This lesson is really powerful - and helpful - for its treatment of guilt.
It starts off with this question: “If guilt is hell, what is its opposite?”
The course teaches us that guilt is the root of all our problems. There is this line from Chapter 27 that says, “of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them.”
What makes guilt so insidious is that we are often not aware of it. Sure, we know the uncomfortable feeling of having treated someone unkindly. The times we recognize the pain we caused others. But the guilt the course is referring to is much, much deeper - and much, much more substantial.
It is the underlying, unconscious guilt that comes from believing we separated from our source.
In fact, every unkind experience we have in the world - whether it’s us enacting it on others or it being done to us - every one of those experiences is nothing but a projection of that buried guilty thought that we separated from our home.
What this lesson is so lovingly teaching us is that we did not do what we think we did. We did not separate from our source. It’s only a mistaken belief.
In truth, we are perfect holiness.
And, as this lesson says, “Your holiness means the end of guilt, and therefore the end of hell.” And that is why our holiness is our salvation.
Lesson 39: My holiness is my salvation.
W-pI.39.1. If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? Like the text for which this workbook was written, the ideas used for the exercises are very simple, very clear and totally unambiguous. We are not concerned with intellectual feats nor logical toys. We are dealing only in the very obvious, which has been overlooked in the clouds of complexity in which you think you think.
W-pI.39.2. If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? This is not difficult, surely. The hesitation you may feel in answering is not due to the ambiguity of the question. But do you believe that guilt is hell? If you did, you would see at once how direct and simple the text is, and you would not need a workbook at all. No one needs practice to gain what is already his.
W-pI.39.3. We have already said that your holiness is the salvation of the world. What about your own salvation? You cannot give what you do not have. A savior must be saved. How else can he teach salvation? Today's exercises will apply to you, recognizing that your salvation is crucial to the salvation of the world. As you apply the exercises to your world, the whole world stands to benefit.
W-pI.39.4. Your holiness is the answer to every question that was ever asked, is being asked now, or will be asked in the future. Your holiness means the end of guilt, and therefore the end of hell. Your holiness is the salvation of the world, and your own. How could you to whom your holiness belongs be excluded from it? God does not know unholiness. Can it be He does not know His Son?
W-pI.39.5. A full five minutes are urged for the four longer practice periods for today, and longer and more frequent practice sessions are encouraged. If you want to exceed the minimum requirements, more rather than longer sessions are recommended, although both are suggested.
W-pI.39.6. Begin the practice periods as usual, by repeating today's idea to yourself. Then, with closed eyes, search out your unloving thoughts in whatever form they appear; uneasiness, depression, anger, fear, worry, attack, insecurity and so on. Whatever form they take, they are unloving and therefore fearful. And so it is from them that you need to be saved.
W-pI.39.7. Specific situations, events or personalities you associate with unloving thoughts of any kind are suitable subjects for today's exercises. It is imperative for your salvation that you see them differently. And it is your blessing on them that will save you and give you vision.
W-pI.39.8. Slowly, without conscious selection and without undue emphasis on any one in particular, search your mind for every thought that stands between you and your salvation. Apply the idea for today to each of them in this way:
My unloving thoughts about ____are keeping me in hell.
My holiness is my salvation.
W-pI.39.9. You may find these practice periods easier if you intersperse them with several short periods during which you merely repeat today's idea to yourself slowly a few times. You may also find it helpful to include a few short intervals in which you just relax and do not seem to be thinking of anything. Sustained concentration is very difficult at first. It will become much easier as your mind becomes more disciplined and less distractible.
W-pI.39.10. Meanwhile, you should feel free to introduce variety into the exercise periods in whatever form appeals to you. Do not, however, change the idea itself as you vary the method of applying it. However you elect to use it, the idea should be stated so that its meaning is the fact that your holiness is your salvation. End each practice period by repeating the idea in its original form once more, and adding:
If guilt is hell, what is its opposite?
W-pI.39.11. In the shorter applications, which should be made some three or four times an hour and more if possible, you may ask yourself this question, repeat today's idea, and preferably both. If temptations arise, a particularly helpful form of the idea is:
My holiness is my salvation from this.