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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

V. The Healed Relationship

1. The holy relationship is the expression of the holy instant in living in this world.  Like everything about salvation, the holy instant is a practical device, witnessed to by its results.  The holy instant never fails.  The experience of it is always felt.  Yet, without expression it is not remembered.  The holy relationship is a constant reminder of the experience in which the relationship became what it is.  And as the unholy relationship is a continuing hymn of hate in praise of its maker, so is the holy relationship a happy song of praise to the Redeemer of relationships.

2. The holy relationship, a major step toward the perception of the real world, is learned.  It is the old, unholy relationship, transformed and seen anew.  The holy relationship is a phenomenal teaching accomplishment.  In all its aspects, as it begins, develops, and becomes accomplished, it represents the reversal of the unholy relationship.  Be comforted in this; the only difficult phase is the beginning.  For here, the goal of the relationship is abruptly shifted to the exact opposite of what it was.  This is the first result of offering the relationship to the Holy Spirit, to use for His purpose. 

3. This invitation is accepted immediately, and the Holy Spirit wastes no time in introducing the practical results of asking Him to enter. At once His goal replaces yours. This is accomplished very rapidly, but it makes the relationship seemed disturbed, disjunctive, and even quite distressing. The reason is quite clear; for the relationship as it is is out of line with its own goal, and clearly unsuited to the purposes that has been accepted for it. In its unholy condition, your goal was all that seemed to give it meaning. Now it seems to make no sense. Many relationships have been broken off at this point, and the pursuit of the old goal reestablished in another relationship. For once the unholy relationship has accepted the goal of holiness, it can never again be what it was.

4. The temptation of the ego becomes extremely intense with this shift in goals. For the relationship has not as yet been changed sufficiently to make its former goal completely without attraction, and its structure is “threatened” by the recognition of its inappropriateness for meeting its new purpose. The conflict between the goal and the structure of the relationship is so apparent that they cannot coexist. Yet now the goal will not be changed. Set firmly in the unholy relationship, there is no course except to change the relationship to fit the goal. Until this happy solution is seen and accepted as the only way out of the conflict, the relationship may seem to be severely strained.

5. It would not be kinder to shift the goal more slowly, for the contrast would be obscured, and the ego given time to reinterpret each slow step according to its liking. Only a radical shift in purpose could induce a complete change of mind about what the whole relationship is for. As this change develops and is finally accomplished, it grows increasingly beneficent and joyous. But at the beginning, the situation is experienced as very precarious. A relationship, undertaken by two individuals for their unholy purposes, suddenly has holiness for its goal. As these two contemplate their relationship from the point of view of this new purpose, they are inevitably appalled. Their perception of the relationship may even become quite disorganized. And yet, the former organization of their perception no longer serves a purpose they have agreed to meet.

6. This is the time for faith. You let this goal be set for you. That was an act of faith. Do not abandon faith now that the rewards of faith are being introduced. If you believe the Holy Spirit was there to accept the relationship, why would you now not still believe that He is there to purify what He has taken under His guidance? Have faith in your brother in what but seems to be a trying time. The goal is set. And your relationship has sanity as its purpose. For now you find yourself in an insane relationship, recognized as such in the light of its goal.

7. Now the ego councils thus, substitute for this another relationship to which your former goal was quite appropriate. You can escape from your distress only by getting rid of your brother. You need not part entirely if you choose not to do so. But you must exclude major areas of fantasy from your brother, to save your sanity. Hear not this now! Have faith in Him who answered you. He heard. Has He not but been very explicit in His answer? You are not now wholly insane. Can you deny that He has given you a most explicit statement? Now He asks for faith a little longer, even in bewilderment. For this will go, and you will see the justification for your faith emerge, to bring you shining conviction. Abandon Him not now, nor your brother. This relationship has been reborn as holy.[1]

Holy Spirit does not yank our special relationships away from us.  He does not make us sacrifice them or ourselves in order to be holy for this would amount to another kind of “special.”  Holy Spirit simply teaches us, and we learn, how to transform and see the special people in our lives in light of God’s truth about us. 

Jesus calls this a phenomenal teaching accomplishment and it really is!  From beginning to completion the holy relationship stands for the reversal of what is unholy, what is special, what is separate and opposes love.  Take comfort in the fact that as difficult as this may seem, it only seems hard in the beginning. 

For when I bring our relationship to Holy Spirit and ask for holiness, the goal of everything I had with you changes and goes in the opposite direction.  What started out as a hymn of praise to the you-and-me against the rest of the world, or in the case of our special family, professional, church, charitable or political relationships – the us-and-we against the rest of the world, suddenly becomes meaningless in face of the real meaning of what our relationships are given to us to be.  It will not only be a shock to your system. but it will be a double shock to the other party in all the relationships in which you are involved.  If our relationship is not about me and not about you what can it be about?   How can I love you if you are not special?  How can I accept your love if I am not special?   When I am no longer able to lie to you and pretend to believe the lies you tell yourself, when I can no longer think of you as any more special than anybody else, it would seem that I am taking something away from you.  When I am no longer able to engage in drama with you, when your stories of betrayal and victimization and sickness fail to interest me, when you are very much more aware that the things we have always imagined ourselves to be in the world were never true, right, or smart – how can we be friends?     

Personally, I felt lost. Okay, I see that specialness is a lie.  I can no longer sing songs that praise illusions or give my allegiance to specialness, but now what?  I can’t tell James he is not special.  I cannot tell my kids or grandkids they are not special.  It was a very lonely experience and I felt like isolating myself from the world.  For even though I see the truth in the holy relationship, how am I supposed to heal broken relationships when they don’t want healing? When they like it the way it is?   In my confusion and lack of understanding I dropped a lot of relationships.  I withdrew.  I floundered with the ones I kept.    

I would rather be lonely than have special relationships in my life.  I could not pretend to want that or believe in them anymore.  I could not attend fundraisers for special causes; I could not give a sympathetic ear to ongoing dramas or side with friends against their enemies.  I could no longer sing special songs about how big and great their gods were over all the other gods in the universe. I could not believe in a heaven as long as someone burned in hell. But what church could I attend?  What causes could I support? What songs could I sing?  Who could I hang out with?  What projects could I work on that have meaning?  Who could I call and chat with?  How could I keep specialness out of my life and still engage in the world?  Does holiness compel me to be a hermit? 

I was still bringing “me” to all my concerns and worries.  The “me” in my relationships was the main focus.  In the previous paragraph how many “I’s” will you find?  In holiness the “I” steps aside.  It is no longer about me.  I did not realize that I could hand over all my unholy relationships to Holy Spirit and go on loving them, enjoying them, being happy and having fun.   I thought I had to sacrifice them, or perhaps somehow find a way to persuade them to give up all thoughts of specialness and join me in holiness.  It felt so weird.  First of all I was very much put off by the thought of my holiness, even saying the word in reference to myself made me sound like I thought I was something special!  I was all in, but I did not know how, and still struggle, to share the concepts of holiness with my special relationships.      

We must welcome this time of distress however because the contrast between specialness and holiness would otherwise stay hidden from us.  We must be willing to hold out for holiness, to take a stand for holiness, to face down our fears that surround it, to be able to speak of who we are in holiness with courage in the face of derision, bewilderment, and contempt.  If we keep putting this first stage off, we will stay trapped in time, allowing specialness to destroy all our relationships, blaming and resenting our loved ones for it, and teaching ourselves cowardice. 

The shift from special relationship to holy relationship is a complete and sudden change of mind of what the relationship is for.  If our relationship is about us – it is doomed.  If it is all for God and His glory, we are saved.  Read over paragraph five in your personal devotion to understand the mechanics of how this works.  Where Jesus mentions two people in the relationship seeking holiness, you are still required to bring all your special relationships to Holy Spirit and ask for holy ones, even if the other party is not interested.  Your commitment to holiness will save the relationship.  It may look entirely different than it did before, but it will still be holy because you gave it to God. Jesus is very kind to explain this to us and it behooves us to pay close attention so that we learn it thoroughly and can help others through this process. 

Once we give our special relationship to holiness it can be broken but it can never be special again.  I may be tempted to blame you for it.  I may be tempted to give up on you entirely and try to find holiness with someone else, but if I can’t find holiness in my relationship with you, I cannot find it anywhere.  To look for holiness in someone other than you because I give up on you is only another form of specialness. 

In paragraph six Jesus tells us to have faith especially during this initial phase.  This is when we consciously take ourselves out of it and trust in Holy Spirit to set the goal.  We do not have to do anything at all to clean up our act.  We will trust in our holiness.  We will not judge ourselves by what it still looks like, sounds like, feels like.  We will just relax into it and let Holy Spirit purify us.  The only effort we will take is to trust in Him and in our loved one.   I will not judge you on your past behavior and get suspicious about you for the goal of our relationship is sanity.  Any misgivings about your motives, I will give to holiness and continue to love you and trust you in that holiness.  While in specialness, I learned of your faults and your weaknesses, in holiness I will consciously choose to be taught of your purity and goodness.  While you will never be my substitute for God, nor will I accept any idolatry from you – I love you and devote myself to you for we are the Sonship of God.  When worries and fears about you come to my mind, I will give them to Holy Spirit to purify and transform into holy regard. 

When we dedicate our relationships to holiness, the ego goes on full alert – for special relationships are the best it can give us.  Our egos resist holiness for as long as we accept specialness in its place, we will not see God, for we draw close to God only in mutuality, equality, and undivided love for one another. As humans we could never give up the need for specialness on our own.  It is born in us!  It is a requirement of the ego realm.  While it is impossible for flesh beings to love the way God calls us to love, when we will with Holy Spirit, that which is impossible in the flesh becomes possible in Spirit.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the holy relationship. V. The healed relationship 1-7. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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July 23, 2021 Air-Fried Herb-Crusted Salmon with Zucchini Curls

We had a nice piece of salmon thawed in the meat drawer of the fridge that I wanted to prepare tonight for dinner.  And of course we have all this zucchini.  I am challenging myself to come up with creative, delicious, novel ways to serve up this vegetable – after all I don’t want to fill the freezer with zucchini when I have lots of tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage about to ripen. 

I found this recipe on the internet and was looking forward to trying it.  Although it was designed for oven baking, it turned out perfectly in the air fryer.  

The original recipe is attached.  However I did halve the amounts since it was just two of us.  I also skipped the brown sugar because it didn’t sound very good.  I used two medium sized zucchinis that I had spiraled the other day into wavy curls.  A good spray of olive oil and a drizzle of bacon grease for flavor, I layered the zucchini curls in the bottom of the air fryer basket and put the slabs of salmon on top.  Rubbed the herb mixture into the salmon and air-fried it for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  It was done to perfection – nice and flaky, pale pink all the way through but still moist. 

The only thing I would have done different is spiralize two more zucchini.  It just wasn’t enough!

We had mashed potatoes for two with our meal. We had lots of little bits of wine left in bottles, and so we made a point to drink them and get rid of the bottles.  Some were still quite nice, others we tossed!  Our dinner time conversation revolved around what kind of wine we are going to get to restock our cabinet. 

After dinner we sat out on the slab which serves as our back porch and watched the martins soar over the pond and swoop in for bugs.  They were so pretty!  The cats sat out with us; their bellies full of the salmon skin we saved for them.  There was The Kraken, the ancient, giant catfish – slurping up all the fish food and casting a dark shadow under the surface of the water.  It was peaceful and calm and nice sitting there with James and taking it all in.  I didn’t want to move and break the spell but there was the dinner cleanup.

This afternoon before leaving the house for my daily paddle at the pool, I froze three pints of dill freezer pickles.  The recipe is attached.   I used fresh cut dill from the raised beds and Vidalia onions.  We have no green peppers yet and this is the only ingredient skipped.  They turned out so mouthwatering good!  I saved a glass dish of them to accompany our salmon tonight and the tangy crunch and fresh flavor provided a lovely contrast to the savory veggies and fish. 

Hope you enjoy the recipes and have a great evening!  Peace and Joy to all.

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July 22, 2021 Chicken and Avocado Salsa

For tonight’s dinner I pulled a couple of chicken breasts from the freezer and put them in the roaster to thaw. James offered to grill them and that sounded like a good idea but he is so busy putting up the siding to our house that I didn’t want him to take the time out of his day to prepare our meal. Since I am not the big do-it-yourselfer in the family and he heads up all the household projects, I have put myself in charge of most meals.

We had a bag of Haas avocados that were very ripe so I found this recipe for using both chicken and avocados. It turned out to be a fun meal to pull together. I made the salsa ahead of time – I used chopped Vidalia onions in place of red onion. I picked fresh cilantro from my outside pot. The limes in both the salsa and the marinade gave the whole meal a fiesta tone. While the recipe says to put the salsa in the fridge until ready to eat, we like ours at room temperature, so I left ours on the counter with a silicon top over it. The chicken breasts thawed and were pounded out on the wooden cutting board. I don’t know what happened to my wooden mallet but the back of my butcher knife worked perfectly. The marinade smelled so good. I slathered the chicken breasts through the marinade and then put them in a gallon size Ziploc bag to marinate for an hour.

I grilled the chicken on the countertop grill for five minutes without flipping because they were done and had some nice little charred ridges in them.

For the side dish I cooked exactly one cup of rice in two cups of water. This gave us two plentiful portions with some leftover for the chickens. Tonight they stood by the fence and clucked, waiting for their nightly goodies. Rice is one of their favorite treats, so we had some happy cluckers.

Earlier in the day I had made eight ramekins of flan. I changed up the recipe quite a bit. I used six eggs. Instead of cream cheese I used the skin that forms on the top of our homemade evaporated milk while it cooks. I cut down the sugar to 1/2 cup for the custard and 1/2 cup for the caramelized sugar for the bottom of the ramekins. We ate our dessert later after sitting in the hot tub and relaxing under the night sky and beautiful full moon. We talked about our day and made plans for what we are going to do tomorrow. James is going to continue siding the house; I am going to make pickles and do some gardening.

Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did!

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

IV. The Two Pictures 11-16

11. The holy instant is a miniature of Heaven, sent you from Heaven. It is a picture, too, set in a frame. Yet if you accept this gift you will not see the frame at all, because the gift can only be accepted through your willingness to focus all your attention on the picture. The holy instant is a miniature of eternity. It is a picture of timelessness, set in a frame of time. If you focus on the picture, you will realize that it was only the frame that made you think it was a picture. Without the frame, the picture is seen as what it represents. For as the whole thought system of the ego lies in its gifts, so the whole of Heaven lies in this instant, borrowed from eternity, and set in time for you.

12. Two gifts are offered you. Each is complete and cannot be partially accepted. Each is a picture of all that you could have, seen very differently. You cannot compare their value by comparing a picture to a frame. It must be the pictures only that you compare, or the comparison is wholly without meaning. Remember that it is the picture that is the gift. And only on this basis are you really free to choose.  Look at the pictures. Both of them. One is a tiny picture, hard to see at all beneath the heavy shadows of its enormous and disproportionate enclosure. The other is lightly framed and hung in light, lovely to look upon for what it is.

13. You who have tried so hard, and are still trying, to fit the better picture into the wrong frame and so combine what cannot be combined, accept this and be glad. These pictures are each framed perfectly for what they represent. One is framed to be out of focus and not seen. The other is framed for perfect clarity. The picture of darkness and of death grows less convincing as you search it out amid its wrappings. As each senseless stone that seems to shine from the frame in darkness is exposed to light, it becomes dull and lifeless, and ceases to distract you from the picture. And finally you look upon the picture itself, seeing at last that, unprotected by the frame, it has no meaning.

14. The other picture is lightly framed, for time cannot contain eternity. There is no distraction here. The picture of Heaven and eternity grows more convincing as you look at it. And now, by real comparison, a transformation of both pictures can at last occur. And each is given its rightful place when both are seen in relation to each other.  The dark picture, brought to light, is not perceived as fearful, but the fact that it is just a picture is brought home at last.  And what you see there you will not recognize as what it is; a picture of what you thought was real, and nothing more. For beyond this picture you will see nothing.

15. The picture of light, in clear-cut and unmistakable contrast, is transformed into what lies beyond the picture. As you look on this, you realize that it is not a picture, but a reality. This is no figured representation of a thought system, but the Thought Itself. What it represents is there. The frame fades gently and God rises to your remembrance, offering you the whole of creation in exchange for your little picture, wholly without value and entirely deprived of meaning.

16. As God ascends into His rightful place and you to yours, you will experience again the meaning of relationship and know it to be true. Let us ascend in peace together to the Father, by giving Him ascendance in our minds. We will gain everything by giving Him the power and the glory and keeping no illusions of where they are. They are in us, through His ascendance. What He has given is His. It shines in every part of Him, as in the whole.  The whole reality of your relationship with Him lies in our relationship to one another. The holy instant shines alike on all relationships, for in it they are one. For here is only healing, already complete and perfect. For here is God, and where He is only the perfect and complete can be.[1]

Unlike the heavy ornate frame that obscures the pain and suffering and death involved in accepting gifts of the ego, the holy instant is set in a frame that can barely conceal the treasure within.  Unless we are willing to focus entirely on the picture instead of the frame, we do not receive the gift for the holy instant is a miniature of eternity.  It reacquaints us with eternity while we are still in time.  It gives us a picture of wakefulness while we are still dreaming.  In fact the more we practice the holy instant we realize that it is not a picture at all for that instant is what is represents for the whole of Heaven lies in each holy instant. 

In relation to the special relationship, this is especially poignant for what I share with you in the holy instant is the mechanism for transformation from specialness to holiness in our communion.  No longer am I labeling you for a special function in my life.  I have moved past specialness – its cloying demands, its dependency, its jealousy and possessiveness and have set you free.  And when I set you free, I am freed.  No longer do I see you through the framework of humanity but now I see you in the light of eternity. I see that I was mistaken in my limited perception of what you are and who you are to me.  I see that you are divine.  I see that you have had many human lives and that the one I have judged you on is no more real than the ones I have forgotten.  I thought you were my son, my daughter, my father, my mother, my friend or my foe, but now I see that you have no special role in my life but as Christ, my brother and friend.  You teach and learn with me that this world is not our home.  You teach and learn with me in holiness for in specialness we remain trapped in an ongoing fiction about what we are.  For that blessed instant I meet you in mutuality.

There are only two gifts.  The gift of special separateness which comes from ego is deceptively framed but has the same content and intent – to oppose the attributes of God, to deceive, mislead, and entrap us in ongoing cycles of birth and death, fear and sorrow.  The gift of holiness is God’s gift – plainly framed, holiness is the gift God wants us to focus on.  Compare only the pictures and not the frame for one is small and spiteful framed in deception and illusion and the other is so lovely and pure and true. 

We can choose only one of these gifts.  The picture of light does not fit in the gawdy frame of specialness.  We cannot make God accountable for specialness; nor can we credit the ego with love and peace and joy.  This has seemed a hardship for us, but Jesus asks us to be glad that they are not interchangeable, that we cannot accept both gifts, that eternity cannot be muddied by specialness of any kind.  Darkness and death may be obscured by the ornate framework of grand cathedrals, heart-wrenching art, solemn rites and sacred rituals but stripped of the golden cups and silver crucifixes, the velvet and the silk – darkness and death still lurk within the picture.  Look upon the pictures, Jesus tells us.  Go past the frame.  For the framework cannot give that which spells doom any meaning. 

God’s gift is eternal and so it has no need to be obscured within a lavishly bizarre frame.  No distraction here, mate.  The more we look at God’s gift the more convinced we are of Heaven, of our eternal state of Being, of the Absolute power of Love, of our Brotherhood with Christ and our Sonship with God.  As we dare get past the framework and make a real comparison between the gifts, the pictures themselves make a beautiful transformation.  For the dark picture, brought to light, is no longer perceived as fearful, but just a picture brought to truth at last.  And what we see in that picture that was such a fright, which filled us with dread, which condemned us, and stole our glory is simply a picture with no reality.  In the light there is nothing there. 

The Gift of God is a picture of light.  And when compared truly with the tiny mean-spirited picture, the picture of light cannot be denied.  Nor can it be contained by a framework of any kind.  For as we look upon God’s Gift we realize it is not a picture, it is reality.  This is not a symbol of a thought system; this is not yet another religion or a twist on one that already exists but Thought Itself.  The light that the picture represents is Truth.  As the frame fades gently away, God arises in our memory.   For we chose His Gift in exchange for the spiteful one, and the meanness and ill will, the separateness and specialness are entirely deprived of meaning in the Light of His Love. 

As God ascends to His rightful place in our minds and hearts, so do we.  We remember the meaning of relationship; we get past our need for specialness, and we experience the wonder and joy and beauty of Creation as it was created.  When we give God ascendance in our minds, our own worth rises.  We no longer give power and the glory to the earthbound egos which would dominate us demanding sacrifices and enforcing allegiance, for now we know God and to know Him is to love Him.  And because we love Him all that He has is given us for we belong to Him.  

The reality of our relationship with God lies in our relationship with each other.  The holy instant shines alike on all relationships, making not one more special than another, for in holiness we are one.  This is where we are healed of all that would tear us apart, that would mislead and entrap us, which would keep us separated and alone. 

In your personal devotional practice today be drawn to the holy instant and let it inform you.  Do not let the go-nowhere demands of our daily rounds in the flesh take precedence.  To all that come to your door whether in the flesh or in the form of thought – offer holiness.  Quietly bring the Thought of them with you into the holy instant and smile upon them with the light and the love that you find there.  Go past their flesh.  Go past your need to preach and lecture and correct.  Go past language and gestures and a need to explain things.  Refuse to be taken in by your limited understanding of who and what they are in the flesh.  See God in your brother no matter how much your ego may shriek and protest, insisting on judgment, insisting on condemnation, insisting on separation and division. [2] God wills that we are one, and what God wills is perfect and complete. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the holy relationship. IV The two gifts 11-16. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

[2] According to my current understanding: A Course in Miracles teaches us what we are on a spiritual level.  We practice holiness through transformative teaching, expanded consciousness and mind training.  Our endeavor is holy as is all genuine seeking for God, for reality, for truth.  We are not to judge ourselves or to allow the judgments of others to influence our devotion, to demand explanation, to get into arguments.  Practicing holiness does not mean we allow others to make selfish demands upon our time, effort, or resources.  Nor is anyone to devalue our efforts in a small-minded, inconsiderate attempt to keep us in the role they have assigned to us in their minds.  At the same time we are to meet our brothers, ignorant or otherwise, in the holy instant – we take necessary honest measures to protect our earthly assets from potential harm.  This is practicing good stewardship, which in this world is about as close to holiness as we can get! 

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit:

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

IV. The Two Pictures 1-8

1. God established His relationship with you to make you happy, and nothing you do that does not share His purpose can be real.  The purpose God ascribed to anything is its only function.  Because of His reason for creating His relationship with you, the function of the relationships became forever “to make happy.”  And nothing else.  To fulfill this function you relate to your creations as God to His.  For nothing God created is apart from happiness, and nothing God created but would extend happiness as its Creator did.  Whatever does not fulfill this function cannot be real.

2. In this world it is impossible to create.  Yet it is possible to make happy.  I have said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships but would transform them.  And all that is meant by that is that He will restore to them the function given them by God.  The function you have given them is clearly not to make happy.  But the holy relationship shares God’s purpose, rather than aiming to make a substitute for it.  Every special relationship you have made is a substitute for God’s Will and glorifies yours instead of His because of the illusion that they are different. 

3. You have made very real relationships even in this world.  Yet you do not recognize them because you have raised their substitutes to such predominance that, when truth calls to you, as it does constantly, you answer with a substitute.  Every special relationship you have made has, as its fundamental purpose, the aim of occupying your mind so completely that you will not hear the call of truth.

4. In a sense, the special relationship was the ego’s answer to the creation of the Holy Spirit, who was God’s answer to the separation. For although the ego did not understand what had been created it was aware of threat. The whole defense system the ego evolved to protect the separation from the Holy Spirit was in response to the gift with which God blessed it, and by His blessing enabled it to be healed. This blessing holds within itself the truth about everything. And the truth is that the Holy Spirit is in close relationship with you, because in Him is your relationship with God restored to you. The relationship with Him has never been broken because the Holy Spirit has not been separate from anyone since the separation. And through Him have all your holy relationships been carefully preserved, to serve God’s purpose for you.

5. The ego is always alert to threat, and the part of your mind into which the ego was accepted is very anxious to preserve its reason, as it sees it. It does not realize that it is totally insane. And you must realize just what this means if you would be restored to sanity. The insane protect their thought systems, but they do so insanely. And all their defenses are as insane as what they are supposed to protect. The separation has nothing in it, no part, no “reason,” and no attribute that is not insane. And its “protection” is part of it, as insane as the whole. The special relationship, which is its chief defense, must therefore be insane.

6. You have but little difficulty now in realizing that the thought system the special relationship protects is but a system of delusions. You recognize, at least in general terms, that the ego is insane. Yet the special relationship still seems to you somehow to be “different.” Yet we have looked at it far closer than we have at many other aspects of the ego’s thought system that you have been more willing to let go. While this one remains, you will not let the others go. For this one is not different. Retain this one, and you have retained the whole.

7. It is essential to realize that all defenses do what they would defend. The underlying basis for their effectiveness is that they offer what they defend. What they defend is placed in them for safekeeping, and as they operate, they bring it to you. Every defense operates by giving gifts, and the gift is always a miniature of the thought system the defense protects set in a golden frame. The frame is very elaborate, all set with jewels, and deeply carved and polished. Its purpose is to be a value in itself, and to divert your attention from what it encloses. But the frame without the picture you cannot have. Defenses operate to make you think you can.

8. The special relationship has the most imposing and deceptive frame of all the defenses the ego uses. Its thought system is offered here, surrounded by a frame so heavy and so elaborate that the picture is almost obliterated by its imposing structure. Into the frame are woven all sorts of fanciful and fragmented illusions of love, set with dreams of sacrifice and self-aggrandizement, and interlaced with gilded threads of self-destruction. The glitter of blood shines like rubies, and the tears are faceted like diamonds and gleam in the dim light in which the offering is made.

9. Look at the picture. Do not let the frame distract you. This gift is given you for your damnation, and if you take it you will believe that you are damned. You cannot have the frame without the picture. What you value is the frame, for there you see no conflict. Yet the frame is only the wrapping for the gift of conflict. The frame is not the gift. Be not deceived by the most superficial aspects of this thought system, for these aspects enclose the whole, complete in every aspect. Death lies in this glittering gift. Let not your gaze dwell on the hypnotic gleaming of the frame.  Look at the picture and realize that death is offered you.

10. That is why the holy instant is so important in the defense of truth. The truth itself needs no defense, but you do need defense against your acceptance of the gift of death. When you who are truth accept an idea so dangerous to truth, you threaten truth with destruction. And your defense must now be undertaken, to keep truth whole.   The power of Heaven, the love of God, the tears of Christ, and the joy of His eternal spirit are marshaled to defend you from your own attack. For you attack Them, being part of Them, and They must save you, for They love Themselves.[1]

God made us in happiness and for happiness.  Any other purpose we come up in our relationship to God and with each other cannot be real in the eternal sense of the word.  Forever, we are to be happy with God and with each other.  Nothing else means a thing.  Jesus tells us to relate to what we have made as God relates to us – in happiness and the desire to make happy. 

We cannot create anything that lasts forever in a world of flesh, but we can make happy.  Holy Spirit does not take our special relationships away from us, but He does make them happy for happiness is the function given to relationship by God.  As we take a long close look at the relationships we have made, it will become clear that “to make happy” is not the only function if it is a function at all!  It would be easy to say, Oh well this relationship is not making me happy, so I am going to give it up and go seek happiness with another person, but here’s the clincher – this is not God’s purpose that we throw our relationships away and make ourselves cavalier in regard to them.  This kind of attitude destroys any hope of healing and holiness for as long as you would embrace it.   For God’s purpose is not to throw away but to heal and to restore.

Relationships are not meant to be such hard work.  Happiness is a natural by-product of the liberty and freedom found in Love.  We do not realize how real our relationships are in this world because we put too much work into them.  Instead of loving and trusting and being godly in our relationships we make them about money, we make them about sex, we make them about obligation and martyrdom and specialness.  The aim of all special relationships is to occupy our minds so much that we will not recognize the call of Love.  They will stress us and drive us crazy rather than make us happy.  Ego is always suspicious and irritated by happiness because it does not understand it and in specialness we learn to begrudge happiness.    

Our happiness is our holiness, and our holiness is our happiness.  Happiness is a terrible threat to the ego, for when we are happy we are whole; we seek union; we accept our mutuality; we are serving the purpose of God and not opposing it.  Opposing the purpose of God is insane.  God cannot be opposed. The insane go to great lengths to protect their right to be unhappy, to be afraid, to seek vengeance and spite instead of forgiveness and happiness.  To separate from Love, to sneer at communication and communion, to tell lies and deceive rather than be honest and forthright provides no real help, does not heal, and makes no sense.  And yet these are the attributes of the special relationship which the ego substitutes for the happiness of God.

Most of us have been bitterly disappointed and aggrieved by special relationships.  We understand through personal experience that such relationships do not live up to their promise! And yet we may still be attracted to special relationships and try to find happiness in them.  After all most if not all the religions and spiritual paths in the world promote specialness, favoritism, marriage, and patriotism.  But Jesus tells us that special relationships of any kind are no different from all the other insane aspects of the ego’s thought system.  Therefore, when we hold on to the idea of specialness in any form, we make the ego holy in our mind. 

Read paragraph seven and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate its meaning to you.  When we defend specialness, when we try to find holiness in special relationships, we are given the gift of specialness.  We are given a little sample in miniature of the whole thought system in which specialness occurs.  Jesus tells us that this is set in an elaborate, jewel-studded, ornate, and highly polished frame.  The frame itself is the thing of value and not what it encloses.  He uses this illustration to show us that the form diverts our attention from what it holds.  But we can’t have the frame without the picture – even though our defenses operate to make us think that for us it will work, this time it will be different, our sort of specialness is not as special as that kind of specialness. 

When we look at the special relationship as a defense of ego, we can see a frame that Jesus calls the most imposing and deceptive of all.  A frame so heavy and elaborate that the picture is nearly obliterated by its structure.  Into the frame that encloses the special relationship are woven all sorts of fantasies and fragmented illusions of love, studded with insane ideas of the rewards of martyrdom, the fulfillment of self in self-destruction.  The glitter of sacrificial blood shines like rubies!  Tears of anguish are made to look like diamonds, sparkling and offering light.  

In paragraph nine Jesus tells us to look past the frame, to focus on the picture.  The special relationship is given to us for our damnation and if you accept it, you will believe that you are damned.  Your special relationship will be a sentence to you, it will entrap you, it will kill you and drag you back for round after round. You may value the framework of the special relationship.  The traditions, the ceremonies, the rites, rituals, and sacred vows that promote specialness may seem very beautiful and even practical to you.  You may say that in this world we need special relationships.  The fabric of our societies and civilizations rests on the premise of specialness.  And yet when we look at the picture we realize that it holds the death of happiness, for there is no freedom and there is no liberty. Because it does not serve the purpose of God, but rather to perpetuate separateness, it is a lie. 

When we accept specialness, we accept death.  For specialness if it were true, would destroy the happiness in our oneness with God and with each other.  Ego would keep us trapped in a world of us being more special than them, doling out scraps of splintered happiness, taxing every bit of pleasantness with grudging grief and cloying sentiment. 

We will end with paragraph ten today.  In your personal devotional practice ask God to show you the opposition to God’s purpose that you will find in each one of your special relationships.  Do not mistake the form for the content but rather look past the ornate frame and into what it really means to be human, to engage in relationships that breed and promote the illusion of specialness.  Look at the sacrifices that specialness calls forth. Do not discount the work involved, the meanness, the lack of appreciation, the lies we tell ourselves and each other.  Do not be afraid to examine the hypocrisy, the betrayals, the brutality, worries and fears. 

Let there be no mistake.  Specialness is an attack upon the Love of God.  We are to love one brother as all brothers: one part of Creation as all parts of Creation.  For we are part of Creation, not the best part nor the least part, but a mutual and equal part. In the deep sleep of nothingness, we would dream forever – lost in our fiction with no escape, but we are loved by All that is Love, and so we are saved.  Practice the holy instant for the moments we give to holiness protect us from the temptation of specialness, turn our special relationships into holy ones, and help us recognize the virtues of mutuality and equality.  We will cover the rest of this section in the next blog.  Thank you for joining me and have a blessed day. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the holy relationship. IV The two pictures 1-10. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

III. Shadows of the Past

1. To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past, and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten. Forgiveness is a selective remembering, based not on your selection. For the shadow figures you would make immortal are “enemies” of reality. Be willing to forgive the Son of God for what he did not do. The shadow figures are the witnesses you bring with you to demonstrate he did what he did not. Because you bring them, you will hear them. And you who keep them by your own selection do not understand how they came into your mind, and what their purpose is. They represent the evil that you think was done to you. You bring them with you only that you may return evil for evil, hoping that their witness will enable you to think guiltily of another and not harm yourself. They speak so clearly for the separation that no one not obsessed with keeping separation could hear them. They offer you the “reasons” why you should enter into an unholy alliance to support the ego’s goals and make your relationships the witness to its power.

2. It is the shadow figures that would make the ego holy in your sight and teach you what you do to keep it safe is really love. The shadow figures also speak for vengeance and all relationships into which they enter are totally insane. Without exception, these relationships have as their purpose the exclusion of the truth about the other and of yourself. This is why you see in both what is not there and make of both the slaves of vengeance. And why whatever reminds you of your past grievances attracts you and seems to go by the name of love, no matter how distorted the associations by which you arrive at the connection may be. And finally, why all such relationships become attempts at union through the body, for only bodies can be seen as means for vengeance. That bodies are central to all unholy relationships is evident. Your own experience has taught you this.  But what you may not realize are all the reasons that go to make the relationship unholy. For unholiness seeks to reinforce itself, as holiness does, by gathering to itself what it perceives as like itself.

3. In the unholy relationship, it is not the body of the other with which union is attempted, but the bodies of those who are not there.  For even the body of the other, already a severely limited perception of him, is not the central focus as it is, or in entirety.  What can be used for fantasies of vengeance, and what can be most readily associated with those on whom vengeance is really sought, is centered on and separated off as being the only parts of value.  Every step taken in the making, the maintaining and the breaking off of the unholy relationship is a move towards further fragmentation and unreality.  The shadow figures enter more and more, and the one in whom they seem to be decreases in importance. 

4. Time is indeed unkind to the unholy relationship. For time is cruel in the ego’s hands, as it is kind when used for gentleness. The attraction of the unholy relationship begins to fade and to be questioned almost at once. Once it is formed, doubt must enter in, because its purpose is impossible. The “ideal” of the unholy relationship thus becomes one in which the reality of the other does not enter at all to “spoil” the dream. And the less the other really brings to the relationship, the “better” it becomes. Thus, the attempt at union becomes a way of excluding even the one with whom the union was sought. For it was formed to get him out of it and join with fantasies in uninterrupted “bliss.”

5. How can the Holy Spirit bring His interpretation of the body as a means of communication into relationships whose only purpose is separation from reality? What forgiveness is enables Him to do so. If all but loving thoughts has been forgotten, what remains is eternal. And the transformed past is made like the present.  No longer does the past conflict with now. This continuity extends the present by increasing its reality and its value in your perception of it. In these loving thoughts is the spark of beauty hidden in the ugliness of the unholy relationship where hatred is remembered; yet there to come alive as the relationship is given to Him Who gives it life and beauty. That is why Atonement centers on the past, which is the source of separation, and where it must be undone. For separation must be corrected where it was made.

6. The ego seeks to “resolve” its problems, not at their source, but where they were not made. And thus it seeks to guarantee there will be no solution. The Holy Spirit wants only to make His resolutions complete and perfect, and so He seeks and finds the source of problems where it is, and there undoes it. And with each step in His undoing is the separation more and more undone, and union brought closer. He is not at all confused by any “reasons” for separation. All he perceives in separation is that it must be undone. Let Him uncover the hidden spark of beauty in your relationships and show it to you. Its loveliness will so attract you that you will be unwilling ever to lose the sight of it again. And you will let this spark transform the relationship so you can see it more and more. For you will want it more and more and become increasingly unwilling to let it be hidden from you. And you will learn to seek for and establish the conditions in which this beauty can be seen.

7. All this you will do gladly if you but let Him hold the spark before you, to light your way and make it clear to you. God’s Son is one. Whom God has joined as one, the ego cannot put asunder. The spark of holiness must be safe, however hidden it may be, in every relationship. For the creator of the one relationship has left no part of it without Himself. This is the only part of the relationship the Holy Spirit sees because He knows that only this is true. You have made the relationship unreal, and therefore unholy, by seeing it where it is not and as it is not. Give the past to Him who could change your mind about it for you. But first, be sure you fully realize what you have made the past to represent, and why.

8. The past becomes the justification for entering into a continuing, unholy alliance with the ego against the present.  For the present is forgiveness. Therefore, the relationships the unholy alliance dictates are not perceived nor felt as now. Yet the frame of reference to which the present is referred for meeting is an illusion of the past, in which those elements that fit the purpose of the unholy alliance are retained, and all the rest let go. And what is thus let go is all the truth the past could ever offer to the present as witnesses for its reality. What is kept but witnesses to the reality of dreams.

9. It is still up to you to choose to join with truth or with illusions. But remember that to choose one is to let the other go. Which one you choose you will endow with beauty and reality, because the choice depends on which you value more. The spark of beauty or the veil of ugliness, the real world or the world of guilt and fear, truth or illusion, freedom or slavery­­– it is all the same. For you can never choose except between God and the ego. Thought systems are but true or false, and all their attributes comes simply from what they are. Only the Thoughts of God are true. And all that follows from them comes from what they are and is as true as is the holy Source from Which they came.

10. My holy brother, I would enter into all your relationships and step between you and your fantasies. Let my relationship to you be real to you and let me bring reality to your perception of your brothers. They were not created to enable you to hurt yourself through them. They were created to create with you. This is the truth that I would interpose between you and your goal of madness. Be not separate from me and let not the holy purpose of Atonement be lost to you in dreams of vengeance. Relationships in which such dreams are cherished have excluded me. Let me enter in the Name of God and bring you peace that you may offer peace to me.[1]

When we forgive the past, the shadow figures that oppose the reality of God and our brothers have no place to fester.  In a dream world of darkness, in opposition to the reality of God, in a state of division from all others, we dream a dream of fear, of loneliness, of surviving to die another day.  We build cases against one another.  We hold grudges and gather resentments, condemnation, judgments.  Taken in by what is not real, we substitute unreality for truth.  Our relationships become a witness to hatred, to fear, to fantasy.

Forego all of this, choose to hold only the loving and good.  Consciously put down all thoughts of attack, defense, fear, and hatred, forgive all that would tempt us despise, distrust, or hold each other accountable for the sorry state of our lives.  Choose love and forgiveness to be saved from vengeance and spite.  Otherwise we make the ego holy in our sight and forget what true holiness and relationship is. 

Identifying with bodies, we forget our Sonship with Christ.  We forget who and what we are in God.  We relate to each other in unholy, ill-mannered, unkind ways and reinforce and emphasize the unholiness in one another instead of Holy Spirit. 

Shadow figures from the past play a big part in our special love relationships.  The focus of the shadow is to pass itself off as love and to keep us trapped in ongoing cycles of birth and death bringing all the fears from the past into our present, carrying it forward, so that our future is very much like our past. Thus we do not escape time but perpetuate it.   The shadow goal of all relationships is insanity.  While it is not just sexual relationships in which the shadow figures intrude, it is in sexual relationships that they take an especially prominent and hateful place.  For while the shadows pose as “love” and seem to provide purpose and meaning, their source is the hateful, fearful, and mean-spirited realms of nothingness.  The aim for union is not one of completeness and oneness in Spirit but to bring bodies together for “protection” from other bodies, to engage in fleshy, meaningless dramatic episodes performing functions which substitute for true communion and union. 

Jesus tells us that the special relationship is always about the bodies that are not there in the relationship. For I bring my past with me into what I have with you.  Consciously and unconsciously I bring all my shadows, all my past lives and experiences, all the hatred and fear that has kept me locked in this realm.  I band together with you to keep me safe from what I fear.  I will sacrifice my time, my effort, my money, indeed everything I have in an effort to keep it for just us, and not share it with others.   When we engage in special relationships, we are building a fortress against other bodies present or not who would infringe upon us.  We are seeing not the reality of Sonship in each other but the unreality of bodies alive and dead.  Our focus is on the temporal world and how to survive in it.  The special relationships that we develop in this frame of mind will always harm us, for they will let us down.  They will not be able to protect us.  Try as we might to make our bodies behave in certain ways, to coerce our flesh to obligate and sacrifice itself for the happiness and well-being of our mates, our friends, our families, our careers, flesh fails.  Our special relationships prove to be a battleground of vengeance, selfishness, greed, and sacrifice.  Jesus tells us that every step taken in the making, maintaining, and breaking off of the unholy relationship is a move towards further fragmentation and unreality.  The shadow figures grow bigger, bolder, and more apparent in all of our special relationships until we can no longer see a trace of our real and holy Selves.  We identify with the shadow willing and even eager to destroy and devour those we claim to love.

Get into a special relationship and before long, we begin to question it.  Doubt comes into specialness, because when I see what can only be found in God in your flesh, I am seeking for the impossible.  I am expecting you to protect me, I am expecting you to make up for all the shadows I bring from my past, you will build my self-esteem, make me feel beautiful, and love me unconditionally for this is my ideal.  It will be me and you against the world.  We will sing songs and write poems and say prayers for our unholy devotion to each other.  As long as you are willing to sacrifice yourself and obligate yourself to our specialness, I will love you and talk nice about you to others, and praise God for bringing you into my life.  But if you dare spoil this dream of us, if you dare oppose me, speak to me of your weaknesses, let me down in any way – if you dare show me that I am not special or have any right to obligate you to me – I will turn on you. I will call you names.  I will ruin you.  I will curse you.  I will wish death upon you and upon myself. 

Our attempts to find specialness in each other ends up not being about honest, wholesome unions, but rather a vain attempt to get from each other what God has denied us, to have fantasies in which you are obligated, not to be yourself, but play a role and make me special, and then I agree to play the same role for you.  For this is the “bliss” of special relationships – we let our true selves behind and play the roles assigned to us.  We live to give each other the specialness, the favoritism, the I-stand-out-in-the-crowd substitute for love, for in Love there is only mutuality.    

While ego uses our bodies for specialness, Holy Spirit uses the body as a means of communication.  How can we trust one another with our honesty?  How can we move from falsehood in our special relationships, step out of tradition and sacrifice and obligation and into freedom and liberty of holiness?  When we choose to only remember love, when we purposefully and consciously choose to lay all illusion aside, when we get honest with ourselves and with each other, all that remains is truth, is reality, is forever.  Our pasts are transformed from selfish, self-centered, possessive and jealously regarded alliances that crave fulfillment through a sense of specialness and separateness into the wholeness and completeness of love.  When we take only the good and the worthy and the worthwhile from our pasts and bring that to our present – there is no more conflict.  And that peace we experience on the other side of specialness is free of shadows, we are saved from our history. Complete in light and love and laughter, the beauty and bliss of holiness becomes so real to us we can never accept substitutes again. 

When a problem arises between you and me, ego will try to resolve it by making one of us guilty.  You said this.  You told someone I wasn’t a great friend.  You blabbed my secrets when you promised not to tell.  You cheated on me.  You spent too much of our money.  You work too many hours and ignore me and the kids.  Your skin color gives you advantages that I do not have.  You are guilty. You are privileged.  You might be smart but you sure make dumb choices.   You are to blame for my poor self-esteem, my ruined chances, my failure to thrive and survive. 

But when we bring that problem to Holy Spirit there is no confusion about the reasons that we are not seeing eye-to-eye.  Holy Spirit understands how the shadows of our past come to demand vengeance and spite.  Holy Spirit sees our need to be special, to make others guilty, to project our blame and shame as the call to restore union.  Holiness shows us our mutuality in God.  Holiness shows us how to be free of the past.  Holiness uncovers the spark of undeniable beauty and purity in our relationship, and we are never tempted by shadows from the past and our need to be special again.  Holy Spirit teaches us to seek holiness and only holiness for only in holiness can we see the beauty is us and that we are forever in Christ. 

We are one.  The ego cannot tear us apart.  For the spark of holiness is our wholeness, is our Sonship, is the God in us and for us and with us.  Holy Spirit is not worried about our past lives and the enmity that we carry forward.  Holiness has no concern about what you might have said about me in anger and disappointment.  Holiness is not concerned about the color of our flesh or the country of our origin.  For none of that has ever defined us as the dreaming Sons of God.  Holiness is the conscious choice to see only what is true about us.  What we would make of ourselves is another matter – because if it is not about holiness it is not real and therefore the insanity we made is the yackity-yack-yack of chaos and uncertainty where all is as shifting sand.   

When we give our unholiness to Holy Spirit, Jesus tells us to be sure we know and understand what we are giving up.  Let it not be a sacrifice to us.  Let us not harbor any form of forgiveness which would establish one party as more gracious and merciful than the other.  But let our forgiveness be the realization that we give up an illusion, a story we made up for enmity and destruction, and called it love.   

When we form holy relationships we bring to us all that is good.  Holiness draws holiness unto itself even as unholiness draws unholiness.  In holy relationships we extend Love freely; in unholy relationships we hoard love in fear.  In holy relationship we uphold one another in love and trust; in unholy relationships we overlook the content and insist on form – relying on traditional roles with assigned responsibilities, using a false sense of love and belonging to manipulate and obligate the other into doing what is expected. 

We can join with truth or continue in illusions – to choose one is to let the other go.  When we invite Christ into our relationships, we invite Brotherhood.  In the Brotherhood of Christ there is no shadow – for shadows only live in the past.  When we are driven by past revenge and spite, we lose a sense of who and what we really are.  When we try to find what we lost in a special relationship, we bind others to us through a sense of obligation and duty, martyrdom and sacrifice – in other words, we find more hatred, fear, and spite. 

Today in your personal devotional practice invite Christ into all of your relationships and let the shadows go – happily and willingly.  Your lovers, friends, family members, and mates were not created to damn yourself through them, they were created to be one with you, to share in Creation with you, to create more love and joy and peace with you.  Any other goal for your relationships is insanity, any dream of spite, any tinge of fear, jealousy, possessiveness, of obligating others to you – salvation is lost to you and to those who partake in them because they have excluded the unity of the Sonship.  Christ stands at the door of all our special relationships and asks to be welcomed in.  It is impossible without Him, for He teaches forgiveness that frees us from the past.  Forgiveness brings peace, healing, and holiness and we are saved by Love, the blessed Name of our Father and God. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the holy relationship.  III Shadows of the past. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 17 II Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

II. The Forgiven World

1. Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you?  In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely.  Nothing you see here, sleeping or waking, comes near to such loveliness.  And nothing will you value like unto this, nor hold so dear.  Nothing that you remember that made your heart sing with joy has ever brought you even a little part of the happiness this sight will bring you.  For you will see the Son of God.  You will behold the beauty the Holy Spirit loves to look upon, and which He thanks the Father for.  He was created to see this for you, until you learned to see it for yourself.  And all His teaching leads to seeing it and giving thanks with Him. 

2. This loveliness is not a fantasy.  It is the real world, bright and clean and new, with everything sparkling under the open sun.  Nothing is hidden here, for everything has been forgiven and there are no fantasies to hide the truth.  The bridge between that world and this is so little and so easy to cross, that you could not believe it is the meeting place of worlds so different.  Yet this little bridge is the strongest thing that touches on this world at all.  This little step, so small it has escaped your notice, is a stride though time into eternity, beyond all ugliness into beauty that will enchant you, and will never cease to cause you wonderment at its perfection.

3. This step, the smallest ever taken, is still the greatest accomplishment of all in God’s plan of Atonement.  All else is learned, but this is given, complete and wholly perfect.  No one but Him Who planned salvation could complete it thus.  The real world, in its loveliness, you learn to reach.  Fantasies are all undone, and no one and nothing remain still bound by them, and by your own forgiveness you are free to see.  Yet what you see is only what you made, with the blessing of your forgiveness on it.  And with this final blessing of God’s Son upon himself, the real perception, born of the new perspective he has learned, has served its purpose.

