and this is the greatest gift Creation can give you because that is the gift of empowerment. Your capacity to hear the voice of Grace within you will always be in exact proportion to your willingness to receive that voice and your willingness to put your own self-made conclusions aside.
When something does not happen the way we think it should, we hold a grievance. Grievances block the voice of God who is perfectly capable of working with whatever situation you happen to be in, but not until you believe the same as God believes. Your willingness is the locating of the Voice.
Try to remember today’s lesson six or seven times an hour today. That is a big push for strengthening our conviction. Today we cultivate a passion for the small still voice of truth within. We clear away what might muffle it and let it glow at any strength it may have. We cultivate a desire for truth and a trust that even if truth hurts, it is the only pathway for wellness. I put down my disappointment and my grievances because what I thought would work was misguided. Only God’s plan for salvation will work. There is only one pathway that leads to peace and joy.