Lesson 39: My holiness is my salvation.

Buddhist hell (naraka) in Burmese representation

If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? Do you believe that guilt is hell?

According to Lesson 39, if we did believe guilt is hell, then we would not need the text or workbook. It’s incredibly simple and straightforward, but we get lost in the complexity of the ego thought system (in which we think we think.)

My holiness is the salvation of the world. My holiness is also my salvation. (A savior must be saved. How else can he teach salvation?)

My holiness means the end of my guilt.

  • My unloving thoughts about my tight, uncomfortable clothing are keeping me in hell. My holiness is my salvation.
  • My unloving thoughts about the headache that is coming on are keeping me in hell. My holiness is my salvation.
  • My unloving thoughts about the lack of communication within my family are keeping me in hell. My holiness is my salvation.
  • My unloving thoughts about my cat throwing up in my closet are keeping me in hell. My holiness is my salvation.
  • My unloving thoughts about Donald Trump’s deceit are keeping me in hell. My holiness is my salvation.

Anger, unease, disease, discomfort, fear, hurt feelings, worry…

If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? My holiness is my salvation from this.

From Wapnick:

If guilt is hell, what is it’s opposite? There are two ways of answering the question. The obvious answer, based on the lesson, is that the opposite of guilt is holiness and the opposite of hell is salvation. The other is that the opposite of guilt is Heaven.

We believe guilt is Heaven and are not aware that we believe this. We are attracted to seeing guilt in other people. If I see it in others, it is because I want to keep it alive in myself. Guilt preserves our individuality because it tells us to never look inside our minds. It makes up imaginary thoughts equated with sin and guilt which deserve punishment.

We think we don’t understand ACIM because it is complicated. The truth is that we don’t understand it because we complicate it. The reason we complicate it is because we believe guilt is heaven and do not believe guilt is hell. We know this is true if we still identify with being a body.

The world is merely a refection of who it is we think we are. What I have is what I am, and what I give is what I receive. If you forgive one person, you forgive everyone, because everyone is One. If we accept salvation for ourselves, we accept it for everyone.

We need be saved only from our thoughts, but we can’t be saved from our thoughts if we are not aware of them. These lessons help us become aware of our thoughts. All we need do is seek and find and bring our thoughts to the light of love. The Holy Spirit takes care of the rest.

Lesson 4: These thoughts do not mean anything.

A Pensive Moment (1904), by Eugene de Blass

This is a major exercise, and will be repeated from time to time in somewhat different form. The aim here is to train you in the first steps toward the goal of separating the meaningless from the meaningful. It is a first attempt in the long-range purpose of learning to see the meaningless as outside you, and the meaningful within. It is also the beginning of training your mind to recognize what is the same and what is different.

  • This thought about my stomach hurting does not mean anything. These thoughts are like the things I see in this room, from the window, in this place… 
  • This thought about wondering what time I should meet my daughter tonight does not mean anything. These thoughts are like the things I see in this room, from the window, in this place… 
  • This thought about my excitement to open the Google photograph album from Japan my brother sent me does not mean anything. These thoughts are like the things I see in this room, from the window, in this place… 
  • This thought about feeling worried about what the Trump trade wars will do to the economy does not mean anything. These thoughts are like the things I see in this room, from the window, in this place… 
  • This thought about grinding my teeth at night does not mean anything. These thoughts are like the things I see in this room, from the window, in this place… 

According to Wapnick, thoughts are variable and what is variable changes. What changes cannot be “of God” because God is changeless. I get that we are impermanent, but I’m not sure I agree with the idea that God is unchanging. For me, God is “The Ground of Being” and I imagine the Ground of Being is always in process. But maybe there is something that is unchanging?

In Hinduism, the highest reality is considered to be unchanging. (To realize one’s true self (Atman) is identical with Brahman which is unchanging.) Buddhism, on the other hand, stresses impermanence and non-self. There is no unchanging, permanent self because everything is constantly undergoing change. Furthermore, there is no unchanging “consciousness” in opposition to matter. No Atman.

I lean more toward the Buddhist understanding than the Hindu understanding. All we can know is impermanence, so does it make sense to talk about a God/self/soul that is changeless? What purpose does that serve?

Of course the “unchanging God” is specifically from Wapnick, not the lesson. This may be an area where I differ with him. But ultimately, it probably doesn’t matter because what the lesson is comparing is that what we perceive “out there” with what we experience interiorly. It’s not about permanence or impermanence. It’s about the teacher we choose

As Wapnick says, anything we perceive outside ourselves serves the purposes of the ego which is ultimately meaningless. What is meaningless obscures the meaningful so we must learn to recognize the difference. There is a “meaningful within”. Whether it is changing or unchanging probably doesn’t matter.