4. The stars will disappear in light, and the sun that opened up the world to beauty will vanish.  Perception will be meaningless when it has been perfected, for everything that has been used for learning will have no function.  Nothing will ever change; no shifts nor shadings, no differences, no variations that made perception possible will still occur.  The perception of the real world will be so short that you will barely have time to thank God for it.  For God will take the last step swiftly when you have reached the real world and have been made ready for Him.

5. The real world is attained simply by the complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness.  The Great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind that made this world and uncover to you the seeming reasons for your making it.  In the light of the real reason that He brings, as you follow Him, He will show you that there is no reason here at all.  Each spot His reason touches grows alive with beauty, and what seemed ugly in the darkness of your lack of reason is suddenly released to loveliness.  Not even what the Son of God made in insanity could be without a hidden spark of beauty that gentleness could release. 

6. All this beauty will rise to bless your sight as you look upon the world with forgiving eyes.  For forgiveness literally transforms vision and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos, removing all illusions that had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past.  The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder, and a blade of grass a sign of God’s perfection.

7. From the forgiven world the Son of God is lifted easily into his home.  And there he knows that he has always rested there in peace.  Even salvation will become a dream and vanish from his mind.  For salvation is the end of dreams, and with the closing of the dream will have no meaning.  Who, awake in Heaven, could dream that there could ever be need of salvation?

8. How much do you want salvation?  It will give you the real world, trembling with readiness to be given you.  The eagerness of the Holy Spirit to give you this is so intense He would not wait, although He waits in patience.  Meet His patience with your impatience at delay in meeting Him.  Go out in gladness to meet with your Redeemer and walk with Him in trust out of this world, and into the real world of beauty and forgiveness. [1]

In the forgiven world all will be full of beauty.  Nothing in this world can begin to compare.  When I read this paragraph today during my devotional practice, I thought of how adorable my babies were to me.  When my son was born he only weighed five pounds and 12 ounces.  He had a wrinkled little face and a pointy head, and I thought that he was the most gorgeous thing I ever saw in my life!  When his sister was born six years later, I fell so deeply in love with her upon my first sight of her that I felt transformed for a while, as if I had brought a great gift into the world and she was more than human, more than anybody else before or since.  But Jesus tells us that nothing we value in this world nor hold so dear will make our heart sing with joy or give us even a little part of the happiness that forgiveness brings to us.  For when we practice the forgiveness of Christ, the completely overlooking all that is of the flesh world and identifying only with our Sonship, we will behold the Real World, Creation as it was created, the world new and sparkling and golden. 

Our holiness knows the Real World.  It is the yearning desire in each one of us for perfection, for beauty, for goodness, for Love.  Holy Spirit remembers this for us, Holy Spirit teaches us how to get past the illusions, until we learn to see the Real World for ourselves.  When we follow the quiet guidance and instruction from our higher minds we begin to see ourselves and each other as Sons of God.  We become one with Creation.  It is no longer me, me, me but we, we, we – and with we, we, we, we go all the way Home! 

This is no fantasy.  This is not a trite little fiction to help us get through life, to give us hope, to make sure that we play nice with each other.  This is the Real World – as bright and clean and new as always. Free of time, all things remain sparkling, fresh, and spotless.  There are no secrets, there are no dark places, there are no hidden corridors or fearful mysteries.  When all is forgiven, when the illusion is seen for the fiction it is, we walk in the happiness and the inexpressible delight of the Real World. 

Our bridge to the Real World is built on forgiveness.  As we choose holiness the things of this world seem trite and of no account.  We can shrug things off in a way that we could not before.  We can tell the truth because we trust our brothers with it.  We lose our taste for darkness, and we walk in the light and like it there!  We don’t really care about the same things we cared about before.  When I discuss another person I am not discussing them to tear them apart, I am talking about them in order to learn and grow in holiness by what they chose to teach me and by what I chose to learn from them. 

It might seem like forgiving one another and walking in the light with each other in holiness is not significant enough to span the gap between us and God.  Where are the rites and rituals?  Where are the sacrifices?  Where are the tithes and offerings, the sacred vessels and vows?  And yet forgiveness is the bravest thing we can do in the world.  Identifying with our divinity takes strength and courage that comes only from God.  Forgiveness takes us to eternity, beyond all the rot and decay, the pain and the suffering, the tedium and weariness into the beauty, ease, purity, and perfection that is forever. 

When we step into forgiveness we have completed the greatest part in God’s plan to bring us Home.  We have to be taught to welcome Atonement back to its proper place and prominence in our mind, we must learn to recognize what is false in order to remember what is true.  But forgiveness is complete for when I forgive illusions all of its fantasies are undone, all of the terrible things that have happened in human history, in the history of the world and in the history of me and the history of you – is simply undone.  The dream is over.  It goes where the past goes – into nothingness where it is never resurrected again.  What is left is only what is blessed, only what is transformed, only what can withstand eternity.  This forgiveness is the final blessing that we give to one another, for when we offer this forgiveness to the world, we are freed from our separate perceptions which are false and destructive and are given real perception which serves Love, Unity, and Oneness with God forever.

The Real World, Creation as it was and always will be, reestablishes our communication with God and prepares us for His Kingdom.  The Real World is this world forgiven and made new – perceived in holiness.  Under the tutelage of Holy Spirit, we will learn why we made the world of deception, why we chose to fear God rather than love Him, why we chose the perception of darkness over the light, why we traded in our certain divinity for uncertain flesh.  As we learn about the illusion, we turn from the illusion, we awaken from all that is not real.  The dark corridors and the secret places of our minds and hearts are alit by Him Who transforms us.  Past the shadows, past our addiction to death and delusion, past our drives for distinction and specialness, we find our God is Love.  In tenderness, gentleness, and goodness, we see past the small-minded nastiness that drove us to hate and kill to the Heart of God.  And there in love and life and laughter we find everlasting bliss and good cheer.    

Forgiving eyes see beauty rising to bless our sight.  Our minds are freed from the past.  We no longer repeat it.  Set free from its ongoing cycles, its opposites and opposition, the smallest bit of green becomes a thing of wonder, vibrant and pulsing with God’s perfection.  This is the forgiven world, the Real World and from this world the Sonship is transported back Home.  Saved from time, at rest in peace, all things from this world forgiven and forgotten, no terror, destruction, or death, salvation is the end of dreams.

Today in your personal devotional practice, ask yourself “How much do I want salvation?”  Are you willing to forgive the world?  We can never find our purpose, our happiness, our salvation in a world that in opposition to God proves to be nothing.  In holiness we give our willingness to Holy Spirit and make forgiveness our goal.  Eagerly but patiently Holy Spirit awaits.  Jesus tells us to not to delay, to meet Him, to go in gladness to meet our redemption. Today ask Holy Spirit to walk with you, to guide you out of judgment, condemnation, and the cherishment of the temporal world to the Real World where we build our bridge to God. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the holy relationship. II The forgiven world. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

I. Bringing Fantasy to Truth

1. The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his “sins” are but his own imaginings.  His reality is forever sinless.  He need not be forgiven but awakened.  In his dreams he has betrayed himself, his brothers, and his God.  Yet what is done in dreams has not been really done.  It is impossible to convince the dreamer that this is so, for dreams are what they are because of their illusion of reality.  Only in waking is the full release from them, for only then does it become perfectly apparent that they had no effect upon reality at all and did not change it.  Fantasies change reality.  That is their purpose.  They cannot do so in reality, but they can do so in the mind that would have reality be different.

2. It is, then, only your wish to change reality that is fearful, because by your wish you think you have accomplished what you wish.  This strange position, in a sense, acknowledges your power.  Yet by distorting it and devoting it to “evil,” it also makes it unreal.  You cannot be faithful to two masters who ask conflicting things of you.  What you use in fantasy you deny to truth.  Yet what you give to the truth to use for you is safe from fantasy.

3. When you maintain that there must be an order of difficulty in miracles, all you mean is that there are some things you would withhold from truth.  You believe truth cannot deal with them only because you would keep them from truth.  Very simply, your lack of faith in the power that heals all pain arises from your wish to retain some aspects of reality for fantasy.  If you but realized what this must do to your appreciation of the whole!  What you reserve for yourself, you take away from Him Who would release you.  Unless you give it back, it is inevitable that your perspective on reality be warped and uncorrected.

4. As long as you would have it so, so long will the illusion of an order of difficulty in miracles remain with you.  For you have established this order in reality by giving some of it to one teacher, and some to another.  And so you learn to deal with part of the truth in one way, and in another way the other part.  To fragment truth is to destroy it by rendering it meaningless.  Orders of reality is a perspective without understanding; a frame of reference for reality to which it cannot really be compared at all.

5. Think you that you can bring truth to fantasy, and learn what truth means from the perspective of illusions?  Truth has no meaning in illusion.  The frame of reference for its meaning must be itself.  When you try to bring truth to illusions, you are trying to make illusions real, and keep them by justifying your belief in them.  But to give illusions to truth is to enable truth to teach that the illusions are unreal, and thus enable you to escape from them.  Reserve not one idea aside from truth, or you establish orders of reality that must imprison you.  There is no order in reality because everything there is true.

6. Be willing, then, to give all you have held outside the truth to Him Who knows the truth, and in Whom all is brought to truth.  Salvation from separation would be complete or will not be at all.  Be not concerned with anything except your willingness to have this be accomplished.  He will accomplish it, not you.  But forget not this:  When you become disturbed and lose your peace of mind because another is attempting to solve his problems through fantasy, you are refusing to forgive yourself for just this same attempt.  And you are holding both of you away from truth and from salvation.  As you forgive him, you restore to truth what was denied by both of you.  And you will see forgiveness where you have given it.[1]

As we start a new chapter in our Course, meditate for a few moment on forgiveness.  Note that Jesus teaches that forgiveness as we understand it in the world is acknowledgment of wrongdoing, a need for repentance, and some form of graciousness on the part of the wronged party in letting the debt go unrequited. “I can “forgive” you in spite of your meanness because I am good and sweet and kind.” Forgiveness as Jesus teaches in A Course in Miracles means that I overlook all that happens in this dream because I recognize it as an illusion.  “What you have done to me, the way you used and abused me, is simply what happens in the realm of separation between flesh entities.  You forgot the God in you even as I forget the God in you.  Let’s go beyond the illusion of separation and focus on our oneness in Christ.” 

If the world and all that is in it is a dream, it is surely a realistic one.  That is the purpose of fantasies, illusions, and dreams – they distort reality to such a degree that while we believe in it, it is real to us.  All of us have found our hearts racing, our minds engaged so fully in a movie we are watching or a game that we are playing that we forgot that the story was not true or the battle we just fought against alien invaders was a video game.  We say after such instances, “Wow!  That was really good.  It felt real.” 

To awaken from this dream is to the see the world as such.  To forgive all that it seemed is to acknowledge that it was a good simulation but what a relief it is to know that all suffering, loneliness, despair and death was only a simulation of separation.  Safe at Home with God, opposing God and His Kingdom by changing our sense of reality, by using our power to make a world of opposites, all we really did was make a fictional kingdom which denied truth.  To escape the simulation, to awaken from the dream, we ask for truth.  We say, okay, okay.  I have had all I can take of this.  I only want truth, and so I give up what I made to replace Creation and trust in You to bring me Home.  And when this happens, the illusion itself is no longer malignant but benign.  We bring our dream to truth and give up the nothing in exchange for Everything.

There are no parts of the dream too hard to bring to truth.  As big as your sins may loom in your mind, as loud as your condemnation, as harrowing your experiences in a realm that is simply not real –the dream means nothing.  Unless we want to go back to sleep and dream some more, we won’t try to hold on to anything that happened in it.  We will let it all go. 

Except that some of it may feel too real and too complicated, too unforgettable to have been a dream!  “You have no idea, Eckie,” you may say.  “They really did a number on me.  I had it so rough.  They really should pay for what they did to me.  I have spent my whole life trying to get over it.  Don’t tell me that it doesn’t matter because maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but it matters to me.”

But Jesus calls this holding on to parts of the fantasy as lack of faith.  There is still something from the fantasy that you want to get from it.  A sense of justice perhaps, retaliation, vengeance.  Or maybe it takes a different vein – there may be something in the dream that you never experienced, and it is still special to you.  I never got to climb that mountain or learn Chinese.  I had a really nice life, but the world still has something to offer me.  If only I had married Harry instead of Tom, I would have been so much happier. 

As long as we harbor any belief in the illusion – that there are definitely some things in the illusion that are easy enough to give over to holiness but there are other things that are just too difficult to change or things that are worth hanging on to, we cannot know truth.  There is no half-truth, there is no little bit of truth, there is no almost complete, or half-awake in reality.  There is nothing at all in the illusion that we can bring to God’s Kingdom.  We must let it all behind.    

We cannot find God in the uncertainty of the world, in the chatter of our scattered minds, in the ongoing hunger and thirst of multitudinous desires.  In the dream, truth has no meaning.  In the dream all things change, what seems to be true one moment is turned on its side the next!    But when we give our illusions to truth, we escape them.  They no longer growl and nip us, they no longer torment us with shame or regret, they no longer fill our minds withs fear or pain or sorrow.  When we realize that the whole shebang is nothing more than a dream, we remember our certain safety in the Arms of God.  No rank and file, no hierarchies, no levels of difficulty, no specialness whatsoever, when we get a foretaste of the oneness and unity, wholeness and love, the world cannot hold us. 

God is complete in us even as we are complete in Him.  There is nothing we can bring to God except our wills.  When we are willing, He awakens us and brings us Home – in perfect trust, in perfect peace, in perfect Joy.   Author of All – our will and His Will are made one, not by any effort on our part, but by Him who created us as His Son.

Give our brothers the same tender mercy that the Father offers to us, be patient and trusting when our brothers, still bound to the world, seek solutions, happiness, and health through the ego’s fantasies.  Instead of losing our peace of mind, instead of getting ourselves all worked up – judging and condemning, preaching and pushing our ideas down his throat – we relax because to react to illusions is to reinforce them, not be free from them.  We forgive his dream even as we forgive our own.   There is nothing we can do, say, or promote that can touch reality, that can change God, that can take away our mutual Sonship.  When we offer our brother forgiveness, we are merely overlooking his humanity and trusting in our mutual divinity.  Each time we fail to do this, we delay our brother and ourselves.  Each time we forgive, we bring our brother with us to God; we restore the Sonship; we complete ourselves in God. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 17. Forgiveness and the holy relationship. I. Bringing fantasy to truth. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

VII. The End of Illusions

1. It is impossible to let the past go without relinquishing the special relationship. For the special relationship is an attempt to reenact the past and change it. Imagined slights, remembered pain, past disappointments, perceived injustices and deprivations all enter into the special relationship, which becomes a way in which you seek to restore your wounded self-esteem. What basis would you have for choosing a special partner without the past? Every such choice is made because of something “evil” in the past to which you claim, and for which must someone else atone.

2. The special relationship takes vengeance on the past. By seeking to remove suffering in the past, it overlooks the present in its preoccupation with the past and its total commitment to it. No special relationship is experienced in the present.  Shades of the past envelope it and make it what it is. It has no meaning in the present, and if it means nothing now, it cannot have any real meaning at all. How can you change the past except in fantasy?  And who can give you what you think the past deprived you of? The past is nothing. Do not seek to lay the blame for deprivation on it, for the past is gone. You cannot really not let go what has already gone. It must be, therefore, that you are maintaining the illusion that it has not gone because you think it serves some purpose that you want fulfilled. And it must also be that this purpose could not be fulfilled in the present, but only in the past.

3. Do not underestimate the intensity of the ego’s desire for vengeance on the past. It is completely savage and completely insane. For the ego remembers everything you have done that has offended it and seeks retribution of you. The fantasies that it brings to its chosen relationships in which to act out its hate are fantasies of your destruction. For the ego holds the past against you, and in your escape from the past it sees itself deprived of the vengeance it believes you so justly merit. Yet without your alliance in your own destruction, the ego could not hold you to the past. In the special relationship you are allowing your destruction to be. That this is insane is obvious. But what is less obvious is that the present is useless to you while you pursue the ego’s goal as its ally.

4. The past is gone; seek not to preserve it in the special relationship that binds you to it and would teach you salvation is in the past and so you must return to the past to find salvation. There is no fantasy that does not contain the dream of retribution for the past. Would you act out of the dream, or let it go?

5. In the special relationship it does not seem to be acting out of vengeance that you seek. And even when the hatred and the savagery break briefly through, the illusion of love is not profoundly shaken. Yet the one thing the ego never allows to reach awareness is that the special relationship is the acting out of vengeance on yourself. Yet what else could it be? In seeking the special relationship, you look not for glory in yourself. You have denied that it is there, and the relationship becomes your substitute for it. And vengeance becomes your substitute for Atonement and the escape from vengeance becomes your loss.

6. Against the ego’s insane notion of salvation the Holy Spirit gently lays the holy instant. We said before that the Holy Spirit must teach through comparisons and uses opposites to point to truth. The holy instant is the opposite of the ego’s fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past. In the holy instant it is understood that the past is gone, and with its passing the drive for vengeance has been uprooted and has disappeared. The stillness and the peace of now enfold you in perfect gentleness. Everything is gone except the truth.

7. For a time you may attempt to bring illusions into the holy instant, to hinder your full awareness of the complete difference, in all respects, between your experience of truth and illusion. Yet you will not attempt this long.  In the holy instant the power of the Holy Spirit will prevail because you joined Him. The illusion you bring with you will weaken the experience of Him for a while and will prevent you from keeping the experience in your mind. Yet the holy instant is eternal, and your illusions of time will not prevent the timeless from being what it is, nor you from experiencing it as it is.

8. What God has given you is truly given and will be truly received. For God’s gifts have no reality apart from your receiving them. Your receiving completes His giving. You will receive because it is His Will to give. He gave the holy instant to be given you, and it is impossible that you receive it not because He gave it. When He willed His Son be free, His Son was free. In the holy instant is His reminder that His Son will always be exactly as he was created. And everything the Holy Spirit teaches is to remind you that you have received what God has given you.

9. There is nothing you can hold against reality. All that must be forgiven are the illusions you have held against your brothers. Their reality has no past, and only illusions can be forgiven. God holds nothing against anyone, for he is incapable of illusions of any kind. Release your brothers from the slavery of their illusions by forgiving them for the illusions you perceive in them. Thus will you learn that you have been forgiven, for it is you who offered them illusions. In the holy instant this is done for you in time, to bring you the true condition of heaven.

10. Remember that you always choose between truth and illusion; between the real Atonement that would heal and the ego’s “atonement” that would destroy. The power of God and all His Love, without limit, will support you as you seek only your place in the plan of Atonement arising from His Love. Be an ally of God, and not the ego in seeking how Atonement can come to you. His help suffices, for His Messenger understands how to restore the Kingdom to you, and to place all your investment in salvation in your relationship with Him.

11. Seek and find His message in the holy instant, where all illusions are forgiven. From there the miracle extends to bless everyone and to resolve all problems, be they perceived as great or small, possible or impossible. There is nothing that will not give place to Him and to His majesty. To join in close relationship with Him is to accept relationships as real, and through their reality to give over all illusions for the reality of your relationship with God. Praise be to your relationship with Him and to no other.  The truth lies there and nowhere else. You choose this or nothing.

12. Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions and where none can ever enter. Our holiness is Yours. What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect? The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your love. Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your will. And let us receive only what You have given and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love. Amen.[1]

As we end of our review and study of Chapter 16, Jesus brings us to the end of illusions.  For me, this chapter has been one in which I have had to call Linda and ask her to teach and learn with me as we pored over the sections and asked Holy Spirit to illuminate it for us with personal illustrations from our life.  Because we have known each other from grade school and have many (and I mean many) shared experiences in holiness and out of holiness it was a time of utter honesty and shock to learn and teach each other of the mechanics behind our special relationships and the reason that Jesus tells us to bring them to holiness. 

To use another person, be it friend, lover, spouse, or child to in any way make up for a blighted past is just plain wrong.  To believe that it is someone’s duty to atone for what was stolen from you in the past is just plain wrong. To bring your past to any relationship whatsoever and expect that person, pet, passion, or profession to soothe your wounded ego and make things better for you is not just wrong but it is selfish and self-serving and thus doomed. To base our relationships with anybody or anything on what we can get from it, how it will maintain or increase our status in the world, or to latch on to anybody at all and use them for vengeance or allow yourself to be party to this kind of subtle and not-so-subtle form of use is plainly not love.  It is not God’s way but the ego’s way. And yet that is what we do in the name of love, and we keep the cycles going by teaching each other that this is not only okay but to be expected – that smart people do it this way.  We don’t marry beneath ourselves.  We don’t hang out with losers.  We have nothing to learn from so-and-so because she is slutty.  We snicker about people who love for the sake of love and have to struggle against all odds to make a go of it. 

Our ego-driven relationships are all special relationships.  It is astonishing to discover that while we have been insisting that marriage, family, professions, callings, and so forth are love-based under close examination the ulterior motives of ego become apparent.  How we use our relationships for pride, for status, for wealth, for scapegoats, for all sorts of things!  How highly indignant we become when they do not fulfill the roles we have assigned to them, or we find that we are also being used in similar ways!   

Each time we use our relationships to fulfill our own needs, for healing, for recompense, as some kind of reward for good behavior or punishment for wrongdoing – we make a mockery of love, we make a mockery of what relationship is all about, we make a mockery of God and Sonship.  And it is these wrongful relationships that keep us bound to flesh and time.  For we become addicted to the drama, we chain ourselves through duty and obligation to what comes from them, we keep ourselves trapped in the illusion that it is all about love when it is all about nothing at all that resembles God and the one relationship that would include all.    

Our salvation does not come through our flesh relationships.  There is nothing about my past that holds me accountable to you or you accountable to me.  I do not have to travel back in time and make an account of all the things I did for you, and you did for me so we can ascertain once and for all who owes what to whom.  You will always think you did more for me and I will always think I did more for you because when a relationship is special it is not a relationship at all but a transaction, an alliance, riddled by a contrived sense of martyrdom and self-pity. 

When we bring the past into our relationships we bring fantasy because my version of the past will never match your version of the past.  We will always be at odds about what happened, when it happened, and how it happened.  We will see things through the eyes of vengeance and spite toward anything and anyone that would disagree or doubt our opinions, perceptions, and theories. Even when we have a shared sense of agreement about the past we will each judge the past on where we are now and what we know now and so we will judge the past and the players in it with a sense of reproach.  Knowing this, who in their right mind would not let the past go?    

When James and I first got married, our relationship was very special.  Because I knew about the special relationship I tried not to let it get too special and because we were old enough and wise enough to have learned from past mistakes and the mistakes of others, we eventually turned it around and made it holy.  But for several years we used our relationship as a way to take vengeance out on the past.  We drank too much.  We ate too much.  We spent way too much money making up for the things we were denied in the past.  We rubbed our specialness in the faces of everybody we knew in our glee at finally having made a “good” match.  James doted on me publicly and privately, and in return I doted on him, and because we spent so much time doting upon each other, we failed ourselves. 

Jesus tells us that when we seek specialness in the other, we are not looking at the glory in ourselves.  The special relationship becomes the substitute for our own glory, and the vengeance it wreaks upon us for trying to find glory in someone outside of ourselves becomes our substitute for salvation.  And so special relationships are doomed – there is nothing that can save them as they are.  They must be given up and turned over to holiness.  And this at first will seem like an incredible loss, but it is not a loss at all.  And we must learn not to look at it as a loss but as spiritual gain. 

For our salvation does not come through vengeance of any kind.  We will not find salvation in special relationships no matter how sexy, thrilling, and indulgent they may be.  In paragraph six, Jesus tells us that up against the ego’s insane notion of salvation, Holy Spirit quietly, tenderly offers the holy instant.  Rather than seeking vengeance for the past, the holy instant frees us from  it. When we take the present moment and make it holy the past is gone, and all vengeance is gone with it. 

When I base my relationship with you on the holy instant, you come to me and I come to you with innocence.  I want you in my life for one reason alone and that is because you are my brother, we are equally and mutually Sons of God.  While you play a part in my salvation you are not my salvation.  Our relationship then is one of peace.  It is tender and kind.  All forms of attack, of judgment, of condemnation are gone.  We can truly love one another in that instant and when we base our relationship upon love we base our relationship upon God. 

Until we understand exactly what the special relationship is and why we bring it to holiness, we may still attempt to use holiness to make our special relationships even more special.  We will pray for specialness because we still think of it as our salvation.  Make him love me more, we may pray.  Make him be a better son, Lord.  Make him stop flirting with other women, Lord.  You know how much this hurts my feelings, Lord.  We will bring our ambitions for our jobs, our spats and irritations with coworkers, our desires to lose weight.  We will bring all manner of specialness to the holy instant and treat it as if it is a big wish-granting mechanism in our small-mindedness and lack of understanding.  It will seem embarrassing.  But there are no worries.  Holy Spirit prevails!  We joined with holiness and the illusions we bring to the holy instant will teach us of their worthlessness.  It will soon be very apparent to us that we don’t bring such tripe to holiness.  The holy instant is our gateway to eternity.  All that has no eternal value dissipates and fades away into the past where it belongs.  Jesus assures us that no matter how attached we are to illusions, there is nothing about them that changes the eternal nor keeps us from experiencing the eternal as it is.  In other words, we can make no mistakes that are eternal.  Our mistakes are meant to teach us to let them go, put them down, not hold on to them, defend them, or hide them.  When I hide my mistakes, I am seeking specialness.  And in my specialness, I not only fail to learn from them, but I also prevent you from learning from them. 

In paragraph eight, Jesus tells us something that we should already know.  God’s gifts are given to us, and God’s gifts are received by us.  In time, we can take as long as we want in receiving God’s gifts, but we can never not receive them.  Even as we are complete only in God, so is God complete in us.  This concept in relation to the holy instant is that we will all come to eternity.  We will all become adept at using the holy instant the way it was designed to be used – as a reminder that the Sonship will always be exactly as it was created to be.  That which would keep this from us is the dream of time, the alternate reality that is the lie.  Holy Spirit teaches us this with the holy instant and in practicing the holy instant, we return the gift of our recognition of Sonship back to Him.     

In reality there is simply nothing to forgive for reality is perfect.  It is the alternate reality, the ego’s version of reality that must be forgiven for in that lie we have come up with all reasons to despise each other.  We have no reality in the past, only the illusions that passed away with the past can be forgiven.  Essentially we are forgiving the illusion, the nothingness for pretending it was real and for entrancing us with worthlessness, wasting time going nowhere and doing nothing. 

This is what we learn as we practice the holy instant.  This is what convinces us of the truth of God and the condition for His Kingdom.  We must see all illusions for what they are and let them go gladly with the past and be no more.  Love has nothing against anyone or anything; Love is incapable of lies, fantasies, or illusions of any kind.  All that opposes Love is simply incapable of withstanding eternity – a world of opposites can only exist in time which has no meaning and goes nowhere. 

Our power is in the choosing.  Do we choose truth or illusion?  Do we choose to undo the ego or hold on to it?  As we align ourselves with God all the power in the universe comes to our aid.  As we make the decision for Love, Holy Spirit restores the Kingdom to each of us, filling our minds and hearts with love and peace and joy.  As we invest our human lives in relationship with God we remove ourselves from special relationships that destroy and enter into the One Relationship that heals all relationships.  This is the One Relationship that deserves praise because the truth lies there and nowhere else.  We choose relationship with Love, or we choose nothing! 

In your personal devotions today join with me in this prayer of forgiveness for illusions:

Dear Father.

Forgive us our illusions and help us to accept our true relationship with You.

For in You there is no deception and in You no deception can come.

Our holiness is Yours. And in You we find our own perfection.

Awaken us from the sleep of forgetfulness.

Heal our resistance to remember You as Mercy and Love.

 Keep our minds stayed upon You so that

we are not tempted by the lies and false promises of this realm. 

Temptation is not of You so let us trust only in You.

We receive and accept only what You give

into our minds which You created and which You love.


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 16 The forgiveness of illusion VII The end of illusions. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

VI.  The Bridge to the Real World

1. The search for the special relationship is the sign that you equate yourself with the ego and not with God.  For the special relationship has value only to the ego.  To the ego, unless a relationship has special value it has no meaning, for it perceives all love as special.  Yet this cannot be natural, for it is unlike the relationship of God and His Son, and all relationships that are unlike this one must be unnatural.  For God created love as He would have it be and gave it as it is.  Love has no meaning except as its Creator defined it by His Will.  It is impossible to define it otherwise and understand it. 

2. Love is freedom.  To look for it by placing yourself in bondage is to separate yourself from it.  For the Love of God, no longer seek for union in separation, nor for freedom in bondage!  As you release, so will you be released.  Forget this not, or love will be unable to find you and comfort you.

3. There is a way in which the Holy Spirit asks for your help if you would have His.  The holy instant is His most helpful aid in protecting you from the attraction of guilt, the real lure in the special relationship.  You do not recognize that this is its real appeal, for the ego has taught you that freedom lies in it.  Yet the closer you look at the special relationship, the more apparent it becomes that it must foster guilt and therefore must imprison.

4. The special relationship is totally meaningless without a body.  If you value it, you must also value the body.  And what you value you will keep.  The special relationship is a device for limiting yourself to a body, and for limiting your perception of others to theirs.  The Great Rays would establish the total lack of value of the special relationship if they were seen.  For in seeing them the body would disappear because its value would be lost.  And so your whole investment in seeing it would be withdrawn from it.

5. You see the world you value. On this side of the bridge you see the world of separate bodies, seeking to join each other in separate unions and to become one by losing.  When two individuals seek to become one, they are trying to decrease their magnitude.  Each would deny his power, for the separate union excludes the universe.  Far more is left outside than would be taken in, for God is left without and nothing taken in.  If one such union were made in perfect faith, the universe would enter into it.  Yet the special relationship the ego seeks does not include even one whole individual.  The ego wants but part of him and sees only this part and nothing else.

6. Across the bridge it is so different! For a time, the body is still seen, but not exclusively, as it is seen here. The little spark that holds the Great Rays within it is also visible, and this spark cannot be limited long to littleness. Once you have crossed the bridge, the value of the body is so diminished in your sight that you will see no need at all to magnify it. For you will realize that the only value the body has is to enable you to bring your brothers to the bridge with you, and to be released together there.

7.  The bridge itself is nothing more than a transition in the perspective of reality. On this side, everything you see is grossly distorted and completely out of perspective. What is little and insignificant is magnified, and what is strong and powerful cut down to littleness. In the transition there is a period of confusion, in which a sense of actual disorientation may occur. But fear it not, for it means only that you have been willing to let go your hold on the distorted frame of reference that seemed to hold your world together. This frame of reference is built around the special relationship. Without this illusion there could be no meaning you would still seek here.

8. Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition.  The urgency is only in dislodging your mind from its fixed position here. This will not leave you homeless and without a frame of reference. The period of disorientation, which precedes the actual transition, is far shorter than the time it took to fix your mind so firmly on illusions. Delay will hurt you now more than before, only because you realize it is delay, and that escape from pain is really possible. Find hope and comfort, rather than despair, in this: you could not long find even the illusion of love in any special relationship here. For you are no longer wholly insane, and you would soon recognize the guilt of self-betrayal for what it is.

9. Nothing you seek to strengthen in the special relationship is really part of you. And you cannot keep part of the thought system that taught you it was real and understand the Thought that knows what you are. You have allowed the thought of your reality to enter your mind, and because you invited it, it will abide with you. Your love for it will not allow you to betray yourself, and you could not enter into a relationship where it could not go with you, for you would not want to be apart from it.

10. Be glad you have escaped the mockery of salvation the ego offered you and look not back with longing on the travesty it made of your relationships. Now no one need suffer, for you have come too far to yield to the illusion of the beauty and holiness of guilt. Only the wholly insane could look on death and suffering, sickness and despair, and see it thus. What guilt has wrought is ugly, fearful, and very dangerous. See no illusion of truth and beauty there. And be you thankful that there is a place where truth and beauty wait for you. Go on to meet them gladly and learn how much awaits you for this simple willingness to give up nothing because it is nothing.

11. The new perspective you will gain from crossing over will be the understanding of where Heaven is. From this side, it seems to be outside and across the bridge. Yet as you cross to join it, it will join with you and become one with you. And you will think, in glad astonishment, that for all this you gave up nothing! The joy of Heaven, which has no limit, is increased with each light that returns to take its rightful place within it. Wait no longer, for the love of God and you. And may the holy instant speed you on the way, as it will surely do if you but let it come to you.

12. The Holy Spirit asks only this little help of you: Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you, enter with Him into a holy instant, and there let Him release you. He needs only your willingness to share His perspective to give it to you completely. And your willingness need not be complete because His is perfect. It is His task to atone for your unwillingness by his perfect faith, and it is His faith you share with Him there. Out of your recognition of your unwillingness for your release, His perfect willingness is given you. Call upon Him, for Heaven is at His call. And let Him call on heaven for you.[1]

It is unnatural to love one person above another.  When we choose specialness we do not choose love, we choose a substitute for love.  Love is not bondage, love is freedom – as we loose the chains of specialness from our loved ones, we will be released.  This is God’s promise, and we are not to fall back into a kind of guilt or fear of freedom and liberty.  God’s Love is the love we offer all and God’s love has no bars, no chains, no guilt or hidden agendas.  God’s Love is complete and in its completion we find our own. 

Holy Spirit gives us the holy instant to protect us from the attraction of guilt which is the real bait in the special relationship.  As humans we have developed a real addiction to guilt – to slathering it on thick and luscious, to project it to others, to revel in it ourselves.  There is no freedom and liberty in guilt – it is a trap and a waster of time.  When we go to the holy instant we are taking the present moment and freeing it from guilt. In that instant I no longer owe you anything and you owe me nothing but our mutuality in Sonship.  In the holy instant I am free, and you are free, and we have no special bond nor share any special hate. 

For in the holy instant we leave our bodies behind.  I am no longer a wife, a sister, a friend, a cousin or a coworker.  I am no longer a teacher or a writer, a mother or a grandmother.  I am free of all the special relationships that would imprison me to the ego realm and limit your perception of me as well as limit my perception of myself. 

Several years ago shortly after my daughter died she visited me in my mind.  When I asked her to show herself to me she told me that I would not recognize her without her earthly body, that perhaps I would be tempted to fall down and worship her if I could see the light in her.  She said that she did not miss her body at all and that I will not miss mine – and that we will look alike without our bodies.  We both got a big kick out of this because Manda looked more like her father who was Korean than she looked like me. Fair-skinned, blonde, and green-eyed, people often mistakenly assumed that I had adopted her, which irritated her.  I was reminded of this in paragraph four when Jesus speaks of the Great Rays which frees us from the limiting perceptions we have of others by defining them by their fleshy characteristics. 

We see the world we value.  On this side of the bridge we see separate bodies, searching for that special someone in which to meld together and be as one.  This is not the way to completeness and wholeness for it substitutes the everything of God for one bit of nothingness to take His place.  However this all changes when two people join in the perfect faith of holiness, for the universe enters in and both are complete and made whole in God.

When we cross the bridge of holiness we no longer value the body except as it enables us to bring our brothers to the bridge with us to be released together there.  Jesus tells us that the frame of reference for our perceptual world on this side of the bridge is the special relationship – the joining of flesh in defiance against the mutuality and equality of God’s love for His Son.  When we give up this warped view of love and accept God’s love for all, we no longer see any use at all for bodies, for separateness, for opposition and a world of opposites. 

There is nothing to fear, there are no hurdles to jump, nothing to pack for our journey, no language barriers, no surprise leaps into another realm.  Time is kind when we use it on behalf of reality.  A little disorientation is normal and necessary for our minds have been captivated by a perceptual world designed to keep us in the dark about our true identity in God.  The time it takes may make us feel impatient and anxious, but Jesus tells us to find hope and comfort in the release we have from all the broken promises and false hopes of specialness.  Our sanity is being restored and there is no more guilt for betraying our true Selves for all this time in a realm of illusion. 

Remember that there is nothing to strengthen in our special relationships that is real.  We must let it go completely to understand the concept of what we really are.  For if I find anything special in you that sets you apart from the rest of the Sonship I am engaging in illusions and fantasies.  I am giving you what God by His very nature cannot and will not.  And in so doing I am opposing God, as you are opposing God by accepting my idolatry.  Our reality is in God and in God we have Everything abundantly and equally and without any sort of favoritism.  This is where we find our true Self and this other thing that we are bent on doing – idolizing each other, having favorites, saying this one has more value than that one – has proven itself to be worthless to us.  Jesus calls it a mockery of salvation because it makes travesty of our relationship with God and with each other – giving us illusions instead of love. 

In paragraph ten Jesus tells us that only when we are out of our true minds could we ever look on the death and suffering, sickness and despair that specialness and separation has wrought upon us and see any beauty in making others guilty.  Guilt brings forth hatred, and hatred for one another causes us to do terrible things in the name of God.  Make no mistake in this regard for God is Love and truth and beauty and God’s Kingdom is one of truth and beauty.  Jesus asks us to give up nothing to meet the conditions of God’s Kingdom for all that we have here is nothing.

Giving up the nothing of specialness gives us the knowledge of where Heaven is – because as holiness bridges the gap of our understanding God’s Kingdom joins with us and becomes one with us.  There is no limit to the love, the joy, the peace that abides in us.  Jesus urges us not to wait, not to put this off.

In your personal devotional practice, practice inviting holiness into your present moments.  No matter how awkward this may be at first, continue to practice taking one moment and then several, devoting the present moments to love, to peace, to joy.  Bring all your special relationships, one by one to the holy moments and give them to Holy Spirit to transform and release you.  We do not have to be perfect for our holiness is perfect; we do not even have to be entirely willing for when we give our resistance to our holiness, Holy Spirit wills for us because Holy Spirit is one with us.  As we learn to rely on the part of us that knows God and has never forgotten, as we practice trusting our holiness to build the bridge and transport us across the gap to God, we collapse time, we become God’s Kingdom, we complete God as He completes us.  Let this be our only aim for we have absolutely nothing to lose and Everything there is to gain. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 16 The forgiveness of illusions. VI The bridge to the real world. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

V. The Choice for Completion 9-17

9. The appeal of hell lies only in the terrible attraction of guilt, which the ego holds out to those who place their faith in littleness.  The conviction of littleness lies in every special relationship, for only the deprived could value specialness.  The demand for specialness, would make love hateful.  The real purpose of the special relationship, in strict accordance with the ego’s goals, is to destroy reality and substitute illusion.  For the ego is itself an illusion and only illusions can be the witnesses to its “reality.”

10. If you perceived the special relationship as a triumph over God, would you want it?  Let us not think of its fearful nature, nor of the guilt it must entail, nor of the sadness and the loneliness.  For these are only attributes of the whole religion of separation, and of the total context in which it is thought to occur.  The central theme in its litany to sacrifice is that God must die so you can live.  And it is this theme that is acted out in the special relationship.  Through the death of your self you think you can attack another self and snatch it from the other to replace the self that you despise.  And you despise it because you do not think it offers the specialness that you demand.  And hating it you have made it little and unworthy because you are afraid of it.

11. How can you grant unlimited power to what you think you have attacked?  So fearful has the truth become to you that unless it is weak and little, and unworthy of value, you would not dare to look upon it.  You think it safer to endow the little self you made with power you wrested from truth, triumphing over it and leaving it helpless.  See how exactly is this ritual enacted in the special relationship.  An altar is erected in between two separate people on which each seeks to kill his self, and on his body raise another self to take its power from his death.  Over and over and over this ritual is enacted.  And it is never completed, nor ever will be completed.  The ritual of completion cannot complete, for life arises not from death, nor Heaven from hell.

12. Whenever any form of special relationship tempts you to seek for love in ritual, remember love is content, and not form of any kind.  The special relationship is a ritual of form, aimed at raising the form to take the place of God at the expense of content.  There is no meaning in the form, and there will never be.  The special relationship must be recognized for what it is; a senseless ritual in which strength is extracted from the death of God and invested in His killer as the sign that form has triumphed over content, and love has lost its meaning.  Would you want this to be possible, even apart from its evident impossibility?  If it were possible, you would have made yourself helpless.  God is not angry.  He merely could not let this happen.  You cannot change His Mind.  No rituals that you have set up in which the dance of death delights you can bring death to the eternal.  Nor can your chosen substitute for the Wholeness of God have any influence at all upon it.

13. See in the special relationship nothing more than a meaningless attempt to raise other gods before Him, and by worshipping them to obscure their tininess and His greatness.  In the name of your completion you do not want this.  For every idol that you raise to place before Him stands before you, in place of what you are.

14. Salvation lies in the simple fact that illusions are not fearful because they are not true.  They but seem to be fearful to the extent to which you fail to recognize them for what they are; and you will fail to do this to the extent to which you want them to be true.  And to the same extent you are denying truth, and so are failing to make the simple choice between truth and illusions, God and fantasy.  Remember this, and you will have no difficulty in perceiving the decision as just what it is, and nothing more.

15. The core of the separation illusion lies simply in the fantasy of destruction of love’s meaning.  And unless love’s meaning is restored to you, you cannot know yourself who share its meaning.  Separation is only the decision not to know yourself.  This whole thought system is a carefully contrived learning experience, designed to lead away from truth and into fantasy.  Yet for every learning that would hurt you, God offers you correction and complete escape from all its consequences.

16. The decision whether or not to listen to this course and follow it is but the choice between truth and illusion.  For here is truth, separated from illusion and not confused with it at all.  How simple does this choice become when it is perceived as only what it is.  For only fantasies make confusion in choosing possible, and they are totally unreal.

17. This year is thus the time to make the easiest decision that ever confronted you, and also the only one.  You will cross the bridge into reality simply because you will recognize that God is on the other side, and nothing at all is here.  It is impossible not to make the natural decision as this is realized. [1]

Jesus tells us that the choice to listen to and follow this course in the choice between truth and illusion.  We can only know ourselves when Love’s meaning is restored to us, for Love is what we are.  Separated from God we have no way of knowing anything.  We come up with all kinds of ways to bring Love to us, to give purpose to that which has no meaning, to make a home for the eternal in that which withers, grows old, fades away and dies. 

As we answer the call of Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds, we learn that everything we have learned here keeps us trapped in a realm that is mean and small and contrived.  We are led about by drives and desires that turn on us – we destroy those we say we love by letting them sacrifice their whole lives for us and turning on them in spite and vengeance when they no longer fulfill our ego’s function for them.  We burden each other with unnecessary demands, obligations, and duties and call it love.  Jesus tells us that we can escape every consequence of this realm’s false teaching by simply recognizing it for what it is – an illusion bent on winning a battle that will never be fought. 

For God will fight no battles nor declare war on those who have lost their way.  Love patiently and kindly awaits for us.  Truth makes no response to lies nor can be stirred to rage by pretense.  Our completion does not take place in humanity.  We take no other gods before us – we find nothing special about specialness for we have turned our backs on idolatry and are in awe only of God with Whom we are one. 

Today in your devotional practice, make the decision to cross the bridge to reality, to see the world for the illusion it is and to start investing in the real world and in the real You.  Ask Holy Spirit to free you from your addiction to fantasy and to make-believe and to fill your mind with holiness and truth.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 16 The forgiveness of illusions. V The choice for completion. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lesson visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

V. The Choice for Completion 1-8

1. In looking at the special relationship, it is necessary first to realize that it involves a great amount of pain.  Anxiety, despair, guilt and attack all enter into it, broken into by periods in which they seem gone.  All these must be understood for what they are.  Whatever form they take; they are always an attack on the self to make the other guilty.  I have spoken of this before, but there are some aspects of what is really being attempted that have not been touched upon.

2. Very simply, the attempt to make guilty is always directed against God.  For the ego would have you see Him, and Him alone, as guilty, leaving the Sonship open to attack and unprotected from it.  The special love relationship is the ego’s chief weapon for keeping you from Heaven.  It does not appear to be a weapon, but if you consider how you value it and why, you will realize what it must be.

3. The special love relationship is the ego’s most boasted gift, and one which has the most appeal to those unwilling to relinquish guilt.  The “dynamics” of the ego are clearest here, for counting on the attraction of this offering, the fantasies that center around it are often quite overt.  Here they are usually judged to be acceptable and even natural.  No one considers it bizarre to love and hate together, and even those who believe that hate is sin merely feel guilty, but do not correct it.  This is the “natural” condition of the separation, and those who learn that it is not natural at all seem to be the unnatural ones.  For this world is the opposite of Heaven, being made to be its opposite, and everything here takes a direction exactly opposite of what is true.  In Heaven, where the meaning of love is known, love is the same as union.  Here, where the illusion of love is accepted in love’s place, love is perceived as separation and exclusion. 

4. It is the special relationship, born of the hidden wish for special love from God, that the ego’s hatred triumphs.  For the special relationship is the renunciation of the Love of God, and the attempt to secure for the self the specialness that He denied.  It is essential to the preservation of the ego that you believe this specialness is not hell, but Heaven.  For the ego would never have you see that separation could only be loss, being the one condition in which Heaven could not be.

5. To everyone Heaven is completion.  There can be no disagreement on this, because both the ego and the Holy Spirit accept it.  They are, however, in complete disagreement on what completion is, and how it is accomplished.  The Holy Spirit knows that completion lies first in union, and then in the extension of union.  To the ego completion lies in triumph, and in the extension of the “victory” even to the final triumph over God.  In this it sees the ultimate freedom of the self, for nothing would remain to interfere with the ego.  This is its idea of Heaven.  And therefore union, which is a condition in which the ego cannot interfere, must be hell.

6. The special relationship is a strange and unnatural ego device for joining hell and Heaven and making them indistinguishable.  And the attempt to find the imagined “best” of both worlds has merely led to fantasies of both, and to the inability to perceive either as it is.  The special relationship is the triumph of this confusion.  It is a kind of union from which union is excluded, and the basis for the attempt at union rests on exclusion.  What better example could there be of the ego’s maxim, “Seek but do not find?”

7. Most curious of all is the concept of the self which the ego fosters in the special relationship.  This “self” seeks the relationship to make itself complete.  Yet when it finds the special relationship in which it thinks it can accomplish this it gives itself away and tries to “trade” itself for the self of another.  This is not union, for there is no increase and no extension.  Each partner tries to sacrifice the self he does not want for one he thinks he would prefer.  And he feels guilty for the “sin” of taking, and of giving nothing of value in return.  How much value can he place upon a self that he would give away to get a “better” one?

8. The “better” self the ego seeks is always one that is more special.  And whoever seems to possess a special self is “loved” for what can be taken from him.  Where both partners see this special self in each other, the ego sees “a union made in Heaven.”  For neither one will recognize that he has asked for hell, and so he will not interfere with the ego’s illusion of Heaven, which it offered him to interfere with Heaven.  Yet if all illusions are of fear, and they can be of nothing else, the illusion of Heaven is nothing more than an “attractive” form of fear, in which the guilt is buried deep and rises in the form of “love.”[1]

In today’s devotional text, Jesus asks us to take a long, deep look at the special love relationship.  When we seek specialness in the form of another person’s love and devotion, we renounce the Love of God.  For the Love of God is not given to one and not to all.  The Love of God is shared equally and equitably with all – it is not exclusive but inclusive.  The Love of God is not born of flesh but of Spirit.  Every time we try to find love through the flesh and the ego, we find an illusion of love rather then the Love that is God.

Today in your devotional practice, review the first eight paragraphs of this section.  Ask God to give you the sense of wholeness and completion that the ego would have us seek through special relationships with other people.  Ask Holy Spirit to take each of your special relationships and make them holy. Relax and know that what we ask for in sincerity and humility of spirit we receive. Turn your back upon all that would hold you and your loved ones accountable for the pain, disappointment, heartache, and failure of your special relationships.  Remember we can only find wholeness and unity with God.  We will continue with this section in the next post.  Until then, be blessed. 

