Talking Our Way to Salvation
. . . and an invitation
We are saved - are forgiven and remember we are saved - when a single brother or sister sees only Christ in us and thus remembers that they are Christ. They become our savior when this happens because their awakening awakens in us the means by which we remember that we too are Christ.
In time, as the dream's edges soften and blur with the happy light of understanding, it becomes clear that in Christ there is no separation. It is not "many joined as one." There is only one.
Today I choose to see a world forgiven, in which everyone shows me the face of Christ, and teaches me that what I look upon belongs to me; that nothing is, except Your holy Son (W-pII.269.1:5).
Set aside the critical verb ("choose") and the metaphysical caveat ("a world") and see instead how we cannot wake up alone. Every single person we encounter - from the one we pass mindlessly on a street in a city we will never visit again to the one who will never stop weeping at our grave - is our savior. There are no exceptions.
We are called to take this unconditional inclusion literally, you and I. We become teachers of God's peace and love (because we will know perfectly God's peace and love) the instant we see another - any other - as our own self (M-1.3:9). In that moment we and the world are saved; in that moment we are all reborn (M-1.3:10-11).
It is okay - it is more than okay - to be intentional with respect to this. It is okay to deliberately seek Christ in the other, to practice the radical love contemplated by A Course in Miracles in all our affairs, and, most importantly - for upon this does salvation depend - to become willing to be the other's savior.
Being the other's savior is not a thing we do; it is a thing that the other does because we are willing to let them do it. It’s the Holy Spirit’s show, not ours. Our job is to be willing and then get out of the way. When we let go of everything but our willingness to serve the other, then they show us how to save them. And in their salvation - because it is shared - we remember that we are already saved.
Behold him now, whom you have seen as merely flesh and bone, and recognize that Christ has come to you . . . transformed from enemy to savior; from the devil into Christ (W-pI.161.12:3, 6).
One way to be intentional about salvation is to join in dialogue with others, together holding a clear goal of undoing the blocks to our remembrance of love. We enter into a formal relationship whose structure and application are given to the radical healing anticipated by practicing A Course in Miracles, which is to serve our brothers and sisters.
What does this look like?
Over the past few months Kimberley Mapel and I have been meeting regularly to talk about our practice and understanding of A Course in Miracles. Our shared emphasis is on healing as an action that occurs in bodies in the world because those bodies are attending - and are attended by - the Holy Spirit.
Intellectual understanding is important but mostly to the extent it helps guide coherent behavior (which includes how we think). The metaphysics of ACIM are a framework for healing, not a set of rules designed to separate believers from non-believers, those who "get it" from those who don't.
Union, not separation, is our function.
Our meetings do not have a set agenda. They evolve in real time - A Course in Miracles is the touchstone, but nothing is excluded. Game theory, Buddhism, IFS Therapy, Eugene Gendlin's Focusing and dreams have all made appearances. Sometimes one of us talks more than than the other. It is okay if nothing dramatic happens.
So there are no rules, just a mutual commitment to helpfulness. We share what we want to share, what feels safe to share. We never talk at each other. Silence is okay. Recognizing the shared nature of the journey matters more than indulging leader/follower energy. When ego appears, the work is to recognize this but also gently set it aside. There is nothing to prove.
We would like to extend an invitation to others to join us. We meet via Zoom every other Sunday evening at 7 p.m. EST. The meetings last about an hour, sometimes a little more or less. They are not recorded. If you are interested, or have questions, you can let me know here (I will loop Kimberley in) or in the comments.
Whether we meet in that way or not, please know how grateful I am to you for reading what I write, for patiently walking with me through the undoing of confusion and fear, and for reminding me over and over I am not alone. Truly, without you, it wouldn't mean a thing.
Thank you for this Sean. It seems that whenever I have an encounter with another person and intentionally have the thought that this person has something to teach me, I in fact will learn something meaningful. In that sense my saviors are essentially my teachers. Some teach me what to do, some teach me what not to do; all can show me how to judge less and love more.
I find this from lesson 106 meaningful and return to it often: “I will be still and listen to the truth. What does it mean to give and to receive?” I’m in awe of the way this spiritual law seems to work - what I give is returned to me, which compels me to give even more.
Kinda sorta related to this (at least in my mind) are the limits of language when considering the nature of God. I had lunch with a friend last week and we began talking about theology, how we were both raised in organized religions we no longer embraced (he Baptist, me Catholic). My friend said he was “a pretty committed agnostic” (an interesting choice of words that at first sounded like an oxymoron). My friend is a very kind person who runs a nonprofit that helps people dealing with addiction. In his work he has helped a lot of people. He talked about positive and negative vibrations in the universe and how he wants to be in the good, positive vibrations, and that being positive regardless of what’s happening in the world, and being helpful to others are his primary means of staying in those good vibrations. It was a great thing for me to hear, as I’ve been in some distress about national and world events lately.
So as I think about it, my friend doesn’t seem to me to be an agnostic at all, at least by the traditional definition. Rather he seems to be someone who doesn’t try to define God or give Him/Her a name. He keeps it simple by only trying to be helpful, just as the Course tells us. In fact what he shared led me to bring the Course into our conversation, which he’d never heard of. So, to your point, I’m thinking perhaps he was a savior for me through what he shared at lunch; maybe I was a savior for him too.
Thanks for sharing, Mark. Yes, that willingness to be open-minded and accept the other on terms other than those established by our ego and our projection seems to be deeply healing. It is my experience as well that - I guess I am paraphrasing you, I hope not inaccurately - we are all teachers AND students, and the this whole journey is in some senses a vast learning opportunity. Ken liked to call it a "classroom," which feels a bit more formal than is helpful to me, but the principle is the same. We are here to "learn to bear the beams of love."
The political and cultural climate has been challenging lately. A lot feels strained to the breaking point; I know a LOT of people (me included) who are feeling destabilized and stressed. Yet I feel there is room to see even this as a chance to learn, to bear love, and to be if not a healing presence, at least not a hurtful one.
It remains frustrating that baby steps sometimes seem to still be the rule for me.
And God . . . I don't know how to manage that anymore in language (in the sense that one can even approach being accurate, let alone right). The folks who get it for me in helpful ways are those who - like your friend - are just aligning by hook or crook with positivity, inclusivity, helpfulness, cooperation, increasing possibility for all, et cetera. At some point WHAT we call it is beyond the point: what works?
And somehow, intuitively, we seem to still have some inner guide that pulls us in the direction of love, broadly defined. So that, whatever that is, and - not to evoke the Jesus of our childhood religion - one knows it best in action, extension, rather than merely language.
Which is tricky for me since I'd rather be wordy than anything else :)
Thanks for being here, Mark.