Where does salvation come from?

Everyone is always looking for salvation, whether conscious of it or not. We all  desire a deep sense of lasting happiness, peacefulness and joy, without having any reason whatsoever to feel fearful, angry, or depressed. As long as we are still living purely on ego-autopilot, we hope and believe salvation is to be found in idols of the world: in having excess money, in having the perfect partner, in a million dollar hyper car, in making an impact on the state of this planet; you name it. Countless generations have persistently attempted such strategies. Alas; they found to their dismay that although their intentions and plans seemed fine, everything failed because they were at the mercy of a cruel and wicked world.

Spiritual aspirants, including students of A Course in Miracles, have learned the lesson that salvation can never be found in externals, because all externals are defective. Nothing lasts. Therefore, salvation must come from within. To cite a popular line from the Course: “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world” (T-21.In.1:7). Since the world is “an outside picture of an inward condition” (T-21.in.1:5), it follows that if I am to experience happiness, peacefulness and joy in my daily life, it must emanate from within. So salvation is not something that I can find outside of me. As many spiritualities teach, salvation is an inner choice. Once I make that choice, my perception of the world outside will invariably mirror that peaceful inner state of mind.

Still, at a first glance, A Course in Miracles seems to be rather inconsistent in where salvation comes from. A statement such as “My salvation comes from me” (W-pI.70) seems clear enough; but at other times we read that we need Jesus for our salvation: “You stand below me and I stand below God. In the process of “rising up,” I am higher because without me the distance between God and man would be too great for you to encompass.” (T-2.II.4:3-4). At still other places, we read about our brother being the source of salvation: “My brother is my savior. Let me not attack the savior You have given me.” (W-pII.288.1:7-8). So where does salvation actually come from, bottom line?

This question, of course, can only be asked by a mind that still turns others into external figures, including Jesus. The metaphysics of A Course in Miracles tell us that since there is no world (W-pI.132.6:2), there are no “others”. You and I are not bodies; we are spirit, which is joined as one. In the end, not only is there no difference between me and you, but there is also no difference between me and you and Jesus, as he himself explained to Helen early on in the text: “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else. This leaves me in a state which is only potential in you.” (T-2.II.3:10-13). The answer to this confusion, then, is that my salvation solely lies in my choice in my mind to see all life as one, forever lovable and forever unchangeable, the eternal Son of God.

Although this change of mind seems to be an enormous task, it is actually our most natural state of mind. We do not need to seek for this love; we only need to seek and find all of the barriers that we have built against this natural state (T-16.IV.6:1), because we insisted on taking the ego-thought seriously that we could do better than God, and be a god in our own little universe. However, although we still seem to be separate creatures, you and I and everyone around us still remain as one free spirit. And so salvation lies in our choice to accept that as the truth, and nothing else, as we read in lesson 318, “In me salvation’s means and end are one”: “I am the means by which God’s Son is saved, because salvation’s purpose is to find the sinlessness that God has placed in me. I was created as the thing I seek. I am the goal the world is searching for. I am God’s Son, His one eternal Love. I am salvation’s means and end as well.” (W-pII.318.1:4-8)

It is also imperative to realize is that salvation is not something to be anticipated for in the distant future — salvation can only be found now. Recall the Course’s metaphysical notion that there is no time, and that to the Holy Spirit, time is solely a vehicle to provide us with the time we need to change our minds and make the right choice. See for example lesson 317: “I have a special place to fill; a role for me alone. Salvation waits until I take this part as what I choose to do. Until I make this choice, I am the slave of time and human destiny. But when I willingly and gladly go the way my Father’s plan appointed me to go, then will I recognize salvation is already here, already given all my brothers and already mine as well.” (W-pII.317.1)

Let’s read about salvation in section 14 of part II of the workbook, entitled: “What am I?”. This lovely poetic piece beautifully answers any remaining confusion about where salvation comes from: “The truth of what we are is not for words to speak of nor describe. Yet we can realize our function here, and words can speak of this and teach it, too, if we exemplify the words in us. We are the bringers of salvation. We accept our part as saviors of the world, which through our joint forgiveness is redeemed. And this, our gift, is therefore given us. We look on everyone as brother, and perceive all things as kindly and as good. We do not seek a function that is past the gate of Heaven. Knowledge will return when we have done our part. We are concerned only with giving welcome to the truth.” (W-pII.14.III; italics mine).