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions V The choice for completion 1-8. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

IV.  The Illusion and the Reality of Love 8-13

8. Heaven waits silently, and your creations are holding out their hands to help you cross and welcome them. For it is they you seek. You seek but for your own completion, and it is they who render you complete. The special love relationship is but a shabby substitute for what makes you whole in truth, not in illusion. Your relationship with them is without guilt, and this enables you to look on all your brothers with gratitude, because your creations were created in union with them. Acceptance of your creations is the acceptance of the oneness of creation, without which you could never be complete. No specialness can offer you what God has given, and what you are joined with Him in giving.

9. Across the bridge is your completion, for you will be wholly in God, willing for nothing special, but only to be wholly like to Him, completing Him by your completion. Fear not to cross to the abode of peace and perfect holiness. Only there is the completion of God and His Son established forever. Seek not for this in the bleak world of illusion, where nothing is certain and where everything fails to satisfy. In the Name of God, be wholly willing to abandon all illusions. In any relationship in which you are wholly willing to accept completion, and only this, there is God completed, and His Son with him.

10. The bridge that leads to union in yourself must lead to knowledge, for it was built with God beside you, and will lead you straight to Him where your completion rests, wholly compatible with His. Every illusion you accept into your mind by judging it to be attainable removes your own sense of completion, and thus denies the wholeness of your Father.  Every fantasy, be it of love or hate, deprives you of knowledge for fantasies are the veil behind which truth is hidden. To lift the veil that seems so dark and heavy, it is only needful to value truth beyond all fantasy, and to be entirely unwilling to settle for illusion in place of truth.

11. Would you not go through fear to love?  For such the journey seems to be. Love calls, but hate would have you stay. Hear not the call of hate and see no fantasies. For your completion lies in truth, and nowhere else. See in the call of hate, and in every fantasy that rises to delay you, but the call for help that rises ceaselessly from you to your Creator. Would He not answer you whose completion is His? He loves you, wholly without illusion, as you must love. For love is wholly without illusion, and therefore wholly without fear. Whom God remembers must be whole. And God has never forgotten what makes Him whole.  In your completion lies the memory of His Wholeness and His gratitude to you for His completion. In His link with you lie both his inability to forget and your ability to remember. In Him are joined your willingness to love and all the Love of God, who forgot you not.

12. Your Father can no more forget the truth in you then you can fail to remember it. The Holy Spirit is the bridge to Him, made from your willingness to unite with Him and created by His joy in union with you. The journey that seemed endless is almost complete, for what is endless is very near. You have almost recognized it. Turn with me firmly away from all illusions now and let nothing stand in the way of truth. We will take the last useless journey away from truth together, and then together we go straight to God, in joyous answer to His call for His completion.

13. If special relationships of any kind would hinder God’s completion, can they have any value to you? What would interfere with God must interfere with you. Only in time does interference in God’s completion seem to be possible. The bridge that He would carry you across lifts you from time into eternity. Waken from time and answer fearlessly the call of Him who gave eternity to you in your creation. On this side of the bridge to timelessness you understand nothing. But as you step lightly across it, upheld by timelessness, you are directed straight to the Heart of God. At its center, and only there, you are safe forever because you are complete forever. There is no veil the love of God in us together cannot lift. The way to truth is open. Follow it with me. [1]

Heaven awaits us.  It does not clamor and shout or chase us down.  Creation as it was created is waiting to help us cross over and welcome us in for Creation is what we seek.  Creation is our completion – it is what we miss, what we spend our lives chasing after, what we think we are going to find in our special relationships, in our careers and in our passions whether they be lawful or unlawful.  There is no guilt, no pain, no sacrifice involved – in Creation we look upon the Sonship with gratitude, with oneness, with unity.  There is no specialness for your specialness would take something away from me even as my specialness would take something away from you.  God is Love and Love joins us together in giving more of Him. 

Our holiness is the bridge to our completion in God, to be wholly like Him, to complete Him as He completes us.  Jesus tells us not to be afraid of holiness for it is perfect and full of peace.  This is our eternity, this is the end of all fear, it is the end of all worry and hatred.  God cannot be found in the world of illusion – nothing we can perceive with the flesh senses will ever satisfy us, will never give us safety, or deliver us from fear, hatred, and disappointment in ourselves and others.  Jesus tells us to be wholly willing to abandon all illusions – bring all your relationships to holiness and ask God to complete them, to take the specialness out and give you wholeness and unity and oneness with God in Christ, in Sonship, in Love. 

Our bridge to God is the acknowledgement of our failure to thrive in a world that opposes love – that would deny the wholeness of our Father.  When we recognize that all our hopes and dreams of making it in the world of separation is vanity – when we can lay all those hopes for specialness, for being “the one,” for finding wholeness or happiness in anything of the world made in separation down and be entirely unwilling to settle for those kinds of illusions that would substitute for truth, we have built our bridge to God and to our true and holy Selves. 

I share my own acknowledgment here because Linda told me how helpful it was to her when I shared it with her:  I cannot find wholeness in anything in this world, not the completion of my house or property, not in my love relationship with James, not in my children or grandchildren, not in my extended family or in friendships, clubs, places of employment, in A Course in Miracles, in being an author, becoming an internationally recognized speaker, or any of my hopes of becoming loved and admired and distinguished in the world.  I give all my dreams about such things to the altar of truth – for I want to know God and not fantasies or illusions – I lift the veil that seems so dark and heavy by valuing only truth which is beyond all fantasy and to be entirely unwilling to settle for the illusions in this world in place of truth.  In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

As much as giving up all my hopes and dreams for this world may fill me with fear, a sense of disappointment and shame, a sense of guilt for giving up that which would surely give up on me in the end – Jesus tells us not to listen to the call of hate and recognize all its promises as lies.  The world cannot complete me – only truth can make me whole.  And let this be my call to God – that I want only to know Him, to love Him, to find my Self in Him where I belong. 

Our holiness is our link to God – our holiness is our call to Love which we never forgot and Love’s call to us which has never forgotten us.  This is our bridge to God – a heightened understanding  and complete disavowal of the world we made which leads directly to a complete commitment to the completeness we find in Creation and Creator. 

Jesus urges us to turn away from all illusions now. Let not the world deceive us for another minute, another round of days, weeks, months, years.  Let nothing stand in the way of truth – we have gone in the wrong direction as long as we needed to learn what we are never to forget – we do not belong in a realm of death and suffering, we belong in a realm of Love and Life, Peace and Joy.  Together we go straight to God – answering His call to us and our call for Him – as we build the bridge of no return. 

There is no special relationship of any kind that can have any value except in time.  Jesus urges us to awaken in time and with courage we are to answer the call of Him Who made us immortal.  We may not be able to understand this with our finite minds, but our divinity stirs within us at the memory.  We do not have to understand timelessness, oneness, or wholeness to recognize it as our own – but now we know that we will never find it in flesh or in humanity – the veil has been lifted, our ignorance and captivity is gone with the past, we are safe in the Heart of God. 

Today in your personal devotional practice, ask Holy Spirit to take all your special relationships and make them holy.  As you free yourself and others from the special relationships that bind you to the illusions that this world offers, you build the bridge that takes us from time into eternity.  Here we are safe forever because we are complete in Love which created us.  Jesus tells us that the way to truth is open and welcomes us to follow it with Him.  So just do it.  We have nothing to lose – there is nothing to fear.  It may seem like a giant endeavor, but it is simply a matter of return to that which is and always was and evermore shall be.  We cannot fail to recognize the Heart of God as Home.     

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 16 The forgiveness of illusions. IV The illusion and the reality of love 8-13. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

IV.  The Illusion and the Reality of Love

1. Be not afraid to look upon the special hate relationship, for freedom lies in looking at it. It would be impossible not to know the meaning of love, except for this. For the special love relationship, in which the meaning of love is hidden, is undertaken solely to offset the hate, but not to let it go. Your salvation will rise clearly before your open eyes as you look on this.  You cannot limit hate. The special love relationship will not offset it but will merely drive it underground and out of sight. It is essential to bring it into sight, and to make no attempt to hide it. For it is the attempt to balance hate with love that makes love meaningless to you. The extent of the split that lies in this you do not realize. And until you do, the split will remain unrecognized, and therefore unhealed.

2. The symbols of hate against the symbols of love play out a conflict that does not exist. For symbols stand for something else, and the symbol of love is without meaning if love is everything. You will go through this last undoing quite unharmed and will at last emerge as yourself. This is the last step in the readiness for God. Be not unwilling now; you are too near, and you will cross the bridge in perfect safety, translated quietly from war to peace. For the illusion of love will never satisfy, but its reality, which awaits you on the other side, will give you everything.

3. The special love relationship is an attempt to limit the destructive effects of hate by finding a haven in the storm of guilt. It makes no attempt to rise above the storm, into the sunlight. On the contrary, it emphasizes the guilt outside the haven by attempting to build barricades against it and keep within them. The special love relationship is not perceived as a value in itself, but as a place of safety from which hatred is split off and kept apart. The special love partner is acceptable only as long as he serves this purpose. Hatred can enter, and indeed is welcome in some aspects of the relationship, but it is still held together by the illusion of love. If the illusion goes, the relationship is broken or becomes unsatisfying on the grounds of disillusionment.

4. Love is not an illusion. It is a fact. Where disillusionment is possible, there was not love but hate. For hate is an illusion, and what can change was never love. It is sure that those who select certain ones as partners in any aspect of living and use them for any purpose which they would not share with others, are trying to live with guilt rather than die of it. This is the choice they see. And love, to them, is only an escape from death.  They seek it desperately, but not in the peace in which it would gladly come quietly to them. And when they find the fear of death is still upon them, the love relationship loses the illusion that it is what it is not. When the barricades against it are broken, fear rushes in and hatred triumphs.

5. There are no triumphs of love. Only hate is at all concerned with the “triumph of love.”  The illusion of love can triumph over the illusion of hate, but always at the price of making both illusions. As long as the illusion of hatred lasts, so long will love be an illusion to you. And then the only choice remaining possible is which illusion you prefer. There is no conflict in the choice between truth and illusion. Seen in these terms, no one would hesitate. But conflict enters the instant the choice seems to be one between illusions, but this choice does not matter. Where one choice is as dangerous as the other, the decision must be one of despair.

6. 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. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false. Every illusion is one of fear, whatever form it takes. And the attempt to escape from one illusion into another must fail. If you seek love outside yourself you can be certain that you perceive hatred within and are afraid of it. Yet peace will never come from the illusion of love, but only from its reality.

7. Recognize this, for it is true, and truth must be recognized if it is to be distinguished from illusion: The special love relationship is an attempt to bring love into separation. And, as such, it is nothing more than an attempt to bring love into fear and make it real in fear. In fundamental violation of love’s one condition, the special love relationship would accomplish the impossible. How but in illusion could this be done? It is essential that we look very closely at exactly what it is you think you can do to solve the dilemma which seems very real to you, but which does not exist. You have come close to truth, and only this stands between you and the bridge that leads you into it.[1]

We can only be free of hate when we look at it square on and see the detrimental addiction we have to it in our special flesh relationships.  Jesus tells us repeatedly throughout the curriculum that specialness is not of love.  Love as God cannot be divided, distinguished, or unequal.  To ask for specialness is to therefore not ask for love but to ask for hate.  The deeper our commitment to specialness, the more hatred burrows in the dark, secret places of our consciousness. 

Jesus tells us how important it is to bring the hatred in our special relationships to the light and to make no attempt to hide it.  Love becomes meaningless to us when we try to overcome hatred with love, to balance the dark with light, to embrace the yin and the yang, so to speak.  Until we realize how this stressful, dishonest, and deadly splitting of love and hate makes us sick, invites disease and death, keeps us locked in flesh, we will not know the true meaning of Sonship.

In paragraph two Jesus tells us that the symbols of hate against the symbols of love is a conflict that has no meaning, that only seems to exist in the realm of time.  Love is everything for Love is God and there are no symbols necessary for all that is.  Love undoes the ego completely.  Love is the opposite of the ego for the ego and all of its inventions, devices, and belief systems stand for what opposes Love, that which has lifted itself up against God.  Our true Selves cannot be found in the ego, in our humanity, or any of its special relationships.  Jesus promises us ultimate protection as the sticky, stretchy, sketchy threads of our craven need for specialness are undone in our minds.  Our last step in preparing for God, Jesus urges us to not resist this, to will with this process and not against it.  Our egos will resist the study of specialness for special relationships are its only gift to us which would offset the pain and sacrifice of separation from God and from what we really are. 

Just as we give up all hatred for love; we give up all war for peace, we give up all illusion for truth, so do we give up all specialness for holiness, all flesh for Spirit.  When we are ready to give up nothingness for the reality of Love, we have Everything for we have God.   

Pay special attention to paragraph three and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate this for you in pertinence to your special relationships.  Meditate upon each sentence and ask holiness to show you how this applies to every relationship in your life up until this moment.  I have found that in every special love relationship – whether it be marriage, motherhood, sisterhood, friendship, daughter, coworker, teacher, minister or write – all were and are attempts to “limit destructive effects of hatred.”  I was intensely aware of this in my work as a prevention educationist, in all attempts that I have made to form a circle of special friends, and in my extended family relationships.  I have recognized these attempts to limit the destructive effects of hatred with James, with our grown children, and with the grandchildren. 

Jesus tell us that special relationships attempt to build a barricade – not to rise above the storm of guilt toward the sunlight, but to build a fortress within the battleground, making everyone outside of it an “enemy.”  So the special love relationship has no real value in itself but only as a place of safety in an attempt to ward off hatred and keep safe from it.  The “love partner” is only acceptable as long as he or it fulfills this purpose.  Hatred can enter and is even welcome in some aspects of the relationship, but the relationship is held together by the illusion of love.  If the illusion goes, the relationship is broken or becomes unsatisfying on the grounds of disappointment.

This is a truth that we must look at with courage and with honesty.  We have to face what is pretending to be love in our relationships, to lift the veil of specialness that covers up the hate and fear that is at the core of specialness.  We must look at the sacrifices involved, the symbols that stand for love but are not love.  With no blame and no shame – no sense of making others wrong and ourselves wronged – we are to look at our personal special relationships so we can see the universal truth in what Jesus is telling us about the illusion ego offers us in flesh to take the place of Love’s reality. 

To this day, I want to make something special out of my relationship with my sister.  Sisterhood was a symbol of love for me in that it was supposed to be my safe haven, it was supposed to be where I was loved unconditionally simply for existing, it was supposed to be where I came when my friends betrayed me, when my heart was broken, when others took advantage, when I wanted to have a good time and share some good laughs.  While dimly aware of the hatred, the resentment, the jealousy, the competitiveness – I believed that this was something that was to be tolerated in the name of the great and special love we had for one another.  But when the jealousy and resentment became more apparent as the years wore on, as we changed into new roles and no longer fulfilled our previous functions in each other’s lives, when egos clashed and the truth of all that pent-up, secret hate and disgruntlement spilled out – believe me there was nothing special to crow about in all that.   

The truth is that even when I examine my marriage, relationships with friends and other special family members, my creative endeavors, educational, professional and career relationships, I realize that they only work when they fulfill roles in my life and vice versa.  We serve to protect one another, and our relationship serves as a barricade against those who would use us, abuse us, or try to worm their way into what our specialness represents. 

Little wonder there are no special relationships in Heaven.  We learn to let them go because we cannot be God’s Kingdom with them.  There is no place for such agreements and alliances in God for in Love we have Everything.  We are complete – not in weakness and need that we bring to each other to fulfill – but in God. 

This can be a fearful concept for those of us who are still living in fear.  For in our human love relationships, we count upon each other to keep us alive in the face of those who are out to take everything we have.  I must be able to count upon you to uphold my name, and because you uphold my name, I will uphold yours.  I must be able to count upon you to always be there when I need a friend, a nursemaid, a counselor, a ride and because you do that for me I will do things for you.  This is what we call love – I will marry you.  We will make more of our kind.  We will devote our lives together to the flesh beings we make.  We will distinguish them from all other flesh beings and shower them with specialness, protecting them from all the harm that is out to get them in the outside world.  This we call love because it is a place of safety in a dangerous world which is out to rape us, plunder our goods, and kill us.  We will continue to live in this dangerous world and keep our seed alive as long as we can through our love for each other.  And when one or both of us decide that our love is not special anymore – perhaps we do not see eye-to-eye about how to fulfill the particular function assigned to us, maybe one grows old before their time – no longer pleasing to the eye, a slovenly housekeeper, a spendthrift – the special relationship proves not so special – hatred seems to triumph.  That which symbolized love and devotion turns into a symbol of guilt, shame, disappointment, hatred, and death. 

Jesus tells us not to look for love but rather look for all the barriers within our humanity that we have built against love.  Seek to find all that is posing as truth so that illusions no longer have any place in our consciousness.  No matter what form illusions take, they are all fearful – one illusion is no better another illusion as all are lies.  When we seek love from each other, we are seeking an illusion for love cannot be found in flesh.  For flesh is prone to hatred because it vulnerable and doomed to die.  The death we perceive in us frightens us, Jesus says, and so we latch on to others hoping that their “love” will keep us alive.  But it is all an illusion of love, and it will never bring us what we are looking for.  We will not have peace, we will not have certainty, we will still live in fear of death, disease, and destruction.  No matter how much you seem to love me, you will not be able to make up to me for all that is out to get me in the world.  And I will blame you for this – consciously or unconsciously I will hold you accountable.  I will believe you are keeping something from me – holding it inside of you and not giving it to me.

Jesus tells us to look at what we are afraid of, what are our barriers to love?  Each one of us must examine our lives carefully and honestly and answer this question truthfully.  I was afraid of being ostracized, alone, and bereft.  When my dad died, I was left with them, and I did not believe that my mother and sister loved me.  I was afraid that I would always be the fat girl in ugly clothes, people would make a joke of me, cast me and my feelings, my gifts, my pain to the wayside.  I would never enjoy life because I would be the pudgy, ill-at-ease, Pentecostal girl listening to the breathless tales of others.  Trapped in the boredom and dismay of migraines, dread, and drudgery, I was afraid of always being stuck with them – their tedious self-importance, goofy, fear-driven belief systems, their dumb fleeces, the tongue speaking, and wild claims.  Afraid as I was to be stuck with them – I seemed to make it happen by having babies and bringing them home and needing their help to raise them!

Although they are not truly loving, kind, or good, we think we have to keep up the façade of special friendships.  It proves impossible to truly love and appreciate our friends – their love seems fake, wheedling, and wobbly – dependent upon what they get from us or make us do.  We are expected to value what they value.  Special friendships hinge upon requests that prove tedious and even loathsome – stroking egos, meaningless prattle, going along with others’ inflated ideas about themselves and their silly dilemmas.  And yet the thought of them “not loving” us sends us into tailspins, so we kowtow to them in order to win and keep their “love.”

My personal barriers to love come to the surface when people display dark moods or show a general lack of appreciation.  People who gossip or complain incessantly are too easy for me to lose interest in.  Jealousy is intolerable to me.  When anyone acts the least bit jealous or possessive, I despise them and have a hard time looking at them. 

Each one of us must recognize the true lack of love in our special relationships, our general hatred and jealousy and judgment that we hide toward each other in our claims of specialness. To live in flesh is to live in fear and in Love there is no fear, there is no specialness, there is only equality and oneness, wholeness and holiness.  As long as we think we can have love in the flesh, we make God a God of flesh.  We make of God a thing to hold and pet, something which we can play with one day and toss over the next.  In the flesh we are incapable of knowing what Love is.  When we can accept this as true, we can bridge the gap that stands between us and God, for God is Love – not flesh, but Spirit. 

We will end with paragraph seven today and complete the last six paragraphs in the next blog.  Today in your personal devotions, meditate upon your personal barriers to love and recognize the impossibility of finding love in that which is mortal and doomed to die.  Ask Holy Spirit to give you the courage to accept this truth and to stop seeking love where it can never be found.  For in this we forgive our illusions and build our bridge to God.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 16 The forgiveness of illusions. IV The illusion and the reality of love 1-7. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992)

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

III.  The Reward of Teaching

1. We have already learned that everyone teaches and teaches all the time. You may have taught well, and yet you may not have learned how to accept the comfort of your teaching. If you will consider what you have taught, and how alien it is to what you thought you knew, you will be compelled to realize that your Teacher came from beyond your thought system. Therefore He could look upon it fairly, and perceive it was untrue. He must have done so from the basis of a very different thought system, and one with nothing in common with yours. For certainly what He has taught, and what you have taught through Him, have nothing in common with what you taught before He came. And the results have been to bring peace where there was pain, and suffering has disappeared to be replaced by joy.

2. You may have taught freedom, but you have not learned how to be free. I said earlier, “By their fruit ye will know them and they shall know themselves.”  For it is certain that you judge yourself according to your teaching. The ego’s teaching produces immediate results because its decisions are immediately accepted as your choice. And this acceptance means that you are willing to judge yourself accordingly.  Cause and effect are very clear in the ego thought system, because all your learning has been directed toward establishing the relationship between them. And would you not have faith in what you have so diligently taught yourself to believe? Yet remember how much care you have exerted in choosing its witnesses and in avoiding those which spoke for the cause of truth and its effects.

3. Does not the fact that you have not learned what you have taught show you that you do not perceive the Sonship as one? And does it not also show you that you do not regard yourself as one? For it is impossible to teach successfully wholly without conviction, and it is equally impossible that conviction be outside of you. You could never have taught freedom unless you did believe in it. And it must be that what you taught came from yourself. Yet this Self you clearly do not know. And do not recognize it even though it functions. What functions must be there. And it is only if you deny what It has done that you could possibly deny Its Presence.

4. This is a course in how to know yourself.  You have taught what you are but have not let what you are teach you. You have been very careful to avoid the obvious, and not to see the real cause and effect relationship that is perfectly apparent. Yet within you is everything you taught. What can it be that has not learned it? It must be this part that is really outside yourself, not by your own projection, but in truth. And it is this part that you have taken in that is not you. What you accept into your mind does not really change it.  Illusions are but beliefs in what is not there. And the seeming conflict between truth and illusions can only be resolved by separating yourself from the illusion and not from the truth.

5. Your teaching has already done this for the Holy Spirit is part of you created by God, He left neither God nor His creation. He is both God in you, as you are God and Him together. For God’s answer to the separation added more to you than you tried to take away. He protected both your creations and you together, keeping one with you that you would exclude. And they will take the place of what you took in to replace them. They are quite real, as part of the Self you do not know. They communicate to you through the Holy Spirit, and their power and gratitude to you for their creation they offer gladly to your teaching of yourself, who is their home. You who are hosted God are also host to them. For nothing real has ever left the mind of its creator. And what is not real was never there.

6. You are not two selves in conflict.  What is beyond God? If you who hold Him and whom He holds are the universe, all else must be outside, where nothing is. You have taught this, and from far off in the universe, yet not beyond yourself, the witnesses to your teaching have gathered to help you learn. Their gratitude has joined with yours and God’s to strengthen your faith in what you taught. For what you taught is true. Alone, you stand outside your teaching and apart from it. But with them you must learn that you but taught yourself and learned from the conviction you shared with them.

7. This year you will begin to learn and make learning commensurate with teaching. You have chosen this by your own willingness to teach. Though you seem to suffer for it, the joy of teaching will yet be yours. For the joy of teaching is in the learner, who offers it to the teacher in gratitude, and shares it with him. As you learn, here gratitude to your Self, who teaches you what He is, will grow and help you honor Him.  And you will learn His power and strength and purity and love Him as His Father does. His Kingdom has no limits and no end, and there is nothing in Him that is not perfect and eternal. All this is you, and nothing outside of this is you.

8. To your most holy Self all praise is due for what you are, and for what He is Who created you as you are. Sooner or later must everyone bridge the gap he imagines exists between his selves. Each one builds this bridge, which carries him across the gap as soon as he is willing to expend some little effort on behalf of bridging it. His little efforts are powerfully supplemented by the strength of Heaven, and by the united will of all who make Heaven what it is, being joined within it. And so the one who would crossover is literally transported there.

9. Your bridge is built stronger than you think, and your foot is firmly planted on it. Have no fear that the attraction of those who stand on the other side and wait for you will not draw you safely across. For you will come where you would be, and where your Self awaits you.[1]

Today in our devotional text, Jesus is telling us not to worry about our inner conflict.  It is no more real than the illusion of separation.  In every single way in which our mind may seem to be divided about what we are studying, what we know to be true, what we are sharing – we can shrug it off.  All things that are not true, are not real and therefore have no meaning.  What is not a learner, and a teacher of truth is learning nothing that matters, has any worth or eternal value.  We are either in and know it or we are in and don’t know it.  Either way we are in the arms of God. 

Of course it is better not to entertain doubts, uncertainty, or prolong our stint in time by holding on to that which is nothing and trying to make it something!  Sooner or later, Jesus says we are all going to have to bridge the gap between our two imagined selves.  The Sonship in me is going to have to bridge the gap between what opposes Sonship in me.  It is going to happen – and every little effort we make to return ourselves to oneness all that is Heaven and in Heaven and of Heaven rushes to assist and support and bless our every effort. 

In today’s devotional text, Jesus lets us know beyond any shadow of doubt what we really are and what we are about.  We are one with each other, we are one with Christ, we are one with Holy Spirit, we are one with God.  Any other conception of who and what we are is illusion.  Illusion is not of us, it is not in us, it does not define us, and it cannot captivate us unless we choose to let it.  God is not angry, God is not vengeful, God is Love and He calls us back to what we really are beyond the finite which is as nothing into the infinite which is everything. As we learn to give no concern to resistance, to see beyond this world with the eyes of Christ, to teach and acknowledge God’s love and power, so do we build the bridge that takes us home to our eternal, holy Selves enveloped in love and joy and peace of all Creation.

[1] A Course in Miracles Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions III The rewards of teaching. Foundation of Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

II. The Power of Holiness

1. You may still think that holiness is impossible to understand, because you cannot see how it can be extended to include everyone.  And you have been told that it must include everyone to be holy.  Concern yourself not with the extension of holiness, for the nature of miracles you do not understand.  Nor do you do them.  It is their extension, far beyond the limits you perceive, that demonstrates you do not do them.  Why should you worry how the miracle extends to all the Sonship when you do not understand the miracle itself?  One attribute is no more difficult to understand than is the whole.  If miracles are at all, their attributes would have to be miraculous, being part of them.

2. There is a tendency to fragment, and then to be concerned about the truth of just a little part of the whole.  And this is but a way of avoiding, or looking away from the whole, to what you think you might be better able to understand.  For this is but another way in which you would still try to keep understanding to yourself.  A better and far more helpful way to think of miracles is this:  You do not understand them, either in part or in whole.  Yet they have been done through you.  Therefore your understanding cannot be necessary.  Yet it is still impossible to accomplish what you do not understand.  And so there must be Something in you that does understand.   

3. To you the miracle cannot seem natural, because what you have done to hurt your mind has made it so unnatural that it does not remember what is natural to it.  And when you are told what is natural, you cannot understand it.  The recognition of the part as the whole, and of the whole in every part is perfectly natural, for it is the way God thinks, and what is natural to Him is natural to you.  Wholly natural perception would show you instantly that order of difficulty in miracles is quite impossible, for it involves a contradiction of what miracles mean.  And if you could understand their meaning, their attributes could hardly cause you perplexity.

4. You have done miracles, but it is quite apparent that you have not done them alone.  You have succeeded whenever you have reached another mind and joined with it.  When two minds join as one and share one idea equally, the first link in the awareness of the Sonship as one has been made.  When you have made this joining as the Holy Spirit bids you and have offered it to Him to use as He sees fit, His natural perception of your gift enables Him to understand it, and you to use His understanding on your behalf.  It is impossible to convince you of the reality of what has clearly been accomplished through your willingness while you believe that you must understand it or else it is not real. 

5. How can faith in reality be yours while you are bent on making it unreal?  And are you really safer in maintaining the reality of illusions than you would be in joyously accepting truth for what it is, and giving thanks for it?  Honor the truth that has been given you and be glad you do not understand it.  Miracles are natural to the One Who speaks for God.  For His task is to translate the miracle into the knowledge which it represents, and which is hidden to you.  Let His understanding of the miracle be enough for you, and do not turn away from all the witnesses that He has given you to His reality. 

6. No evidence will convince you of the truth of what you do not want. Yet your relationship with Him is real.  Regard this not with fear, but with rejoicing.  The One you called upon is with you.  Bid Him welcome and honor the witnesses who bring you the glad tidings He has come.  It is true, just as you fear, that to acknowledge Him is to deny all that you think you know.  But what you think you know was never true.  What gain is there to you in clinging to it, and denying the evidence for truth?  For you have come too near to truth to renounce it now, and you will yield to its compelling attraction.  You can delay this now, but only a little while.  The Host of God has called to you, and you have heard.  Never again will you be wholly willing not to listen.

7. This is a year of joy, in which your listening will increase, and peace will grow with its increase.  The power of holiness and the weakness of attack are both being brought into your awareness.  And this has been accomplished in a mind firmly convinced that holiness is weakness and attack is power.  Should not this be a sufficient miracle to teach you that your Teacher is not of you?  But remember also that whenever you listened to His interpretation the results have brought you joy. Would you prefer the results of your interpretation, considering honestly what they have been?  God wills you better.  Could you not look with greater clarity on whom God loves with perfect love?

8. Do not interpret against God’s Love, for you have many witnesses that speak of it so clearly that only the blind and deaf could fail to see and hear them.  This year determine not to deny what has been given you by God.  Awake and share it, for that is the only reason He has called to you.  His Voice has spoken clearly, and yet you have so little faith in what you heard, because you have preferred to place still greater faith in the disaster you have made.  Today, let us resolve together to accept the joyful tidings that disaster is not real, and that reality is not disaster.  Reality is safe and sure, and wholly kind to everyone and everything.  There is no greater love than to accept this and be glad.  For love asks only that you be happy and will give you everything that makes for happiness.

9. You have never given any problem to the Holy Spirit He has not solved for you, nor will you ever do so.  You have never tried to solve anything yourself and been successful.  Is it not time you brought these facts together and make sense of them?  This is the year for the application of the ideas that have been given you.  For the ideas are mighty forces, to be used and not held idly by.  They have already proved their power sufficiently for you to place your faith in them, and not in their denial.  This year invest in truth, and let it work in peace.  Have faith in Him Who has faith in you.  Think what you have really seen and heard and recognize it.  Can you be alone with witnesses like these?[1]

In our humanity, we seek to understand that which simply cannot be understood with a finite mind.  We search for truth and bewail the fact that truth always seems out there in the vast universe, far beyond our means to grasp it, hold it in our little bony fingers, squeeze it close to our fleshy hearts, squeeze the very life out of it to suit our fragile selves and make it work for us, protecting us from all the lost and the heathen who have not yet managed to figure it out for themselves.  In our great quest for truth, we want to make sure we get there before anyone else, planting our flag upon it, stamping our name upon it, making sure everyone knows it is our truth and we found it first.  And if you want to join with us in “our” truth, here are the rules, here are the fees, here are our expectations and belief systems. 

It is far better to admit that we don’t know anything about truth or miracles or God, for that matter.  It is far better to humbly assert the truth of the matter; we do not have to understand God or the love or the miracles that are wrought through us.  I do not have to convince you of the truth of any of this nor do you have to convince me.  In our humanity we are simply not equipped to understand or be able to explain the things of God, miracles or otherwise.  But Jesus tells us that there is holiness within us that does understand, that in our holiness miracles are not supernatural, but natural.  In our holiness, we think like God thinks.  We know that in any single part of Creation is God and that in God is every single part of Creation – we know that in our holiness – and the only reason we have forgotten it and seem to have cast this aside is because we chose humanity over our divinity; we chose to make something different than Spirit and become flesh. 

If we were Spirit there would be no such thing as a miracle, for miracles are natural in holiness.  There is no reason to understand miracles because in Spirit minds are joined and know everything there is to know. 

Jesus tells us that all of us have done miracles whenever we have reached another mind and joined with it.  Sharing one idea equally, a link in the awareness of our Brotherhood in Christ is made.  We recognize our holiness and in this recognition we want nothing for ourselves alone.  Our craven egos are out of the picture.  I want no glory; I want no appreciation; I want no recognition at all nor do you.  We absolutely do not have to understand it, be able to explain it, to defend it or try to prove it to anyone in the flesh.  We do not perform miracles to get rich or famous or draw a following to ourselves.  When we are delivered from that which torments us, steals our joy, sickens our bodies, and separates us from God and from each other – we know it has happened and we are blessed.  And yet it is impossible to explain this to anyone in the flesh for only in the Spirit can we know truth.   There is not a technique to this.  There are not certain incantations and bub-hubba-bubbas to murmur.  There is no laying on the hands required or dunking each other in water.  We are not putting on a show and trying to win others for Christ. 

Jesus says that when two minds join as one and share one idea equally, the first link of the awareness of the Sonship as one has been made.  Several years ago my mind joined as one with my husband’s mind and the mind of a brother who had been diagnosed with a crippling and severe form of degenerative back disease.  One of the most amazing, to me, at the time was the fact that neither James nor I had reason to particularly like this guy.  Yet when we saw him in such poor shape, our hearts and minds were joined in total empathy, lack of judgment, love, and concern.  I remember being so touched by his condition that I cried in compassion.  And yet it was not my tears that healed him or touched the heart of God.  It was the words that were spoken through Holy Spirit through me. 

For when I prayed for him, I prayed that he would be able to be a good father to his children, to be able to provide for them and enjoy them.  In holiness, the Spirit showed him that he did not want to choose disability, but to choose healing.  Holy Spirit knew that this was his choice.  It was not a decision that I could make for him.  No matter how much I may have pleaded with God, spoke in tongues, cried out in anguish for his painful condition – in the end it was his choice to choose healing even as it was his choice to choose disability. 

Holy Spirit showed me how it is always our choice to choose.  We are seldom aware of this.  We think that sickness befalls us; we think that health is reserved for those who have good genes and are “lucky.”  We seldom take the responsibility for our health, often choosing sickness and disability to get out of doing things, to get attention, to get out from under the heavy burden of choices we made in the past, of separation, of our humanity.  This seems a ruthless way in which to view poor health, and yet to resist this spiritual concept puts us at a great disadvantage – for our egos thrive in a mind that is full of fear, vulnerability, and weakness.  When we see ourselves as helpless pawns in a world where anything and anyone can attack us at anytime for any reason we unwittingly project this to others and draw forth discord, disease, and death to our door.  When we see ourselves as Sons of God, invulnerable, strong, and loving, joyful, and peaceful we mindfully extend our holiness to others and attract holiness to ourselves. 

Holy Spirit understands these concepts for us and the more we are willing to consciously choose holiness the less we will unconsciously go along dippity-do-dahing with ego, taking everything that comes along in a fearful state of defense and attack which leaves us wide open to all the fearful things that ego has planned for those it has entranced. 

Miracles come naturally to us when we walk in the joy of Holy Spirit.  We honor God and the truth He has given us by not trying to understand it with our finite minds but accepting it with the same grace in which it has been extended to us and giving thanks for having been delivered from the certain disease of mortality.  Miracles are then naturally occurring events to those who speak for God, for when we speak for God we speak for love, for joy, for peace.  We speak of fulfilling our responsibilities and being a blessing and not a burden to others.  We speak of freedom and not of captivity.  We speak of strength and not of weakness. 

Holy Spirit in you and in me translates the miraculous on this plane to the knowledge of God and Sonship which miracles represent.  When James and I prayed for our diseased brother and he was healed, we did not accomplish this – Holy Spirit accomplished this through not only us, but through all the Sonship.  While we had no desire to take the credit, we did have a united desire to bring health to our unhappy brother.  When we prayed for other people they went unhealed.  So it was not anything special about us that healed our brother, and this is always a good thing to know!  Jesus tells us to rely only on Holy Spirit.  Our holiness knows; our finite minds will never understand miracles and will always find ways in which to pollute them with doubt, fear, and accusations of incredibility. 

I often think of Dr. Helen Schucman, the transcriber of this Course.  She could hardly believe that she would be the one in which Jesus would choose as a scribe for this curriculum.  While I believe that Jesus is speaking to all of us, I think that He was also speaking directly to unbelief in Dr. Schucman in paragraph five.  Dr. Schucman found it as difficult to put her ego aside as do we in order to believe in the amazing messages that were coming through her.  I love it when Jesus says – “Honor the truth that has been given you and be glad you do not understand it.”  I am so happy that she did honor the truth even though she did not understand it.  Following through and sharing it, publishing it, and overriding her ego’s resistance which was trying to convince her that she was perhaps insane.  We all owe a deep appreciation to our scribe for daring to bring this forth instead of hiding it in her closet or in a dresser drawer out of fear of the established religions or professional mockery and ridicule. 

Anyone who is on a quest for God, for truth, for reality should question, doubt, and raise concerns about what is being offered to them as truth.  We should all be very wary of any kind of voices, human or spiritual, that would demand unquestioning belief in and obedience to its commands.  Any spiritual teaching that uses specialness and flattery, as well as threats, fear, and slavish obedience and sacrifice to coerce us into a false sense of salvation is not of God no matter how long it as been around, no matter how many people have been martyred for the cause, no matter how holy and righteous and good it may claim to be.  For God is Love. This truth will always deliver us from fear not add to it. 

Jesus tells us to rejoice and not be afraid.  God is with us and will never leave us.  Welcome Him into our minds and hearts.  We are certainly not to crucify the ones who bring us this glad tiding – but rather honor them.  Everything we thought we knew was simply not true.  So why cling to it?  Why continue to honor that which enslaved you and demanded bloody sacrifices which filled you with horror and dread?  What possible gain is there in supporting and endorsing teachings that fill us with worry and fret over the state of each other’s soul when we know that souls belong to God and God is Love? Love attracts love and so we will never be lost no matter how long we delay.  However, God and His Hosts are calling to you.  You have heard.  And never again will you be willing to turn a deaf ear.  You have heard God is Love and now you know. 

Pay particular attention to paragraph seven.  Here Jesus is telling us that this is a year of joy.  We will listen and not interfere with the teachings of love.  Our peace will increase.  We will know the power of holiness and the weakness of attack in a mind that had been fully convinced otherwise!  This is our evidence that Holy Spirit is our Teacher and not our ego – this is a miracle accomplished already.  We experience joy when we listen to our holiness; we experience something else altogether when we go with our own perceptions and interpretations.  God wills us better than we can possibly do on our own. 

We are not to interpret against God’s Love but trust in it.  This year, this time, this moment determine not to deny what God has given to you as He has given to all of us.  Wake up.  God does not call to us to save us alone.   God awakens us to awaken holiness in others.  We are to build on the faith that we have in His Love, in His Voice within us, in what He has called us to do rather than the mundane go-round of flesh.  Jesus calls what we made here a disaster and it is about time we open our eyes and see it as a disaster as well.  A disaster posing as reality – filling us with vanity, fear, and dread.  Reality is safe and sure, wholly kind to everyone and that is certainly not what we are finding in this realm.  Accept anything less than this and you will not be happy, nor will you be able to share happiness with others. 

All problems given to holiness are solved for us in a way in which we cannot resolve them ourselves.  When we look at this deeply and honestly we will know this is true – it will all make sense to us.  In our personal application of these principles we find that the concepts we learn in our Course are only might forces when they are used, when they are shared.  Keep them to ourselves and they mean nothing.  Jesus asks us to put our faith in them, to invest in truth and let it work in peace.  We are no longer to entertain any sense of doubt and fear but rather have faith in God who has faith in us.  In your personal devotional practice, meditate upon what you have seen and heard and recognize God’s love and faith in you.  Recollect all the times that you were surrounded by love, by peace, by joy.  Remember the times that you were in touch with that which is not visible to flesh eyes or experienced with flesh senses.  You are not alone – God and all of Creation is with you.  Attest to the reality of this by trusting in your holiness and disavowing that which was made in opposition to truth. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 16 The forgiveness of illusions. II The power of holiness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 16 The Forgiveness of Illusions

I. True Empathy

1. To empathize does not mean to join in suffering, for that is what you must refuse to understand. That is the ego’s interpretation of empathy and is always used to form a special relationship in which the suffering is shared. The capacity to empathize is very useful to the Holy Spirit, provided you let Him use it in His way. His way is very different. He does not understand suffering and would have you teach it is not understandable. When He relates through you, He does not relate through your ego to another ego. He does not join in pain, understanding that healing pain is not accomplished by delusional attempts to enter into it and lighten it by sharing the delusion.

2. The clearest proof that empathy as the ego uses it is destructive lies in the fact that it is applied only to certain types of problems and in certain people. These it selects out and joins with. And it never joins except to strengthen itself. Having identified with what it thinks it understands, the ego sees itself and would increase itself by sharing what is like itself. Make no mistakes about this maneuver; the ego always empathizes to weaken, and to weaken is always to attack. You do not know what empathizing means. Yet of this you may be sure; if you will merely sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through you, you will empathize with strength, and will gain in strength and not in weakness.

3. Your part is only to remember this; You do not want anything you value to come of a relationship. You choose neither to hurt it nor to heal it in your own way. You do not know what healing is. All you have learned of empathy is from the past. And there is nothing from the past that you would share, for there is nothing from the past that you would keep. Do not use empathy to make the past real, and so perpetuate it. Step gently aside, and let healing be done for you. Keep but one thought in mind and do not lose sight of it, however tempted you may be to judge any situation, and to determine your response by judging it. Focus your mind only on this: I am not alone, and I would not intrude the past upon my Guest. I have invited Him, and He is here. I need do nothing except not to interfere.

4. True empathy is of Him who knows what it is. You will learn His interpretation of it if you let Him use your capacity for strength, and not for weakness. He will not desert you but be sure that you desert not Him. Humility is strength in this sense only; that to recognize and accept the fact that you do not know is to recognize and accept the fact that He does know. You are not sure that He will do His part, because you have never yet done yours completely. You cannot know how to respond to what you do not understand.  Be tempted not in this and yield not to the ego’s triumphant use of empathy for its glory.

5. The triumph of weakness is not what you would offer to a brother. And yet you recognize no triumph but this.  This is not knowledge, and the form of empathy which would bring this about is so distorted that it would imprison what it would release. The unredeemed cannot redeem, yet they have a Redeemer. Attempt to teach Him not. You are the learner; He the teacher. Do not confuse your role with His, for this will never bring peace to anyone. Offer your empathy to Him for it is His perception and His strength that you would share. And let Him offer you His strength and His perception, to be shared through you.

6. The meaning of love is lost in any relationship that looks to weakness and hopes to find love there. The power of love, which is its meaning, lies in the strength of God that hovers over it and blesses it silently by enveloping it in healing wings. Let this be, and do not try to substitute your “miracle” for this.  I have said that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you to do it. But be certain that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other.  Foolish requests are foolish merely because they conflict since they always contain some element of specialness. Only the Holy Spirit recognizes foolish needs as well as real ones. And He will teach you how to meet both without losing either.

7. You will attempt to do this only in secrecy. And you will think that by meeting the needs of one you do not jeopardize another, because you keep them separate and secret from each other. That is not the way, for it leads not to life and truth. No needs will long be left unmet if you leave them all to Him whose function is to meet them. That is His function, and not yours. He will not meet them secretly, for He would share everything you give through Him. That is why He gives it. What you give through Him is for the whole Sonship, not for part of it. Leave Him His function, for He will fulfill it if you but ask Him to enter your relationships and bless them for you.[1]

In today’s devotional text, Jesus tells us that there is no reason for suffering.  We are not to empathize with misery of any kind.  We are not to try to find a cause for it.  When we mistakenly empathize with the suffering of others we will form special relationships based upon ego.  I will share my sorrow over the death of my daughter with you; you will share your death stories with me and none of us will benefit except to be sorrier, to have formed a little club of mutual suffering which leads nowhere! 

God does not design suffering for us, nor does He even understand what suffering is or why it exists.  God is Love.  Just as you in your love could not fathom hurting your little ones for any reason whatsoever, so does God hold tender and loving compassion for us.  Only that which opposes Love, which opposes God could come up with such a thing as suffering, sacrifice, and slavery.  No matter what your particular scriptures say about God, the message of Christ is a God of love, the father of the prodigal who awaited patiently for his son to come to his senses and come home. 

When we examine the story of the prodigal closely, there is no mention of anybody being sent to chase down the son and join in his prodigal ways in order to understand what would cause him to do such things.  There is no mention of the prodigal going to some form of substance abuse anonymous for the rest of his days sharing tales of his wastrel lifestyle.  There is no boo-hooing about childhood abuse and trauma.  Jesus tells us to step out of all of that. 

When someone tells us something that would cause our hearts to empathize with them, we empathize with Holy Spirit.  We come from higher ground.  We do not jump in with stories of our own.  We do not try to understand what they did to deserve such grief.  We simply throw them a rope, we reach out our hand, we pull them out of the muck and worry not about what particular kind of muck it may be or how they got there.

The ego’s kind of empathy weakens and never strengthens.  If I have suffered from an addiction to sex, and I go to meetings with other sex addicts, all I am going to hear are stories of sexual addictions.  I am not going to hear about truly loving, stable, and sexually faithful relationships.  I am going to hear about all kinds of theories about who or what to blame for what happened to me.  Taking responsibility for my sexual addiction will be weakened, not strengthened. The ego has no desire to heal me, only to weaken me and to use me for attack against myself and others.  It may make me feel good to know I am not the only one who has not learned to resist that which leaves me empty and hankering for more, but I will not respect you anymore than I respect myself when I hear of your stories of weakness. 

When we quiet our lower minds and come to Holy Spirit we will empathize from strength offering true help and not weakness.  When others come to us with their pain, with their heartache, with their grief, instead of telling them our own stories and joining with them in how rotten and unfair other people are and how they always leave us down, instead of wearing ourselves out running after them and doing for them what they should be doing for themselves, we will encourage them to be strong, to be responsible, to examine the situation and rely on their holiness to see them through. 

We interfere with the process of healing by jumping in and offering “help,” by remembering things from the past and applying it to the current situation, by wanting something from a relationship.  We may harbor secret thoughts that by sharing our stories with others who are going through a similar shame or sorrow, we will form a bond.  They will tell give us a sense of belonging, we can all be pals and wallow in our weakness together.  We will run to each other and fall upon each other when we are weak.  Sooner or later one of us or all of us will let each other down – a cause for attack, defense, more weakness – no strength, truth, or love.    

In order to truly help someone else, we must not latch on to someone for their money, their affection, their appreciation, the status or friendship that they may be able to offer us.  In order to heal and to be of true help in the world, we must know that we already have everything we could possibly want or need – our desires and needs are already fulfilled. We have no need to share anything from the past in order to establish intimacy. A relationship cannot be real if it is established in weakness. 

In today’s devotional practice, Jesus tells us to focus our mind on true empathy by consciously inviting Holy Spirit to take charge, recognizing that in so doing God’s Kingdom is with us.  We can call upon Holy Spirit at all times, stepping aside from worry, concern, and the ignorant tendencies to delve about in the past to find a solution.  We can rely on Holy Spirit to work it out and refuse to interfere.

This is the way of true empathy. Holy Spirit is always there – He never deserts us.  We are the ones who tend to ignore our holiness and invulnerability in Sonship and fall back on our human needs for specialness. If I try to help you from my neediness in regard to having friends, needing appreciation, wanting money and recognition – the ego triumphs but you will not be helped or healed. 

When I read paragraph five, I was reminded of an instance where a friend of mine called me to ask me what to do when her son wanted her to watch his crazy dog for several weeks.  This dog was notorious for chewing up her furniture, scratching her beautiful hardwood floors, and terrorizing her cat.  It barked at night and made messes on the floor.  Instead of going to Holy Spirit, I thought I had all the answers.  I told her about how aggravated I am when we dog sit our granddogs.  I embellished the inconveniences and how used we end up feeling.  I complained how we don’t ask anyone to take in our chickens and cats and ducks when we go away and bring them in the house to live with.  I groused about the dog hair, the dog stink, the dog messes.  I did exactly what Jesus is telling us not to do in such instances.  I joined in weakness and did not come from strength.  I did not offer her helpful advice, such as being honest with her son about the damage her dog causes and the peace it destroys but rather encouraged her to join with me in our mutual feelings of vulnerability and inability to be forthright and honest with our grown children. 

