This article, based on Lesson 70 in the Workbook for Students, is taken from the on-going series of daily commentaries that Allen has written for the Workbook lessons.
The message of this lesson is really one of the central teachings of A Course in Miracles. 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 the source of 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 or position isn'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 this 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 this exercise we picture ourselves pushing past the clouds again towards the light. In Lesson 69 the clouds represented our grievances; in Lesson 70, 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!