In our daily lives, this certainly does not mean we should walk around in a blissninny mood state, while in foolhardy denial of all the painful events that do happen here, or better, seem to happen here. Above all, we are asked to think and behave as normal people. For example, even from above the battleground it’s perfectly normal to mourn at the death of a loved one. At a funeral, you don’t go hitting people over the head with the metaphysics of the Course, saying they shouldn’t mourn because it’s all illusory anyway. That’s not kindness; that’s an attack. And as you see your brother, so do you see yourself. You and I bring salvation by acknowledging all life as ‘joined as one’ on the level of content (spirit), and practicing kindness on the level of form (the body). Learn to consistently choose the Voice for Love as the guide for your thoughts, no matter how often you may stumble. Salvation is given you, me, and every soul that still wanders here uncertain, lonely, and in constant fear. How many people are needed to save the world? One — you.

See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:


See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

A Course summary in 12 lines

No Course in Miracles student is beyond fear, anger or depression all the time. Being a Course student means practicing vigilance for “the Kingdom”, which means checking as often as we can which guide we have chosen to direct our thoughts: either the ego or the Holy Spirit. In this practice, it is helpful to memorize some particularly striking statements that capture a key aspect of Jesus’ message. Let’s review some of these, summarized in a dozen lines. These may help you to quickly get on track again if you notice you just stumbled in your mind training practice, by rejecting something or someone. Jesus’ statements are printed in boldface.

I am never upset for the reason I think. I could see peace instead of this. (W-pI.5; W-pI.34). The first thing to realize whenever we feel not at peace and start blaming someone or something for it, is that “being-not-at-peace” always involves projection. Therefore, my upset is really about some guilty belief within me that I projected out, because I still refuse to look at it. Before inspecting that belief, however, I need remember that I am a Son of God and therefore could choose to experience inner peace, instead of my disquiet. The very moment you actually follow up on this, you’ll feel better.

The secret of salvation is but this: that you are doing this unto yourself. (T-27.VIII.10:1). The next step is to realize that nothing comes to me unbidden. My lack of inner peace has a purpose. Once I can ‘righteously’ point my finger at all the wrongs outside of me, I have a convincing case for God that I am an innocent victim and should therefore be accepted back into Heaven, while others should be sent to hell. Unconsciously, that’s the goal in mind whenever I choose not to be at peace. So indeed, whenever I feel fearful, angry or depressed, I am actually doing this to myself.

There is no world! This is the central thought the Course attempts to teach. (W-pI.132.6:2-3). The first two lines above are preposterous from the ego’s point of view. After all, I can make a long list of things that happened to me which were clearly entirely out of my sphere of influence. Only when I seriously consider the metaphysical foundation of A Course in Miracles, which states that everything in time and space is an illusory dream, our reality as spirit being completely outside time and space, does this become comprehensible. The Son of God is one in content, even in its seemingly fragmented state with many forms. Although each of us seems to have private thoughts, in content we are always choosing between ego or Holy Spirit, each and every instant.

I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me. (W-pI.201-220). If there is no world, then there are no bodies, which means that my body does not really exist. However, if the Course stayed at that, it would merely be depressive. The fact is that you and I are pure spirit, created by a wholly benign Creator in His likeness. We are not at peace solely because we took the ‘tiny, mad idea’ seriously that separation from God is in any way possible. We project our horrendous guilt about this mistake (the ego says: sin) because we are mortally afraid that God will hunt us down and punish us severely, and justifiably so.

God is but Love, and therefore so am I. There is no cruelty in God and none in me. (W-pI.R.V-in.10:8; W-pI.170). Most of us in the Western world were brainwashed early on with the fixed and fearful notion that God is both loving and punitive. However, in A Course in Miracles, Jesus clearly states that Love does not condemn, and therefore the wrathful attributes of God are solely projections of the guilt of the scholars who wrote the scrolls. That is why Jesus in his Course quotes the parable of the prodigal son: this son, who had squandered everything for nothing of any value, being afraid his father would punish him at his return, noticed to his astonishment that his father welcomed him back with joy, since the son was his treasure. Thus it is with our Father, too.