When we try to seek mutuality in weakness, we will never be strong or give true help of any kind.   Holy Spirit cannot work in the lower realm of the ego.  Holy Spirit comes from the Kingdom of God and points us in that direction and expects us to point others to a realm of speaking truth in strength, helping and healing from an everlasting abundance of power that can only be found in love, peace, and joy.  Our pasts teach us nothing but attack and defense measures, secret agendas, hidden grudges, resentments, and pretense.  Holy Spirit teaches us to have honest, equal, and holy relationships where I trust you to hear the truth without getting all huffed up and never speaking to me again.  I trust you with my boundaries – I do not have to complain about you taking advantage of me to others, I can tell you in truthful, loving words with no resentment, no fear, no vulnerability that for whatever reason what you are doing is not making me happy.  When I come to you with honesty and you love me and want me to be happy, you will gladly stop doing whatever it is that you are doing to me that makes me unhappy.  If you get all stoved up and want to keep doing it anyway – then I will know that you are not ready to have a holy relationship with me and I will not seek one with you.  I will give any relationship that I have with you, no matter how special, to holiness.  I will not “need” a relationship with you if it brings me any kind of sorrow.  Any relationship that I have in dread or sorrow is a triumph to the ego and not to God.   

Jesus tells us in paragraph six that we are to do all things for our brothers as long as it is not hurtful to anyone.  If you need someone to go along with you and hold your hand, I can hold your hand even though this is a foolish request for in holiness we know that flesh hands are weak and that it may be an imposition to me to have to hold your hand when you are a big boy and should be able to stand on your own.  But if holding your hand time after time begins to wear me down, use up my resources, and hinder my holy relationships with others, specialness has replaced holiness in our relationship and specialness will always be hurtful, harmful and in need of healing.

Our holiness will be able to determine which needs make no sense at all and are calls to weakness and which needs are genuine calls for help and healing.  When we rely on Holy Spirit, we learn how to address all needs, foolish and otherwise without losing anything at all. 

When we attempt to meet all the needs of others in an effort to keep on their good side, of maintaining our special place in their hearts, of inheriting their wealth, or sucking up some of their popularity and success – we will think nobody knows what we are really up to.  We will think we are doing the right thing.  Dog-sitting is what parents do for their granddogs, we will tell ourselves with resentment in our hearts, instead of being honest and not needing to prove to our kids what great parents we are.  We will think that this is the smart way to be.  But Jesus tells us that this way does not lead to life and truth.  There are no secret agendas in holiness.  When we leave all people, their neediness, demands, and calls for help to Holy Spirit, we tell the truth in love, we are honest and only do what brings no harm to ourselves or anybody else.  We are blessed by holiness and the blessing we receive in holiness is not in secret.  Holy Spirit blesses everything we give to Him – every worry, care, concern.  Keep it to ourselves and try to noodle it out our own way, we only get more worry, care, and concern.  When give our relationships to Holy Spirit, we make them honest and therein we bless the whole Sonship, not just part of it. 

Today in your personal devotions ask Holy Spirit to enter into all of your relationships and bless them for you and through you.  Ask Holy Spirit to overturn every stone and let you see with courage and clarity all the ways in which you may obligate others to you and let others obligate you to them with dishonesty, with the ego’s kind of empathy that joins in weakness.  Be holy – wholly loving, honest, and without fear – living for Sonship in Christ Who makes us one. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 16 The forgiveness of illusions. I. True empathy.  Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

XI. Christmas as the End of Sacrifice

1. Fear not to recognize the whole idea of sacrifice as solely of your making.  And seek not safety by attempting to protect yourself from where it is not. Your brothers and your Father have become very fearful to you. And you would bargain with them for a few special relationships, in which you think you see some scraps of safety. Do not try longer to keep apart your thoughts and the Thought that has been given you. When they are brought together and perceived where they are, the choice between them is nothing more than a gentle awakening, and as simple as opening your eyes to daylight when you have no more need of sleep.

2. The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifices of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His presence the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is one, and no thought alien to His oneness can abide with Him there. Love must be total to give Him welcome, for the presence of holiness creates the holiness that surrounds it. No fear can touch the Host who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the Host is as holy as the Perfect Innocence which He protects, and whose power protects him.

3. This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. Leave nothing behind, for release is total, and when you have accepted it with me you will give it with me. All pain and sacrifice and littleness will disappear in our relationship, which is as innocent as our relationship with our Father, and as powerful. Pain will be brought to us and disappear in our presence, and without pain there can be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice there love must be.

4. You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. For sacrifice brings guilt as surely as love brings peace. Guilt is the condition of sacrifice, as peace is the condition for the awareness of your relationship with God. Through guilt you exclude your Father and your brothers from yourself. Through peace you invite them back, realizing that they are where your invitation bids them be. What you exclude from yourself seems fearful, for you endow it with fear and try to cast it out, though it is part of you. Who can perceive part of himself as loathsome and live within himself in peace?  And who can try to resolve the “conflict” of Heaven and hell in him by casting heaven out and giving it the attributes of hell, without experiencing himself as incomplete and lonely?

5. As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. And so long will you also perceive yourself as a victim of sacrifice, justified in sacrificing others. For who could thrust Heaven and its Creator aside without a sense of sacrifice and loss? And who could suffer sacrifice and loss without attempting to restore himself? Yet how could you accomplish this yourself, when the basis of your attempts is the belief in the reality of the deprivation? Deprivation breeds attack, being the belief that attack is justified. And as long as you would retain the deprivation, attack becomes salvation and sacrifice becomes love.

6. So is it that, in all your seeking for love, you seek for sacrifice and find it.  Yet you find not love.  It is impossible to deny what love is and still recognize it.  The meaning of love lies in what you have cast outside yourself, and it has no meaning apart from you.  It is what you prefer to keep that has no meaning, while all that you would keep away holds all the meaning of the universe and holds the universe together in its meaning.  Unless the universe were joined in you it would be apart from God, and to be without Him is to be without meaning. 

7. In the holy instant the condition of love is met, for minds are joined without the body’s interference, and where there is communication there is peace.  The Prince of Peace was born to reestablish the condition of love by teaching that communication remains unbroken even if the body is destroyed, provided that you see not the body as the necessary means of communication.  And if you understand this lesson, you will realize that to sacrifice the body is to sacrifice nothing, and communication, which must be of the mind, cannot be sacrificed.  Where, then, is sacrifice?  The lesson I was born to teach, and still would teach to all my brothers, is that sacrifice is nowhere, and love is everywhere.  For communication embraces everything, and in the peace it re-establishes, love comes of itself.

8. Let no despair darken the joy of Christmas, for the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy.  Let us join in celebrating peace by demanding no sacrifice of anyone, for so you offer me the love I offer you.  What can be more joyous than to perceive we are deprived of nothing?  Such is the message of the time of Christ, which I give you that you may give it and return it to the Father, Who gave it to me.  For in the time of Christ communication is restored, and He joins us in the celebration of His Son’s creation.

9. God offers thanks to the holy host who would receive Him and let Him enter and abide where He would be.  And by your welcome does He welcome you into Himself, for what is contained in you who welcome Him is returned to Him.  And we but celebrate His Wholeness as we welcome Him into ourselves.  Those who receive the Father are one with Him, being host to Him Who created them.  And by allowing Him to enter, the remembrance of the Father enters in with Him, and with Him they remember the only relationship they ever had, and ever want to have.

10. This is the time in which a new year will soon be born from the time of Christ.  I have perfect faith in you to do all that you would accomplish.  Nothing will be lacking, and you will make complete and not destroy.  Say, then, to your brother:

I give you to the Holy Spirit as part of myself.

I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself.

In the name of my freedom I choose your release because I recognize that we will be released together.

So will the year begin in joy and freedom.  There is much to do, and we have been long delayed.  Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening.  Make this year different by making it all the same.  And let all your relationships be holy for you.  This is our will.  Amen.[1]

When Christmas comes to my heart, I am no longer afraid of loving you, of trusting in you, of believing the very best of you even as I believe the best in me.  Christ has come, we recognize our Sonship, we put away our fear of each other and go with God, for we go with Love.  We step out of fear for fear is what fuels the world of flesh, it is what keeps us guilty and binds us to thoughts of sacrifice instead of love.  What we do for others stops making of us sad-sack, grudging, worn-down martyrs and instead makes of us joyful and blessed healers who bring peace, comfort, and bliss. 

The star of Christmas is not out in the atmosphere, it is the Kingdom inside of you and inside of me.  This is the second coming of Christ, the end of sacrifice.  What I do for you no longer comes with strings attached!  I do everything I do for you from love.  Not in the fleshy kind of love where I scratch your back and you scratch mine and we built a special relationship of reciprocation and careful accounting of who gave what and how much and how much is owed in return.  When we host God, we host Love and in love we have abundance of Being. For love is total.  It cannot be experienced by flesh and blood.  The ego has no real substitute for it – kissing and having sex and holding our babies near to us, watching out for our loved ones, saying special prayers and incantations for those we hold dear – are weak substitutes for the wholeness and oneness of Love which encompasses all in a power that cannot be contained or maintained in our flesh-based relationships. 

The Christmas time of the mind comes from outside the boundaries of time.  In the coming of Christ, we give holiness to all that would hurt us.  We give up all affection and attraction we have to sacrifice, to guilt, to holding each other accountable.  Sonship is our healing and because we are healed, we heal others.  We release others from what we held against them.  We stop believing that our happiness depends upon them sacrificing themselves to us as we sacrificed ourselves to them. 

The small-mindedness that characterizes our human relationships disappears when our relationships become holy, powerful, and godly.  Pain will disappear in our presence. 

As long as we continue with our sense of sacrifice and call it love, we will bring guilt into our communion.  And with guilt, there is no real communion, there is no communication, there is no love.  As long as I want to make you guilty, I cannot love you, I cannot see God or the Sonship in you.  It is only when I look at you with the eyes of peace, when I see you as owing me nothing, as being equal with me in all things – neither better or worse, richer or poorer, sicker or healthier that I can love you.  For when I exclude you from me, I am afraid of you because I am afraid of myself. 

This was a very hard concept for me to understand and I usually cannot understand it except in retrospect.  But each time I examine my interactions with others, I realize that what I find loathsome about you, I find loathsome about myself.  I want to blame you for being hateful, grouchy, unmannerly, and draining to cover up my own sense of hatefulness, testiness, ungraciousness, and neediness.  As long as I see you as being the hellish part of me, I will not experience heaven.  I will remain trapped in the flesh, striving to make you guilty for not being God, for not making me happy, for failing me.  I will have a sense that you owe me something; that it is your privilege to have me in your life, and I will lose all the ways in which you bless me and teach me.         

In paragraph six, Jesus tells us that as bodies we seek for love and find sacrifice.  And love can never be found in neediness, in deprivation, in looking for it on the outside of us.  Unless I see you as one with me, I will never love you and you will never love me.  I may be crazy about your body, and you may be crazy about mine.  We can spend a lot of our time fawning over one another, petting one another, seeking from each other what can only be found in God, but in relating to one another through our bodies and not through our holiness, we are keeping our relationship away from all that holds meaning.  

The universe is joined in us. It is critical that we accept this and practice this concept.  For it frees our minds from the perception of flesh, giving our lives meaning and purpose that saves us from the despair of nothingness.  When we practice bringing others into us, into our holiness, even for an instant of recognition – we are giving up the idea of sacrifice, guilt, judging, condemnation.  We are practicing the forgiveness that teaches there is no need for forgiveness for what happens in nothingness has no meaning. 

I take this to mean that I can enslave myself to you for my whole life through.  I can listen to you blather endlessly about things that have no meaning to me, I can answer your every call, I can come to you in your time of need and supply you with all the things that you demand from me, I can put up with your silent treatment, the way you steal all my stories and make them your own, the way you talk about me to avoid telling the truth about yourself.  I can do this from the time we meet until the day one of us dies.  I can call this love.  I can call this friendship.  I can call this sisterhood.  I can call it by any righteous name I want to call it, but it will be nothing.  Nothing that happens between us as bodies will mean a thing.  It will not matter that you drove a thousand miles to rescue me from a bad relationship; it will not matter that you cooked a big feast and I cooked one in return.  It will not matter that I babysat for your kids for free while you got on your feet or that you took me to church or gave me a bed when I was homeless.  It was all sacrifice, it was all guilt-inducing, it was all outside of the realm of love for it was based upon bodies, deprivation, and sacrifice.  One hundred years from now it will be as nothing ever happened.  We thought we were godly; we thought there was love in all that, but it was all flesh and flesh is wearied in well doing, flesh demands recompense, flesh demands sacrifice by its very nature.  All that is of flesh withers and fades away into nothingness. 

It is only in holiness that the condition of love can be met for the body interferes with the joining of minds.  Bodies are limited to language, to gestures, to emotions.  Bodies are not built for the higher mind but for the lower mind.  When we come to a full understanding of this we can no longer see the death of a body as a sacrifice of any kind for the body, made by ego, for ego and with ego, is not of God.  It is not eternal.  It is not fit for anything outside of time.  The body can only hinder the love we have for one another in God. 

Our bodies cause us to despise one another.  In the body there is no equality.  There is someone that always have more than we do or less.  There is a sense of obligation, guilt, and sacrifice that we demand from all our relationships.  We are always comparing ourselves up against others.  Nobody is better than anybody else in this regard.  You can say I am not like that, Eckie.  But the mere fact that you have a body means that you are – we all struggle with the same issues – and the more you deny this the more you are hiding what needs to be addressed.  This is a vain attempt to make your body mean something, to make of your flesh life something that matters, that stands out from others. 

Giving up the need for guilt and sacrifice means that we demand nothing from others or ourselves.  We put down our expectations.  We step out of the bounds of time for the present moment and offer the love which God has given us.  In that moment we are deprived of nothing.  We recognize our Being, our Sonship, and we recognize others as Sons.  And this is what we give to others; this is what we give to God.  We are no longer yammering to God, tattling on each other, complaining and calling forth hell.  We offer escape from the flesh and into Spirit – inclusive and expanding forever.  We go beyond language and words for true communication is restored in the holy instant.  This is Christmas for Christ has come, joining us in celebrating Creation – restored to the Kingdom, united with God and with one another. 

God dwells only in Spirit and when we welcome Spirit we welcome God.  We find our wholeness in love as we welcome God into our Being.  By hosting God, we can never be lonely again, and never being lonely again, we can never demand a sacrifice from someone nor be forced to sacrifice to another. 

He is not just speaking to the scribe, Dr. Schucman, in paragraph ten – Jesus is speaking to each one of us.  He tells us that we will complete the Vision of Christ.  By giving holiness to our brothers, no matter what we personally feel toward them in the flesh, we free ourselves.   

The world is full of fear and makes fearful beasts of us to one another.  I am afraid of your riches; you are afraid of my poverty.  I am afraid of your beauty; you are afraid of my ugliness.  I am afraid of your privilege; you are afraid of my lack – it is not real – our perceptions are twisted and perverted against each other.  When I set you free from my perceptions of you; I am set free of all false perceptions of myself.  I come to know you and myself as Christ for Sonship has been awakened in my mind and heart.  When I am released from the savage chains of flesh and into the freedom and liberty of Spirit, I am no longer the least bit inclined to hold you captive. 

In your personal devotions strive only for God – get past the interference, the resistance, the building of grudges and the demands for sacrifice.  This is the practice of the holy instant.  Whether we understand it or not, it is both a personal call and a universal one.  We are only fit for the Kingdom when we learn how to abide in the unity established in holiness.  This is the holiness of Sonship for it completes us and makes us of one mind.  Nobody is left behind for there is no heaven in a universe that is a host to hell.  And so we will have no hell as we awaken and let all relationships be whole and holy.  This is our will for it is the Will of God.  And God’s Will is done. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. XI Christmas as the end of sacrifice. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

X.  The Time of Rebirth

1. It is in your power, in time, to delay the perfect union of the Father and the Son. For in this world, the attraction of guilt does stand between them.  Neither time nor season means anything in eternity.  But here it is the Holy Spirit’s function to use them both, though not as the ego uses them. This is the season when you would celebrate my birth into the world. Yet you know not how to do it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you and let me celebrate your birth through Him. The only gift I can accept of you is the gift I gave to you. Release me as I choose your own release. The time of Christ we celebrate together, for it has no meaning if we are apart.

2. The holy instant is truly the time of Christ. For in this liberating instant no guilt is laid upon the Son of God, and his unlimited power is thus restored to him. What other gift can you offer me, when only this I choose to offer you? And to see me is to see me in everyone and offer everyone the gift you offer me. I am as incapable of receiving sacrifice as God is, and every sacrifice you ask of yourself you ask of me. Learn now that sacrifice of any kind is nothing but a limitation imposed on giving. And by this limitation you have limited acceptance of the gift I offer you.

3. We who are one cannot give separately. When you are willing to accept our relationship as real, guilt will hold no attraction for you. For in our union you will accept all of our brothers. The gift of union is the only gift that I was born to give. Give it to me, that you may have it. The time of Christ is the time appointed for the gift of freedom, offered to everyone. And by your acceptance of it, you offer it to everyone.

4. It is in your power to make this season holy, for it is in your power to make the time of Christ be now. It is possible to do this all at once because there is but one shift in perception that is necessary, for you made but one mistake. It seems like many, but it is all the same. For though the ego takes many forms, it is always the same idea. What is not love is always fear, and nothing else.

5. It is not necessary to follow fear through all the circuitous routes by which it burrows underground and hides in darkness, to emerge in forms quite different from what it is. Yet it is necessary to examine each one as long as you would retain the principle that covers all of them. When you are willing to regard them, not as separate, but as different manifestations of the same idea, and one you do not want, they go together. The idea is simply this: You believe it is possible to be host to the ego or hostage to God. This is the choice you think you have, and the decision you believe that you must make. You see no other alternatives, for you cannot accept the fact that sacrifice gets nothing. Sacrifice is so essential to your thought system that salvation apart from sacrifice means nothing to you. Your confusion of sacrifice and love is so profound that you cannot conceive of love without sacrifice. And it is this that you must look upon; sacrifice is attack, not love. If you would accept but this one idea, your fear of love would vanish. Guilt cannot last when the idea of sacrifice has been removed. For if there is sacrifice, someone must pay, and someone must get. And the only question that remains is how much is the price, and for getting what.

6. As host to the ego, you believe that you can give all your guilt away whenever you want, and thereby purchase peace. And the payment does not seem to be yours. While it is obvious that the ego does demand payment it never seems to be demanding it of you. You are unwilling to recognize that the ego, which you invited, is treacherous only to those who think they are its host. The ego will never let you perceive this, since this recognition would make it homeless. For when their recognition dawns clearly, you will not be deceived by any form the ego takes to protect itself from your sight. Each form will be recognized as but a cover for the one idea that hides behind them all; that love demands sacrifice and is therefore inseparable from attack and fear. And that guilt is the price of love, which must be paid by fear.

7. How fearful, then, has God become to you, and how great a sacrifice do you believe His love demands! For total love would demand total sacrifice, and so the ego seems to demand less of you than God, and of the two is judged as the lesser of two evils, one to be feared a little, perhaps, but the other to be destroyed. For you see love as destructive, and your only question is who is to be destroyed, you or another? You seek to answer this question in your special relationships, in which you seem to be both destroyer and destroyed in part, but able to be neither completely. And this you think saves you from God, whose total love would completely destroy you.

8. You think that everyone outside yourself demands your sacrifice, but you do not see that only you demand sacrifice, and only of yourself. Yet the demand of sacrifice is so savage and so fearful that you cannot accept it where it is. The real price of not accepting this has been so great that you have given God away rather than look at it. For if God would demand total sacrifice of you, it seems safer to project Him outward and away from you. And not be host to Him. To Him you ascribed the ego’s treachery, inviting it to take His place to protect you from Him. And you do not recognize that it is what you invited in that would destroy you and does demand total sacrifice of you. No partial sacrifice will appease this savage guest, for it is an invader who but seems to offer kindness, but always to make the sacrifice complete.

9. You will not succeed in being partial hostage to the ego, for it keeps no bargains and would leave you nothing. Nor can you be partial host to it. You must choose between total freedom and total bondage, for there are no alternatives but these. You have tried many compromises in the attempt to avoid recognizing the one decision you must make. And yet it is the recognition of the decision, just as it is, that makes the decision so easy. Salvation is simple, being of God, and therefore very easy to understand. Do not try to project it from you and see it outside yourself. In you are both the question and the answer; the demand for sacrifice and the peace of God.[1]

As we come to our devotional text today, Jesus reminds us that Christmas as well as any other season in time means nothing in eternity.  But Holy Spirit uses all things in time to teach us of eternity.  While we have no idea how to celebrate Christmas, Holy Spirit teaches us to celebrate the birth of Christ with Christ by accepting the Sonship in which He offers.  We release Sonship with Christ and with our brothers – this is the true Christmas spirit in which we celebrate our unity, our oneness, our Sonship in Christ.  Any other way we choose to celebrate His birth has no meaning and can therefore bring no true joy, happiness, or rebirth. 

Not limited to one season or specific holiday, the holy instant liberates us from the sense of despair and guilt that binds us to our flesh and keeps us from the unlimited power of holiness that Sonship restores.  Jesus tells us that to see Christ we must decide to see Him in everyone, withholding Sonship from nobody. 

There are no sacrifices in rebirth, there are no demands from the flesh which could never bring anything meaningful to Spirit.  Christ, as God’s Son is endowed with Everything – there is nothing at all that He would demand from us.  When we put our faith in a God that demands sacrifice, that imposes limitations upon us, that relates to us as flesh rather than spirit, our faith is not in God but in an ego construct.  We impose a conception of God and Christ which confines them to the egoism of flesh – a deity that plays with people in human dramas that denote anguish and sorrow, scarcity and going without in place of the abundance and everlastingness of Spirit.  Instead of becoming One with God through Sonship, we worship, flatter, and go without our little pleasures in order to please this false concept of God we have made to take His place.  We cater to the demands of others thinking that we are pleasing God when the sacrifices we make to others, the times we spend doing favors, giving free rides, and letting other people take advantage of our time, money, and efforts in order to save their own is actually a substitute for the giving of the Spirit.  Wearing ourselves out for others, we wonder why we are weary, resentful, and bitter – where is God’s blessing in all this, we will ask.  I did this all for God, to be a good Christian, to give beyond what people ask of me.  I feel empty, tattered, and used.  I did all that and they only want more!

When we really accept Christ, guilt will hold absolutely no attraction for us.  In Sonship, we accept all our brothers as wholly mature, responsible, and worthy Sons of God.  This is the only gift that Jesus gives us and that we extend to others.  We are under no obligation to let anybody manipulate us out of our time, money, or effort.  We cannot blame our brothers for our decision to do so!  When we step into Sonship, we step into freedom.  When we step into freedom, we offer freedom to everyone.  We no longer bind people to us out of a sense of obligation or guilt nor do we accept bonds of obligation or guilt.  We no longer limit communication and make it meaningless by only telling half-truths in order to hide our true feelings, our true dreams and desires.  When I accept you as my true equal in Christ, I can trust you to take what I have to say to you like a big boy!  You will not get your feelings hurt, you will not go into defense, you will say, Oh!  Thank you so much for your honesty, thank you for telling me how you really feel, thank you for not pretending that it was okay for me to assume your time, your efforts, your money was of less importance to you than my own is to me. 

This is our way to holiness; this is the reason for the season of Christmas.  Christ came to deliver us from separateness, from keeping secrets inside of our disjoined bodies, from loving darkness just as much if not more than we love light.  This amounts to only a shift in perception, it means that we take the fear out of our perfect love.  We stop being afraid – afraid of being honest, afraid of our love for God and for each other, afraid of being our true and holy Selves.  For there is no fear in love, there is no fear in God, and where there is not love there is only fear. 

Jesus tells us to examine each one of our fears as one because no matter how fear manifests itself, through anxiety, through guilt, through sacrifice, through shame or pain or worry and stress, it all comes back to the original thought of thinking we can host the ego or be hostage to God.  This is the decision we all think we have and that we must make.  We think we must sacrifice something in order to please God, we think it is a sacrifice of something precious and which has value to lay down our egos, to step out of the flesh, and accept our Sonship.  We are very confused about what has worth and what has no value at all.  We think that God calls forth our death, our suffering, our little pennies and pleasures to earn His love when it is our death, our suffering, our little pennies and pleasures we sacrifice that attack the Love that God has for us, His Son.  When we can step out of the perception of sacrifice as a means to God, our fear of God dissipates.  There can be no guilt, no shame, no sorrow where there is no fear. 

If we think that by giving up candy for Lent pleases God and shows Him how much we appreciate the sacrifice of His Son for us – we think we are somehow paying God for the sacrifice of His Son.  And what do we get in return for this kind of thinking?  We get a God Who is small-minded, mean-spirited, and loves to take pleasures away from His Creation.  Apply this concept to all the “sacrifices” you supposedly give to God and acknowledge each one as insane.

When we host the ego, we believe we can buy our peace, by going to church, reading our bible, passing out tracts, telling other people about Jesus.  We think we get into God’s good graces by our good works, by practicing healthy habits, by following the rules, by being good citizens.  We think that by sacrificing His Son on the cross, God expects us to sacrifice our own selves in return.  If we do not practice Christianity, we hold other sacrificial belief systems that are just as fleshy, trite, and insane. 

Love does not demand sacrifice of any kind.  Love does not attack, and Love holds no fear.  There is no guilt induced in Love, by Love, or for Love.  When we come to accept this, to know this, to practice this, and offer this to everyone – we no longer host the ego, we are only host to God.    

When we believe that God’s love demands sacrifice, we always go with the ego for this is the ego’s lie and one in which keeps us bound in time.  Read over paragraph seven and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate this concept to you. When we see love as the mad dog from hell – our only question will be who will be devoured – will it be me or will it be you?  We will bring this concept of love as dangerous and bearing ill will into all of our special relationships, playing the part of the hellish dog some of the time and other times playing the part of the helpless prey – but neither of these parts will save us – we think consciously or otherwise – that retaining our right to flop back and forth between victimizer and victim saves us from God – from Love – from Sonship because we think Sonship would destroy us, would eat us alive, would make of us the sacrificial lamb used up by all of those around us. 

Jesus tells us that all this sacrifice we think God demands from us, all these sacrifices we bring to Love are all sacrifices we put upon ourselves.  Nobody actually demands anything from us.  We load ourselves up with all the expectations that specialness demands of us, we makes monsters of neediness and believe it is our responsibility to sacrifice ourselves to God, to our country, to our families and friends and communities.  We chain ourselves to a savage way of relating and call it existence.  We refuse to look at it square on.  We keep calling it God, we keep calling it love, we keep putting pretty bows and ribbons around it and calling it our duty, our obligations, our sacrifice.  In other words we call that which could never be God, God; could never be love, Love, could never bring us peace and joy, peace and joy. 

This is what resides in us; this is what we host within us.  This is the idea that we hold toward ourselves and others and God.  And these ideas can never be appeased – they demand and keep demanding.  These egotistical ideas have savagery at its core – and no little sacrifices will ever appease it.  No matter how kind it seems, no matter how gaily and prettily it is wrapped up – the savagery is always there with its big hungry mouth wanting more. 

You can bargain with it, you can say things like, well, if I am faithful and work hard and deny myself life’s pleasures, then I will get love, I will get a big house, I will get appreciation, I will finally have what is my due – but ego never keeps its bargains, what we sacrifice today will mean nothing to it tomorrow.  Our egos cannot be trusted, our flesh and all the desires it has will always leave us with nothing.  No matter how small a place we keep for ego in our lives, we deny ourselves rebirth, we deny ourselves Sonship, we deny ourselves God. 

There is only one decision – total freedom or total bondage.  No matter how many compromises we make in this regard, it all boils down to do we choose God or do we linger on in the ego, living for the flesh, contenting ourselves in the go-nowhere realm of despair, death, and destruction. 

Salvation is a matter of decision; it is very uncomplicated and easy to understand.  It is not a matter of cleaning our outwards selves up, hanging out with the right crowd, going to church, or spreading the gospel.  Nothing on the outside of us has anything at all to do with this decision.  We are not defined by our humanity; we are defined by our Sonship in Christ.  This is a very simple matter of realizing that without Him we are nothing.  Nothing here matters except the meaning our egos will give it in an effort to make it something by bringing others into it and projecting our needs onto them.  This is where all sense of sacrifice comes in and is played out upon the displays of our world, in the pages of our literature, our myths, our personal and collective stories, our silver screens. 

As long as we see this as outside of ourselves, we will continue to deny our rebirth into Sonship.  We will make needless sacrifices in the name of love; we will be very disappointed and blame God, be fearful of love, and deny the peace of God.  Today in your devotional practice, accept Holy Spirit’s courage to look at things squarely, to communicate honestly in all your relationships, to give up all forms of sacrifice, and be reborn in Christ. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. X the time of rebirth. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

IX. The Holy Instant and the Attraction of God

1. As the ego would limit your perception of your brothers to the body, so would the Holy Spirit release your vision and let you see the Great Rays shining from them, so unlimited that they reach to God. It is this shift to vision that is accomplished in the holy instant. Yet it is needful for you to learn just what this shift entails, so you will become willing to make it permanent.  Given this willingness it will not leave you, for it is permanent.  Once you have accepted it as the only perception you want, it is translated into knowledge by the part that God Himself plays in the Atonement, for it is the only step in it He understands. Therefore, in this there will be no delay when you are ready for it. God is ready now, but you are not.

2. Our task is but to continue, as fast as possible, the necessary process of looking straight at all the interference and seeing it exactly as it is. For it is impossible to recognize as wholly without gratification what you think you want. The body is the symbol of the ego, as the ego is the symbol of the separation. And both are nothing more than attempts to limit communication, and thereby to make it impossible. For communication must be unlimited in order to have meaning, and deprived of meaning, it will not satisfy you completely. Yet it remains the only means by which you can establish real relationships, which have no limits, having been established by God.

3. In the holy instant, where the Great Rays replace the body in awareness, the recognition of relationships without limits is given you. But in order to see this, it is necessary to give up every use the ego has for the body, and to accept the fact that the ego has no purpose you would share with it.  For the ego would limit everyone to a body for its own purposes, and while you think it has a purpose, you will choose to utilize the means by which it tries to turn its purpose into accomplishment. This will never be accomplished. Yet you have surely recognized that the ego, whose goals are altogether unattainable, will strive for them with all its might, and will do so with the strength that you have given it.

4. It is impossible to divide your strength between Heaven and hell, God and the ego, and release your power to creation, which is the only purpose for which it was given you. Love would always give increase. Limits are demanded by the ego and represent its demands to make little and ineffectual. Limit your sight of a brother to his body, which you will do as long as you would not release him from it, and you have denied his gift to you. His body cannot give it. And seek it not through yours. Yet your minds are already continuous, and their union need only be accepted and the loneliness in heaven is gone.

5. If you would but let the Holy Spirit tell you of the love of God for you, and the need your creations have to be with you forever, you would experience the attraction of the eternal. No one can hear Him speak of this and long remain willing to linger here. For it is your will to be in heaven, where you are complete and quiet, in such sure and loving relationships that any limit is impossible. Would you not exchange your little relationships for this? For the body is little and limited, and only those whom you would see without the limits the ego would impose on them can offer you the gift of freedom.

6. You have no conception of the limits you have placed on your perception, and no idea of all the loveliness that you could see. But this you must remember: The attraction of guilt opposes the attraction of God. His attraction for you remains unlimited, but because your power, being His, is as great as His, you can turn away from love. What you invest you withdraw from God. And your sight grows weak for you have attempted to separate the Father from the Son and limit their communication. Seek not Atonement in further separation. And limit not your vision of God’s Son to what interferes with his release, and what the Holy Spirit must undo to set him free. For his belief in limits has imprisoned him.

7. When the body ceases to attract you, and when you place no value on it as a means of getting anything, then there will be no interference in communication and your thoughts will be as free as God’s. As you let the Holy Spirit teach you how to use the body only for purposes of communication and renounce its use for separation and attack which the ego sees in it, you will learn you have no need of a body at all. In the holy instant there are no bodies, and you experience only the attraction of God. Accepting it as undivided you join Him wholly, in an instant, for you would place no limits on your union with Him. The reality of this relationship becomes the only truth that you could ever want. All truth is here.[1]

On Monday we took our daughter and grandsons to a local amusement park.  It was a hot and humid day.  The park was very crowded.  People were standing in the long lines waiting to get on the rides.  Little kids were whining.  The concessions were understaffed; the shade provided little relief from the high temperatures; a grim determination to have a good time was heard in the faint squeals of delight and few smiling faces around us.   No Great Rays shone from anyone I could see!  Yet Jesus tells us that in the holy instant our vision is released from the world of physicality, we see the Kingdom within us, past our bodies and to what we really are.

What does this shift in vision entail and how can our vision be released permanently?  Give me Great Rays any day over the mass of damp, sticky, lumpy, grumpy humanity that we encountered at the “amusement” park.  Jesus assures us that all it takes is our willingness to make the holy instant permanent – that once we accept it as the only perception we want, God sweeps us back – into the truth of Sonship.

What interferes with our willingness?  When we see bodies we see symbols of the ego, and the ego symbolizes separation from God.  When I see you as a body, I put limits upon my ability to communicate with you.  To have any meaning communication must be limitless.  Think about when I try to convey my love for you as a body.  I can tell you how much I love your hair, your eyes, your mouth.  I can tell you how special you are from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.  I can focus on any part of your body and make of it the source of my affection, flattery, and devotion.  But there is no meaning in any of this – there is nothing everlasting about the color or the texture of your skin, your hair, your eyes, your toes, or your mouth.  There is nothing at all about your body that will satisfy me completely – and I will be very much aware of how your body can change from what I say I love to that which I do not find the least bit attractive. 

When you communicate your love to me as a body I will be very much aware that your love for me relies upon my ability to attract you through that which changes, coarsens, and withers over time.  I will worry if you still find me attractive as time takes away my youth, beauty, and vitality.  I will have concerns about your ability to love a body that can no longer feed itself, clothe itself, or take care of its grooming needs. Ashamed of these concerns, communication will again be limited by my fear of losing your love in the hour when I need you the most. 

When we relate to our children as bodies, we ignore their spiritual needs and cater only to their flesh needs.  When we cater to their flesh needs, we find that flesh can never be satisfied – they will always want more.  We may be too ashamed to tell them that we cannot afford all the things they want, and so we bankrupt ourselves by working too hard or accepting loans we can never repay in order to communicate our love for their bodies.  Instead of establishing real relationships with our children through honest communication, we have relationships fraught with greed, waywardness, and lack of appreciation. 

When we see one another as Sons of God, we see each other as great rays of light.  We see that in the spirit we have relationships without the interference of the flesh.  In the Spirit, we get past the weariness, the sweat, the drudgery that flesh imposes.  We no longer seek our thrills through that which gratifies the flesh for a few moments of pleasure.  We no longer seek for purpose and meaning where it can never be found.  We will not give our power, our strength, our will to anything or anybody whose aim is separateness and opposition. 

For we cannot extend the Kingdom of God, the love, the joy, the peace of creativity when divided between flesh and Sonship, between hell and Heaven, between ego and Love.  The flesh limits us; our egos stifle our creative power and make us selfish, small, and useless.  When I see you as a body, I deny myself Sonship for only when I see you as one with Christ, can I accept myself as one with Christ.  And our bodies cannot give us Sonship – only our minds are joined in Christ, only our minds continue forever – and it is here that communication is limitless – my mind in Christ and your mind in Christ as one, together, forever – no secrets, no agendas, no darkness – only light.   

Jesus tells us to let the Holy Spirit teach us of God’s love for us, to teach us of our creations, to experience the attraction of the eternal.  When I listen to Holy Spirit, I am no longer attracted to the things of this world.  I am no longer ashamed of my devotion to God, my will is joined with God’s Will – in love, peace, and joy, in quiet completeness, in certainty, in love with no limits.  The special relationships of this world seem small and petty.  When I realize that any relationship based upon my body will restrict my freedom, deny my creativity, and limit my expression of God’s Kingdom – I will only be attracted to Love. 

This is our decision.  God is not withholding our freedom from us.  God is not keeping us in chains of savagery – when we come to see the body as the symbol of opposition to God, as a substitute for our holy Sonship, as interference in communication – we can stop being attracted to it, we can stop using it to get what we think we want and go after what will truly satisfy and gratify us forever. 

Today in your personal devotions, ask Holy Spirit to teach you to use the body only for communication.  Devote yourself to healing the separation by renouncing all forms of condemnation, judgments, and indifference toward yourself and others.  When we ask Holy Spirit to teach us, Holy Spirit teaches us and works within us to accomplish this goal.  Do not be discouraged when you make a mistake but learn the fallibility of the flesh and our complete reliance upon the Kingdom within us. 

There are roughly eight billion bodies in the world; in the holy instant there are none – for each one is a great ray of light that represents our unity with Christ in Sonship.  As we practice the holy instant, we experience the attraction between our great ray of light and God.  Here there are no limits on our communication with God and with each other.  The reality of this relationship becomes all that we are attracted to for here is our answer, here is truth, here is what we are and where we are meant to be.     

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. IX The holy instant and the attraction of God. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

VIII. The Only Real Relationship

1. The holy instant does not replace the need for learning, for the Holy Spirit must not leave you as your Teacher until the holy instant has extended far beyond time.  For a teaching assignment such as His, He must use everything in this world for your release.  He must side with every sign or token of your willingness to learn of Him what the truth must be.  He is swift to utilize whatever you offer Him on behalf of this.  His concern and care for you are limitless.  In the face of your fear of forgiveness, which He perceives as clearly as He knows forgiveness is release, He will teach you to remember that forgiveness is not loss, but your salvation.  And that in complete forgiveness, in which you recognize that there is nothing to forgive, you are absolved completely.

2. Hear Him gladly and learn of Him that you have need of no special relationships at all.  You but seek in them what you have thrown away.  And through them you will never learn the value of what you have cast aside, but still desire with all your heart.  Let us join together in making the holy instant all that there is, by desiring that it be all that there is.  God’s Son has such great need of your willingness to strive for this that you cannot conceive of need so great.  Behold the only need that God and His Son share and will to meet together.  You are not alone in this.  The will of your creations calls to you, to share your will with them.  Turn, then, in peace from guilt to God and them.

3. Relate only with what will never leave you, and what you can never leave.  The loneliness of God’s Son is the loneliness of his Father.  Refuse not the awareness of your completion and seek not to restore it to yourself.  Fear not to give redemption over to your Redeemer’s Love.  He will not fail you, for He comes from One Who cannot fail.  Accept your sense of failure as nothing more than a mistake in who you are.  For the holy host of God is beyond failure, and nothing that He wills can be denied.  You are forever in a relationship so holy that it calls to everyone to escape from loneliness and join you in your love.  And where you are must everyone seek and find you there.

4. Think but an instant on this: God gave the Sonship to you, to ensure your perfect creation. This was His gift, for as He withheld Himself not from you, He withheld not His creation. Nothing that ever was created but is yours.  Your relationships are with the universe. And this universe, being of God, is far beyond the petty sum of all the separate bodies you perceive. For all its parts are joined in God through Christ, where they become like to their Father.  Christ knows of no separation from His Father, Who is His one relationship, in which He gives as His Father gives to Him.

5. The Holy Spirit is God’s attempt to free you of what He does not understand. And because of the Source of the attempt, it will succeed. The Holy Spirit asks you to respond as God does, for He would teach you what you do not understand.  God would respond to every need, whatever form it takes. And so He keeps this channel open to receive His communication to you, and yours to Him. God does not understand your problem in communication, for He does not share it with you. It is only you who believe that it is understandable. The Holy Spirit knows that it is not understandable, and yet He understands it because you made it.

6. In the Holy Spirit alone lies the awareness of what God cannot know, and what you do not understand. It is His holy function to accept them both, and by removing every element of disagreement, to join them into one. He will do this because it is His function. Leave, then, what seems to you to be impossible, to Him who knows it must be possible because it is the will of God. And let Him Whose teaching is only of God teach you the only meaning of relationships. For God created the only relationship that has meaning, and that is His relationship with you.[1]

The only real relationship is the relationship we have with God.  When we have a relationship with God we have a relationship with love for all there is.  We have a relationship with the universe.  We are no longer trapped by the petty likes and dislikes of the flesh; we know ourselves as God knows us – joined with Christ in Sonship – as one with all of Creation. 

What does this look like in our daily lives?  As humans how can we imagine let alone experience the concepts that Jesus is teaching us?  As we practice the holy instant we practice our divine nature in God.  We go beyond what separates me from you and you from me.  We practice our holiness for God is holy and we belong to Him and with Him. 

We get over our fear of forgiveness. We get over our fear of forgiveness when we realize there is nothing to forgive – I have nothing to forgive in you and you have nothing to forgive in me.  We are mutually human; we are mutually divine – we cannot be both and we cannot choose alone.  As I choose God, you choose God; as you choose God, I choose God.  It may seem like a personal, individual decision but in Sonship we are one.  We are more than the sum of our separate bodies.  We separated together and we join together – as one. 

This is truth or it is not truth.  There should be no argument.  To argue and to get angry signifies specialness.  We are not expected to “believe in” that which we have no way of understanding, proving, or testing.  And yet our hearts and minds remember – we have one relationship, and our relationship is with God – in our relationship with God lies our relationship with one another.  When we remember God as Love, we can say that our one relationship is with Love and in Love lies all our relationships.  We can give up our search for love in one particular person, in our families and friends, in our love for our country or our culture or those who look like us and act like us.  We can give up our pet theories; we can give up our religious doctrines; we can give up A Course in Miracles for that matter – for when we devote ourselves to God, we leave what seems impossible for us to understand to Holy Spirit who teaches us all things and brings all things to our remembrance. 

We do not call to God to come to our humanity and make it better for us; we call to God to redeem us from the flesh and awaken us to His Kingdom.  We do not call to Love to destroy our enemies; we call to Love to heal us and deliver us from the hostility that turns us against each other.  There can be no real relationship in separateness for separateness can only offer us specialness in place of God.  In devotion to a part and not the whole, we weaken and sicken, plunder and kill.  We escape this chain of savagery – the wars that are fought in specialness, the favoritism that pits us against each other, the fawning, flattery, and sacrifice that specialness calls forth – simply by putting specialness aside and accepting the only real relationship that ever was, that is, and ever will be.    

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. VIII The only real relationship. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

VII.  The Needless Sacrifice

1. Beyond the poor attraction of the special love relationship, and always obscured by it, is the powerful attraction of the Father for His Son.  There is no other love that can satisfy you because there is no other love.  This is the only love that is fully given and fully returned.  Being complete, it asks nothing.  Being wholly pure, everyone joined in it has everything.  This is not the basis for any relationship in which the ego enters.  For every relationship on which the ego embarks is special.

2. The ego establishes relationships only to get something.  And it would keep the giver bound to itself through guilt.  It is impossible for the ego to enter into any relationship without anger, for the ego believes that anger makes friends.  This is not its statement, but it is its purpose.  For the ego really believes that it can get and keep by making guilty.  This is its one attraction; an attraction so weak that it would have no hold at all, except that no one recognizes it.  For the ego always seems to attract through love and has not attraction at all to anyone who perceives that it attracts through guilt.

3. The sick attraction of guilt must be recognized for what it is.  For having been made real to you, it is essential to look at it clearly, and by withdrawing your investment in it, to learn to let it go.  No one would choose to let go what he believes has value.  Yet the attraction of guilt has value to you only because you have not looked at what it is and have judged it completely in the dark.  As we bring it to light, your only question will be why it was you ever wanted it.  You have nothing to lose by looking open-eyed, for ugliness such as this belongs not in your holy mind.  This host of God can have no real investment here.

4. We said before that the ego attempts to maintain and increase guilt, but in such a way that you do not recognize what it would do to you.  For it is the ego’s fundamental doctrine that what you do to others you have escaped.  The ego wishes no one well.  Yet its survival depends on your belief that you are exempt from its evil intentions.  It counsels, therefore, that if you are host to it, it will enable you to direct its anger outward, thus protecting you.  And thus it embarks on an endless, unrewarding chain of special relationships, forged out of anger and dedicated to but one insane belief, that the more anger you invest outside yourself, the safer you become.

5. It is this chain that binds the Son of God to guilt, and it is this chain the Holy Spirit would remove from his holy mind.  For the chain of savagery belongs not around the chosen host of God, who cannot make himself host to the ego.  In the name of his release, and in the Name of Him Who would release him, let us look more closely at the relationships the ego contrives, and let the Holy Spirit judge them truly.  For it is certain that if you will look at them, you will offer them gladly to Him.  What He can make of them you do not know, but you will become willing to find out, if you are willing first to perceive what you have made of them.

6. In one way or another, every relationship the ego makes is based on the idea that by sacrificing itself, it becomes bigger.  The “sacrifice,” which it regards as purification, is actually the root of its bitter resentment.  For it would prefer to attack directly and avoid delaying what it really wants.  Yet the ego acknowledges “reality” as it sees it and recognizes that no one could interpret direct attack as love.  Yet to make guilty is direct attack, although it does not seem to be.  For the guilty expect attack and having asked for it they are attracted to it.

7. In such insane relationships, the attraction of what you do not want seems to be much stronger than the attraction of what you do want.  For each one thinks that he has sacrificed something to the other and hates him for it.  Yet this is what he thinks he wants.  He is not in love with the other at all.  He merely believes he is in love with sacrifice.  And for this sacrifice, which he demands of himself, he demands that the other accept the guilt and sacrifice himself as well.  Forgiveness becomes impossible, for the ego believes that to forgive another is to lose him.  It is only by attack without forgiveness that the ego can ensure the guilt that holds all its relationships together. 

8. Yet they only seem to be together.  For relationships, to the ego, mean only that bodies are together.  It is always this that the ego demands, and it does not object where the mind goes or what it thinks for this seems unimportant.  As long as the body is there to receive its sacrifice, it is content.  To the ego the mind is private, and only the body can be shared.  Ideas are basically of no concern, except as they bring the body of another closer or farther.  And it is in these terms that it evaluates ideas as good or bad.  What makes another guilty and holds him through guilt is “good.”  What releases him from guilt is “bad,” because he would no longer believe that bodies communicate and so he would be “gone.”

9. Suffering and sacrifice are the gifts with which the ego would “bless” all unions.  And those who are united at its altar accept suffering and sacrifice as the price of union.  In their angry alliances, born of the fear of loneliness and yet dedicated to the continuance of loneliness, each seeks relief from guilt by increasing it in the other.  For each believes that this decreases guilt in him.  The other seems always to be attacking and wounding him, perhaps in little ways, perhaps “unconsciously,” yet never without demand of sacrifice.  The fury of those joined at the ego’s altar far exceeds your awareness of it.  For what the ego really wants you do not realize.

10. Whenever you are angry, you can be sure that you have formed a special relationship which the ego has “blessed,” for anger is its blessing.  Anger takes many forms, but it cannot long deceive those who will learn that love brings no guilt at all, and what brings guilt cannot be love and must be anger.  All anger is nothing more than an attempt to make someone feel guilty, and this attempt is the only basis the ego accepts for special relationships.  Guilt is the only need the ego has, and as long as you identify with it, guilt will remain attractive to you.  Yet remember this; to be with a body is not communication.  And if you think it is, you will feel guilty about communication and will be afraid to hear the Holy Spirit, recognizing in His Voice your own need to communicate.

11. The Holy Spirit cannot teach through fear.  And how can he communicate with you, while you believe that to communicate is to make yourself alone?  It is clearly insane to believe that by communicating you will be abandoned.  And yet many do believe it.  For they think their minds must be kept private or they will lose them, but if their bodies are together their minds remain their own.  The union of bodies thus becomes the way in which they would keep minds apart.  For bodies cannot forgive.  They can only do as the mind directs.

12. The illusion of the autonomy of the body and its ability to overcome loneliness is but the working of the ego’s plan to establish its own autonomy.  As long as you believe that to be with a body is companionship, you will be compelled to attempt to keep your brother in his body, held there by guilt.   And you will see safety in guilt and danger in communication.  For the ego will always teach that loneliness is solved by guilt, and that communication is the cause of loneliness.  And despite the evident insanity of this lesson, many have learned it.

13. Forgiveness lies in communication as surely as damnation lies in guilt.  It is the Holy Spirit’s teaching function to instruct those who believe communication to be damnation that communication is salvation.  And He will do so, for the power of God in Him and you are joined in a real relationship so holy and so strong, that it can overcome even this without fear.

14. It is through the holy instant that what seems impossible is accomplished, making it evident that it is not impossible.  In the holy instant guilt holds no attraction since communication has been restored.  And guilt, whose only purpose is to disrupt communication, has no function here.  Here there is no concealment, and no private thoughts.  The willingness to communicate attracts communication to it and overcomes loneliness completely.  There is complete forgiveness here, for there is no desire to exclude anyone from your completion, in sudden recognition of the value of his part in it.  In the protection of your wholeness, all are invited and made welcome.  And you understand that your completion is God’s, Whose only need is to have you be complete.  For your completion makes you His in your awareness.  And here it is that you experience yourself as you were created, and as you are.[1]

In today’s devotional reading, Jesus refers to the special love relationship as the ego’s substitute for the true love of God for us, His Son.  Egotistical, the special love relationship is based on fear and not love because love is never fully given and never fully received.  Incomplete and exclusive special relationships contents the ego in us but never God in us – because the ego is always out to get while in God giving and receiving are one.  There is no true love in any kind of specialness for it is established on guilt, demands, and obligations, at its core is anger and hostility – assumed threats to specialness sets it into an unholy rage. 

Ego-based relationships are based on guilt, anger, and threat as a means to get love and keep it to oneself.  Few of us recognize this – we all think of the special relationship as something in which to envy or to strive to attain.  And yet at the core of any kind of specialness is guilt, and the call for sacrifice.  We sacrifice again and again to specialness – we flatter it, we make up myths about it, we give it gifts that we cannot afford.  We abandon the ones we called to love in our quest for specialness.  When we make of one person special, we cannot love truly, for love is complete and includes all of Creation.  Love does not demand devotion through sacrifice or lies or guilt.

No matter how uncomfortable this may make us feel, as students and teachers of A Course in Miracles, we must understand the role the ego assigns to guilt in the special relationship without fear.  When we do this we will no longer allow guilt to manipulate us or use guilt to manipulate others for we will see how ignorant, ugly, and stupid it is and how worthless to the cause of Love.  There is simply no place for guilt in holiness, for holiness is a realm of beauty and grace.  Holiness is a state of mind in which the light of love and peace and joy shines forever. 

So let us examine guilt and the premises in which it is devised and maintained in regard to the special relationship.  In paragraph four Jesus expounds upon how the ego tries to keep and increase guilt in our relationships in such a sneaky way that we do not even realize that we are using it and what using it does to us.  First we are tricked into believing that what we do to others will never happen to ourselves.  While the ego wishes only for ill will, its survival depends upon our believing that ill will is reserved for others and not for ourselves.  And so when we host the ego, we will direct its ill will outward in an effort to protect ourselves.  And thus it embarks upon an ongoing, meaningless search for special relationships in which to unleash its fury, its sense of being shafted, its sense of not being good enough, rich enough, attractive enough, or smart enough.  We fall prey to the ridiculous belief that we make ourselves safer, bigger, and better by directing the ego’s anger to the world outside of our body.  The angrier we are over the outside world, the more we criticize, the more we outraged we are over the injustices, the betrayals, the small annoyances and inconveniences that others put us through, the blunders and shortcomings of others, the safer and bigger and better we will make ourselves. 

Jesus calls this kind of thinking a chain of savagery, and that is exactly what it is.  It has no place in our beautiful holy minds for it fills us with a sense of guilt.  There is no place for such practice in the everlasting Kingdom of God.  Special relationships are a particular place where such savage beliefs enslave our minds leading us to believe that it is okay to kill, to maim, to threaten and destroy in the name of love, that it is okay to lie and manipulate in order to keep certain relationships going, that it is perfectly fine to interfere with the Will of God in someone else’s life in order to keep them bound to us, denying them freedom to follow their dreams that take them away from us.  We bind our spouses to us, our children and grandchildren, we bind our friends to us and throw angry darts if they outshine us in any way, if they do things without us, if they want to step out of our circle and join another.  Instead of being loving and kind, extending mercy and grace, we build cases, we hold pity parties, we go into rages.  We threaten.  We exaggerate their sins to cover our own failings.  We blame them and remind them of all the sacrifices that we made for them. 

In paragraph six, Jesus tells us that every single relationship the ego makes believes that sacrifice makes it better, but it is “sacrifice” that makes it bitter and full of resentment.  Instead of attacking directly, the ego uses guilt, which is a direct attack, but not an obvious one for in special relationships both parties are familiar with guilt.  Guilt has become our go-to!  Guilt is what our mothers and their fathers use, guilt is what our religions use, guilt is what our teachers and our preachers, our friends and our enemies use to keep us in line.  Guilt is what we ourselves have learned to use to get what we want from others, to maintain our relationships, to reserve our place in someone’s heart. 

As unlikeable as guilt is, we continue to be attracted to it.  In our special relationships, each party believes that he has sacrificed something to the other.  Resenting each other for the sacrifices we make to each other, we call them forth to justify our anger.  We are not “in love” with each other at all, Jesus tells us.  We are just in love with the idea of bodies being joined, of all we gave up for each other – we appreciate the idea of sacrifice.  And because we believe in all we sacrificed, we will make the other one guilty and demand that they make sacrifices, too.  Forgiveness becomes impossible for in forgiveness we lose the sense of “I did this and this and this, and he just took and took and took.”  Forgiveness means we do not get to be the martyr anymore.  We don’t get to list out all our sacrifices offered up to the special relationship and use guilt to keep the other one in a state of owing us their fidelity, their paycheck, their love, their body, their sexuality, their sense of freedom and fun, the status in which we have become accustomed to.  The ego is deathly afraid of forgiveness, of mercy and grace, for only by attack without forgiveness can it make everybody else guilty and keep us blind to the chains we use to hold our unholy relationships together. 

Look closely at paragraph eight, for Jesus tells us that we are holding nothing together.  Our special relationships only seem to be together for bringing bodies together does not mean that there is a relationship.  Concerned with bodies, with appearances, with what happens on the outside of us – the ego has little concern for the mind.  The ego only needs a body to receive its sense of sacrifice, it heaps its guilt upon the body.  The ego does not worry about our spirits, it has little to no concern over the sharing of ideas, the communion of minds, what it makes much over is the proximity of the body.  Whatever we use to make another guilty and keep him close to us is “good.”  What releases him from us is “bad.” 

With suffering and sacrifice the ego blesses all special relationships.  Suffering and sacrifice is the price of union.  Through sickness and health, through riches and poverty, till death do us part…anger comes, we fight and carry on, we exchange one special for another special or we stick it out for fear of loneliness, for fear of failure, for fear of not fitting in – increasing the sense of guilt in one another in the false belief that it will decrease our own sense of guilt.  In special relationships, the other one always seems to be hurting us in their own unique ways, ignoring our achievements, being unappreciative of our efforts, comparing us unfavorably to others.  We begin to hate each other’s nervous tics, drowsiness, lack of cheerfulness and fun.  We criticize, we make demands, we act jealous and spiteful and mean.  The anger that builds between the ego’s special relationships, far exceeds the awareness we have of it for the ego wants only to kill, to destroy, to lay waste – this is the ego’s aim for all of us and when we engage in specialness of any kind, we are led to doom and gloom, to years of underlying anger, resentment, and guilt making.  The ego’s blessing upon special relationships takes many forms.  It leads to mental anguish, sickness, and death.  Jesus asks us to take a long close look at it with eyes wide open.  Do not look away.  Do not try to justify it.  Do not pretend that your particular special relationship does not have guilt, hostility, and anger at its core.   

All anger is an attempt to make another person guilty for what brings anger simply cannot be love.  Guilt is the only need the ego has.  As long as we use it, as long as we identify with it, as long as we hide behind it, we will be attracted to it.  We will keep our relationships “special,” and not holy at all.

Firstly, Jesus tells us to remember we are not bodies and, secondly, bodies do not truly communicate. If you mistake having a body close to you as communion you will feel guilty and be afraid of the true communication of holiness.  You will not recognize your holiness for you will not remember that the voice of holiness is your only means to communicate truly.  Holy Spirit cannot teach those who are afraid.  Holy Spirit will be unable to communicate with us as long as we believe in loneliness, in sacrifice, in guilt of any kind.  Holy Spirit does not abide in darkness, nor fear, nor secrets of any kind.  There are no such things as “private thoughts,” or “secret longings,” in holiness.  It is clearly insane to think that by not communicating, we will never be left alone and lonely.  And yet that is what we believe.  We believe in keeping secrets.  We believe in darkness.  We believe that we can hide what is dark about us as a means to keep other bodies around us because they have no idea how mean and spiteful and dangerous we really are. 

In paragraph eleven Jesus says it like this:  We think that as long as we keep our bodies together our minds remain our own.  We think that by keeping a private mind, we hold our relationships together and are not left alone.  We substitute the union of bodies for the true communication of mind – we forget that bodies can do only what the mind directs.  We fall prey to the illusion that we can overcome our sense of loneliness through our bodies, we keep making more of them to assuage our deep sense of separation, our yearning for real love, our yearning for reality, but as long as we believe that we can find companionship and love through a body, we will be compelled to keep ourselves trapped in flesh, held there by guilt!  We will continue to see safety in guilt and danger in communication.  Our safety will mistakenly be held in darkness and secret keeping; we will be afraid of our truth, our reality, our holiness for holiness will destroy our belief in bodies; holiness will melt away our attraction to guilt in all of its forms.   

Forgiveness comes through communication; communication is our salvation.  No matter how afraid we are of coming clean, we have the power of God in us, we are joined in power and in holiness with Christ in Sonship, and in our holiness and strength we overcome all of our fear of the past, of the darkness, of letting go of guilt and sacrifice and the special relationships in which they are cherished.

Practicing the holy instant is what will accomplish that which is impossible to us on our own.  All things that seem too difficult, too scary, to risky for us on our own become simple, practical, and feasible.  In the holy instant guilt holds no attraction; communication is restored.  In the holy instant we communicate with the Mind of Christ which is the Mind of the Sonship.  All minds are joined in that instant, in that holiness.  The holy instant gives us the perfect opportunity to expose our deepest longings, our true feelings, our desires and dreams, our guilt and shame, to one another in the safe and perfect present.  Here there are no secrets.  There is no shame.  There is no loneliness for we come to know one another as we really are in complete forgiveness, with a desire to include everyone and everything, of knowing that every single one of us have played a most valuable part in our completion.  In the holy instant we know that our completion does not come through guilt, through sacrifices, through special relationships, but only in God Who is Love and Whose only need is for us to be know are wholeness in Him through Sonship.  We will never find the missing parts anywhere else with anybody or anything else and there is simply no reason to make others feel guilty for not giving us what only God can give!  In the holy instant, in this present moment when we step out of specialness, out of sacrifice, out of guilt, we know ourselves as we were created and as we really are. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. VII The needless sacrifice. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

VI. The Holy Instant and the Laws of God

1. It is impossible to use one relationship at the expense of another and not to suffer guilt.  And it is equally impossible to condemn part of a relationship and find peace within it.  Under the Holy Spirit’s teaching all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way.  Perfect faith in each one, for its ability to satisfy you completely, arises only from perfect faith in yourself.  And this you cannot have while guilt remains.  And there will be guilt as long as you accept the possibility, and cherish it, that you can make a brother into what he is not, because you would have him so.

2. You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you.  And so you seek without for what you cannot find without.  I offer you my perfect faith in you, in place of all your doubts.  But forget not that my faith must be as perfect in all your brothers as it is in you, or it would be a limited gift to you.  In the holy instant we share our faith in God’s Son because we recognize, together, that he is wholly worthy of it, and in our appreciation of his worth we cannot doubt his holiness.  And so we love him.

3. All separation vanishes as holiness is shared.  For holiness is power, and by sharing it, it gains in strength.  If you seek for satisfaction in gratifying your needs as you perceive them, you must believe that strength comes from another, and what you gain he loses.  Someone must always lose if you perceive yourself as weak.  Yet there is another interpretation of relationship that transcends the concept of loss of power completely.

4. You do not find it difficult to believe that when another calls on God for love, your call remains as strong.  Nor do you think that when God answers him, your hope of answer is diminished.  On the contrary, you are more inclined to regard his success as witness to the possibility of yours.  That is because you recognize, however dimly, that God is an idea, and so your faith in Him is strengthened by sharing.  What you find difficult to accept is the fact that, like your Father, you are an idea.  And like Him, you can give yourself completely, wholly without loss and only with gain.  Herein lies peace, for here there is no conflict.

5. In the world of scarcity, love has no meaning and peace is impossible.  For gain and loss are both accepted, and so no one is aware that perfect love is in him.  In the holy instant you recognize the idea of love in you and unite this idea with the Mind that thought it and could not relinquish it.  By holding it within itself, there is no loss.  The holy instant thus becomes a lesson in how to hold all of your brothers in your mind, experiencing not loss but completion.  From this it follows you can only give.  And this is love, for this alone is natural under the laws of God.  In the holy instant the laws of God prevail, and only they have meaning.  The laws of this world cease to hold any meaning at all.  When the Son of God accepts the laws of God as what he gladly wills, it is impossible that he be bound, or limited in any way.  In that instant he is as free as God would have him be. For the instant he refuses to be bound, he is not bound.

6. In the holy instant nothing happens that has not always been.  Only the veil that has been drawn across reality is lifted.  Nothing has changed.  Yet the awareness of changelessness comes swiftly as the veil of time is pushed aside.  No one who has not yet experienced the lifting of the veil and felt himself drawn irresistibly into the light behind it, can have faith in love without fear.  Yet the Holy Spirit gives you this faith because He offered it to me, and I accepted it.  Fear not the holy instant will be denied you, for I denied it not.  And through me the Holy Spirit gives it unto you, as you will give it.  Let no need you perceive obscure our need of this.  For in the holy instant you will recognize the only need the Sons of God share equally, and by this recognition you will join with me in offering what is needed.

7. It is through us that peace will come.  Join me in the idea of peace, for in ideas minds can communicate.  If you would give yourself as your Father gives His Self, you will learn to understand Selfhood.  And therein is love’s meaning understood.  But remember that understanding is of the mind, and only of the mind.  Knowledge is therefore of the mind, and its conditions are in the mind with it.  If you were not an idea, and nothing but an idea, you could not be in full communication with all that ever was.  Yet as long as you prefer to be something else or would attempt to be nothing else and something else together, you will not remember the language of communication, which you know perfectly.

8. In the holy instant God is remembered, and the language of communication with all your brothers is remembered with Him.  For communication is remembered together, as is truth.  There is no exclusion in the holy instant because the past is gone, and with it goes the whole basis for exclusion.  Without its source exclusion vanishes.  And this permits your Source, and that of all your brothers, to replace it in your awareness.  God and the power of God will take Their rightful place in you, and you will experience the full communication of ideas with ideas.  Through your ability to do this you will learn what you must be, for you will begin to understand what your Creator is, and what His creation is along with Him.[1]

In today’s devotional text, Jesus tells us that in holiness all relationships are ones of complete devotion.  As hard as this is to imagine in the flesh, in the Spirit it is an entirely different story because in full devotion to all relationships, none of them conflict.  One does not demand more than another; one is not sulky, jealous, and mean-spirited when things do not go their way – there is no manipulation, there are no demands for each one is based upon perfect faith in oneself and in the other. 

This just does not happen in the world of guilt – as long as we can make of each other a scapegoat, as long as we can project our own depravity upon another and tell their stories and not our own, as long as we use love for manipulation and popularity, as long as we put any other meaning upon love at all and think ill of one another, our relationships do not fulfill us or gratify us completely in any way. 

Jesus tells us how unwilling we are to accept the perfect love that is in us.  There it is shining and pure and instead of being content with that which is in us, we look for confirmation of it in the outer world, in each other – where it simply cannot be found.  Jesus replaces all our fear of love, our doubts about the love that made us and is in us with His faith in us – not in this one or that one, but in all of us.  When we practice the holy instant we share our faith in Sonship.  In the instant that we devote fully to holiness, we know that we are all holy, that we are all worthy, and fully appreciative of what we are in God and of God, our doubts, fears, and ill will are gone – we love each other. 

In holiness – that which separates us is gone.  Holiness is love and peace and joy.  And when we share love and peace and joy we share power and when we share power instead of attempting to hoard it to ourselves, we gain in strength rather than lose our strength.  We learn very quickly in the world of separation that when one gains another loses – this is what happens when we perceive ourselves as weak, vulnerable, and surviving in a world of limitations and scarcity.  Someone always loses and we hope against hope that it is never us! 

But Jesus reminds us of what we are in God, for even in our most primitive conception of God we rarely think of God losing a thing when He grants our requests.  We recognize that God is not flesh, that His resources are not limited, that He is a concept of abundance, power, immortality and not mortality.  When we share our ideas of God, our own idea of God is strengthened in our mind.  When we can convince other people to join us in our idea about God, even if they are not true, we feel empowered and the idea we shared seems to take off and spread and become stronger. 

In paragraph four Jesus tells us that we think of God as a concept, yet we do not think of ourselves in the same terms.  However, Jesus assures us that we are a concept; we are a Spirit.  Like God, we can give of ourselves completely with no loss and only gain.  This is where peace dwells for peace cannot reside in flesh which rots, but in Spirit, which is an everlasting, ever pure, ever whole and holy ideal.

In the physical world the laws of God are impossible for we try to use the concepts of love and peace as commodities, as something for which to strive for through bargains, obligations, manipulations, through conflict and strife.  We make up all kinds of rules and regulations in which to limit that which has no limit.  We worry and fret about how much love we should give to another just in case we don’t get it back.  We go to war to find peace, we try to find peace in separateness, in thinking our beliefs are the only beliefs that lead to truth.  Love is lost to our awareness when we get caught up in proving we are right and making others wrong, in confusing that which we do in the flesh with that which can only be shared in the Spirit. 

When we practice the holy instant, we practice the law of God by letting go of all our belief and trust in the limitations of the flesh.  We experience ourselves as the idea of Love, of God’s Son, of total abundance and power of God’s Kingdom.  God’s Kingdom is Love, Joy, and Peace.  All ideas.  All concepts.  There is nothing fleshy about these ideas – for they are ideals, they are Spirit.  In the holiness of these ideals, the only thing we can do with what we are is to give, and to give to all with no sense of loss, no sense of weariness, no sense of judgment or fear of not having enough.  In the instants that we give to holiness, we free ourselves from the flesh and live as the idea of God’s Son and when we do this, for that instant we refuse all that binds us and keeps us captive to unholiness. 

Jesus tells us that the veil is lifted in that moment.  We see what has always been there outside the boundaries of time and space and separateness.  Without these moments of clarity, without the experience of perceiving beyond the veil, without having known the irresistible beauty of the love that is in us, we simply cannot love without being afraid, without being insecure, without going into specialness and using manipulation and obligation. 

The holy instant has never denied us – each moment we ask for it, that we set aside time for it, that we dare imagine it in our minds – putting flesh aside and going to that which is inside of us, to the idea of what we are – we join with Christ in knowing what we are and what we are to give. This is the law of God, that we give what we receive in holiness, for what we receive in holiness is that which we cannot keep for ourselves alone.

When we join with Christ in the idea of peace, our minds communicate holiness.  When we say we communicate holiness, we are saying we communicate purely, with love, with joy, with no conflict, quietly and calmly.  This communication is beyond language, beyond time and space and distance, beyond technology, beyond every limitation this world would put up to tax, sell, buy, or trade.  When we begin to conceive of ourselves as an idea we understood Selfhood – and in Selfhood is where we learn the true meaning of Love.  This is not of the flesh.  This is beyond all the contraptions of the physical world.  Jesus refers to the mind wherein lies all knowledge; not our human brain which is a poor substitute for the mind of God.  As long as we prefer to be human, to be flesh, to adopt the predatory nature of that which opposes the laws of God, we will forget the language of communication, which is the language of love which supersedes all need for language. 

As we dedicate ourselves to holiness, God is remembered in each instant of our practice.  As we remember God, we remember the language of love, the way in which to communicate through our mind at one with God.  Love is only remembered when it is shared wholly, as is truth.  There cannot be a little love and a little hate, for as truth is all truth, love is all love.  Exclusion and exclusiveness goes away in the holy instant for that instant has no past.  With no past, there is no basis for exclusion and Love replaces all guilt and all grudges, all judgments and condemnation, all specialness with Itself, with God and the power of Love.  Herein lies all knowledge for the full communication of ideas with ideas teaches us what we are, what our Creator is, and what Creation is along with Love. 

In your personal devotions today ask Holy Spirit for the holy instant.  Let the laws of God be made apparent in your mind by devoting the present moment to freeing yourself from the past – all past relationships, all past events, activities, all the things you have seen and all the things you have done.  Free your mind from your job, your profession, all the concepts that you have about who you are and what you believe and what stand for.  Free your mind from all your special relationships, your obligations and responsibilities for just this little time.  Put down your weapons, your need to protect yourself, your need to defend yourself against your foes, imaginary or otherwise.  Lay aside all your desire and passion for food, drink, adventure, technology, health, wealth, and happiness for just this little time and come to love, to peace, to joy. In the instance that you live only in the present you begin to learn the laws of God.  Do not be afraid.  For this is where you find your true Self, which will free you from the limited, sensual, sensory world and bring you past the veil of time.     

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. VI The holy instant and the laws of God. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

V.  The Holy Instant and the Special Relationship

1. The holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s most useful learning device for teaching you love’s meaning.  For its purpose is to suspend judgment entirely.  Judgment always rests on the past, for past experience is the basis on which you judge.  Judgment becomes impossible without the past, for without it you do not understand anything.  You would make no attempt to judge, because it would be quite apparent to you that you do not understand what anything means.  You are afraid of this because you believe that without the ego, all would be chaos.  Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.

2. The past is the ego’s chief learning device, for it is in the past that you learned to define your own needs and acquired methods for meeting them on your own terms.  We have said that to limit love to part of the Sonship is to bring guilt into your relationships, and thus make them unreal.  If you seek to separate out certain aspects of the totality and look to them to meet your imagined needs, you are attempting to use separation to save you.  How, then, could guilt not enter?  For separation is the source of guilt, and to appeal to it for salvation is to believe you are alone.  To be alone is to be guilty.  For to experience yourself as alone is to deny the Oneness of the Father and His Son, and thus to attack reality.

 3. You cannot love parts of reality and understand what love means.  If you would love unlike to God, Who knows no special love, how can you understand it? To believe that with special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation is salvation.  For it is the complete equality of the Atonement in which salvation lies.  How can you decide that special aspects of the Sonship can give you more than others?  The past has taught you this.  Yet the holy instant teaches you it is not so. 

4. Because of guilt, all special relationships have elements of fear in them.  This is why they shift and change so frequently.  They are not based on changeless love alone.  And love, where fear has entered, cannot be depended on because it not perfect.  In His function as interpreter of what you made, the Holy Spirit uses special relationships, which you have chosen to support the ego, as learning experiences that point to truth.  Under His teaching, every relationship becomes a lesson in love.

5. The Holy Spirit knows no one is special.  Yet He also perceives that you have made special relationships, which He would purify and not let you destroy.  However unholy the reason you made them may be, He can translate them into holiness by removing as much fear as you will let Him.  You can place any relationship under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain, if you offer Him your willingness to have it serve no need but His.  All the guilt in it arises from your use of it.  All the love from His.  Do not, then, be afraid to let go your imagined needs, which would destroy the relationship.  Your only need is His.

6. Any relationship you would substitute for another has not been offered to the Holy Spirit for His use.  There is no substitute for love.  If you would attempt to substitute one aspect of love for another, you have placed less value on one and more on the other.  You have not only separated them, but you have also judged against both.  Yet you had judged against yourself first, or you would never have imagined that you needed your brothers as they were not.  Unless you had seen yourself as without love, you could not have judged them so like you in lack.

7. The ego’s use of relationships is so fragmented that it frequently goes even farther; one part of one aspect suits its purposes, while it prefers different parts of another aspect.  Thus does it assemble reality to its own capricious liking, offering for your seeking a picture whose likeness does not exist.  For there is nothing in Heaven or earth that it resembles, and so, however much you seek for its reality, you cannot find it because it is not real.

8. Everyone on earth has formed special relationships, and although this is not so in Heaven, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring a touch of Heaven to them here.  In the holy instant no one is special, for your personal needs intrude on no one to make your brothers seem different.  Without the values from the past, you would see them all the same and like yourself.  Nor would you see any separation between yourself and them.  In the holy instant, you see in each relationship what it will be when you perceive only the present.

9. God knows you now.  He remembers nothing, having always known you exactly as He knows you now.  The holy instant reflects His knowing by bringing all perception out of the past, thus removing the frame of reference you have built by which to judge your brothers.  Once this is gone, the Holy Spirit substitutes His frame of reference for it.  His frame of reference is simply God.  The Holy Spirit’s timelessness lies only here.  For in the holy instant, free of the past, you see that love is in you, and you have no need to look without and snatch love guiltily from where you thought it was.

10. All your relationships are blessed in the holy instant, because the blessing is not limited.  In the holy instant the Sonship gains as one, and united in your blessing it becomes one to you.  The meaning of love is the meaning God gave to it.  Give to it any meaning apart from His, and it is impossible to understand it.  God loves every brother as He loves you; neither less nor more.  He needs them all equally, and so do you.  In time, you have been told to offer miracles as I direct, and let the Holy Spirit bring to you those who are seeking you.  Yet in the holy instant you unite directly with God, and all your brothers join in Christ.  Those who are joined in Christ are in no way separate.  For Christ is the Self the Sonship shares, as God shares His Self with Christ.

11. Think you that you can judge the Self of God?  God has created It beyond judgment, out of His need to extend His Love.  With love in you, you have no need except to extend it.  In the holy instant there is no conflict of needs, for there is only one.  For the holy instant reaches to eternity, and to the Mind of God.  And it is only there love has meaning, and only there can it be understood. [1]

We have learned to trust our egos in this realm to decide for us, to make judgments for and against, to protect us from what it deems dangerous and to point us toward what it deems safe.  Always divided and never constant, our egos take us for an unjoyful, unloving, unpeaceful journey through life.  Ever changing its mind about what is safe and what is not, who has more to offer and who has nothing to offer, the ego proves itself over and over again not to be a trustworthy guide, and Jesus promises us that this is so.  For without ego, all would be love.  Dare we believe this?

In paragraph two Jesus tells us that the ego’s chief learning device is the past.  From the time we came into this world we live as humans and humans have very specific needs for survival, for comfort, and for growth.  But these are human needs and they bring guilt into our relationships for in order to get our human needs met, we must limit love – we must take care of our children, and not everybody else’s children or ours may suffer.  We must love and nurture our mates and not others, or else ours may seek to get their attention and sexual needs met elsewhere.  We must look out for ourselves at the expense of others.  Whenever we do bring guilt into our relationships, and we all do this for this is how we must survive in the world, our relationships are not honest, they are not true, and we make them unreal.  For we tell lies to ourselves in our special relationships, our kids are the best kids, our grandkids are nicer than everybody else’s grandkids, our husbands are stronger and better looking, our family myths, our community myths, our religious myths, our country’s myths are not built on the truth for they are not built on mutuality and love but rather specialness.  Specialness sets us apart and makes of “us” something better than “them.”  And when we separate from mutuality and love, which is God, and think of this as our salvation, we isolate ourselves and to isolate ourselves is to be guilty.  Why does this make us guilty?  Because it denies the Oneness of Father and Son, it opposes the unity and wholeness of reality. 

Love is wholeness and in order to know love, we must love wholly.  In our humanity it is impossible to love as God for in God there is no specialness.  There are plenty of holy books that would make of this religion or this tribe or this people special, but Jesus tells us that this is not true.  God loves Creation as One and He would never prefer one part of it over the other.  Religions and spiritual paths that offer salvation in separation, which rely on rules and regulations and requirements in place of salvation do not save us.  Humans cannot decide because flesh does not know what Love is, because flesh cannot know what Love is.  Flesh requires specialness because flesh, as a symbol of the ego, can only bestow favor on this one at the expense of what it takes away from another.  The ego has devised a mechanical realm in which one must pay, one must work, one must earn in order to maintain a semblance of life.  When we look to our past, we see that this is so, for in this realm, those who made sacrifices, those who invented better weapons, those who worked harder than others, those who ate more protein, those who ruthlessly pushed ahead for themselves and theirs at the expense of those who did not do such things typically got a bigger slice of the pleasantries that we call life here.  This is the way it works in this realm – the past teaches us this.  All of us have been left empty-handed and short-changed because we failed to learn this lesson in humanity. 

Yet the holy instant teaches us that the lesson itself is a lie that promotes the original lie.  

Special relationships shift and change because they are not based on changeless love, but rather love twisted into a commodity.  When love is used as a commodity it is no longer love no matter if we continue to call it that or not!  We can therefore say we “love” our mates, our children, our community, our countries, our fellow club members, but we fear their rejection and we do things that we know are not honest nor loving, in order to keep our love afloat.  We obligate them to us as they obligate us to them.  Love in this realm amounts to a guilty exchange of sacrifices. 

Holy Spirit uses our special relationships to teach us the truth.  In holiness, every relationship we have becomes a lesson in love.  When holiness removes a sense of obligation and sacrifice from our relationships they become more honest.  When I am not seeking my salvation, my happiness, my sense of worth and well-being from you, you are free to be you and I am free to be me.  When I am not jealously clinging on you in the hopes that you love me best and that your eyes, your hands, your feet, your private parts, your very thoughts are mine, mine, mine and that anybody who tries to steal you away is in big trouble, I have given my specialness toward you to holiness, and I can love you purely without jealousy and without a need for control.  I am not ruining your life with my unholy love for you – for in holiness there is no pain, no anguish, no sorrow, nor sacrifice.  My love for you now serves no need but God’s for I love you no more and no less than I do another brother.  All guilt is gone for guilt comes only because I abused love by my desire to use it for myself.  To use Love as a commodity, as something on which to hang my hat, my status, my home in the flesh is unholy and unwholesome!  Jesus tells us to fearlessly let go of all our imagined needs that we chase after in our special relationships.  Special relationships are doomed.  They can never give us what we think we need from them.  Our only need is holiness.  Holiness is love and peace and joy.  Holiness is God within us. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph six that there is no substitute for love.  We do not have to skip from one marriage to another; we do not have to trade in our lazy kids for kids who help more around the house; we do not have to drop our unmannerly, unappreciative friends and family members and go look for new ones to hang out with!  When we judge our special relationships as less than what is out there in the world that looks far better, we are judging not only against them but against ourselves.  When we feel that we can only learn from those who are more adept at meeting our needs than the ones we already have, we are in for a big disappointment.  For every single one of our special relationships are there to teach us of God, to teach us of Love, to teach us about what we lack. 

In paragraph seven, Jesus expounds even more on how the ego fragments relationships in an attempt to make them serve separate purposes. In other words we collect a vast amount of them in at attempt to meet what we imagine is our different needs.  Some we use for sexual gratification, and others we use for our party animal self, and others are our spiritual friends.  We use some when we are sick and need comforting; others are there for us to mock and ridicule or conversely to look up to and aspire to.  Others are there to take advantage of for they have never learned to set boundaries or developed an ability to say no to our demands; others are there to teach us our P’s and Q’s.  We say that favors are what friends are for, comfort and besties is what a sister must be, nurturing is what a mother provides, our fathers are always there for money and fixing things, our preachers will pray for us and keep us from wrongdoing… We categorize people by the roles we place upon them and then they better fulfill them for us or else!  We flit from one to the other and then back again, complaining about how they let us down when they do not match our expectations of them.   We take Creation and assemble a self-centered, egotistical reality that does not exist in any world ever.  No matter how much we make of one person an angel and another one the whore, no matter what we do to justify our assumptions about what purpose our teachers, president, or movie stars serve there is no reality in it and we delude ourselves by holding others responsible for our happiness and holiness. 

As we practice the holy instant we let go of specialness in all its forms.  We need nothing from no one particular person, place, or thing.  In our holiness, we accept Sonship, we accept God in us, and our personal needs do not come into it for we have for that instant stopped being flesh and identify only in Spirit.  In Holiness, we are not different, we are the same, we are one in Love.  Without the past to define you, I put down all my demands on you, disappointment in you, my bitterness, my sense of shame and self-reproach, my fear of your hatred and violence, my sense of enmity and strife.  You are like me and I am like you – born of God.  I am not worried about your penis, and you are not concerned about my breasts and vagina for without flesh we have no ridiculous divisions that would classify us as different based upon that which fades away and turns to dust.  In that moment of Spirit, we see only holiness for we have gotten over ourselves in the flesh, we have removed this instant from the past and have given it to God, we have devoted it to Love, we have returned that instant in time to eternity where it belongs. 

This is our God moment for this is where God knows us – not in the past but in the present.  Our frame of reference in which we live in fear of one another is not God’s frame of reference.  God is not trapped in time; God is forever free where our holiness and our Spirit reside.  The holy instants that we give to God free us from the past, we see God in us, we are removed from the realm which looks without for love for we have encountered Love within. 

When we practice the holy instant we are blessing all our relationships without limit.  We are not withholding it from this one because of what she said about us.  We are not giving more of it to this one because he helped us when we were down.  In the holy instant we love every brother as God loves every brother.  While in time, we offer healing and help only to those whom Holy Spirit brings to us, in the holy instant we unite with Love and all our brothers join us in Sonship.  No longer separate, but complete in one another as Christ is complete in God. 

We are not here to judge one another for that which would judge is flesh and flesh is not how we find God.  God has created us from Love and Love extends itself to all.  As we practice the holy instant we learn to get past all the conflicting needs of the world.  We do not come with our ravenous bellies or sexual demands; we do not come with our craven needs for attention, our successes or failures, or our fear of old age.  We come without our flesh to the holy instant, and we practice being Love – extending ourselves to all and for all time.  This is our way to God. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. V. The holy instant and special relationships. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

IV. Practicing the Holy Instant

1. The course is not beyond immediate learning, unless you believe that what God wills takes time.  And this means only that you would rather delay the recognition that His Will is so.  The holy instant is this instant and every instant.  The one you want it to be it is.  The one you would not have it be is lost to you.  You must decide when it is.  Delay it not.  For beyond the past and future, where you will not find it, it stands in shimmering readiness for your acceptance.  Yet you cannot bring it into glad awareness while you do not want it, for it holds the whole release from littleness.

2. Your practice must therefore rest upon your willingness to let all littleness go.  The instant in which magnitude dawns upon you is but as far away as your desire for it.  As long as you desire it not and cherish littleness instead, by so much is it far from you.  By so much as you want it will you bring it nearer.  Think not that you can find salvation in your own way and have it.  Give over every plan you have made for your salvation in exchange for God’s.  His will content you, and nothing else can bring you peace.  For peace is of God, and no one beside Him.

3. Be humble before Him, and yet great in Him.  And value no plan of the ego before the plan of God.  For you leave empty your place in His plan, which you must fill if you would join with me, by your decision to join in any plan but His.  I call you to fulfill your holy part in the plan that He has given to the world for tis release from littleness.  God would have His host abide in perfect freedom.  Every allegiance to a plan of salvation apart from Him diminishes the value of His Will for you in your own mind.  And yet it is your mind that is the host to Him.

4. Would you learn how perfect and immaculate is the holy altar on which Your Father has placed Himself?  This you will recognize in the holy instant, in which you willingly and gladly give over every plan but His.  For there lies peace, perfectly clear because you have been willing to meet its conditions.  You can claim the holy instant any time and anywhere you want it.  In your practice, try to give over every plan you have accepted for finding magnitude in littleness.  It is not there.   Use the holy instant only to recognize that you alone cannot know where it is and can only deceive yourself.

5. I stand within the holy instant, as clear as you would have me.  And the extent to which you learn to accept me is the measure of the time in which the holy instant will be yours.  I call to you to make the holy instant yours at once, for the release from littleness in the mind of the host of God depends on willingness, and not on time.

6. The reason this course is simple is that truth is simple.  Complexity is of the ego and is nothing more than the ego’s attempt to obscure the obvious.  You could live forever in the holy instant, beginning now and reaching to eternity, but for a very simple reason.  Do not obscure the simplicity of this reason, for if you do, it will be only because you prefer not to recognize it and not to let it go.  The simple reason, simply stated, is this:  The holy instant is a time in which you receive and give perfect communication.  This means, however, that its a time in which your mind is open, both to receive and give.  It is the recognition that all minds are in communication.  It therefore seeks to change nothing, but merely to accept everything.

7. How can you do this when you would prefer to have private thoughts and keep them?  The only way you could do that would be to deny the perfect communication that makes the holy instant what it is.  You believe you can harbor thoughts you would not share, and that salvation lies in keeping thoughts to yourself alone.  For in private thoughts, known only to yourself, you think you find a way to keep what you would have alone, and share what you would share.  And then you wonder why it is that you are not in full communication with those around you, and with God Who surrounds all of you together.

8. Every thought you would keep hidden shuts communication off, because you would have it so.  It is impossible to recognize perfect communication while breaking communication holds value to you.  Ask yourself honestly, “Would I want to have perfect communication, and am I wholly willing to let everything that interferes with it go forever?”  If the answer is no, then the Holy Spirit’s readiness to give it to you is not enough to make it yours, for you are not ready to share it with Him.  And it cannot come into a mind that has decided to oppose it.  For the holy instant is given and received with equal willingness, being the acceptance of the single Will that governs all thought.

9. The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure.  But it does require that you have none that you would keep.  Innocence is not of your making.  It is given you the instant you would have it.  Atonement would not be if there were no need for it.  You will not be able to accept perfect communication as long as you would hide it from yourself.  For what you would hide is hidden from you.  In your practice, then, try only to be vigilant against deception, and seek not to protect the thoughts you would keep to yourself.  Let the Holy Spirit’s purity shine them away and bring all your awareness to the readiness for purity He offers you.  Thus will He make you ready to acknowledge that you are host to God, and hostage to no one and to nothing.[1] 

Jesus tells us today in our devotional text every single moment is an eternal, holy instant in which we can choose to either lose or put to the purpose of eternity.  It is our decision.  Our holiness is not in the past or in the future, it is now.  Our holiness is our Sonship, and our Sonship is our holiness, it is our oneness with God and all that is.  It is Truth and so it never changes from one moment to the next, it remains always the same – we can step into it at any time we choose. 

The only thing that keeps our holiness at bay is not understanding it, and therefor not wanting it.

For when we understand what holiness is, we are released from littleness and the world can no longer hold our interest, captivate our senses, or tempt us to give up what we are in God.    

Holiness is total devotion to that which is Love, Peace, and Joy.  Holiness means letting all things that are not loving, peaceful, and joyful go and allowing Holy Spirit to teach and guide us and through us.  In our total devotion to all that is holy, our egos are humbled for we are no longer willing to go into attack, we are no longer willing to stand about and talk trash about others, we are no longer content to be vicious or vile.  When we recognize hostility in our minds we let it go and ask for Love.  This takes practice, this is a practice, and the practice of holiness does not weary us but rather replenishes us and makes of us bonnie and blithe. 

In our daily lives as humans there are calls upon us to live lives that forgo love, peace, and joy.  We do a lot of things to impress other people, we weary ourselves with a multitude of unnecessary demands, we lose our peace when we compare what we have with what other people have, we lose our joy when we let the mistakes and shortcomings of others get under our skin.  Practicing holiness is putting God in charge of everything we would otherwise believe we have to control.  Love does not call for martyrs or sacrifice of any kind.  Peace is in quietness and rest, not in one activity after the other and heeding every call from the world.  Joy comes with appreciation and the expression of goodwill and recreation. 

We are unable to practice the holy instants when we are worried and stressed over affairs in the world.  Holy instants are not magical, they are not ecstatic experiences, they are so calm and so quiet that if we are looking for bright, sparkly lights and thrills and chills to fall upon us and wow our human senses, we are going to miss them!  Holy instants happen when we give over our plans and ask for God’s plans.  When we know God as Love, we know that Love’s plan is as clear and beautiful as pure and living water.  We no longer strive to make the outer perfect which wears us out and makes martyrs of us.  We accept the plan of Love which is quiet and restful and renews us.  When we do that we can claim the holy instant any time and anywhere we choose.  God does not withhold the holy instant from us; we just miss it over and over again by being too busy and too caught up in our social media, in sports and other fun activities, in our favorite soap operas, and in our special relationships and professions to meet the conditions. 

When we try to find magnitude in littleness we will keep finding more littleness to take the place of magnitude.  We will blow things out of proportion.  We will waste our time relating stories about nothing.  We will get our feelings hurt and make that which has no reality, real in our own minds. Our Sonship is within each holy instant.  The very second we let the small, insignificant, melodramatic go and choose the quiet, calm, eternal peace of God – Christ becomes very apparent to us.  In this simple recognition of being one with Christ – we know ourselves as Beings of Love, we are eternal, we have God in us and of us and we are like Him because we are His Son.  This practice is not dependent upon time, but upon our willingness to accept the truth of what we are. 

While Truth is simple – the ego uses complexity to obscure what should otherwise be obvious.  Jesus tells us that we can live forever in the holy instant beginning now if we keep our mind open to both receive and give perfect communication.  All minds are in communication, and when we truly communicate we seek to change nothing but merely to accept everything.  This means we give up control.  We lay down judgment and condemnation.  We live from the wellspring of the Kingdom – we offer Atonement to all without question, without thinking we have the right to determine who deserves God’s Kingdom and who should be left out of God’s Kingdom.  When we communicate perfectly we do not keep secrets or practice deception for when we enter the holy instant we are Spirit, we are transparent, we are born of Light which harbors no darkness. 

Hidden thoughts shut down communication.  As long as keeping secrets holds value to us, as long we think that there is something worth never coming clean about, never sharing with another, never bringing to the light of truth, we are not ready for perfect communication required by Sonship.  Holiness does not come into a mind that opposes the light of truth.  The holy instant is given and received only in a mind that is open and clear and exposes all that is human, all that is of the ego, all that would oppose that which is God.  When we accept the single Will that governs all thought, we accept the light of truth and in the light of truth there is no darkness. 

Are our thoughts loving, peaceful, and joyful?  We are holy.  Are our activities centered around sharing love and peace and joy?  Then we are extending God’s Kingdom and we are holy.  When we trade in our littleness for magnitude it simply means we do not sit about saying mean things about others or ourselves.  We build others up and we don’t tear them down – and what we do toward others is what we bring to ourselves.  Our passing moments will become eternal holy instants when we practice letting all thoughts, words, and deeds of hostility and opposition go and exchanging them for thoughts, words, and deeds of love, peace, and joy.  This doesn’t mean that hostile, unholy thoughts will not come to us.  It simply means that we do not keep them, we do not give them any place to rest, we do not hide them and indulge in them and pretend we are better humans than other humans.  But rather we accept the purity and grace that God offers us through Atonement. 

Perfect communication comes when we practice honesty about our human lives.  While we certainly do not glory in them, neither do we mistakenly glory in a pretense of holiness we could never possess in the flesh. There is no such thing as a perfect human and there never will be!  Jesus tells us not to lie about how saintly we are and how we never do anything wrong or make mistakes or fall into temptation.  When someone is suffering from an addiction to inappropriate relationships, substance abuse, or any other sort of unwholesomeness, we do not pretend that we are better than they are and hide our own shortcomings.  This is not helpful to anyone – it is deception, and we only deceive ourselves when we practice this kind of hypocrisy. 

Holy Spirit prepares us for acknowledging God in us, by first acknowledging our littleness that would oppose Him.  When we know that God is in us, there is nobody and no thing in the flesh that can hold us hostage, for we are over the flesh, we put no faith in that which has no holiness, we cannot be shamed by that which has no meaning and no truth.  As we accept our Sonship, we practice holiness and in every instant we practice holiness we set ourselves free. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. IV Practicing the holy instant. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

III.  Littleness versus Magnitude

7. In this season (Christmas) which celebrates the birth of holiness into this world, join with me who decided for holiness for you.  It is our task together to restore the awareness of magnitude to the host whom God appointed to Himself.  It is beyond all your littleness to give the gift of God, but not beyond you.  For God would give Himself through you.  He reaches from you to everyone and beyond everyone to His Son’s creations, but without leaving you.  Far beyond your little world, but still in you, He extends forever.  Yet he brings all His extensions to you, as host to Him.

8. Is it a sacrifice to leave littleness behind, and wander not in vain?  It is not sacrifice to wake to glory.  But it is sacrifice to accept anything less than glory.  Learn that you must be worthy of the Prince of Peace, born in you in honor of Him Whose host you are.  You know not what love means because you have sought to purchase it with little gifts, thus valuing it too little to understand its magnitude.  Love is not little and love dwells in you, for you are host to Him.  Before the greatness that lives in you, your poor appreciation of yourself and all the little offerings you give slip into nothingness.

9. Holy child of God, when will you learn that only holiness can content you and give you peace?  Remember that you learn not for yourself alone, no more than I did.  It is because I learned for you that you can learn of me.  I would but teach you what is yours, so that together we can replace the shabby littleness that binds the host of God to guilt and weakness with the glad awareness of the glory that is in him. 

10. Decide with me, who has decided to abide with you.   I will as my Father wills, knowing His Will is constant and at peace forever with itself.  You will be content with nothing but His Will.  Accept no less, remembering that everything I learned is yours.  What my Father loves I love as He does, and I can no more accept it as what it is not, than He can.  And no more can you.  When you have learned to accept what you are, you will make no more gifts to offer to yourself, for you will know you are complete, in need of nothing, and unable to accept anything for yourself.  But you will gladly give, having received.  The host of God needs not seek to find anything.

11. If you are wholly willing to leave salvation to the plan of God and unwilling to attempt to grasp for peace yourself, salvation will be given you.  Yet think not you can substitute your plan for His.  Rather, join with me in His, that we may release all those who would be bound, proclaiming together that the Son of God is host to Him.  Thus will we let no one forget what you would remember.  And thus will you remember it.

12. Call forth in everyone only the remembrance of God, and of the Heaven that is in him.  For where you would have your brother be, there will you think you are.  Hear not his appeal to hell and littleness, but only his call to Heaven and greatness.  Forget not that his call is yours and answer him with me.  God’s power is forever on the side of His host, for it protects only the peace in which He dwells.  Lay not littleness before His holy altar, which rises above the stars and reaches even to Heaven, because of what is given it.[1] 

Jesus calls to us to join Him in holiness – Christ was born into the world to restore the memory of Sonship to us, and today He is calling to us to remember the real meaning of Christmas – the restoration of Sonship, the restoration of our magnitude, the awakening of our deep sleep of separation and meanness.  There is no human alive that can remember this on their own for it is a gift of God and holiness is not of this world, it is not of humanity, it is a natural and God-given gift that restores our oneness with God.  Oneness with God is holiness and for this Christ has come and Jesus is still calling to us to join Him in reminding us that God is in us.

It is not sacrifice to leave vanity and meanness behind and awaken to the glory of God.  Why wander about searching for meaning in that which has none?  Why try one vain attempt after the other to search for worth in unworthiness?  To attempt to find Love in that which opposes Love?  We find our worthiness in worthiness, dear brother.  We do not find it in shame, in sorrow, in our belief in sin and in a God who is not Love.  God is Love and Love is not small-minded and mean.  Love dwells within us and we are host to Love, we are hosts of God.  We suffer needlessly the scourge of unworthiness, the poor appreciation we have of who and what we really are.  Groveling and pleading, giving money to support cathedrals and belief systems that teach us to do so, believing in gods who demand sacrifice and sorrow are offerings that mean nothing.  God wants us to realize what we are and remember what we are by reminding each other of what we are in Him.  Not beggars, not pleaders, not small and unworthy, but as Sons, but as Christ.  This is holiness and there is nothing outside of accepting Sonship that will save us. 

We do not accept this for ourselves, we accept it for the Brotherhood, for holiness is not for this one and that one, for the few, but for all.  Jesus did not come to save only the awakened; He came to save those who still sleep, and Jesus did not come to do this on His own, He came to enlist us for we are only whole, we are only Sons through a Brotherhood which would never dream of leaving anybody behind.  The shabby small-minded salvation plans that we make up and call redemption binds us to beliefs in guilt and shame, weakness and a keen awareness of our inability to save our feeble flesh.  There is no magical belief system in the world that can make flesh and bone, blood and gristle come back to life and live eternally.  Our glory is in us, our glory is not in the flesh or in the things of the flesh, but in the everlasting God within us. 