Teach only love, for that is what you are. The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense. (T-6.I.13:2; T-5.II.3:7). Since God is only Love, we are only love. We do not regard ourselves that way because unconsciously we feel so wretched, which is ultimately about our decision to separate from God, which in reality never happened, but which will remain in the mind as long as we choose to remain asleep in time and space. Happily, the Holy Spirit is always present in this dream, and He can use everything in the dream to turn the tables on the ego, that is, turn an attack into a forgiveness lesson. This Holy Spirit is not some external agent; He is the Voice for Love, or our choice for right-minded thought. Since our essence is love, the Holy Spirit is indeed literally inside our mind.

Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls. (T-29.VII.1.1-2). In the Course, an ‘idol’ is anything outside of us we associate salvation with: money; possessions; special relationships; you name it. However, since everything outside of us merely serves the purpose of distracting our minds so that we shall not look inside and see there is no sin and guilt, any focus on externals is bound to reinforce guilt and fear in some subtle way, since that is the essence of the separation thought we call the ego. We try a thousand idols to find lasting happiness, and of course none of these work for more than a little while. Jesus’ point by the way is not to turn our backs on the world, but merely to make no big deal of it, since the world is nothing.

I need do nothing. I need only be vigilant for God and His Kingdom. (T-18.VII; T-6.V-C). Frantically pursuing idols makes sure we stay on the ego’s road to nowhere, which may affirm our seemingly separated individual autonomy; but it also keeps us in misery and pain, providing yet more opportunities to see evil and guilt outside of us, justifying the tragic cycle of attack — defense. Jesus is telling us that salvation is not found by frantically pursuing it, but merely by taking a step back and allowing the Holy Spirit (the Voice for Love) to guide our thoughts. Since this is a choice against the ego with which we still identify so deeply, this choice engenders enormous resistance. That is why Jesus implores us to be vigilant for this choice, the only one that will make us happy.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. (T-16.IV.6:1) This is probably the most often quoted statement of the Course. And yet it is also probably the most ignored statement of the Course. Most students blissfully employ the Course to make themselves feel better in this dream world of time and space. We all yearn to find some lasting love amidst the devastation of our lives. Instead, Jesus invites his students to start looking inside, in the mind where we have built our useless barriers against true love: the Love of God, which means that there is no individuality. And so again, we love the quote, but the unconscious resistance against it is enormous.

The way you see your brother is the way you see yourself. We will enter Heaven together, or not at all. (W-pI.181). Although these are not literal quotes, they nonetheless convey a central theme within A Course in Miracles: I cannot hope to find salvation without seeing all lifeforms as equally worthy of God’s Love. Remind yourself that each time you point your finger accusingly at someone or something, three of your fingers are pointing at yourself. Again, I’m only accusing a projection of some part in myself that I have not yet been willing to forgive. So every time I meet someone, I am given another chance at salvation, by making it a holy encounter.

Anger is never justified. I will forgive, and this will disappear. My salvation comes from me. (T-6.in.1:7; T-30.VI.1:1-2; W-pI.193.13:3; W-pI.70.10:5). This triad should be self-explanatory by now. The “this” in the second sentence refers to my upsets, which I have chosen with the purpose of holding on to my precious individuality and therefore keeping the oneness love of God at bay. When I forgive, I take back my own projections of fear, and acknowledge that all life is one, kept perfectly safe by a wholly benign Creator outside time and space. However, Jesus cannot change our mind for us. Therefore, my salvation must come from me, through my choosing a better Teacher to guide my thoughts.

To say these words is nothing. But to mean these words is everything. (W-pI.185.1:1-2) You and I could walk around for decades uttering the quotes above, but we won’t progress an inch unless we start to really mean them, that is: live them. We can do this at our own pace. As Jesus says in the introduction: “This is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary”. We don’t accept the truth overnight. The process is more or less as follows: “…at first to be but said and then repeated many times; and next to be accepted as but partly true, with many reservations. Then to be considered seriously more and more, and finally accepted as the truth.” (W-pII.284.1:5-6). It doesn’t matter, since time is already over anyway. We are merely seemingly reliving what is already over. Just nurture your willingness to focus on choosing the right Teacher, here and now, and you are well on your way to the real world, free of any condemnation.

See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:


See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.