Jesus asks us to decide with Him because He chooses to abide with us.  Jesus chooses to abide with us because this is the will of Love which never changes its mind, which does not allow the things of littleness and of no account stand in the way of our salvation.  God’s Love is constant and certain and never falters or fails because God’s Love is God and God’s Love is Love.  There is nothing else and when we accept anything else, we will be accepting littleness and it will not gratify or satisfy us in any way. 

When we accept our Sonship, we no longer think of ourselves alone, we no longer shun those who are wicked and evil and do not live up to our plan of salvation.  We no longer waste our time trying to save a world that is already saved, for we know that it is not God’s Will to create that which can be lost.  And God is God, and His Will stands forever.  When we accept our Sonship, we are complete, we need nothing, we cannot take something and hoard it onto ourselves thinking that we are special, we are the elect, we are saved, and others are not.  When we know that we are the host of God, we do not have to seek ecstatic experiences, we do not have to show off our religion and try to convert others into thinking the way we think and acting the way we act – for when we know Whom we host, we have Everything and out of this sense of Everything we give with no thought of return. 

This giving of Everything with no thought of return frees us of the littleness which kept us trapped in the worldly systems of reciprocation and substitutes for God.  God needs nothing.  Blood and meat sacrifices, your little pennies, your little going without for Jesus, your groveling and pleading, your little bargains about going to church and reading your bible, your little plans to convert all humanity to your religion or else burn them in hell forever is a very poor substitute for God’s plan of salvation which requires nothing but awakening to the knowledge of God, to the knowledge of what Love really is, to joining in the proclamation that we are Sons of God, that God is in us and of us and for us.  We are through with these vain stories of gods who make impossible demands of us, who sic us upon each other in hatred and violence and bloodshed, who show uncertain mercy only for those who are willing to belittle themselves to make them look bigger and stronger.   We lay down our littleness and accept the magnitude of Him Whom we host now and forever. 

Jesus tells us to call forth in everyone only the remembrance of the Love which brought us forth and of the Kingdom that is of Him.  For when we bring others to God’s Kingdom, God’s Kingdom is where we will be.  When our brothers spew forth hatred and curses, when our brothers call forth hell and meanness, we are to only hear a call for Heaven and greatness.  This is not magic; this is not an impossible command of God.  This is practicing holiness.  For when we practice holiness, we practice awakening to our Sonship. 

When I practice holiness I practice interpreting everything I hear as either a call of Love or a call for Love, as either a call of God or a call for God.  So when you show up at my house spewing forth hatred and bitterness, yapping about how rotten to the core is this one and how ungrateful and ignorant is that one, I do not judge you by what my flesh ears are hearing from you and condemn you as a sinner for using bad words and cursing God and the brotherhood, I hear your call for Love.  For this is how I practice Sonship, this is how I practice holiness in a world bent upon unholiness.  I do not take your words personally and accept your attack upon me.  I do not take your words to heart and go into defense against those you are cursing and blaming.  I let this be an opportunity for reminding you of what you are and who you are in God.  This is not bible-thumping and quoting scripture at you; this is not lecturing you on how you need to clean up your mouth, this is not shaming you for not being a better human – this is a simple and loving, kind and direct way of me reminding you of the Christ in you Which heals all wounds, erases all wrongs, and exchanges all our selfish egoism for Love.

As we join with Christ in holiness, we put all our petty, trivial, nothing pasts behind us.  We no longer seek glory in that which the world seeks glory for we know that glory can only be found in Love and in the Kingdom of Love.  When our brothers curse, we bless for we hear only His call for help and we can only help our brothers, for without them there is no Brotherhood.  God’s power is forever with us protecting our peace.  When we let the ranting and raving of our brothers shake us, when we let those who would judge our pasts and condemn us make us tremble, when we let the idiocies and meanness of our brothers steal our peace we are putting littleness where there should only be Love.  We are identifying with flesh and not with Spirit. 

Jesus calls us to join Him in holiness.  This is our call to that which is divine about us.  We cannot see that which is divine in each other without the mind of Christ, the vision of Christ, the acceptance of our Sonship.  God’s power is always for us and not against us.  This is not to say that God’s power is for our egotistical selfish desires whatever they may be.  God is not for our personal wealth building, our popularity, our status in the world – all of these offerings that we would make to ourselves are so little and meaningless compared to the Everything which is what we are in Him.  God’s power protects our peace and whisks us high above all that would make us little and steal our joy.  As we join with Christ and practice our Sonship, we learn to laugh at the things that would steal our peace; we learn to bless where we would curse; we learn to hear calls for help where we would see calls for attack and defense.  Today in your devotional practice, ask Holy Spirit to help you see every opportunity to heal and to save as a means to learn what you are in Christ.  Come not to God with littleness, shaking in your shoes over unkind words or violent curses.  Come to God in Sonship ready and willing to join in His plan of salvation which envelops all that is and ever will be. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The Holy Instant III. Littleness vs. magnitude 7-12. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

III.  Littleness versus Magnitude 1-6

1. Be not content with littleness.  But be sure you understand what littleness is, and why you could never be content with it.  Littleness is the offering you give yourself.  You offer this in place of magnitude, and you accept it.  Everything in this world is little because it is a world made out of littleness, in the strange belief that littleness can content you.  When you strive for anything in this world in the belief that it will bring you peace, you are belittling yourself and blinding yourself to glory.  Littleness and glory are the choices open to your striving and your vigilance.  You will always choose one at the expense of the other.

2. Yet what you do not realize, each time you choose, is that your choice is your evaluation of yourself.  Choose littleness and you will not have peace, for you will have judged yourself unworthy of it.  And whatever you offer as a substitute is much too poor a gift to satisfy you.  It is essential that you accept the fact, and accept it gladly, that there is no form of littleness that can ever content you.  You are free to try as many as you wish, but all you will be doing is to delay your homecoming.  For you will be content only in magnitude, which is your home.

3. There is a deep responsibility you owe yourself, and one you must learn to remember all the time.  The lesson may seem hard at first, but you will learn to love it when you realize that it is true and is but a tribute to your power.  You who have sought and found littleness, remember this:  Every decision you make stems from what you think you are, and represents the value that you put upon yourself.  Believe the little can content you, and by limiting yourself you will not be satisfied.  For your function is not little, and it is only by finding your function and fulfilling it that you can escape from littleness.

4. There is no doubt about what your function is, for the Holy Spirit knows what it is.  There is no doubt about its magnitude, for it reaches you through Him from Magnitude.  You do not have to strive for it, because you have it.  All your striving must be directed against littleness, for it does require vigilance to protect your magnitude in this world.  To hold your magnitude in perfect awareness in a world of littleness is a task the little cannot undertake.   Yet it is asked of you, in tribute to your magnitude and not your littleness.  Nor is it asked of you alone.  The power of God will support every effort you make on behalf of His dear Son.  Search for the little, and you deny yourself His power.  God is not willing that His Son be content with less than everything.  For He is not content without His Son, and His Son cannot be content with less than His Father has given him.

5. I asked you earlier, “Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God?”  Let this question be asked you by the Holy Spirit every time you make a decision.  For every decision you make does answer this and invites sorrow or joy accordingly.  When God gave Himself to you in your creation, He established you as host to Him forever.   He has not left you, and you have not left Him.  All your attempts to deny His magnitude, and make His Son hostage to the ego, cannot make little whom God has joined with Him.  Every decision you make is for Heaven or for hell and brings you the awareness of what you decided for.

6. The Holy Spirit can hold your magnitude, clean of all littleness, clearly and in perfect safety in your mind, untouched by every little gift the world of littleness would offer you.  But for this, you cannot side against Him in what He wills for you.  Decide for God through Him.  For littleness, and the belief that you can be content with littleness, are decisions you make about yourself.  The power and the glory that lie in you from God are for all who, like you, perceive themselves as little, and believe that littleness can be blown up into a sense of magnitude that can content them.  Neither give littleness, nor accept it.  All honor is due the host of God.  Your littleness deceives you, but your magnitude is of Him Who dwells in you, and in whom you dwell.  Touch no one, then, with littleness in the name of Christ, eternal Host unto His Father.[1]

As we open our devotional text today, Jesus tells us to distinguish between our littleness in the flesh and our divinity in the Spirit.  Littleness is what we give ourselves in the world to take the place of what is given to us by God.  We offer littleness to one another, and we accept littleness from one another because everything in the world is little because it is made out of that which is little.  The world is based upon the strange belief that littleness can content us.  All that we strive for in the world belittles us.  It blinds us to the glory of our divinity as Sons of God, as one with Christ. 

We strive for things in the world because we are led to believe that marriage and family will content us and bring us meaning, purpose, and love.  We strive for an education because we want to overcome our ignorance, prepare ourselves for a good career which will lead to prosperity, purpose, and meaning.  We may strive for all the flash and glamor that the world has to offer, we are dazzled by technology, jewels, our big houses, vacations, historical records, our family lineage.  We get caught up in beauty, in art and other creative ventures, in food and in the natural and unnatural wonders of the world.  None of this is wrong in and of itself, but it will never define us or fulfill us.  If we are denied positive things in which to enchant ourselves, we turn to how tough and mean and dangerous we are, we boast about our fights and our hostility toward one another, we promote a spirit of competition and one-upmanship.  Instead of promoting peace and goodness in our family and friendship circles, our children are raised in hostile environments where parents are pitted against one another and encouraged to take sides.  While this is an obviously wrong-minded way in which to navigate through time, Jesus calls whenever we choose to glory in the world a denial of our true glory which can only be found in joining Him in Sonship.

Every time we choose that which the world offers us in which to find our glory, we evaluate ourselves as less than Sons of God.  This makes of us little, puny, fearful caricatures of our true and divine Selves in Christ.  We will not have peace, we will not find happiness, we will think of ourselves as unworthy, as fraudulent, as not deserving.  If you are substituting your family for the glory of God you will consistently find fault with each member, they will never live up to your expectations of them, they will be an appendage to your ego – you will constantly worry about them and hinder their spiritual awareness with rules and regulations instead of trusting them to God.

You can substitute this scenario for any other poor substitute in which you try to find glory in the world.  Education, careers, criminal pursuits, riches, fame or notoriety, memberships in elite clubs as well as gang members strutting symbols of hatred, vengeance, and violence – nothing will bring you meaning, purpose, or satisfy the God within you.  It is absolutely essential that you accept this fact and accept it gladly!  All things of this world are little and will never content you.  God gives us the freedom to try as many as we want, to gorge ourselves on the veritable smorgasbord of earthly pleasures, promises, and passions but all you will be doing is prolonging your unhappiness.  You were not created for temporality, for littleness, for that which fades away – you were created for magnitude.  Only in magnitude will we find our place for it is our home. 

We have a responsibility toward ourselves.  It may seem difficult at first because it requires vigilance, it must be seared into our minds so that we never forget it.  No one is exempt from this.  The world lets us all down – it doesn’t matter how attractive you are, it is vanity to find glory in that which is destined for death.  Money will fail us, educational pursuits will leave us more ignorant than when we started out, our poverty will not be solved by any political party or social change agent.  Every decision we make stems from what we think we are and represents the value we put upon ourselves.  Believe in what the world offers you will never be satisfied.  Our function is not the unmerry-go-round of this world – our function cannot be found in the role of wife or husband, parents or grandparent, friend or foe.  Our function cannot be found in the role of CEO or public enemy number one.  We will not find our function in identifying with our private parts and declaring war upon the opposite sex.  We will not find our function in standing up for causes, no matter how righteous they may seem to be.   It is only by finding our function in Sonship and fulfilling our role as Son of God that we can escape the smallness, the meanness, the anxiety and dissatisfaction that the world offers.

Let there be no doubt about what our function is for it is always with us even as Holy Spirit is always with us.  We do not have to strive for God’s Will, because we are God’s Will.  All we must do to accept our Sonship is to protect our divinity from the world.  Jesus tells us that the small-minded, the low-minded, the littleness of the world cannot withstand this task, but He asks it of us anyway. 

What does this look like in our daily lives as we perform our earthly duties, as we go to our jobs, as we take care of our children and pets and clean our houses and mow our lawns?  What must we be vigilant against and how must we perform this task which we are called to do?  For surely we will enjoy our delicious food; we will take joy and pride in our families, in our accomplishments, in our endeavors.  We will love our spouses and enjoy our sexuality.  We will have friends and play games and talk and laugh and have fun.  Must we turn our back upon all that we find good and pleasant and pleasurable in the world and live the life of a monk?  There are some that think this is the way to live one’s life and show our devotion to God. 

However, when I asked Jesus what was meant by being vigilant against the world, I was shown that engaging in the world is one thing but believing in it was quite another.  There is a way to live in the world and not be of the world.  When we are vigilant about our divinity, we do not let the world stand in its place.  We know that the world and all that is in it is a passing mist, a dream, an instant in time.  We know that our flesh and the flesh of all others is not what defines us. 

Jesus asked me to think of three ways in which I would content myself with littleness instead of accepting the magnitude of Sonship, and I am going to share them with you today, and also ask you to think of three ways in which you would content yourself with the low-minded rather than going with the high mind of Christ. 

One instance is when I first started writing this blog and I got caught up in checking to see if anyone “liked” my posts and how many followers I had.  Holy Spirit told me more than once to only be concerned about sharing the curriculum and my personal application of it in my life.  But instead of being concerned about following the guidance of Holy Spirit I was more concerned at first that nobody was reading my posts or following my blog.  I must be vigilant about this and not be checking my stats and reading emails – my first call is to follow the guidance of Holy Spirit who teaches us that whether we are big news or not in the world, our Identity is not established in the world, but in the Will of God. 

The second instance lies in the reciprocal relationships that we get caught up in as humans.  Someone likes our post; we like something they wrote.  Someone chooses to follow us; we choose to follow them – it is a human law of reciprocation that is not based upon honest interest and shared goals, but rather you scratch my back, and I will scratch yours.  Holy Spirit instructed me not to waste my time getting caught up in this because it is not beneficial to the goal of Christ but rather keeps us locked in dishonest relationships.  Holy Spirit told me to follow only those whom He directs I follow simply because I am to devote my time, not to reading what others have to say which I am very much tempted to do, but to writing and disseminating what Holy Spirit directs me to share.

The third instance I thought about is how throughout my life I longed for a sense of belonging which I felt was unfairly denied me.  Whether it was my family, community, church, club, or a team – no matter what avenue I chose to find a sense of belonging I would always end up feeling lonelier and more the outcast than before I joined!  When I took my concerns to Holy Spirit, He told me to seek only to belong to God for in God is where I belong.  I must be vigilant about this for the world calls to me to find my sense of belonging in it. 

The more I meditated upon this the more instances I found in which we use the wiles of this world to cling to that which will never bring us true happiness or fulfill us in an ongoing way.  

We accept egotistical behavior and call it love in exchange for special relationships, in exchange for the status that marriage and professions provide, in exchange for trinkets such as dining in fine restaurants, driving expensive cars, diamonds, money, and exotic travel.  We are proud of our battles and boast of our fights which destroy peace in our families and teach hostility rather than love.  Step out of this Jesus tells us.  We are not here to impress egos, we are here to teach God’s Kingdom which is love, peace, and joy – the true power that fuels eternity. 

We cannot get out of who and what we are in God.  Every single decision we make reflects the state of being in which we find ourselves, of what we decided for.  If we choose to glory in opposition to peace, to glory in how tough and mean, how big and bad, how we crush each other with our words and deeds and call it salvation – this will continue to be reflected in our life.  When we share peace, we get peace.  When we share love, we get love.  When we share joy, we get joy – this is God’s Will for us, this is our salvation, this is our function in the world. 

Share anything else and we obscure the meaning of salvation, we make a mockery of it, for that which is not loving, peaceful, and happy is in opposition to God’s Will for us and we must not teach this.  Our decisions – no matter how small and seemingly insignificant must be vigilantly regarded as our means to fulfill our function, to restore our place in God’s Kingdom for ourselves and everyone around us.  God’s Will is for us to teach love and peace and joy for this is a good place to start in our return to His Kingdom.

Holy Spirit holds our divinity – clean and clear and certain – untouched by the meanness, the scarcity, the hostility that defines the world.  For this we must side with Him and not against Him.  This is a decision that each of us makes for ourselves.  Perceive ourselves as little strutting egos believing we have power in our flesh to conquer one another, we teach that salvation can be found in that which leads us away from God’s Kingdom.   Jesus tells us to neither give littleness nor accept it from others.  Do not let the substitutes for love deceive us, for there is no glory in that which is belittling, unworthy, and divisive.  While we are to take a stand against all that would oppose our divinity in the name of Sonship, this means we are to take a stand for all that is love, peace, and joy – not fall into littleness by attack and defense. 

We will complete the review of Littleness versus Magnitude tomorrow starting with paragraph seven.  Today devote yourself to putting all thoughts of hostility, anger, and all that opposes the Kingdom of God on the altar.  Ask Holy Spirit to shine His light upon your littleness so that you will be more than willing to give up all inclinations to share that which keeps you locked in smallness, that which keeps you bound to ego, that which would obscure God’s perfect Will for your Being in Him. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. III Littleness vs. magnitude 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

II. The End of Doubt

1. The Atonement is in time, but not for time.  Being in you, it is eternal.  What holds remembrance of God cannot be bound by time.  No more are you.  For unless God is bound, you cannot be.  An instant offered to the Holy Spirit is offered to God on your behalf, and in that instant, you will awaken gently in Him.  In the blessed instant you will let go all your past learning, and the Holy Spirit will quickly offer you the whole lesson of peace.  What can take time, when all the obstacles to learning it have been removed?  Truth is so far beyond time that all of it happens at once.  For as it was created one, so its oneness depends not on time at all.

2. Do not be concerned with time, and fear not the instant of holiness that will remove all fear.  For the instant of peace is eternal because it is without fear.  It will come, being the lesson God gives you, through the Teacher He has appointed to translate time into eternity.  Blessed is God’s Teacher, Whose joy it is to teach God’s holy Son his holiness.  His joy is not contained in time.  His teaching is for you because His joy is yours.  Through Him you stand before God’s altar, where He gently translates hell into Heaven.  For it is only in Heaven that God would have you be.

3. How long can it take to be where God would have you?  For you are where you have forever been and will forever be.  All that you have, you have forever.  The blessed instant reaches out to encompass time, as God extends Himself to encompass you.  You who have spent days, hours, and even years in chaining your brothers to your ego in an attempt to support it and uphold its weakness, do not perceive the Source of strength.  In this holy instant you will unchain all your brothers and refuse to support either their weakness or your own. 

4. You do not realize how much you have misused your brothers by seeing them as sources of ego support.  As a result, they witness to the ego in your perception, and seem to provide reasons for not letting it go.  Yet they are far stronger and much more compelling witnesses for the Holy Spirit. And they support His strength.  It is, therefore, your choice whether they support the ego or the Holy Spirit in you.  And you will recognize which you have chosen by their reactions.  As Son of God who has been released through the Holy Spirit in a brother is always recognized.  He cannot be denied.  If you remain uncertain, it is only because you have not given complete release.  And because of this, you have not given a single instant completely to the Holy Spirit.  For when you have, you will be sure you have.  You will be sure because the witness to Him will speak so clearly of Him that you will hear and understand.  You will doubt until you hear one witness whom you have wholly released through the Holy Spirit.  And then you will doubt no more.

5. The holy instant has not yet happened to you.  Yet it will, and you will recognize it with perfect certainty.  No gift of God is recognized in any other way.  You can practice the mechanics of the holy instant and will learn much from doing so.  Yet its shining and glittering brilliance, which will literally blind you to this world by its own vision, you cannot supply.  And here it is, all in this instant, accomplished and given wholly.

6. Start now to practice your little part in separating out the holy instant.  You will receive very specific instructions as you go along.  To learn to separate out this single second, and to experience it as timeless, is to begin to experience yourself as not separate.  Fear not that you will not be given help in this.  God’s Teacher and His lesson will support your strength.  It is only your weakness that will depart from you in this practice, for it is the practice of the power of God in you.  Use it but for one instant, and you will never deny it again.  Who can deny the Presence of what the universe bows to, in appreciation and gladness?  Before the recognition of the universe that witnesses to It, your doubts must disappear.[1]

Today in our devotional practice Jesus speaks of the end of doubt.  Atonement is the recognition that we are not flesh and blood, we are not egos, we are not separated from God.  Atonement is given to us in time, but Atonement is not for time – Atonement is eternal because it holds our memory of God.  When we give one moment to Holy Spirit, when we take one instant away from the past and devote that little time to Holy Spirit, we awaken gently in Him.  We are not rudely shaken awake.  We are not screamed at or rebuked or threatened.  We are not made to feel guilty or ashamed of our past – we are set free of it.  We let go of it.  We do not want it anymore for in it we did not find peace, we did not find our happiness, we chased after what we thought would bring us meaning and purpose and satisfaction and ended up with nothing at all. 

Jesus tells us that truth is so far beyond time that it is not dependent upon time.  We are not to be concerned in the least bit with time.  This is not something we can do on our own – our only function in the holy instant is not to resist truth, but to welcome it, trusting that it will come.  Holy Spirit uses time not to waste us like the ego uses time.  Holy Spirit uses time to teach us – not the hard lessons of ego, but the joyful lessons that translate the hell that ego would make of creation into Heaven.  For this is where God would have us be and God’s Will goes unchallenged and unchanged. 

What does this look like in our daily life?  As we practice separating the present moment and giving it to Holy Spirit, we look upon our loved ones, our coworkers, our neighbors, our dogs and our cats, our chickens and our ducks, the cobwebs and dust, our teachers and our preachers anew.  We set them free from all our past associations with them.  We see beyond their form, and we make no judgments upon them.  We recognize that we can never know their reality as they appear in the physical realm, we can only know them as they were created by God, as we were created by God.  We give up our little perceptions of them – are they good, do they please us, are they nice, are they attractive, are they stupid, are they selfish, brutish, or boring.  We give that all up.  We see them with no story that our egos would attach to them – stories that degrade them into little slivers of our small encounters, our limited perceptions and projections.  We see them in that instant through the eyes of Christ and we love them as God loves Creation. 

This may sound goofy to you.  You may think you would rather hang on to your judgments, but Jesus tells us that our judgments will not protect us.  Our judgments will only hinder our awakening.  It is only an instant.  You can go back to your old way of seeing things if you want, but in that one instant that you give to Holy Spirit, your perception will be transformed.  For when we stop seeing the outer world with ego perceptions, when we take judgment and the me, me, me out of the picture, we recognize our oneness, we experience the love, the peace, the joy of Creation.  In that one holy instant, we are released from time, from the ego, from the meager and the miserly to something that goes beyond this world to the place in which we are meant to be. 

You are forever, and I am forever with God.  This moment that we take and devote to Holy Spirit, this moment that we practice stepping out of time, freeing it from the past, freeing it from the ego’s clamor and little-me-ness is the moment of truth.  We spend our whole lives judging creation as to how it suits us, how we interpret it, chasing after this one or that one, a lover, a friend, a job, holding on to our spouses as if they have something inside of them that belongs to us, and nobody better think it belongs to them or else.  We chain others to us, jealously guarding our ties to them, judging everything they do, every place they go, where they spend their money and their time and their affection against how it affects our shriveled little egos which crave specialness.  We yearn for the whole world to love us, to give us what we can never find in it, to support our neediness and weakness and when it does not happen, we feel so bitter and rejected, full of sorrow, resentment, and emptiness. 

In the holy instant, we set them free.  When we set them free, our minds are made free. We recognize our Sonship.  We accept our power, our love, our goodness, our purity.  We go past all this silliness, this triteness, this mean little way we have devised to relate to one another.    And in that moment we get a sense of Heaven.  We have replaced the hell we made of things.  We go beyond it. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph four that we do not wait for others to set us free, we set them free.  For when I set you free from my smallness, my judgment, my grudges and resentments toward you, you will automatically set me free.  It is my choice, and it cannot be denied, your freedom is my freedom, and my freedom is yours.   We do not have to worry about releasing those who will not release us.  We will know that the harshness is gone, we will know that the resentment is healed, we will know that the miracle occurred.  We will witness this time and again until all doubt is gone, our relationships are healed, our perceptions are holy, the Holy Spirit’s use of time will free us of time and our awareness will be restored to our oneness forever. 

Keep practicing the holy instant for we learn much in separating our present moment from the past and seeing through the holy perception.  It will feel mechanical to us, we will have to put some effort forth, we will have to think about it, and it will feel awkward.  But do it anyway.  In your devotional time, meditate upon the holy instant and go through the motions of taking the present moments and doing your best to free them from the sticky past.  For in so doing, we will become all the more appreciative of the real holy instant when it comes.  We will experience on our own a semblance of the peace and the quiet and the calm of eternity, but we cannot get to the illumination, the brilliance, the panoramic view of Heaven which Holy Spirit alone can provide.  In that instant, we are taken beyond doubt. 

One day shortly after I started practicing the holy instant, a thought of an old colleague came to me.  In my mind she had used her wealth and status as a means to lord it over me.  My ego wanted to ruminate upon this and build a case against her, to nurse an old wound.  But instead I remembered the holy instant and I brought her there in my mind and I saw her as new – as God created her.  I didn’t bring my hurt feelings to the holy instant.  I did not make up a story about her based upon my own social insecurity.  I did not chain her to me and blame her for my lack of clout and prestige.  I saw her as one with me and recognized us as one in Sonship.  As I meditated upon this, Jesus spoke to my mind and told me to practice this with everyone who comes to my mind.  To take all the guests that cross my mind, anybody at all who would trouble me or stir me up – to take them to the holy instant and set them free from my ego and give them to my holiness.  Jesus named specific people whom I was estranged with at the time.  He showed me how to take them to the holy instant and how to set them free – from all my expectations of them, my grievances, my projections, my poor opinions – in very specific ways that addressed each one individually.  He showed me how absolutely beautiful and perfect and glorious was our oneness, how shining, happy, fun, and funny.  Practicing the holy instant in this way fills me with a sense of glee and removes the heaviness, sorrow, and shame I would otherwise carry around with me.  Jesus told me that practicing the holy instant restores our energy and vitality, preparing us for our true function in time – for we are no good to God, ourselves, or each other as long as we are carrying our past, as long as we are harboring grudges and resentments, as long as we are clinging to our smallness and denying our holiness. 

Practicing the holy instant is the practice of God within us and the practice of God within us, removes all doubt, all fear, and all that is unworthy and untrue. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. II. The end of doubt. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

I. The Two Uses of Time 9-15

9. This lesson takes no time.  For what is time without a past and future?  It has taken time to misguide you so completely, but it takes no time at all to be what you are.  Begin to practice the Holy Spirit’s use of time as a teaching aid to happiness and peace.  Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time.  Nothing can reach you here out of the past, and it is here that you are completely absolved, completely free, and wholly without condemnation.  From this holy instant wherein holiness was born again you will go forth in time without fear, and with no sense of change with time.

10. Time is inconceivable without change, yet holiness does not change.  Learn from this instant more than merely that hell does not exist.  In this redeeming instant lies Heaven.  And Heaven will not change, for the birth into the holy present is salvation from change.  Change is an illusion, taught by those who cannot see themselves as guiltless.  There is no change in Heaven because there is no change in God.  In the holy instant, in which you see yourself as bright with freedom, you will remember God.  For remembering Him is to remember freedom.

11. If you are tempted to be dispirited by thinking how long it would take to change your mind so completely, ask yourself, “How long is an instant?”  Could you not give so short a time to the Holy Spirit for your salvation?  He asks no more, for He has no need of more.  It takes far longer to teach you to be willing to give Him this than for Him to use this tiny instant to offer you the whole of Heaven.  In exchange for this instant He stands ready to give you the remembrance of eternity.

12. You will never give this holy instant to the Holy Spirit on behalf of your release while you are unwilling to give it to your brothers on behalf of theirs.  For the instant of holiness is shared and cannot be yours alone.  Remember, then, when you are tempted to attack a brother, that his instant of release is yours.  Miracles are the instants of release you offer and will receive.  They attest to your willingness to be released, and to offer time to the Holy Spirit for His use of it. 

13. How long is an instant?  It is as short for your brother as it is for you.  Practice giving this blessed instant of freedom to all who are enslaved by time, and thus make time their friend for them.  The Holy Spirit gives their blessed instant to you through your giving it.  As you give it, He offers it to you.  Be not unwilling to give what you would receive of Him, for you join with Him in giving.  In the crystal cleanness of the release you give is your instantaneous escape from guilt.  You must be holy if you offer holiness.

14. How long is an instant?  As long as it takes to re-establish perfect sanity, perfect peace and perfect love for everyone, for God and for yourself.  As long as it takes to remember immortality, and your immortal creations who share it with you.  As long as it takes to exchange hell for Heaven.  Long enough to transcend all of the ego’s making and ascend unto your Father.

15. Time is your friend, if you leave it to the Holy Spirit to use.  He needs but very little to restore God’s whole power to you.  He Who transcends time for you understands what time is for.  Holiness lies not in time, but in eternity.  There never was an instant in which God’s Son could lose his purity.  His changeless state is beyond time, for his purity remains forever beyond attack and without variability.  Time stands still in his holiness, and changes not.  And so it is no longer time at all.  For caught in the single instant of the eternal sanctity of God’s creation, it is transformed into forever.  Give the eternal instant, that eternity may be remembered for you, in that shining instant of perfect release.  Offer the miracle of the holy instant through the Holy Spirit and leave His giving it to you to Him. [1]

In our daily walk with Holy Spirit, we are to practice freeing each instant from the past and future.  This is our way to learn timelessness – to step out of our human bondage to time – and enter into our eternal happiness and peace.  When we recognize our moments in time as holy, we realize that each moment holds all of time in it – nothing can reach us or touch us from the past in this beautiful, clean, clear moment when our reality becomes manifest, when our freedom and wholeness is restored to our awareness.  When we realize who and what we are in God, when we get in touch with our true Identity and experience the sense of freedom and liberty, wholeness and purity that we have and are, we travel in time without fear, we are no longer worried about what happens in time, we can handle all that comes to us for we see beyond the constant change and chaos of time. 

Jesus tells us that holiness does not change, just as Heaven does not change.  We are saved from change for change is of ego.  In the eyes of God, we remain as we were created – we did not change from bright and beautiful to dim and boorish, we did not change from powerful, eternal Sons of God to vulnerable, fleshy, finite humans.  We remain as we were created – bright with purity, instilled with freedom and liberty, loving and creative like God.  In the holy instant we remember God and we remember ourselves as God made us. 

I have studied A Course in Miracles with some brothers who claim that it is going to take thousands upon thousands of years for humanity to return to Sonship, but in paragraph 11 Jesus asks us to consider the Holy Instant.  To give a moment wholly to the call of our higher minds –we remember the whole of Heaven.  We get in touch with what we really are, we go beyond our identity in the world, we see and hear that which is beyond perception.  We go beyond language, we go beyond our maleness and our femaleness, we go beyond all ties that we have in the world, and we remember eternity and our role in it. 

And this comes to us, this beautiful sense of freedom and liberty and everlastingness, this trust in God and accepting His trust in us, when we offer this to others.  We cannot hoard holiness to ourselves; we cannot say I am of God, but he is of the devil.  We cannot use our holiness to attack others, to put ourselves above or below others – for what we offer to our brothers is what we offer to ourselves.  Jesus tells us to bring them all into the holy instant with us – we welcome each one that comes to mind the release from time for our Sonship excludes nothing and nobody. 

The holy instant is the miracle realm for in this realm is where miracles are offered and received.  There is no guilt, no shame, no blame – only that which never changed.  In this holy instant where you are as God created you and I am as God created me – all things that are impossible in the ego world are possible.  We are no longer flesh and blood and bound to time – we are miraculously released from the misuse of time – we offer time to Holy Spirit to use to lead us out of time. 

In your daily practice give everybody you meet the blessed instant of freedom – unloose the chains of time and make of time a friend.  This is a quiet practice in that we do not broadcast what we are doing.  We do not put on a show or establish a ritual.  There is no laying on of hands involved.  We quietly release all of those who cross our path or come to mind.  We see them as they are; we do not see them for their past; we project nothing of their past into the present or the future.  We release them in our minds from all we thought they were, what they look like, what they did, what they do – we see them as born again in that moment, we see them as holy and clean and true, we see them as guiltless. 

An instant is only as long as it takes to restore our sanity, perfect peace and love for everyone, for God, and for ourselves.  This is the prerequisite for Heaven.  An instant is only as long as it takes to exchange hell for Heaven.  It is as long as it takes to transcend the illusion of ego, humanity, and the perceptual world and ascend to God. 

Time is our friend in the hands of Holy Spirit.  In only an instant Holy Spirit restores God’s power to you and to me.  Only Holy Spirit knows what time is for and our holiness is not found in time, but in that which never changes.  Each moment we give to Holy Spirit, we enter into the timeless state.  No longer changelings, timeworn and ready for the grave, we are freed from the ego’s use of time, we recognize who and what we really are, we understand oneness, we know the peace of eternal sanctity, all of creation is restored to our awareness for in it we are one. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. I The two uses of time 9-15. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 15 The Holy Instant

I. The Two Uses of Time 1-8

1. Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time? Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more. God’s Teacher cannot be satisfied with His teaching until it constitutes all your learning. He has not fulfilled His teaching function until you have become such a consistent learner that you learn only of Him. When this has happened, you will no longer need a teacher or time in which to learn.

2. One source of perceived discouragement from which you may suffer is your belief that this takes time, and that the results of the Holy Spirit’s teaching are far in the future.  This is not so.  For the Holy Spirit uses time in His Own way and is not bound by it.  Time is His friend in teaching.  It does not waste Him, as it does you.  And all the waste that time seems to bring with it is due but to your identification with the ego, which uses time to support its belief in destruction.  The ego, like the Holy Spirit, uses time to convince you of the inevitability of the goal and end of teaching.  To the ego the goal is death, which is its end.  But to the Holy Spirit the goal is life, which has no end.

3. The ego is an ally of time, but not a friend.  For it is as mistrustful of death as it is of life, and what it wants for you it cannot tolerate.  The ego wants you dead, but not itself.  The outcome of its strange religion must therefore be the conviction that it can pursue you beyond the grave.  And out of its unwillingness for you to find peace even in death, it offers you immortality in hell.  It speaks to you of Heaven but assures you that Heaven is not for you.  How can the guilty hope for Heaven?

4. The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego.  Their nightmares and their fears are all associated with it.  The ego teaches that hell is in the future, for this is what all its teaching is directed to.  Hell is its goal.  For although the ego aims at death and dissolution as an end, it does not believe it.  The goal of death, which it craves for you, leaves it unsatisfied.  No one who follows the ego’s teaching is without the fear of death.  Yet if death were thought of merely as an end to pain, would it be feared?  We have seen this strange paradox in the ego’s thought system before, but never so clearly as here.  For the ego must seem to keep fear from you to hold your allegiance.  Yet it must engender fear in order to maintain itself.  Again the ego tries, and all too frequently succeeds, in doing both, by using dissociation for holding its contradictory aims together so that they seem to be reconciled.  The ego teaches thus:  Death is the end as far as hope of Heaven goes.  Yet because you and the ego cannot be separated, and because it cannot conceive of its own death, it will pursue you still, because in the ego’s belief system guilt is eternal.  Such is the ego’s version of immortality.  And it is this the ego’s version of time supports.

5. The ego teaches that Heaven is here and now because the future is hell.  Even when it attacks so savagely that it tries to take the life of someone who thinks its is the only voice, it speaks of hell even to him.  For it tells him hell is here as well and bids him leap from hell into oblivion.  The only time the ego allows anyone to look upon with equanimity is the past.  And even there; its only value is that it is no more.

6. How bleak and despairing is the ego’s use of time!  And how terrifying!  For underneath its fanatical insistence that the past and future be the same is hidden a far more insidious threat to peace.  The ego does not advertise its final threat, for it would have its worshippers still believe that it can offer them escape.  But the belief in guilt must lead to the belief in hell, and always does.  The only way in which the ego allows the fear of hell to be experienced is to bring hell here, but always as a foretaste of the future.  For no one who considers himself as deserving of hell can believe that punishment will end in peace.

7. The Holy Spirit teaches thus:  There is no hell.  Hell is only what the ego has made of the present.  The belief in hell is what prevents you from understanding the present, because you are afraid of it.  The Holy Spirit leads as steadily to Heaven as the ego drives to hell.  For the Holy Spirit, Who knows only the present, uses it to undo the fear by which the ego would make the present useless.   There is no escape from fear in the ego’s use of time.  For time, according to its teaching, is nothing but a teaching device for compounding guilt until it becomes all-encompassing, demanding vengeance forever.

8. The Holy Spirit would undo all of this now.  Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist.  There is no fear in the present when each instant stands clear and separated from the past, without its shadow reaching out into the future.  Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present.  And the present extends forever.  It is so beautiful and so clean and free of guilt that nothing but happiness is there.  No darkness is remembered, and immortality and joy are now.[1]

Jesus tells us in our devotional text today that we are to learn perfect peace, to be calm and quiet all the time.  This is the Holy Spirit’s use of time.  When we learn peace, we remember our Selves, we know ourselves as we were created, we no longer need to be taught and we no longer need time in which to teach us for time could no longer contain or define who and what we really are. 

We are not to allow the belief in waste and destruction to discourage us for time does not waste Holy Spirit as it does those who identify with flesh and ego.  The ego uses time for destruction, decay, and death.  When we identify with ego, time is not kind to us.  We learn to fear it, to let time make us anxious, to let time control our lives and ride upon our consciousnesses with worries and concerns.  We do our best to control time, to set up goals within time, to judge others and their use of time.  We live our lives by the clock, by the years and hours and minutes and we know that in the end we die.  To those who identify with ego, our use of time is one of guilt and shame, regrets and disappointment, sorrow and sadness.  There is never enough of it.  There are things we should have done, could have done, would have done if only we had time to do it over. 

The ego does not use time only for destruction and waste in time itself but devises strange religions in which hell awaits in timelessness for those who did not use time in a constructive manner.  There is no peace in identifying with ego for we are guilty no matter what we do or who we do it with! 

Holy Spirit teaches that the only hell there is what the ego makes of the present.  When we accept the guiltlessness of Holy Spirit, we leave all thoughts of hell in the past.  We step out of guilt, we step out of vengeance, we step out of division and destruction.  Holy Spirit leads us steadily to Heaven – each instant extending its peace forever.  There is nothing but joy and light and love – each present moment frees us from the past forever – we simply learn to walk in this beautiful, clear present moment which has no past and no future and is the closest thing to the everlasting we can experience in time. 

We will end today’s post with paragraph eight and continue with the rest of the post in tomorrow’s blog.  In your personal devotional practice ask Holy Spirit to teach you how to use the present moment.  Devote yourself to using time to free yourself and others from the past – letting each single, beautiful instant be a new opportunity to step out of the past, to step out of turmoil, blame, and shame, to step out of weariness, your habitual way of responding to others, and into the Light of blessedness.  When we use time the way Holy Spirit uses time, we live in happiness for each single instant is devoted to all that is beautiful, clean, lively and pure. When our minds grasp this concept, the ego cannot tempt us to worry and fret over time for each instant gives us a new opportunity to draw closer to the Light and Love of God.  As our bodies age, as our faculties in the flesh grow dim, as time seems to take away our vitality and passion and usefulness, our Spirits are refreshed, we see that which is invisible to flesh eyes, we hear that which cannot be heard with flesh ears.  While our earthly brains are doomed to fail us, the Mind of Christ never will.  Our most blessed use of time teaches us immortality and the need for time no more.  

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 15 The holy instant. I. The two uses of time 1-8. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

XI. The Test of Truth 9-15

9. Do you think that what the Holy Spirit would have you give He would withhold from you?  You have no problem that He cannot solve by offering you a miracle.  Miracles are for you.  And every fear or pain or trial you have has been undone.  He has brought all of them to light, having accepted them instead of you, and recognized they never were.  There are no dark lessons He has not already lightened for you.  The lessons you would teach yourself He has corrected already.  They do not exist in His Mind at all.  For the past binds Him not, and therefore binds not you.  He does not see time as you do.  And each miracle He offers you corrects your use of time and makes it His.

10. He Who has freed you from the past would teach you are free of it.  He would but have you accept His accomplishments as yours because He did them for you.  And because He did, they are yours.  He has made you free of what you made.  You can deny Him, but you cannot call on Him in vain.  He always gives His gifts in place of yours.  He would establish His bright teaching so firmly in your mind, that no dark lesson of guilt can abide in what He has established as holy by His Presence.  Thank God that He is there and works through you.  And all His works are yours.  He offers you a miracle with every one you let Him do through you.

11. God’s Son will always be indivisible. As we are held as one in God, so do we learn as one in Him.  God’s Teacher is as like to His Creator as is His Son, and through His Teacher does God proclaim His Oneness and His Son’s.  Listen in silence, and do not raise your voice against Him.  For He teaches the miracle of oneness, and before His lesson, division disappears.  Teach like Him here, and you will remember that you have always created like your Father.  The miracle of creation has never ceased, having the holy stamp of immortality upon it.  This is the Will of God for all creation, and all creation joins in willing this.

12. Those who remember always that they know nothing, and who have become willing to learn everything, will learn it.  But whenever they trust themselves, they will not learn.  They have destroyed their motivation for learning by thinking they already know.  Think not you understand anything until you pass the test of perfect peace, for peace and understanding go together and never can be found alone.  Each brings the other with it, for it is the law of God they be not separate.  They are cause and effect, each to the other, so where one is absent the other cannot be.

13. Only those who recognize they cannot know unless the effects of understanding are with them, can really learn at all.  For this it must be peace they want, and nothing else.  Whenever you think you know, peace will depart from you, because you have abandoned the Teacher of peace.  Whenever you fully realize that you know not, peace will return, for you will have invited Him to do so by abandoning the ego on behalf of Him.  Call not upon the ego for anything; it is only this that you need do.  The Holy Spirit will, of Himself, fill every mind that so makes room for Him.

14. If you want peace you must abandon the teacher of attack.  The Teacher of peace will never abandon you.  You can desert Him, but He will never reciprocate, for His faith in you is His understanding.  It is as firm as is His faith in His Creator, and He knows that faith in His Creator must encompass faith in His creation.  In this consistency lies His holiness which He cannot abandon, for it is not His will to do so.  With your perfection ever in His sight, He gives the gift of peace to everyone who perceives the need for peace, and who would have it.  Make way for peace, and it will come.  For understanding is in you, and from it peace must come.

15. The power of God, from which they both arise, is yours as surely as it is His.  You think you know Him not, only because, alone, it is impossible to know Him.  Yet see the mighty works, that He will do through you, and you must be convinced you did them through Him.  It is impossible to deny the Source of effects so powerful they could not be of you.  Leave room for Him, and you will find yourself so filled with power that nothing will prevail against your peace.  And this will be the test by which you recognize that you have understood.[1]

In today’s devotional text, Jesus assures us that we have what we give.  Holy Spirit brings every fear, pain, and trial that we offer to Him and shines the light of Truth upon them.  Whatever we bring to Him that is not of God can no longer hurt us for all that is not of God is not true.  Every dark dream, every dark thought, every dark disease– all the trauma and conflict and drama that we seem to suffer is as nothing.  All the hard lessons we endured in our efforts to teach ourselves how to be human – Holy Spirit corrects – for they mean nothing and are nothing in the Mind of God.  How could any of it mean a thing to the everlasting Father?  What joy would it bring to God to hold our past against us?  What everlasting love could dig about in time trying to dredge up old wounds and past grievances in which to slake its thirst for drama?  God is not like you and me, and we can be very thankful about it.  He does not sit and stew over things that happened 20 years ago!  He isn’t Santa Claus that keeps a strict account of all who have been naughty and nice.  Holy Spirit’s use of time is different than how we see it – our holiness uses time to return to God, to teach us to lay down the ego and all of its dark symbols and return to the tender mercy, kindness, and patience of the only Power there is. 

Holy Spirit merrily makes us whole, gently calms that which is chaotic in our lives, brings peace, serenity, and inner bliss where there was sickness and separateness.  Holy Spirit is your holiness and holiness is our active, spritely, bright and beautiful eternal Spirit.  Holy Spirit is you as you were created in love and joy and peace, in goodness and mercy, in power and in tenderness.  Holy Spirit does not frighten others away but rather draws those who are seeking truth together to share in holiness, to be awakened in happiness and appreciative release from the dark lessons of ego.  When we put our holiness in charge of our minds, all the works of holiness are ours for when we walk in holiness we are miracle workers for we teach what we are.    

As we learn to identify with our higher minds we are becoming the mind of Christ.  When we say the Mind of Christ we are saying the Mind of Sonship.  We are no longer putting ourselves in a category of miserliness, we have cast off what the ego would make of us, we have accepted the call of Christ.  We step out of what we have made and into our true Identity.  To come to our Teacher, we listen in silence.  We do not have to scream or shout, beg or plead.  We devote ourselves by not raising our voice against the Voice for God within.  We stop doing whatever we were doing in the flesh, and we give our undivided attention to Holy Spirit.  Here our oneness is made apparent to us.  By sharing this truth with others, we remember the love in which God made us.  God’s Will for all Creation is to love, for love is creation – it is our holy destiny, our everlasting purpose of being, it is the law of Love for only Love can extend itself, only Love can create that which never dies or changes or fades away. 

We do not get to this state of being by thinking we know it all.  We cannot reason this out with fleshy, finite, faulty problem-solving mechanisms.  There is nothing devised by humans or artificial intelligence of any kind that can return us to our original state of Being. We come to this state by recognizing that we cannot trust in our lower minds, that our egos will teach us nothing of value, that when we think we know it all, we know nothing. 

Study war all you want to my brothers, but it is not knowledge, it is meaningless and will keep you steeped in nothingness.  Study the clouds, study the animal kingdom, study human behavior, study anything at all and become the master of nothing for without God, we have made nothing and no worthless degree in vanity will make it anything more.  Whatever we study in the perceptual realm will bring us more questions, not answers.  We will think we found something that really works but that “knowledge” will be superseded by the next big discovery, the next big thing, a new twist on the same tired theme.  In the realm of religion, if your “salvation,” depends on the everlasting punishment of those who do not believe like you, you will not find peace nor have any understanding of love.  For with truth comes peace and understanding – peace and understanding are the test for truth for one does not come without the other. 

Holy Spirit teaches peace for that is what our holiness wants – our higher minds are not content with conflict, war, mouth battles, grudges, and divisions of any kind.  Our holiness wants only peace for only in peace comes understanding, only in peace can Love abide, only in peace comes true release from the bluster of the know-it-all ego who can only teach us what it thinks it knows, filling our mind with arrogance and opposition which is not conducive to real learning at all.  When we can lay it aside – perceiving how futile and poor the ego’s attempts to make something apart from God – our minds are no longer lower and higher, our minds are restored to oneness, and we are united one mind with another. 

We must abandon the teacher of attack.  This is the only way to bring peace to our awareness, for peace and understanding is obscured by the dark ignorance of the lower mind which pits us against one another instead of nurturing mutuality and brotherhood.  Holy Spirit does not war upon the ego but merely awaits our awakening with unshakable faith in our choice against all that opposes God.  We cannot escape our Holiness for nothing can change what God created us to be.  Holy Spirit therefore will not abandon us, give up on us, or turn us over to the darkness forever.  When we do and say things that grieve Holiness – we will feel the reproach without any attack upon our Identity.  We will experience it as correction.  We will recognize it as an understanding that there is nothing good to be found in the lower realm.

For example, I tend to communicate in a coarse manner.  I go on rants.  I use language that some may find unacceptable.  In each case, I do my best to let it stand for I am in process even as you are in process.  When we hide our processes from each other we are not helping one another, we are using darkness to hide our blunders, we are pretending to a holiness that we have not yet attained and leading others to believe that we have arrived while they are still struggling.  Even when I relate things from my personal life as examples, I am often tempted to not tell the complete truth thereby not exemplifying the real process of bringing humanity to the divine.  It is easy to go back and erase all the “bad” words.  It is easy to say I chose to go with Holiness when my first response was to go low.  Abandoning the teacher of attack may be a once-and-for-all experience for some, but I have never encountered such a person who had completely abandoned the ego without process – although I have encountered countless people who claim they have!  The take-away from this is that we will all find sooner-or-later that there is nothing worthwhile in darkness, that our humanity will give us only a puny parody of our true Self, that we do not want to practice even a bit of darkness in the light of truth.  When we find unrest in our minds, we will gladly correct it to maintain our peace for it is precious to us.

Holy Spirit is tender and patient with us.  Understanding and peace must come to us, for we are in this together and we are asking for what He alone can teach us.  The power of God is ours no matter how impossible this may seem to us in our human state. 

We must recognize the impossibility of our humanity to know that all things that come from God come from God and not from what we made outside the realm of truth.  Leave room for Holy Spirit in your mind, know that without Him we are lost in the dark. All we have learned to survive in this realm is worthless to the Kingdom of God.  When we come to this awareness, our minds are filled with the power of unshakeable peace – there will be absolutely nothing that can make us tremble, give us a moment’s unrest, or fill us with sorrow for we know the truth of the matter.  Peace is the is the test for truth.  For truth brings peace and with peace comes understanding.  Let us live, walk, talk, and enjoy our Being in truth.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth.  XI The test of truth 9-15. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

XI. The Test of Truth

1. Yet the essential thing is learning that you do not know.  Knowledge is power, and all power is of God.  You who have tried to keep power for yourself have “lost” it.  You still have the power, but you have interposed so much between it and your awareness of it that you cannot use it.  Everything you have taught yourself has made your power more and more obscure to you.  You know not what it is, nor where.  You have made a semblance of power and a show of strength so pitiful that it must fail you.  For power is not a seeming strength, and truth is beyond semblance of any kind.  Yet all that stands between you and the power of God in you is but your learning of the false, and of your attempts to undo the true.

2. Be willing, then, for all of it to be undone, and be glad that you are not bound to it forever.  For you have taught yourself how to imprison the Son of God, a lesson so unthinkable that only the insane, in deepest sleep, could even dream of it.  Can God learn how not to be God?  And can His Son, given all power by Him, learn to be powerless?  What have you taught yourself that you can possibly prefer to keep, in place of what you have and what you are?

3. Atonement teaches you how to escape forever from everything that you have taught yourself in the past, by showing you only what you are now.  Learning has been accomplished before its effects are manifest.  Learning is therefore in the past, but its influence determines the present by giving it whatever meaning it holds for you.  Your learning gives the present no meaning at all.  Nothing you have ever learned can help you understand the present or teach you how to undo the past.  Your past is what you have taught yourself.  Let it all go.  Do not attempt to understand any event or anything or anyone in its “light,” for the darkness in which you try to see can only obscure.  Put no confidence at all in darkness to illuminate your understanding, for if you do you contradict the light, and thereby think you see the darkness.  Yet darkness cannot be seen, for it is nothing more than a condition in which seeing becomes impossible.

4. You who have not yet brought all of the darkness you have taught yourself into the light with you, can hardly judge the truth and value of this course.  Yet God did not abandon you.  And so you have another lesson sent from Him, already learned for every child of light by Him to Whom God gave it.  This lesson shines with God’s glory, for in it lies His power, which He shares so gladly with His Son.  Learn of His happiness, which is yours.  But to accomplish this, all your dark lessons must be brought willingly to truth, and joyously laid down by hands open to receive, not closed to take.  Every dark lesson that you bring to Him Who teaches light He will accept from you, because you do not want it.  And He will gladly exchange each one for the bright lesson He has learned for you.  Never believe that any lesson you have learned apart from Him means anything.

5. You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true.  If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own.  Unless all this is true, there are dark lessons in your mind that hurt and hinder you, and everyone around you.  The absence of perfect peace means but one thing:  You think you do not will for God’s Son what his Father wills for him.  Every dark lesson teaches this, in one form or another.  And each bright lesson with which the Holy Spirit will replace the dark ones you do not accept, teaches you that you will with the Father and His Son.

6. Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything you have taught yourself.  How would you know?  Your part is very simple.  You need only recognize that everything you learned you do not want.  Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned.  When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself: “I do not know what anything, including this, means.  And so I do not know how to respond to it.  And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.”  By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you.  He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it and offer it to Him.

7. You cannot be your guide to miracles, for it is you who made them necessary.  And because you did, the means on which you can depend for miracles has been provided for you.  God’s Son can make no needs His Father will not meet, if he but turn to Him ever so little.  Yet He cannot compel His Son to turn to Him and remain Himself.  It is impossible that God lose His Identity, for if He did, you would lose yours.  And being yours He cannot change Himself, for your Identity is changeless.  The miracle acknowledges His changelessness by seeing His Son as he always was, and not as he would make himself.  The miracle brings the effect that only guiltlessness can bring, and thus establishes the fact that guiltlessness must be.

8. How can you, so firmly bound to guilt and committed so to remain, establish for yourself your guiltlessness?  That is impossible.  But be sure that you are willing to acknowledge that it is impossible.  It is only because you think that you can run some little part, or deal with certain aspects of your life alone, that the guidance of the Holy Spirit is limited.  Thus would you make Him undependable and use this fancied undependability as an excuse for keeping certain dark lesson from Him.  And by so limiting the guidance that you would accept; you are unable to depend on miracles to answer all your problems for you.[1]

We are in the dark, and it is essential to our spiritual awakening that we know this and recognize this.  For without understanding that we have no way of knowing truth, we will live in a world of guilt and shame.  We will assume that when things go wrong it is somebody’s fault for they knew better.  We will study hard, work day and night, and deny ourselves all kinds of things thinking that we know how to find love and happiness, but love and happiness will not come to us when we try to find it in the dark.  We will make all kinds of sacrifices for others looking for appreciation and admiration, but appreciation and admiration cannot be found where the world teaches us to look for it.  In this realm, we can never know one another.  I can assume all kinds of things about you, and you can assume all kinds of things about me, but they would all be wrong.  For as long as we do not know who and what we are, we will get it all wrong, blaming and pointing fingers at others, feeling ashamed and confused, wondering why everybody else seems to have what is always out of our grasp. 

Jesus tells us that we must come to God recognizing that without Him we remain ignorant of our true Identity.  When we try to run the show, we are going to get it wrong.  This is not to prove to us how big and strong and wonderful God is and how weak and stupid and not-so-wonderful we are – it is simply the truth of the matter – in our humanity we are nothing; in our divinity we are Everything – like God.  Live for the flesh, and we know nothing for the flesh is not made for knowledge; flesh is made for that which is outside knowledge. Lessons learned outside of knowledge are dark lessons which hinder our awakening. 

Today’s devotional text is an essential lesson in recognizing truth, and it is very simple.  Jesus tells us that we will recognize that what we have learned is true when we have peace, and we share peace with everyone we meet.  If I come at you holding things that you have done against me in the past, I am not sharing peace, I am sharing guilt with you.  But if I come to you with only peace, I have freed both myself and you from the past. 

The other day I ran into a woman whom I have held a grudge against for years.  She had thought it was a big joke when her husband had told his colleagues at my alma mater that he was having an affair with me.  It had really hurt my feelings to think that they thought it was funny to cast aspersions on me all so he could strut about campus pretending to be some lady’s man.   Granted this had been a long time ago, but when I saw her, I greeted her with peace.  I had forgotten all about it – it was not until later that I realized that the grudge was gone, that I no longer felt hurt or upset, that I offered her peace without even thinking about it.  I no longer have a need to make her guilty because I know that we are all in the dark here and we are all going to make mistakes in regard to one another.  When we live from our lower mind and do not reach for the higher mind of Holy Spirit, we walk in an ongoing cycle of ignorance, hurt feelings, pain, shame, and blame.  We are always looking for ways in which to make ourselves feel bigger, better, bolder, at the expense of others.  We will justify all manner of stupidity and cruelty simply because we have shut ourselves off from the Mind of Sonship. 

Jesus promises us that as we learn to trust in Holy Spirit for everything, we will no longer deny the miracles that come from walking in the peace of guiltlessness and teaching and learning truth.  When we know who and what we really are, we can go beyond the human perspective; we can give up the weird ways we learned to relate to one another in the past; we can shrug off the past for the past holds nothing that benefits us – the past is a ploy that would keep us locked in a cycle of guilt and obliviousness.  That woman can think my reputation is a joke because my reputation means nothing to me.  Being worried about our reputations is a lesson that the world teaches us – because the ego wants to keep us worried about everything.  And to that Jesus says, Live in peace and let miracles solve every problem, because that is what they do.

The miracle acknowledges that you are as you were created, even as I am as I was created – not these goofy caricatures of ourselves we have made ourselves to be.  When I see you as God’s Son and I see myself as God’s Son, the effect of guiltlessness is accomplished in you and in me.  And guiltlessness brings peace and peace comes only with understanding and truth. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

X. The Equality of Miracles 7-12

7. The only judgment involved is the Holy Spirit’s one division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love.  You cannot safely make this division, for you are much too confused either to recognize love, or to believe that everything else is nothing but a call for love.  You are too bound to form, and not to content.  What you consider content is not content at all.  It is merely form, and nothing else.  For you do not respond to what a brother really offers you, but only to the particular perception of his offering by which the ego judges it. 

8. The ego is incapable of understanding content and is totally unconcerned with it.  To the ego if the form is acceptable the content must be.  Otherwise it will attack the form.  If you believe you understand something of the “dynamics” of the ego, let me assure you that you understand nothing of it.  For of yourself you could not understand it.  The study of the ego is not the study of the mind.  In fact, the ego enjoys studying itself, and thoroughly approves the undertakings of students who would “analyze” it, thus approving its importance.  Yet they but study form with meaningless content.  For their teacher is senseless, though careful to conceal this fact behind impressive sounding words, but which lack any consistent sense when they are put together.

9. This is characteristic of the ego’s judgments.  Separately, they seem to hold, but put them together and the system of thought that arises from joining them is incoherent and utterly chaotic.  For form is not enough for meaning, and the underlying lack of content makes a cohesive system impossible.  Separation therefore remains the ego’s chosen condition.  For no one alone can judge the ego truly.  Yet when two or more join together in searching for truth, the ego can no longer defend its lack of content.  The fact of union tells them it is not true.

10. It is impossible to remember God in secret and alone.  For remembering Him means you are not alone and are willing to remember it.  Take no thought of yourself, for no thought you hold is for yourself.  If you would remember your Father, let the Holy Spirit order your thoughts and give only the answer with which He answers you. Everyone seeks for love as you do but knows it not unless he joins with you in seeking it.  If you undertake the search together, you bring with you a light so powerful that what you see is given meaning.  The lonely journey fails because it has excluded what it would find.

11. As God communicates to the Holy Spirit in you, so does the Holy Spirit translate his communications through you, so you can understand them.  God has no secret communications, for everything of Him is perfectly open and freely accessible to all, being for all.  Nothing lives in secret, and what you would hide from the Holy Spirit is nothing.  Every interpretation you would lay upon a brother is senseless.  Let the Holy Spirit show him to you and teach you both his love and his call for love.  Neither his mind nor yours holds more than these two orders of thought. 

12. The miracle is the recognition that this is true.  Where there is love, your brother must give it to you because of what it is.  But where there is a call for love, you must give it because of what you are.  Earlier I said this course will teach you how to remember what you are, restoring to you your Identity.  We have already learned that this Identity is shared.  The miracle becomes the means of sharing It.  By supplying your Identity wherever It is not recognized, you will recognize It.  And God Himself, Who wills to be with His Son forever, will bless each recognition of His Son with all the Love He holds for him.  Nor will the power of all His Love be absent from any miracle you offer to His Son.  How, then, can there be any order of difficulty among them?[1]

Holy Spirit’s judgment involves one of love or the call for love – nothing else.  There is no agenda in it, there is nothing in it for our human selves, so therefore it makes no sense to our human side or those who would judge us accordingly.  This is why I teach that it is important not to broadcast miracles – for they are acts of love that the world simply cannot understand and will resent you because of them.  We are too bound to the world and the way in which the world systems are set up.  What we think has meaning has no meaning at all in the Spirit.  This means that our ego is gratified by attention, sex, money, cruelty, flash, food, and drink but none of these things have any real content or meaning outside of time. 

When someone approaches us to engage with them sexually, we can either be grateful that we are still attractive in that way, we can become indignant and reproachful if we are committed to someone else or the gesture is otherwise inappropriate, we can respond by laughing in their face, telling all our friends about it, or by following through with their suggestions.  Jesus tells us however that when we do this, we are only responding to form which has no content and we are missing what our brother is really offering us, we are responding with our ego who judges his offers in a multitude of different, conflicting ways. 

With Holy Spirit there are only two ways to judge what our brother offers us – he is either showing us love or calling for love.  When we let Holy Spirit judge each situation, we are no longer driven by our sexual impulses or our human desire for connection.  When we respond to our brothers in the Spirit we go beyond the earthly form of their desire to connect with us. We do not confuse sexual activity with love.  We do not make fun, we do not give lectures, we do not run and hide, we do not hop in bed with just anyone in a desire to make ourselves feel as if we count.  We do not broadcast their unchaste desires.  Instead we recognize their need for love, and we see God in them.  And when we see God in them, they see God in us.  When we see God in each other, we are not prone to be promiscuous, or allow our sexual desires to rule us or get us in trouble or bring sorrow, pain, or shame.   

Sex is just one way in which we can get it all wrong by going with our own judgment.  When we make the mistake of making judgments without Holy Spirit, we will end up wondering what in the world we were thinking.  The ego will engage us throughout our whole lives in meaningless, unloving relationships doing meaningless, unloving things that fill our minds with angst and sorrow, with nonsensical tripe that leads nowhere.  No matter how high we go or how low we sink, as long as we are making judgments and going without the guidance of Holy Spirit, nothing of true and everlasting value will come of our strivings.  We will run into this lack of meaning in our careers, in our marriages, in our friendships, in our criminal activities and in our educational endeavors.  No matter how impressed others may be with our credentials, no matter how exciting or adventurous our lives may seem to others, we will find them to mean nothing without God, for we are all made for and by God Who is Love.  And love is what we are and what we want.  There is no substitute for it, all idols that we put in place of Love will fail us. 

It seems perfectly reasonable to the ego’s judgment to chase after a variety of conquests or that special someone, that particular academic degree or the big heist, that car, or boat, or rocket, that house, a big family or no family at all.  And yet it is all form – and it is all in the perceptual world – without and not within.  All things in the outer world are chaotic.  Anything can happen at any time.  All things we judge as having value and being worthy of our efforts will fail us outside of ourselves. 

And yet when we join two or more together in going within to the truth, when we see past our differences, our outward perception of separateness and specialness, when we recognize our mutuality – the fact of this union between us denies the ego’s separateness, denies the ego’s judgment that we will find safety and security, meaning and purpose in the world of perception and physicality. 

Jesus reminds us in paragraph ten that it is impossible to remember God in secret or by one’s self.  When we remember God, we remember each other.  When I think of only me, I am not thinking at all!  It is only when I think of us as one and remember our unity in God, that I am holding thoughts that have any meaning or purpose or substance.  We like to think we are more than love – that we don’t need it, that we don’t want it, that it is too demanding and controlling and therefore dangerous to us.  We built all kinds of barriers and make all kinds of rules to keep love at bay, to keep it where we can dole it out where we see fit, to protect ourselves from ruining us.  But when we put down our barriers to it together, when we ask for it, when we seek love – we find God.  Searching for love together – you and me – and refusing to get it mixed up with any of the flesh substitutes for it, illuminates our path to God and infuses our minds with meaning.  This is why it is important that we seek for love with others for to seek love for oneself will always fail for love must be shared by all for all. 

Holy Spirit translates that God would have us know – there are no mysteries, there are no secrets, there is nothing hidden from us – God desires for us to know Him, for He is Love and Love must be shared.  God does not share Himself with only a select few, He shares Himself with all of us who seek Him in Spirit and in Truth.  There are no Lone Rangers in God, there are no big cheeses, no special tribes or people.  Jesus tells us that secrecy can harbor nothing that lives.  The secrets you keep from me, and I keep from you mean nothing – they can mean nothing because they are not shared.  A secret love is not love.  A hidden vice is not hidden.  All things are known by Holy Spirit and there is nothing that Holy Spirit will keep from us when we ask, and we meet the condition of love.

What is the condition of love?  That we see our brothers with love and that we hear their calls for love.  That we recognize that all other things we would judge have no meaning and no place in our minds should be accorded to that which has no meaning.  We cannot know our brother without the interpretation of love.  We will assume all kinds of things about each other.  We will make up stories based upon our human perceptions, and we will act upon these stories as if they were real.  We will make enemies of some and idols of others – there will not be the mutuality of brotherhood but the jealousy and contempt and comparison of ego.  We will think of this as normal and natural and when the thought occurs to us that there is something mean and ungodly about this, the darkness will come in and blight the thought from our mind by justifying that which cannot be justified. 

We come to know that a miracle is recognizing our mutuality as Sons of God.  We could say it that we are Sons of Love.  Made by love and for love and with love – my love extended to you extends your love to me because this is what love is and how love operates.  In A Course in Miracles we learn our true Identity is not found in the “me,” but the “we.”  The miracle is in the sharing it.  When you forget who you are in God, I will remind you.  When I forget, your love will remind me.  When we offer God to each other, we offer Love and all the love that is God is there with us restoring our awareness to Sonship, restoring our awareness to equality and oneness.  There is nothing hard about this – it is no harder for Love to love you than it is for Love to love me or vice versa.  And when we judge with Holy Spirit it is the same for us – there is no order of difficulty in miracles. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. X The equality of miracles 7-12. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

X. The Equality of Miracles

1. When no perception stands between God and His creations, or between His children and their own, the knowledge of creation must continue forever.  The reflections you accept into the mirror of your mind in time but bring eternity nearer or farther.  But eternity itself is beyond all time.  Reach out of time and touch it, with the help of its reflection in you.  And you will turn from time to holiness, as surely as the reflection of holiness calls everyone to lay all guilt aside.  Reflect the peace of Heaven here and bring this world to Heaven.  For the reflection of truth draws everyone to truth, and as they enter into it, they leave all reflections behind.

2. In Heaven reality is shared and not reflected.  By sharing its reflection here, its truth becomes the only perception the Son of God accepts.  And thus, remembrance of his Father dawns on him, and he can no longer be satisfied with anything but his own reality.  You on earth have no conception of limitlessness, for the world you seem to live in is a world of limits.  In this world, it is not true that anything without order of difficulty can occur.  The miracle, therefore, has a unique function, and is motivated by a unique Teacher Who brings the laws of another world to this one.  The miracle is the one thing you can do that transcends order, being based not on differences but on equality.

3. Miracles are not in competition, and the number of them that you can do is limitless.  They can be simultaneous and legion.  This is not difficult to understand once you conceive of them as possible at all. What is more difficult to grasp is the lack of order of difficulty that stamps the miracle as something that must come from elsewhere, not from here.  For the world’s viewpoint, this is impossible.

4. Perhaps you have been aware of lack of competition among your thoughts, which even though they may conflict, can occur together and in great numbers.  You may indeed be so used to this that it causes you little surprise.  Yet you are also used to classifying some of your thoughts as more important, larger or better, wiser, or more productive and valuable than others.  This is true of the thoughts that cross the mind of those who think they live apart.  For some are reflections of Heaven, while others are motivated by the ego, which but seems to think.

5. The result is a weaving, changing pattern that never rests and is never still.  It shifts unceasingly across the mirror of your mind, and the reflections of Heaven last but a moment and grow dim, as darkness blots them out.  Where there was light, darkness, removes it in an instant, and alternating patterns of light and darkness sweep constantly across your mind.  The little sanity that still remains is held together by a sense of order that you establish.  Yet the very fact that you can do this and bring any order into chaos shows you that you are not an ego, and that more than an ego must be in you.  For the ego is chaos, and if it were all of you, no order at all would be possible.  Yet though the order you impose upon your mind limits the ego, it also limits you.  To order is to judge, and to arrange by judgment.  Therefore it is not your function, but the Holy Spirit’s.

6. It will seem difficult for you to learn that you have no basis at all for ordering your thoughts.  This lesson the Holy Spirit teaches by giving you the shining examples of miracles to show you that your way of ordering is wrong, but that a better way is offered you.  The miracle offers exactly the same response to every call to help.  It does not judge the call.  It merely recognizes what it is, and answers accordingly.  It does not consider which call is louder or greater or more important.  You may wonder how you who are still bound to judgment can be asked to do that which requires no judgment of your own.  The answer is very simple.  The power of God, and not of you, engenders miracles.  The miracle itself is but the witness that you have the power of God in you.  That is the reason why the miracle gives equal blessing to all who share in it, and that is also why everyone shares in it.  The power of God is limitless.  And being always maximal, it offers everything to every call from anyone.  There is no order of difficulty here.  A call for help is given help.[1]

In our devotional text, The Equality of Miracles, Jesus begins by instructing us about the reflections we accept into our mind – reflections are thoughts, when we think about something, we are reflecting either the everlasting or the temporal, that which is loving, or that which is not.  In time, Jesus tells us, we have the ability to reach beyond time and touch the timeless because Holy Spirit calls for us to do this.  Each time we touch timelessness strengthens our resolve to reflect timelessness for it is timelessness that releases us from our bondage to the cycles of time.  As we set our minds to reflect the peace of Heaven we bring this world to Heaven.  As we bring the perceptual world to the higher consciousness of Heaven, we leave perceptions behind for we become that which is heavenly. 

Jesus explains to us how the Atonement works to save us from the world of perception – when we share the reflection of God’s Kingdom on earth – we are no longer willing to accept any perception that is less than God’s Kingdom.  Why would we?  When I treat you with the deepest appreciation, love, and tenderness, when I recognize you as a mutual Son of God, when I communicate with you in honesty and release you from any sense of guilt, blame, and shame – how could you be satisfied with a relationship that demanded sacrifice, increased your guilt, and was characterized by competition for precedence and power?  When I have fun with you without mockery, ridicule, and spite, when you can trust in me implicitly never to embarrass you or shame you in any way, when you can depend upon me to address your blunders with only a desire to help and to heal – how could you desire to hang out with someone who always made you feel bad about yourself, whom you could not trust, and who sought to punish you through  silent treatments rather than communicate their willingness to talk it out and correct what went wrong between the two of you? 

As we apply these concepts in our daily interactions with our family, friends, and coworkers, with our cell mates, with our pets, with the people who loom large and the ones who seem insignificant, we bring what was temporal and doomed to a heavenly level of consciousness.  And when we do this, we cannot be satisfied with egotistical ways in which to relate to one another.  For we have found our truth, we have found our reality.  We break free of the world that limits us, that makes things scarce, that stingily withholds and believes that love is a limited resource and puts all manner of tax upon all that is pleasant, wholesome, and good.  When we break free of the world’s way of relating to one another, we are miracle workers for the miracle teaches us equality of being, the miracle teaches us that there is no order of difficulty in miracles. 

Miracles are not of this world for they bring us out of the temporal realm and into the eternal one.  When I can look at you as you are, I am a miracle worker, for I can see you as you were created.  And when I see you as you were created, you see me as I was created.  When we see each other as we were created we are both healed and made whole, we have lost the perception of the temporal world, we have gained access to the timeless one.  This is why we say that miracles are mutual.  They bless both parties simultaneously. Nobody is competing for who is the miracle worker here, nobody is keeping statistical records to win grants or get credit or get their name on the wall of fame.  When Jesus says there is no level of difficulty involved He is referring to the fact that the most hated and reviled, the vile and corrupt of this world are not exempt from this mutuality – everyone is included.  From the world’s viewpoint this could not happen of course – this is why we know it is a miracle from beyond the world, that it comes not from flesh or the ego but from God – for when we see beyond the appearance of that which is unlovable, unforgivable, impure and vile to our mutuality in the Sonship of God, we have the vision of Christ.   

Jesus tells us to study our thoughts and realize how conflicting, varied, and multitudinous they are.  We are always judging which ones to go with and which ones to ignore.  In our relationships and interactions with others in the world we are always making decisions about which ones to give attention to and which ones to ignore.  Who and what is important and who and what is not? Who has earned our love and respect and trust and who has failed?  Which activity has more fun to offer, which profession will give us more money, which friend has more clout?  What will we eat and how much will we eat and who will we eat it with?  Our thoughts go in all directions, and we make constant assessments of where to put our energies and focus our attention. 

The miracle goes beyond our thought system – it gives an equal response to every call for help.  It does not judge the call as to who deserves it, who has earned it, who has more to offer us in return.  The miracle response is one that recognizes a need for healing and responds accordingly with no thought of defense or attack, no thought of what is in this for me.  Because the miracle response goes beyond our human thought system, because it seeks nothing but God’s Will, God’s Kingdom come, and God’s Will be done on earth as it is in heaven – it bears witness that we have the power of God within us.  With the power of God within us, we recognize that we are God’s Will and as God’s Will we give equal blessing to all for it is God’s Will that everyone share in it.  There are no limits to God’s Will.  God’s Will is always maximal, Jesus says.  It does not shortchange one person and grant extra special blessings upon another.  It is no more difficult for God to forgive a serial rapist and killer than it is to forgive a fib – for in God’s eyes, we are His Son created perfect and changeless in our Creation.  If something has changed about us, it is not of God’s doing and therefore has no reality and therefor no meaning outside of time. 

As humans we cannot grasp this on our own.  We want this world and all the melodrama, crime, and darkness to mean something!  We devise religions that will keep us trapped in realms of karmic battles between good and evil.  We would take this penchant we have for our flesh and blood bodies into the furthest reaches of the universe, devising shuttles, resorts, and stations in outer space reenacting the egoistic ambitions that keep us from going within and returning to God.  When we look outward instead of inward we will not find miracles.  Human judgment is full of contradictions, condemnation, contempt, and corruption.  In God, a call for help and healing is given help and healing with quiet love and calm joy and everlasting peace.  There is no hoopla, there is no awe, there is no showing off about it.  Miracles are the natural outcome of holiness, and holiness is simply knowing who and what we are in God. 

We will end today’s post with paragraph six, covering paragraphs seven through twelve in the next post.  Today in your personal devotional practice, reflect upon the equality of miracles.  Ask Holy Spirit to teach you to put your own judgment aside and offer help and healing to every person, every situation, and in every circumstance that comes up in your daily life.  Do not go seeking miracles – let them come to you.  Our human judgment about a person leads us astray and hinders our return to God.  It will make of this one a snob and that one a low-life.  Our human judgment will tell us to be nice to those who have more to offer and to ignore those who cannot repay us.  Our human judgment wants to be recognized for all the good it would do – it will find subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which to broadcast its “miracles.”  Our human judgment will get in the way of the miracle-working call of God in our lives by making us afraid of jealousy and spite and ill will of those who could try to control us through their special relationship ties to us, obligating us to lives that are small and inconsequential in return for their “love.”  Ask Holy Spirit to set your mind free of all that is egotistical and seeks protection and safety in the world.  Learn each day to adopt the Mind of Christ, for it is the Mind of Christ which restores the Sonship of God in you and in me and in all of the world. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. X The equality of miracles 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

 IX. The Reflection of Holiness

1. The Atonement does not make holy. You were created holy. It merely brings unholiness to holiness; or what you made to what you are. Bringing illusion to truth, or the ego to God, is the Holy Spirit’s only function. Keep not your making from your Father, for hiding it has cost you knowledge of Him and of yourself. The knowledge is safe, but where is your safety apart from it? The making of time to take the place of timelessness lay in the decision to be not as you are. Thus truth was made past, and the present was dedicated to illusion. And the past, too, was changed and interposed between what always was and now. The past that you remember never was and represents only the denial of what always was.

2. Bringing the ego to God is but to bring error to truth, where it stands corrected because it is the opposite of what it meets.  It is undone because the contradiction can no longer stand. How long can contradiction stand when its impossible nature is clearly revealed? What disappears in light is not attacked. It merely vanishes because it is not true. Different realities are meaningless, for reality must be one. It cannot change with time or mood or chance. Its changelessness is what makes it real. This cannot be undone. Undoing is for unreality. And this reality will do for you.

3. Merely by being what it is does truth release you from everything that it is not. The Atonement is so gentle you need but whisper to it, and all its power will rush to your assistance and support. You are not frail with God beside you. Yet without Him you are nothing. The Atonement offers you God. The gift that you refused is held by Him in you. The Holy Spirit holds it there for you. God has not left His altar, though His worshippers placed other gods upon it. The temple still is holy, for the Presence that dwells within it is holiness.

4. In the temple, holiness waits quietly for the return of them that love it. The Presence knows they will return to purity and to grace. The graciousness of God will take them gently in and cover all their sense of pain and loss with the immortal assurance of their Father’s love. There, fear of death will be replaced with joy of life. For God is life, and they abide in life. Life is as holy as the holiness by which it was created. The presence of holiness lives in everything that lives, for holiness created life, and leaves not what it created holy as itself.

5. In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. Yet no reflections of the images of other gods must dim the mirror that would hold God’s reflection in it. Earth can reflect Heaven or hell, God or the ego. You need but leave the mirror clean and clear of all the images of hidden darkness you have drawn upon it. God will shine upon it of Himself. Only the clear reflection of Himself can be perceived upon it.

6. Reflections are seen in light. In darkness they are obscure, and their meaning seems to lie only in shifting interpretations, rather than in themselves. The reflection of God needs no interpretation. It is clear. Clean but the mirror, and the message that shines forth from what the mirror holds out for everyone to see, no one can fail to understand. It is the message that the Holy Spirit is holding to the mirror that is in him. He recognizes it because he has been taught his need for it but knows not where to look to find it. Let him, then, see it in you and share it with you.

7. Could you but realize for a single instant the power of healing that the reflection of God, shining in you, can bring to all the world, you could not wait to make the mirror of your mind clean to receive the image of the holiness that heals the world. The image of holiness that shines in your mind is not obscure and will not change. Its meaning to those who look upon it is not obscure, for everyone perceives it as the same. All bring their different problems to its healing light, and all their problems find but healing there.

8. The response of holiness to any form of error is always the same. There is no contradiction in what holiness calls forth. It’s one response is healing, without regard for what is brought to it. Those who have learned to offer only healing, because of the reflection of holiness in them, are ready at last for heaven. There, holiness is not a reflection, but rather the actual condition of what was but reflected to them here. God is no image, and His creations, as part of Him, hold Him in them in truth. They do not merely reflect truth, for they are truth. [1]

In our devotional text today Jesus explains the function of our holiness.  Holy Spirit does not make us holy; we were created holy and our holiness never left us – it just goes unacknowledged in time.  The very making of time itself was because we exchanged our eternal state for one of an ongoing temporary state, in which the past is always gobbling up our present moment and extending itself into the future.  No matter how much we think we can remember and how we piece together our individual and universal pasts, our historical records, are just a made-up version of reality.  Jesus says the past is gone, it never really happened, it is a representation of the opposition of what is eternally true, of God and of Reality. 

We bring our egos to God just like we would bring a lie to the truth and let it be corrected.  The ego is opposite to God for the ego represents all that is not eternal, all that is not love and joy and peace, all that is not freedom and liberty.  When a lie is corrected, it is undone.  If you believe a lie about me, I do not punish you for it, together we correct the false perception so that our relationship can be healed.  A lie cannot stand in the face of truth for my love for you will always overcome anything else that arose between us.  A lie is an impossibility in light – it vanishes, it melts away, it has no truth and so it dissolves into the nothingness in which it came. 

There is one reality; there are not different versions of realities.  There is not one world where darkness reigns; there is not one everlasting kingdom which is torment and fire and brimstone; God’s Kingdom is the only kingdom which can withstand eternity for it is founded upon life and love and fearlessness and there is no corruption, decay, or death in it.  God does not change His mind about Creation and the Kingdom of God does not change.  Meditate upon paragraph two in your personal devotional practice because Jesus declares that changelessness is what makes reality real.  Something that is changeless cannot be undone – undoing is only for that which is not real.  All that is real about us then is not undone – all that is not real about us will be undone.  This is the reality of you and me. 

This is why we can relax into the truth – there is no striving and conniving attached to truth for simply by being what it is we are released from everything that is not true.  We do not have to go about quoting scripture, genuflecting and going through any special motions to reflect our devotion to God – we can simply relax and know that truth is true.  The Atonement is so gentle we need but whisper it, Jesus tells us, and the beauty of its truth rushes to us supporting us and helping us – taking us from frailty and vulnerability to strength and power and invulnerability.  How do we whisper the Atonement – what do we say, how do we say it, how do we come to put our trust in it?  We say it by telling others of God’s eternal love and devotion to them; we say it with love and with the conviction of knowing the love of God – it is not God’s Will that any of us are trapped in a realm of pain and suffering and God’s Will is done.  We come to put our trust in the Atonement by sharing it – no more blame and no more shame, no more guilt and no more fear – we bring that which is dark to the light, we bring that which is fearful to love, we bring that which loves conflict to peace.  This is how we put our trust in it, for when we do all that it is made real to us in the practice. 

We cannot remove ourselves from God’s love for Holy Spirit holds it for us.  We may have made idols and put them on the altar of God, but they are in the past, and they are gone.  We have never changed from our creation.  All of us have experienced life as a dream in our private moments and Jesus tells us it is a dream.  It is more like a nightmare for some than others, but when we really examine humanity, when we examine the ego, when we open our eyes to our plight, even for those who are making of their humanity something tolerable and even brilliant, all of us are only to happy to awaken from it, to be set free from the birth and death cycles, to step out of that which is impure into purity and goodness. 

There is not a one of us who would not replace the fear of death with the joy of life. And God is life.  And life is holy like its Creator.   Jesus tells us that all that have life, are holy for life is holy. We must put away our images of holiness which we reserve for priests and saints and realize that holiness is life – it is laughter, it is having fun, it is pleasant and fills us with a sense of joy and goodness.  Holiness is in our goodwill that we extend to one another, our hospitality that we offer our brothers, our efforts at making each other happy.  In our daily lives as humans we can experience holiness when we make our beds and fluff our pillows.  We can experience holiness when we fold our clothes and put them away in an orderly way.  We are holy when we bring joy to others and offer them peace.  We are holy when we remove the fear of God from others and share with them their salvation – not for their good works or their belief systems but simply because they are God’s Son and God does not turn His back upon His creation.  Ever. 

The holiness of God shines forth from us to all as we accept and practice our holiness.  We can reflect heaven, or we can reflect hell, we can reflect God, or we can reflect ego.  It is our moment-by-moment choice.  When we choose to reflect God, all the darkness goes away – we do not think about it, we do not talk about it, we do not give it any place in our lives for in the light of God our fascination with darkness goes away. 

Reflect God to everyone for everyone is seeking for God but everyone does not know that we find God in one another.  As others see God’s reflection in us, we see God’s reflection in them.  Jesus tells us that the reflection of God heals the world.  We do not have to work at this.  We do not have to pretend we are holy and dress a certain way and perform rituals and rites.  We simply let God shine out through us.  We keep our minds focused upon the love and devotion of God for all.  We share Atonement with everyone without charging them, without giving them a list of do’s and don’ts, without judgment and condemnation.  When others see God in us, they see God in us, and we will see God in them.  We will not have to jump up and down and go into hysterics over this.  We will not have to make a big show of it.  We will quietly and calmly recognize the Brotherhood of Christ, the Sonship of God in our neighbors, in our coworkers, in our family members, in those who promote goodness and in those enslaved to darkness.  No matter who it is that sees God in us, no matter where it is, under any circumstance whatsoever, when others perceive God in us and we perceive God in them, we are healed, our darkness is brought to light, we know ourselves as God knows us and our problems are gone. 

When we reflect God we respond in holiness, and we always respond the same way to any form of darkness – we respond with healing with no thought of revenge, spite, condemnation, or reproach.  When we learn to offer only healing to every problem we encounter, to every shameful thing, to every crime and criminal intent, to darkness of every kind, we are prepared for our eternal home.  In heaven we do not reflect holiness; we are holiness itself.  We do not mirror truth; we are truth itself.  For God is no image – He is Spirit, and we are part of Him, and He is in us as Spirit and as Truth.  This is who and what we are, and this is what we share with others, for this is the message of Atonement. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. IX The reflection of holiness.  Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). 

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

VIII. The Holy Meeting Place

1. In the darkness you have obscured the glory God gave you, and the power He bestowed upon His guiltless Son. All this lies hidden in every darkened place, shrouded in guilt and in the dark denial of innocence. Behind the dark doors you have closed lies nothing because nothing can obscure the gift of God. It is the closing of the doors that interferes with recognition of the power of God that shines in you. Banish not power from your mind but let all that would hide your glory be brought to the judgment of the Holy Spirit, and there undone. Whom He would save for glory is saved for it. He has promised the Father that through Him you would be released from littleness to glory. To what He promised God He is wholly faithful, for He shares with God the promise that was given Him to share with you.

2. He shares it still, for you. Everything that promises otherwise, great or small, however much or little value, He will replace with the one promise given unto Him to lay upon the altar to your Father and His Son. No altar stands to God without His Son. And nothing brought there that is not equally worthy of both but will be replaced by gifts wholly acceptable to Father and Son. Can you offer guilt to God? You cannot, then, offer it to His Son. For they are not apart, and gifts to one are offered to the other. You know not God because you know not this, and yet you do know God and also this. All this is safe within you, where the Holy Spirit shines. He shines not in division, but in the meeting place where God, united with His Son, speaks to His Son through Him. Communication between what cannot be divided cannot cease. The holy meeting place of the unseparated Father and His Son lies in the Holy Spirit and in you. All interference in the communication that God Himself wills with His Son is quite impossible here. Unbroken and uninterrupted love flows constantly between the Father and the Son, as both would have it be. And so it is.

3. Let your mind wander not through darkened corridors, away from light’s center. You and your brother may choose to lead yourselves astray, but you can be brought together only by the Guide appointed you. He will surely lead you to where God and His Son await your recognition. They are joined in giving you the gift of oneness before which all separation vanishes. Unite with what you are. You cannot join with anything except reality.  God’s glory and His Son’s belong to you in truth. They have no opposite, and nothing else can you bestow upon yourself.

4. There is no substitute for truth. And truth will make this plain to you as you are brought into the place where you must meet with truth. And there you must be led, through gentle understanding which can lead you nowhere else. Where God is, there are you.  Such is the truth.  Nothing can change the knowledge, given you by God, into unknowingness. Everything God created knows its Creator. For this is how creation is accomplished by the Creator and by His creations. In the holy meeting place are joined the Father and His creations, and the creations of His Son with Them together. There is one link that joins them altogether, holding them in the oneness out of which creation happens.

5. The link with which the Father joins Himself to those He gives the power to create can never be dissolved. Heaven itself is union with all of creation, and with its one Creator. And Heaven remains the Will of God for you. Lay no gifts other than this upon your altars, for nothing can coexist with it. Here your little offerings are brought together with the gift of God, and only what is worthy of the Father will be accepted by the Son, for whom it is intended. To whom God gives Himself, He is given.  Your little gifts will vanish on the altar, where He has placed His Own.[1]

All Jesus is telling us  in today’s devotional text reading is to let Holy Spirit undo all that is not of God in our lives.  We open the door of our hearts and minds to God.  We say: “Take my little craven ego self and make me whole again in – I will not resist my innocence, my purity, my holiness in You.  I return my self to You for I am not my own Creator and am no longer willing to accept that which is not glory and call it worthy of Your Son.”

We cannot come to God without accepting our Sonship and we cannot accept our Sonship carrying any guilt, fear, or shame.  When Holy Spirit shines upon our lower minds and all that would befuddle and confuse us is done away, we have made of our mind a holy place.  There we commune with God, there our constant communication cannot be broken or interfered with.  Here is where the love flows constantly between God and us, His Son.  Here is where we find no guilt, no shame, no finger-pointing, no blame.  Here is where we see each other as we are in Him.  In the holy meeting place with God, we see beyond the world of perception which magnifies our differences, finding fault and focusing on that which separates the Sonship. 

It is your responsibility and my responsibility to keep our minds from wandering through the dark perspective of the world.  We are not to be babies about this always calling out to Jesus to help us –Holy Spirit is our strength for in holiness and in Spirit we stay in the center of the light of truth.  This is where we find our oneness with God, not in the world and all of its dizzying array of shattered pieces.  We cannot join with shattered splintered fragments of the truth, in opposition, in opposites, in stories of guilt and blame.  We can only find our true and everlasting Selves in Sonship – and for this we must decide. 

There is no substitute for truth. This becomes very plain to us as our communion with God is reestablished in the holy meeting place of our mind.  Where God is, we are – and as we come to know this we come to know the oneness of Creation.  We come to know of our connection – me with you and you with me – we come to know that we are one with all and all with one.  This other thing that happens in the world which sets us apart and against one another, that would have us prey upon and lick our chops over Creation is seen for what it is, and we can watch it go away with joy and gladness – as we embrace our oneness with God and with each other.  This knowledge is in you, and it is in me.  Concealed by our guilt and shame for the desire to conquer and devour which we chose over love and nurturance, Holy Spirit makes of our mind the holy meeting place, the link where all is restored. 

We end today’s devotional text knowing that our link with the Father cannot be dissolved.  Heaven is oneness with God and with all of Creation.  This is God’s Will for you and for me – we bring our humanity to God and offer it to Him upon the altar of Love.  All that is not loving, good and forever painlessly melts away and our divinity is restored.  God does not withhold Himself from His Son.  He gives Himself – He shares power, He shares glory and honor and praise.  He is not the Big Ego that sits on a throne and demands flattery and hoards praise and worship that many of us have been taught to believe.  God gives Himself to Us, His Son.  When we offer God our humanity, it vanishes and we are like Him, holy and pure, creators and not destroyers, expanding God’s Kingdom forever.

Today in your devotional practice, meditate upon this text and let Holy Spirit wash away all misconceptions of God that we know simply cannot be true of our Father.  Ask Holy Spirit to illuminate all the falsehoods that we have been taught about God.  Forgive yourself for teaching that which proves itself false in the light of truth.  Refuse to believe anything of God that is less than Love, for we cannot love a God we fear.  We cannot respect a God that would create a fallible creature and then punish it forever for failing.  We cannot trust in a God that has favorites or tells us to forgive and then refuses to forgive those who are not willing to grovel before Him forever.  Welcome the truth of Holy Spirit which will make of our minds the holy place where we commune again with our Father and are reacquainted with His undying love, affection, and devotion toward us His Son. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. VIII The holy meeting place. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

VI.  The Light of Communication

1. The journey that we undertake together is the exchange of dark for light, of ignorance for understanding. Nothing you understand is fearful. It is only in darkness and in ignorance that you perceive the frightening and shrink away from it to further darkness. And yet it is only the hidden that can terrify, not for what it is, but for its hiddenness. The obscure is frightening because you do not understand its meaning. If you did, it would be clear, and you would be no longer in the dark. Nothing has hidden value, for what is hidden cannot be shared, and so its value is unknown. The hidden is kept apart, but value always lies in joint appreciation. What is concealed cannot be loved, and so it must be feared.

2. The quiet light in which the Holy Spirit dwells within you is merely perfect openness, in which nothing is hidden and therefore nothing is fearful. Attack will always yield to love if it is brought to love, not hidden from it. There is no darkness that the light of love will not dispel unless it is concealed from love’s beneficence. What is kept apart from love cannot share its healing power, because it has been separated off and kept in darkness. The sentinels of darkness watch over it carefully, and you who made these guardians of illusion out of nothing are now afraid of them.

3. Would you continue to give imagined power to these strange ideas of safety? They are neither safe nor unsafe. They do not protect, neither do they attack. They do nothing at all, being nothing at all. As guardians of darkness and of ignorance look to them only for fear, for what they keep obscure is fearful. But let them go, and what was fearful would be so no longer. Without protection of obscurity only the light of love remains, for only this has meaning and can live in light. Everything else must disappear.

4. Death yields to life simply because destruction is not true. The light of guiltlessness shines guilt away because, when they are brought together, the truth of one must make the falsity of its opposite perfectly clear. Keep not guilt and guiltlessness apart, for your belief that you can have them both is meaningless. All you have done by keeping them apart is lose their meaning by confusing them with each other.  And so you do not realize that only one means anything. The other is wholly without sense of any kind.

5. You have regarded the separation as a means for breaking your communication with your Father.  The Holy Spirit reinterprets it as a means of reestablishing what was not broken but has been made obscure. All things you made have use to Him, for His most holy purpose. He knows you are not separate from God, but He perceives much in your mind that lets you think you are. All this and nothing else would He separate from you. The power of decision, which you made in place of the power of creation, He would teach you how to use on your behalf. You who made it to crucify yourself must learn of Him how to apply it to the holy cause of restoration.

6. You who speak in dark and devious symbols do not understand the language you have made. It has no meaning, for its purpose is not communication, but rather the disruption of communication. If the purpose of language is communication, how can this tongue mean anything? Yet even the strange and twisted effort to communicate through not communicating holds enough of love to make it meaningful if its interpreter is not its maker. You who made it are but expressing conflict, from which the Holy Spirit would release you. Leave what you would communicate to Him. He will interpret it to you with perfect clarity, for He knows with Whom you are in perfect communication.

7. You know not what you say, and so you know not what is said to you. Yet your interpreter perceives the meaning in your alien language. He will not attempt to communicate the meaningless. But He will separate out all that has meaning, dropping off the rest and offering your true communication to those who would communicate as truly with you. You speak two languages at once, and this must lead to unintelligent ability. Yet if one means nothing and the other everything, only that one is possible for purposes of communication. The other but interferes with it.

8. The Holy Spirit’s function is entirely communication. He therefore must remove whatever interferes with communication in order to restore it. Therefore, keep no source of interference from His sight, for He will not attack your sentinels. But bring them to Him and let His gentleness teach you that, in the light, they are not fearful, and cannot serve to guard the dark doors behind which nothing at all is carefully concealed. We must open all doors and let the light come streaming through. There are no hidden chambers in God’s temple. Its gates are open wide to greet His Son. No one can fail to come where God has called him, if he close not the door himself upon his Father’s welcome. [1]

Jesus introduces us today to the concept of no mystery in God.  In God, our ignorance is exchanged for understanding.  God does not keep Himself hidden from us nor are their questions and concerns that He demands we keep quiet about.  The whole point to our return to God is to walk in the light – for that which is kept in darkness, that which is hidden from us, those things which we are taught are taboo and that we simply must accept and not buck up against is not of God.  God did not create us to be dumbbells.  God created us to be as Him.  We can only love and appreciate what we know and understand. 

Holy Spirit dwells in the light which is in our higher minds and there we have perfect freedom to discuss and question and seek for any kind of information we want to know.  When we take the things we are afraid of to Holy Spirit, we are taught that love will always melt away all forms of attack.  As humans we have lost our natural power – love does not seem to work in the realm of flesh and yet Jesus tells us that there is no darkness that the light of love will not dispel.  And yet we protect our darkness – we build cathedrals and museums and celebrate holidays around illusions, we put others in charge of enforcing and reinforcing allegiance to illusion which we made out of nothing.  And we are afraid of the enforcers that we have put in charge of all of laws and the gods and the idols we have made in darkness.  It is a very weird and unnatural setup and yet we all pay homage to it and in our ignorance call it serving God and country and mankind. 

Jesus is asking us to go beyond our fear of questioning all the idiocies and ignorance that we have been taught to accept as truth and bring them to the light.  Holy Spirit does not slap our face or punch us in the chest when we bring our concerns to Him.  When things do not add up, when we are taught to fear God and walk about on tippy toes to avoid His irate temper and unholy rages, when we are taught that some people are special and can take advantage of our bodies or our pocketbooks because they are holy and we are not, we go to Holy Spirit.  We take it to the light. For where there is no love there is darkness and where there is a desire to keep people in ignorance and in fear, we find unholiness and sorrow. 

We take all of our fears to Holy Spirit:  our fear of rejection, of being mocked and scorned, of being outcasts within one’s own family and community, of being whispered about and teased – every fear no matter how big or small we must expose to the light of love.  These fears are intimate and personal and yet they all speak of darkness and not of light.  We bring them to Holy Spirit and let the light shine upon them and learn that love dispels all fear. 

When our families reject us, our beloved children, nephews and nieces, our sisters and brothers, our aunts and uncles, grandparents and grandchildren and we feel the fear of loneliness and despair, we are giving imagined power to them to keep us safe and give us love.  All of them combined cannot keep you safe and all of them combined cannot give you love.  They are not for you, and they are not against you.  They are as nothing at all.  It is important that we learn this lesson for until we do we will ignorantly think that they have power over us.  We will give them our allegiance and walk in fear of their rejection.  We will let things go unaddressed that need to be addressed out of fear of their disapproval or their anger or their punishment. 

As counterintuitive as it may seem to us in our unnatural state of flesh, letting all our allegiances to fear go teaches us that they have no power over us.  This lesson is only as painful as our lack of understanding is in regard to it.  For when we no longer look to our families, friends, community, churches, coaches, doctors, you-fill-in-the-blank as a form of protection, safety, and love, we find the Light of Love remains, no longer covered up by earthly substitutes that will always fail us.  All other allegiances must disappear in the light of Holy Spirit for they were made from that which decays and is destined for death. 

In the Light of Love, we learn what love truly is and our allegiances to all else simply melts away for if I love my niece and I don’t love your niece, I do not know what love is.  If I love my children but do not love your children, I do not know what love is.  If I think I am going to fly away in the sky with Jesus and leave you behind, I don’t know what love is.  As humans we are incapable of understanding love on our own – we have adapted our “love” to a very weak form of allegiance to certain ideas about who we should love and whom we should not.  We have decided that love looks like exchanging bodily fluids in one context and letting what comes from this bind us together in ongoing obligations and responsibilities that reward us by giving us a very precarious sense of warmth and belonging, and the cost for this is guilt. 

For we all let each other down in the flesh.  No matter how hard we work at it, no matter how much we give, no matter how much we do – we can never relax into the love offered by our humanity.  We get tired, we get cranky, we say the wrong things, we have agendas, we go unappreciated, jealousy seeps in, one is compared to another and found wanting – I do not have to go on because each one of us have experienced what love turns out to be in the flesh realm.  Even when we finally seem to get it right illness, aging, disease, and death moves in and takes it all away.  Try to find solace in this.  Put a pretty casket on it, buy a headstone and decorate it with flowers and water them with tears – this is the promise of humanity and all it holds sacred. 

The light of purity shines all guilt attached to our substitutes of love away for when we bring them together – the real deal makes the false deal perfectly clear in our minds..  We have confused the issue – we have tried to keep some things for love and light and other things for indifference and darkness; we have tried to say we are both yin and yang, we are light and dark, we are human and Spirit.  We love our country but hate yours.  Our family is smart, good-looking, and funny and your family is dull and stupid and funny-looking.  We have made a big puddle of egoism and guilt for we have confused love with hate; we have confused light with darkness; we have settled for specialness and separateness when we were made for Sonship and unity.

When we chose a different will from God, we gave up our power of creation.  No matter how flash our cars, our technology, our ability to communicate with others across the world, it is not true communication for true communication is loving and creative, mutual and blessed.  True communication is forever.  Holy Spirit teaches us how to use our wills to restore Creation and break free of the repetitive birth and death cycles of time. 

From the time I can remember communication in this world discouraged me.  Our tongues cannot seem to pronounce anything of real meaning, the who and the what of what we really want to say to one another.  We can speak of our needs, we can give advice, talk about our experiences, share recipes, tell stories, but to speak of the ineffable love that we have for one another, the experiences we have with God, the awe and appreciation we have in the presence of that which cannot be seen or heard or touched with our flesh senses – is next to impossible.  Our human language does not accommodate to Love.  When we try to express our yearning for God or the ways in which God reveals Himself to our minds and hearts we end up sounding like kooks!  We say it all wrong.  We try to say something helpful with love and we end up hurting feelings and causing rifts.  Even those who seem to have perfect command of the language screw up! 

When we stay attuned to Holy Spirit, we no longer feel compelled to talk.  We do not rely on our ability to communicate; we rely on the Spirit which uses all things to teach all things.  If I say something that offends you and I take it to Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit uses it to teach you and me both what we need to learn about trusting in Him to be our communicator.  Jesus tells us that we speak our human languages, and we speak our Spirit language and the conflict between the two prevents us from getting anything straight. 

Holy Spirit ensures us enhanced communication skills because they are true communication skills.  Our function is to keep the human part of us in control.  We are to be quiet and calm and not make dramatic stories out of our experiences in the flesh.  We are not to let things frighten us or people offend us.  Every worry and care that we can bring quietly to Holy Spirit and give over to the higher mind of Christ, the more we will learn fearlessness.  Jesus tells us to open our minds and hearts and let the light shine through – to keep nothing hidden, to no longer walk in darkness, slinking about and afraid, yapping about nothing in order to avoid speaking truly.    Nothing and nobody can ever keep us from God except our decision to linger longer in a realm of opposition. 

Today in your personal devotional habit, ask Holy Spirit to teach you true communication.  Practice quietness and goodwill.  Refuse to let anything or anyone ruffle your feathers.  Give every concern you have to Holy Spirit – no matter how trivial or how challenging.  Holy Spirit will teach you the joy that comes in fearless communication with God and with all of Creation.  Practice the communication of love with your kids, your mates, your pets, your coworkers.  Many times this means you do not use human language at all but rather let your holiness and your Spirit say it all through your thoughts and through your peace and tranquility.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. VI The light of communication. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

VII.  Sharing Perception with the Holy Spirit

1. What do you want? Light or darkness, knowledge or ignorance are yours, but not both. Opposites must be brought together, not kept apart. For their separation is only in your mind, and they are reconciled by union, as you are. In union, everything that is not real must disappear, for truth is union. As darkness disappears in light, so ignorance fades away when knowledge dawns. Perception is the medium by which ignorance is brought to knowledge. Yet the perception must be without deceit, for otherwise it becomes the messenger of ignorance rather than a helper in the search for truth.

2. The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth. Truth is. It can neither be lost nor sought nor found. It is there, wherever you are being with you. Yet it can be recognized or unrecognized, real or false to you. If you hide it, it becomes unreal to you because you hid it and surrounded it with fear. Under each cornerstone of fear on which you have erected your insane system of belief, the truth lies hidden. Yet you cannot know this, for by hiding truth in fear, you see no reason to believe that the more you look at fear the less you see it, and the clearer what it conceals becomes.

3. It is not possible to convince the unknowing that they know. From their point of view it is not true. Yet it is true because God knows it. These are clearly opposite viewpoints on what the “unknowing” are. To God, unknowing is impossible. It is therefore not a point of view at all, but merely a belief in something that does not exist. It is only this belief that the unknowing have and by it they are wrong about themselves. They have defined themselves as they were not created. Their creation was not a point of view, but rather a certainty. Uncertainty brought to certainty does not retain any conviction of reality.

4. Our emphasis has been on bringing what is undesirable to the desirable; what you do not want to what you do. You will realize that Salvation must come to you this way, if you consider what dissociation is. Dissociation is a distorted process of thinking whereby two systems of belief which cannot coexist are both maintained. If they were brought together, their joint acceptance becomes impossible. But if one is kept in darkness from the other, their separation seems to keep them both alive and equal in their reality. Their joining thus becomes the source of fear, for if they meet, acceptance must be withdrawn from one of them. You cannot have them both, for each denies the other.  Apart, this fact is lost from sight, for each in a separate place can be endowed with firm belief. Bring them together, and the fact of their complete incompatibility is instantly apparent. One will go because the other is seen in the same place.

5. Light cannot enter darkness when a mind believes in darkness and will not let it go. Truth does not struggle against ignorance, and love does not attack fear. What needs no protection does not defend itself. Defense is of your making. God knows it not. The Holy Spirit’s use of defense is on behalf of truth only because you made them against it. His perception of them, according to His purpose, merely changes them into a call for what you have attacked with them. Defenses, like everything you made, must be gently turned to your own good, translated by the Holy Spirit from means of self-destruction to means of preservation and release. His task is mighty, but the power of God is with Him. Therefore, to Him it is so easy that it was accomplished the instant it was given Him for you. Do not delay in your return to peace by wondering how He can fulfill what God has given Him to do. Leave that to Him Who knows. You are not asked to do mighty tasks yourself. You are merely asked to do the little He suggests you do, trusting Him only to the small extent of believing that, if He asks it, you can do it. You will see how easily all that He asks can be accomplished.

6. The Holy Spirit asks of you but this: Bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. He sees for you, and unless you look with Him, He cannot see. The vision of Christ is not for Him alone, but for Him with you. Bring, therefore, all your dark and secret thoughts to Him, and look upon them with Him. He holds the light, and you the darkness. They cannot coexist when both of you together look on them. His judgment must prevail, and He will give it to you as you join your perception to His.

7. Joining with Him and seeing is the way in which you learn to share with Him the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge. You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him whom God has given you teaches you how to recognize what you see. It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone. Seeing with him will show you that all meaning, including yours, comes not from double vision, but from the gentle fusing of everything into one meaning, one emotion, and one purpose. God has one purpose which He shares with you. The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have. Behold your will, accepting it as His, with all His love as yours. All honor to you through Him, and through Him unto God.[1]

Today Jesus asks us what we want.  This is an honest question which is worthy only of an honest answer.  Do not let the simplicity of this question deceive you into thinking that you know what you want for as humans with egos we are attracted to opposites and find glory in opposition and attack.  Let there be no mistake – there is no life that can be found in death; no peace that is wrought from war; there is no healing that comes from disease and illness; there is no love found through hatred. 

Opposites must be brought together, Jesus tells us – not hidden and kept out of our awareness.  As humans we have eyes that look outward not inward.  Eyes that look out into the world can only perceive a limited, time-based picture of others.  I may see you at the grocery store loading up your cart with all sorts of good things to eat and think to myself, “Oh they are planning a party.  I wonder who they are going to invite.  I wonder why I didn’t get invited.  All the parties I have had that I invited them to and now here he is planning a big get-together and not inviting me.” I can work myself up into a tizzy over an assumption about you and your groceries based upon a very limited, egotistical observation that says more about me than it does about you! 

And yet I can deny my smallness to you and to myself.  I can hide it so deep inside of me, that terrible feeling of being left out, of others having all the fun and me sitting home alone sucking my thumb that it rarely come to my conscious awareness.  If I have a nature that loves to get even, I will do my best to make you feel the same way you made me feel.  If I have a docile nature, I may withdraw or I may continue to include you in all my festivities under some weird obligation I feel toward you.  But the one thing I will not do is communicate my concerns to you or to Holy Spirit.  I will learn to cherish my assumptions about you and everyone else and believe totally in my limited perceptions of what is going on in the outside world.  I will get so caught up in my perceptions of the perceptual world that I will not go inward for looking within will scare me for there I will seem to have all my fearful assumptions, all my fears of being left out, of being left alone and sad and sorrowful, all my martyrdom and self-sacrifice and inability to communicate or enjoy true communion. 

Now this may seem a trite example of what Jesus is telling us, but it stands as a very good example of the point He wants us to understand.  Do not hide our humanity from Holy Spirit.  We may for the sake of our human pride and ability to deceive ourselves and others pretend to an indifference and invulnerability which we do not possess, but to Holy Spirit we must bring our humanity and let it serve as a juxtaposition to what we really are in God.  We must never put a brave face on it and call what fills us with sorrow and despair a different name, say, – bravery, courage, or worse godly.  We must look square on at our humanity for what it is – its terrible vulnerability, its love for titillation with tales of wrongdoing and shame, its inability to speak of and ask for love and tenderness, its tendency to attack and to defend that which has no defense.    

We cannot find truth by not taking an honest look at everything that opposes and interferes with our joy, our Being, our holy Self.  Truth is always with us – it was never lost.  Recognize the truth or fail to recognize it – it remains the same. We can want it sincerely or insincerely.  We can say I want the truth but only want our version of the truth, the “truth” we made up about ourselves and others based upon what we see and experience with others based on flesh perceptions, the blame and the shame we cast upon others, the stories we tell about others to keep the attention off of our own shortcomings. 

At the core of our humanity is fear, the fight for survival in a world of limitations, the yearning for connection, communion, and communication in a world that puts a hefty price tag on everything.  We have all the good intentions in the world, but we simply run out of time, we run out of energy, there is always something or someone that wants to take what little we have and squander it on their dream.  We cannot deny this and pretend that humanity is some great feat of mankind.  We have to look at this, my brothers, if we want truth for as long as we accept our human forms and egos as our truth, we are living from our low minds and not bringing them to the higher mind of Christ. 

Jesus tells us that all of us know God as our Father.  And yet to convince those who do not remember this is impossible.  We have learned to define ourselves as something which was not created.  Our human forms symbolize all that oppose God and opposing God they oppose truth.  It does not matter how they came to be; they are time-based and not designed for eternity.  We can call the time-based entities life and learn to cherish our little joys and pleasures and make so much of them – paying outrageously for a flavor, rhapsodizing over an orgasm, chasing after a song but it all ends in nothingness.  The underlying sense of anxiety, despair and resignation that arises from being fueled by rot and decay – this is what we bring to Holy Spirit.    

If we refuse to look at this, we are not bringing the undesirable to the desirable, we are sugarcoating the undesirable and saying we want our humanity but make it more enjoyable, Lord Jesus.  Give us more flavors in which to gratify ourselves, dear Lord.  Give us rain when our cucumbers need water, God.  Bring down the price of coffee, Lord, so we don’t have to go without.  I hope you get the picture. We are asking God for things that gratify the flesh – We are trying to bring that which is eternal and Spirit to that which withers and dies and calling it God’s blessing and God’s world.  

Jesus explains this to us in paragraph four.  You do not have to be a psychology student to know what dissociation is – because Jesus tells us.  This is a fearful condition because opposites cannot coexist.  There can be no light in darkness; there can be no darkness in light.  They do not take turns with each other – there is either one or the other.  And yet here we are in our human condition with our lower minds seemingly governed by our own creation and its maniacal drives, chemicals, hormones, and proclivity for evil and our higher minds where Holy Spirit resides in the Kingdom of God. 

Being of one mind seems to cancel out the other mind, so instead of acknowledging this truthfully we dissociate from our lower mind and pretend humanity is ever-so-wonderful and we are ever-so-good because we pay our taxes and go to church and read our bibles.  We shine the outside of ourselves up and refuse to look at the guilt, the shame, the sorrow that is at the very core of humanity.  We will look at other people and see their pathetic state but not realize our own.    

Conversely, we can dissociate from our higher minds and cleave to our bad-ass selves and become proud psychopaths who love to get one over on the goody-goodies.  Or we can skip back and forth between the two and drive ourselves and everyone around us batty not knowing if we are good or bad, loving or hateful, devoted to kindness or hellbent on evildoing.  Being human is a hellish thing and until we look at both sides of this conundrum by bringing that which is dark about us to the light, by honestly looking at our shame, our guilt, our gravity laden alter creation side by side with the Spirit and the truth about us, we will go on cherishing our time-bound flesh and ignoring our Spirit, our true and everlasting Self.   

We are not called to do anything strenuous or impossible.  We are not to question how Holy Spirit accomplishes our return to God, we are merely asked to do the little that is asked of us. We do not get to be martyrs; we do not get to compare notes with others and get into pissing contests to see who did more for Jesus. All that we are asked to do is bring our darkness to the light.  Open every door to the dark corridors of our mind.  Expose our humanity and all the things that shame us and scare us we bring to Him and let the light of truth shine upon it.  All the times we senselessly berated our children for our own hurts and sorrows, all the times we judged and condemned others to cover up our own shortcomings and shame.  All the times we threw others under the bus to save our own skin.  All the times we cheated, told lies, mocked and ridiculed others.  The people we killed, the lives we ruined, the recklessness and fecklessness of our humanity – all the hurts and pain and sorrow.  Our rage and sorrow over the damage inflicted upon us by those who were meant to protect us – bring it to the light.  Every grudge, every bit of shame, every torment – big and small.  Nothing is exempt from what the Holy Spirit asks of us – bring it all out and lay humanity bare.  The light will shine on that which traps us in a realm of ignorance and darkness when we look at it with Him.  He holds the light; we open the door to our lower mind and welcome it in.  We ask Him to shine it in all the hidden recesses of our minds, for we want one mind full of light and truth.  And with this simple act, we watch all that is not holy melt away. 

We become single-minded instead of double-minded and all that the world would offer us in place of our reality in God is as nothing, for nothing is what it is!  In the oneness of God we come home to the love and the honor that is ours in Him. 

In your personal devotions today welcome the perception of Holy Spirit into the human part of your mind.  Ask Holy Spirit to remove your fear of looking within.  Trust in Him to melt away all which binds you to a false sense of reality, to show you who you are in Christ.  Look unflinchingly upon the difference between the lower and the higher, the fiction and the truth, the human and the divine – and let all that is not of God be gone in the name of Christ who makes us one in Him.    

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. VII Sharing perception with the holy spirit. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

V. The Circle of Atonement

1. The only part of your mind that has reality is the part that links you still with God. Would you have all of it transformed into a radiant message of God’s love, to share with all the lonely ones who have denied Him? God makes this possible. Would you deny His yearning to be known? You yearn for Him, as He for you. This is forever changeless. Accept, then, the immutable. Leave the world of death behind and return quietly to Heaven. There is nothing of value here, and everything of value there. Listen to the Holy Spirit, and to God through Him. He speaks of you to you. There is no guilt in you, for God is blessed in His Son as His Son is blessed in Him.

2. Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. Each one teaches the message differently and learns it differently. Yet until he teaches it and learns it, he will suffer the pain of dim awareness that his true function remains unfulfilled in him. The burden of guilt is heavy, but God would not have you bound by it. His plan for your awaking is as perfect as yours is fallible. You know not what you do, but He Who knows is with you. His gentleness is yours, and all the love you share with God He holds in trust for you. He would teach you nothing except how to be happy.

3. Blessed Son of a wholly blessing Father, joy was created for you. Who can condemn whom God has blessed? There is nothing in the Mind of God that does not share His shining innocence. Creation is the natural extension of perfect purity. Your only calling here is to devote yourself, with active willingness, to the denial of guilt in all its forms. To accuse is not to understand. The happy learners of the Atonement become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created. Deny them not what is their due, for you will not withhold it from them alone.

4. The inheritance of the Kingdom is the right of God’s Son, given him in his creation. Do not try to steal it from him, or you will ask for guilt and will experience it. Protect his purity from every thought that would steal it away and keep it from his sight. Bring innocence to light, and answer to the call of the Atonement. Never allow purity to remain hidden but shine away the heavy veils of guilt within which the Son of God has hidden himself from his own sight.

5. We are all joined in the Atonement here, and nothing else can unite us in this world. So will the world of separation slip away, and full communication be restored between the Father and the Son. The miracle acknowledges the guiltlessness that must have been denied to produce the need of healing.  Do not withhold this glad acknowledgement, for hope of happiness and release from suffering of every kind lie in it. Who is there but wishes to be free of pain? He may not yet have learned how to exchange guilt for innocence, nor realize that only in this exchange can freedom from pain be his. Yet those who have failed to learn need teaching, not attack. To attack those who have need of teaching is to fail to learn from them.

6. Teachers of innocence, each in his own way, have joined together, taking their part in the unified curriculum of the Atonement. There is no unity of learning goals apart from this.  There is no conflict in this curriculum, which has one aim however it is taught. Each effort made on its behalf is offered for the single purpose of release from guilt to the eternal glory of God and His creation. And every teaching that points to these points straight to Heaven, and the peace of God. There is no pain, no trial, no fear that teaching this can fail to overcome. The power of God Himself supports this teaching and guarantees its limitless results.

7. Join your own efforts to the power that cannot fail and must result in peace. No one can be untouched by teaching such as this.  You will not see yourself beyond the power of God if you teach only this. You will not be exempt from the effects of this most holy lesson, which seeks but to restore what is the right of God’s creation. From everyone whom you accord release from guilt you will inevitably learn your innocence. The circle of Atonement has no end. And you will find ever-increasing confidence in your safe inclusion in the circle with everyone you bring within its safety and its perfect peace.  

8. Peace, then, be onto everyone who becomes a teacher of peace. For peace is the acknowledgement of perfect purity, from which no one is excluded. Within its holy circle is everyone whom God created as His Son. Joy is its unifying attribute, with no one left outside to suffer guilt alone. The power of God draws everyone to its safe embrace of love and union. Stand quietly within this circle and attract all tortured minds to join with you in the safety of its peace and holiness. Abide with me within it, as a teacher of Atonement, not of guilt.

9. Blessed are you who teach with me. Our power comes not of us, but of our Father.  In guiltlessness we know Him, as He knows us guiltless. I stand within the circle, calling you to peace. Teach peace with me and stand with me on holy ground. Remember for everyone your Father’s power that He has given him. Believe not that you cannot teach His perfect peace. Stand not outside but join with me within. Fail not the only purpose to which my teaching calls you. Restore to God His Son as He created him, by teaching him his innocence.

10. The crucifixion had no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. Whom you perceive as guilty you would crucify. Yet you restore guiltlessness to whomever you see as guiltless. Crucifixion is always the ego’s aim. Is sees everyone as guilty, and by its condemnation it would kill. The Holy Spirit sees only guiltlessness, and in His gentleness, He would release from fear and re-establish the reign of love. The power of love is in His gentleness, which is of God and therefore cannot crucify nor suffer crucifixion. The temple you restore becomes your altar, for it was rebuilt through you. And everything you give to God is yours. Thus He creates, and thus must you restore.

11. Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there. Judge not except in quietness which is not of you. Refuse to accept anyone as without the blessing of Atonement and bring him into it by blessing him. Holiness must be shared, for therein lies everything that makes it holy. Come gladly to the holy circle and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for here is what he seeks along with you.  Come, let us join him in the holy place of peace, which is for all of us, united as one within the Cause of peace.[1]

Today we come to our devotional reading knowing that the only real thing about us is our holy Spirit which abides in our higher mind and links us with God.  This is the part of us that goes beyond the physical realm of flesh and blood, that sees beyond the projection screen of the ego, which can share the message of God’s love to all who are trapped in the perceptual world.  God gives this ability to us for we could never do it on our own – no matter how hard we tried to be “good,” no matter how much money we donated to charity, no matter how many crimes we solved, or criminals we brought to “justice.”  So long as we deny the yearning inside of us for God, we are denying God for God yearns for us as we yearn for Him.  There is not a one of us that can ever find happiness and certainty and forever without Him – we can watch all the false images of happiness that the world gives to us, we can believe all the lies that we can find everlasting happiness and joy and meaning in our special relationships, in our status and our wealth and in our technology but we are still flesh and blood, we are still craven egos, always needy and never gratified or satisfied. 

Jesus urges us today to accept the immutable.  We can leave the world of death behind!  We can return our minds to Heaven.  This requires quiet and peace and calm.  For we listen to our holiness within.  We go to Spirit and to God through Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit tells us what we really are.  He speaks to us of our purity, of our created state, of our Sonship, of our worth to God and God’s worth to us. 

Each one of us has a part to play in the Atonement.  This means you.  No matter where we are and what we are doing, what we have made of ourselves in the world, the message of Holy Spirit is the same – God’s Son is guiltless.  I may say it one way and you may say it another but no matter how differently we say it, God’s message is one of love and power and sanity.  It is not until we teach this to others and learn it for ourselves that our quest for God can be satisfied.  When we share guiltlessness with others, we accept it for ourselves – the anxious, uneasy feeling of not being enough and not doing enough or the right thing will go away. 

It is not God’s Will that we spend our lives chasing things that fail to satisfy our yearning for God and the purpose for which He calls us.  Our Creator is the only one that knows us, for He made us like Himself and has shared everything He is with us.  All of God’s wonderful attributes are our attributes.  God did not create us to hoard all His gentleness, goodness, love, and peace and joy to Himself.  Our happiness is God’s only lesson to us. 

Joy was created for you and for me!  Nobody can condemn us for we are blessed of God.  Why sit here fretting about this one and that one holding grudges against us for things we have done in the past?  Purity extends itself, naturally and in every encounter, in every thought, in every word, in every deed.  Our calling is to devote ourselves to guiltlessness in every form. 

The grandsons are with us this summer and our quiet, reflective mornings with coffee and devotions are not quite the same!  I have started a garden which needs near constant tending.  Our house continues to be under major renovations.  James sustained an injury to his knee.  I didn’t seem to have the time or inclination this past month to look at the honey bee course James and I are taking.  My blog posts got a few days behind.  Last night when the boys and I came back from our daily swim, I felt totally wiped out. There were the supper dishes in the sink, there was a load of laundry in the dryer that needed to be folded and put away, there was an instant pot full of yogurt to be bottled.  The floor needed mopped; the coffee pot needed filled for the morning; the eggs needed washed and put away.  The boys hung up their wet things and crashed in the living room eagerly waiting for Grammy to come and watch a movie with them.  I got very grumpy and told them to go upstairs.  In my head it was their fault that I was so tired, that my devotions, blog posts, housekeeping, and bee course had been neglected! 

When I finally got a chance to sit down and quiet my mind and heart and rest my body, I was in a state of turmoil.  I read the text and felt so annoyed at the way it was written. I said to Holy Spirit, I am just not getting anything out of this tonight.  Why can’t it be written in such a way that I don’t have to think so hard?  It all sounds like mumbo-jumbo.  Maybe I am not cut out for this.  I just feel old and tired and cranky. How do I know if any of this is true?

This may sound like a mean way to speak to Holy Spirit, but it was me, not putting on any false spirituality – it was me in my humanity crying out for help, saying that I was tired, that my higher mind and the holiness of the Spirit that resides there were too far above me to reach for, that I was sinking into the fatigue and anxiety of passing time, not being able to keep up with the young ones, not meeting all the expectations that I have for myself here at the Friar Patch.  It was me saying I need help!  I don’t know how to do it all!  I am sorry for blaming my grandsons for wearing me out when it was the choices and expectations I made for myself that were overtaxing me.  

Holy Spirit teaches us of our inheritance given to us in creation.  As I sat there, Holy Spirit showed me the difference between doing it my way and doing it the holy way.  There is a way to live in the world with the perfect gentleness of God, protecting our purity from every false thought that would rob us of our joy and keep it from our awareness.  When I brought the innocence of my grandsons to light, I remembered how much they helped me in the garden earlier in the day, how they ran to get things for me, the joy on their faces while we splashed around at the rec center, how they carried the bags of gardening supplies and put them in the trunk of my car.  It was not the extra laundry, cooking, washing up, and cleaning that they bring, it was their joy and helpfulness and love that shone away the aches and pains of blame which would have hidden how blessed we are from my sight.  

Atonement saves us all by restoring our unity.  No message of guilt and unworthiness will restore full communion and communication between the Father and the Son.  When we deny guiltlessness we deny God.  We need restoration; we need healing; we need reunification.  Our guiltlessness releases us from sorrow and suffering of every kind – nobody wants to be in pain.  For those of us who have not yet learned that guiltlessness is our salvation, for those of us who still may teach that guilt is useful and necessary for salvation to be realized, we bear no ill will.   We teach guiltlessness, not attack.  Going into rants against those who have hurt us in the name of God, those who have lied to us and made us believe in guilt and sin, shame and unworthiness Jesus calls a failure in learning. 

When we teach innocence we join together in a unified curriculum that teaches Atonement.  Teach another gospel and we will not have unity for guilt tears people apart.  A sense of unworthiness begets unworthiness; a sense of sin and shame beget sin and shame.  We teach a curriculum of joyous release from guilt for we are creations of God Who made us from Love. 

The Circle of Atonement has no end.  We join with Christ as we bring everyone we know and have ever had any dealings with into the safety and perfect peace of no blame, no shame, no guilt – only God’s beloved Son – holy and pure and good.  A virtuous circle which ever expands, here we find our everlasting safety, our peace, and our perfect joy.  Here we find the meaning of love for there is no specialness, there are no favorites; there are no laws except the laws of love, which is one for all and all for one. 

We join with Christ and are blessed – now and forever.  We do not rely on our human power which is small and futile and will do nothing for us in the end.  We rely on the power of Love which comes from God.  We know God not in our strutting and boasting, our me, me, me, our visions that put us on a pedestal, our battles which drown the whole world in sorrow and shame, our sacrifices and our crucifixes, our calling forth the blood of Jesus and making of his long past human blood and suffering an idol which keeps us in darkness.  We teach the Love of God; we teach His perfect peace; we teach His yearning for us even as we yearn for Him. 

We learn of God in our tenderness toward one another, we learn of God through our compassion and love for others.  We live our lives to restore the Sonship, to remind our brothers that we are loved, cherished, and missed.  This is our only real meaning in the world, for otherwise we get caught up in it and begin to think that it is okay to live in a realm of opposites and opposition trapped in cycles of nothingness.  We think it is perfectly natural to bring little babies into a world of death and decay, into vulnerability and guilt. 

We are blessed when we teach the resurrection for in the resurrection the ego and all of its torments and wishes for death upon us is reversed.  The resurrection releases us from guilt for what resurrects – resurrects forever because guilt stays in time.  When we heap guilt upon another, we join with the ego in crucifixion; when we release others from guilt we restore purity joining with Christ in the resurrection.  Be not deceived by the ego for the ego’s wish for you and for me is crucifixion. The ego plays with us, leads us on, breaks its promises time after time.  Finally its condemnation kills us so it can start again where it left off in our next weary go-round. 

We break this vicious cycle when we join Christ in the Circle of Atonement.  When we stay attuned to Holy Spirit we release others from their guilt. The laws of love are reestablished in our hearts and minds forever.  The world makes fun of sincerity and purity and tenderness but make no mistake – this is our power for it is the power of love which is the only power there is.  There is no wish for harm in it – crucifixion and mistaken beliefs in any power of darkness cannot be found in it.  When we give our lives to God and to His purpose we are joining with Christ in restoring Creation.  What we give to God becomes ours forever; what we give to ego we lose and must come around again to seek it in another vain attempt to find meaning in nothingness.  

Pay particular attention to last paragraph for here Jesus gives us explicit instruction on how we enter and stay within the Circle of Atonement.  There is a way in and there is a way out as long as we remain in our humanity.  We enter through offering everyone we meet the blessing of guiltlessness.  We refuse to judge them by their humanity.  We see past all their unrighteousness, their meanness, ignorance and viciousness.  We see past all their privilege, their intelligence, their bodies, their seeming superiority that fascinates the stupid part of us which is easily impressed by that which enslaves us to nothingness.  We see only peace where the ego offers us conflict.  We come to understand that everyone is seeking what is inside this Circle and it is within our power to bring them in with the Mind of Christ.    

In your personal devotional practice ask Holy Spirit to teach you this, to show you the Circle of Atonement.  Go over this lesson as many times as you can for it teaches us diligence in undermining the ego’s use of time – keeping us trapped in ongoing cycles of death and decay.  The Circle of Atonement is our means of return to God’s Kingdom.  Holy Spirit has given my imagination a visual of a beautiful gleaming ever-expanding Holy Saucer – which hovers in the higher mind and calls forth everyone.  Those within the Saucer call forth those without.  Those within the Saucer lose their place upon it when they would refuse another welcome.  For as long as we think we can get to God’s Kingdom by bringing our grudges, injuries, and spite we are only kidding ourselves.  There is nobody standing at the entrance of the Circle of Atonement demanding to see qualifications, checking belief systems, judging others for things that happened in darkness. 

This is my visual.  Holy Spirit may give you a different visual, but the message will always be the same.  Bring them in with no judgment and no condemnation.  Hold only guiltlessness in your holy mind toward your brothers for only in guiltlessness will we know Love.  And Love is God even as God is Love. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. V The circle of atonement. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

IV. Your Function in the Atonement

1. When you accept a brother’s guiltlessness you will see the Atonement in him. For by proclaiming it in him you make it yours, and you will see what you sought. You will not see the symbol of your brother’s guiltlessness shining within him while you still believe it is not there. His guiltlessness is your Atonement. Grant it to him, and you will see the truth of what you have acknowledged. Yet truth is offered first to be received, even as God gave it first to His Son. The first in time means nothing, but the first in eternity is God the Father, who is both first and one. Beyond the first there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the first.

2. You who belong to the First Cause, created by Him like unto Himself and part of Him, are more than merely guiltless. The state of guiltlessness is only the condition in which what is not there has been removed from the disordered mind that thought it was. This state, and only this, must you attain, with God beside you. For until you do, you will still think that you are separate from Him. You can perhaps feel His Presence next to you but cannot know that you are with Him. This cannot be taught. Learning applies only to the condition in which it happens of itself.

3. When you have let all that obscured the truth in your most holy mind be undone for you, and therefore stand in grace before your Father, He will give Himself to you as He has always done. Giving Himself is all He knows, and so it is all knowledge. For what He knows not cannot be, and therefore cannot be given.  Ask not to be forgiven, for this has already been accomplished. Ask, rather, to learn how to forgive, and to restore what always was to your unforgiving mind. Atonement becomes real and visible to those who use it. On earth this is your only function, and you must learn that it is all you want to learn. You will feel guilty till you learn this. For in the end, whatever form it takes, your guilt arises from your failure to fulfill your function in God’s Mind with all of yours. Can you escape this guilt by failing to fulfill your function here?

4. You need not understand creation to do what must be done before that knowledge would be meaningful to you. God breaks no barriers, neither did He make them. When you release them they are gone. God will not fail, nor ever has in anything. Decide that God is right, and you were wrong about yourself. He created you out of Himself, but still within Him. He knows what you are. Remember that there is no second to Him. There cannot, therefore, be anyone without His Holiness, nor anyone unworthy of His perfect Love. Fail not in your function of loving in a loveless place made out of darkness and deceit, for thus are darkness and deceit undone. Fail not yourself, but instead offer to God and you His blameless Son. Where this small gift of appreciation for His Love, God will Himself exchange your gift for His.

5. Before you make any decisions for yourself, remember that you have decided against your function in heaven, and then consider carefully whether you want to make decisions here. Your function here is only to decide against deciding what you want, and recognition that you do not know. How, then, can you decide what you should do? Leave all decisions to the One Who speaks for God, and for your function as He knows it.  So will He teach you to remove the awful burden you have laid upon yourself by loving not the Son of God and trying to teach him guilt instead of love. Give up this frantic and insane attempt that cheats you of the joy of living with your God and Father, and of waking gladly to His Love and Holiness that joined together as the truth in you, making you one with Him.

6. When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer.  Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do. He knows. And He will tell you, and then do it for you. You who are tired will find this is more restful than sleep.  For you can bring your guilt into sleeping, but not into this.

7. Unless you were guiltless you cannot know God, whose will is that you know Him. Therefore, you must be guiltless. Yet if you do not accept the necessary conditions for knowing Him, you have denied Him and do not recognize Him, though He is all around you. He cannot be known without His Son, whose guiltlessness is the condition for knowing Him. Accepting His Son as guilty is denial of the Father so complete, that knowledge is swept away from recognition in the very mind where God Himself has placed it. If you would but listen and learn how impossible this is! Do not endow Him with attributes you understand, you made Him not, and anything you understand is not of Him.

8. Your task is not to make reality. It is here without your making, but not without you. You who have tried to throw yourself away and value God so little, hear me speak for Him and for yourself. You cannot understand how much your Father loves you, for there is no parallel in your experience of the world to help you understand it. There is nothing on earth with which it can compare, and nothing you have ever felt apart from Him resembles it ever so faintly. You cannot even give a blessing in perfect gentleness. Would you know of One Who gives forever, and who knows of nothing except giving?

9. The children of Heaven live in the light of the blessing of their Father, because they know that they are sinless. The Atonement was established as the means of restoring guiltlessness to minds that have denied it, and thus denied Heaven to themselves. Atonement teaches you the true condition of the Son of God. It does not teach you what you are, or what your Father is. The Holy Spirit, who remembers this for you, merely teaches you how to remove the blocks that stand between you and what you know. His memory is yours. If you remember what you have made, you are remembering nothing. Remembrance of reality is in Him, and therefore in you.

10. The guiltless and the guilty are totally incapable of understanding one another. Each perceives the other as like himself, making both unable to communicate, because each sees the other unlike the way he sees himself. God can communicate only to the whole Holy Spirit in your mind, because only He shares the knowledge of what you are with God. And only the Holy Spirit can answer God for you, for only He knows what God is. Everything else that you have placed within your mind cannot exist, for what is not in communication with the mind of God has never been. Communication with God is life. Nothing without it is at all.[1]

Today in our devotional text reading, Jesus tells us that we find Atonement in giving it to our brothers.  Unlike this realm in which we give out of our abundance – in the holy realm we give what we ourselves need, we give guiltlessness.  We hold nothing against anybody.  We set each other free from the realm of illusion by putting our minds in alignment with truth and denying the ability of our brothers to sin.  This goes against everything we have been taught.  To get along in this world we have made many laws, we have codes of ethics, we teach our children good manners, we tend to dislike and harbor ill will toward those who are unproductive, who do not contribute, who take more than their fair share.  We are very much aware of how our brothers fail us, how much more they take that what they give, their snotty attitudes and unlovely ways.  Jesus is asking us to step out of the human perception and into the realm of Spirit and to see all things with love and forgiveness – we are to give each and every one of us – no matter how vile and undeserving they may seem to be – Atonement, guiltlessness, salvation.

This is our only function here in this busy, clamoring, demanding, and stressful world.  Offering guiltlessness to our brothers, holding nobody accountable for the flesh and the things of the flesh, seeking not vengeance, holding no spite, but offering only brotherhood, compassion, and the sure knowledge of God and His Love for all and to all. 

Jesus tells us that Atonement teaches us the true condition of God’s Son and Jesus builds a very strong case for our innocence in that if we judge ourselves and others as unworthy of God’s love, we are judging God Who is the Creator.  Many of us are afraid of such teaching – the churches themselves which are in a wonderful position to be offering Atonement are fearful that this teaching will give others a license to sin, that people will adopt the attitude that God’s love is to be taken in a cavalier way:  God loves me. I always have His Love; therefore I can do anything I want and get away with it.  

However, accepting Atonement for my brothers sets them free from the illusion that happiness can be found in sin and shame.  When I no longer find you guilty, you are free of all that would make you guilty even as I am free.  We are free of our bondage to a flesh life that preys upon and desires to inflict guilt and shame and suffering to others.  This is a spiritual practice, and it works on a spiritual level first and then all things naturally follow.  To practice this in the physical realm we will get in trouble.  I may forgive the rabid raccoon for eating my kitten, but this in no way stops me from taking it out of its misery.  I may offer my enemies guiltlessness in the spiritual realm and hold not the unlawful things they did to my family against them, but this is not a welcome mat for more abuse.  Atonement protects those who offer it; we are safe in Atonement.  When we offer Atonement to those who would abuse it, we are safe in the arms of God.

Accepting our function in the Atonement is a spiritual practice and when we get it right, we live miraculous lives that help and heal restoring peace and unity.  Spirit must always come first for Spirit is the only reality – and to get to this we must engage fully in our spiritual endeavors, accepting our holiness and our Spirit as our constant friend, guide, and Teacher.  We will not remember our true Identity without Holy Spirit; we will not remember what we are on our own for our flesh and our flesh senses are designed to engage only with the perceptual world. 

Jesus tells us that those who accept guiltlessness will have no communication with those who cherish guilt.  To those who would cherish my guilt, they see me as like them and therefore cannot see or understand my guiltlessness for like them, I am different and set apart from everybody else.  I am my own entity in their eyes, accountable for what I alone suffer and what I alone do about it.   All of us have many witnesses to this fact – some, if not most, of the people in our lives cherish guilt and love to project it upon others.  Always digging about to find things in which to make others guilty even if it means digging about in the past which is long gone and leaves no survivors.  A mind engaged in guilt-finding has no real communication with God and does not accept Atonement because it is finding too much pleasure in making others guilty.  It is a mind steeped in arrogance and ignorance – to believe that one finite little human with their limited, finite perceptions and no understanding of the entire story could possibly gather enough facts together to pronounce guilt upon the dreams of others.  It is their hobby if not their fulltime profession, and Atonement holds no interest to them for they find their identity in the low mindedness of the ego. 

God speaks to us through our higher minds where our holiness and our Spirit reside forever.  As we learn to know and to love and to fully accept Holy Spirit we find our true Identity in God.  We no longer find any use for guilt; we can only offer Atonement – it does not matter if others understand this concept or not, for in this truth is our love, our happiness, and the peace of God.  No matter what else seems to fill our minds, none of it has any reality for what is not of God is only part of the splintered dream of unreality.  God is in wholeness and holiness and in wholeness and holiness we find our Selves.  For only in God is life. 

This does not mean we walk about on earth with sappy smiles and a circle of light over our heads.  We do not have a physical aura that separates and makes us stand out from our brothers.  To seek specialness in the spiritual realm shows a complete lack of understanding of Atonement for Atonement establishes our identity in the mutuality and equality of brotherhood.  We offer Atonement to receive Atonement and we must do it every single moment of every single day of our earthly experience and in every single encounter until we get it right for to withhold guiltlessness from any one that God sends to us is to withhold it from all – including ourselves.  For only when we offer Atonement to all, have we healed the Sonship, have we learned the love for all that we forgot. We have met the conditions of the Kingdom of God.  Our communication with God is fully restored and we are set free. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. IV Your function in the atonement. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

III. The Decision for Guiltlessness 11-19

11. It will never happen that you must make decisions for yourself. You are not bereft of help and help that knows the answer. Would you be content with little, which is all that you alone can offer yourself, when He who gives you everything will simply offer it to you? He will never ask what you have done to make you worthy of the gift of God. Ask it not therefore of yourself. Instead, accept His answer, for He knows that you are worthy of everything God wills for you. Do not try to escape the gift of God He so freely and so gladly offers you. He offers you but what God gave Him for you. You need not decide whether or not you are deserving of it. God knows you are.

12. Would you deny the truth of God’s decision, and place your pitiful appraisal of yourself in place of His calm and unswerving value of His Son? Nothing can shake God’s conviction of the perfect purity of everything that He created, for it is wholly pure. Do not decide against it, for being of Him it must be true. Peace abides in every mind that quietly accepts the plan God set for its Atonement, relinquishing its own. You know not of Salvation, for you do not understand it. Make no decisions about what it is or where it lies, but ask the Holy Spirit everything, and leave all decisions to His gentle counsel.

13. The One Who knows the plan of God that God would have you follow can teach you what it is. Only His wisdom is capable of guiding you to follow it. Every decision you undertake alone but signifies that you would define what Salvation is, and what you would be saved from. The Holy Spirit knows that all Salvation is escape from guilt. You have no other “enemy,” and against this strange distortion of the purity of the Son of God the Holy Spirit is your only friend. He is the strong protector of the innocence that set you free. And it is His decision to undo everything that would obscure your innocence from your unclouded mind.

14. Let Him, therefore, be the only Guide that you would follow to Salvation. He knows the way and leads you gladly on it. With Him you will not fail to learn that what God wills for you is your will. Without His guidance you will think you know alone and will decide against your peace as surely as you decided that Salvation lay in you alone. Salvation is of Him to Whom God gave it for you. He has not forgotten it. Forget Him not and He will make every decision for you, for your Salvation, and the peace of God in you.

15. Seek not to appraise the worth of God’s Son whom He created holy, for to do so is to evaluate his Father and judge against Him. And you will feel guilty for this imagined crime, which no one in this world or Heaven could possibly commit. The Holy Spirit teaches only that the “sin” of self-replacement on the throne of God is not a source of guilt.  What cannot happen can have no effects to fear. Be quiet in your faith in Him who loves you and would lead you out of insanity. Madness may be your choice, but not your reality. Never forget the Love of God, who has remembered you. For it is quite impossible that He could ever let His Son drop from the loving Mind wherein he was created, and where his abode was fixed in perfect peace forever.

16. Say to the Holy Spirit only, “Decide for me,” and it is done. For His decisions are reflections of what God knows about you, and in this light, error of any kind becomes impossible. Why would you struggle so frantically to anticipate all you cannot know, when all knowledge lies behind every decision the Holy Spirit makes for you? Learn of His wisdom and His Love and teach His answer to everyone who struggles in the dark. For you decide for them and for yourself.

17. How gracious it is to decide all things through Him Whose equal love is given equally to all alike! He leaves you no one outside you. And so He gives you what is yours, because your Father would have you share it with Him. In everything be led by Him, and do not reconsider. Trust Him to answer quickly, surely, and with love for everyone who will be touched in any way by the decision. And everyone will be. Would you take on to yourself the sole responsibility for deciding what can bring only good to everyone? Would you know this?

18. You taught yourself the most unnatural habit of not communicating with your Creator. Yet you remain in close communication with him, and with everything that is within him, as it is within yourself. Unlearn isolation through His loving guidance and learn of all the happy communication that you have thrown away but could not lose.

19. Whenever you are in doubt what you should do, think of His presence in you, and tell yourself this, and only this: “He leadeth me and knows the way, which I know not. Yet He will never keep from me what He would have me learn. And so I trust Him to communicate to me all that He knows for me.”   Then let Him teach you quietly how to perceive your guiltlessness, which is already there.[1]

In the perceptual world, we need help.  And help is always available to us for Holy Spirit dwells within our higher mind which never separated from God and therefore has all knowledge.  In your personal devotional practice, learn of Holy Spirit.  Develop the spiritual habit of talking to God about everything and learning to listen to the Voice for God within us.

Our egos will want us to think of ourselves as fine without this constant communication with God.  What do we need to always consult Him for anyway?  We are doing fine on our own!  We get ourselves up and off to work.  We have all the nice things we could need.  We have great friends, a wonderful family, a roof over our heads and we did it all ourselves without a hand from God.  The world will tell us that we can figure things out for ourselves.  If we get sick we have doctors and hospitals to make us better.  If we are ignorant, we can take a course in any subject we want to educate ourselves with.  If we are poor, we can get a job and work hard and save our money and become rich.  What do we need God for anyway?  God is only for those who cannot make it in the world on their own.  The weak, the helpless, the ignorant. 

But Jesus tells us that we have no idea that salvation is and what we need it for on our own.  As long as we resist getting to know and trust Holy Spirit and learning to live in the grace of God’s Will our lives have no meaning.  All the things we do and all the place we go, all the things we perceive with our flesh eyes, all the stories we make up, all the drama we put ourselves through turns into nothingness.  It becomes the past and there is no past for the past goes away and does not repeat itself.  Even the brightest and richest and most powerful people on earth and cannot live forever – their flesh withers on their bones, their senses fail them, they make really stupid decisions that hurt a lot of people.   Their fame, fortune, and contributions to the world cannot buy what Holy Spirit gives to us simply because He knows who and what are to God. 

Jesus tells us to accept ourselves not as part of this illusion but as God’s guiltless Son in Christ.  And as God’s guiltless Son we have a constant helper and guide to teach us how to communicate naturally and graciously with our Heavenly Father.  We will be given navigational information that will not only benefit our own lives but will bring love and joy and peace to all.  Our lives will mean something instead of nothing.  What we say and what we do will be inspired by that which reminds us of our true Identity in God.  We will bring forth the vision of Christ with our lives rather than spend our lives living lives that go a lot of places and yet go nowhere and do a lot of things and yet do nothing and see a lot of things yet perceive nothing. 

In your personal devotional practice, consciously practice the presence of God.  Throughout the day even during your most mundane daily chores or in handling the stressors that come up at work, the lazy employees, the demanding bosses, the obnoxious, gossipy coworkers – decide with Holy Spirit instead of for yourself.  Ask for the Vision of Christ rather than your own flesh vision which obscures the real world and fills your perceptions with judgment and condemnation.  Do not be afraid of the holiness of God for you are His Son, even as Christ is His Son.  In Christ we are one Son – guiltless and worthy.  When we decide for guiltlessness, we not only bless ourselves we bless the whole world and everybody in it.  Join with me in the following prayer: 

Lead me Holy Spirit because You know the way.  There is certainly no possible way for me to know it for I can only perceive a very small part of the perceptual world while You know everything.  Prepare my mind and heart and teach me all that You have for me to learn.  Help me to be a happy learner – accepting my worthiness as God’s Son.  In the name of Jesus, with Whom we are one.  Amen.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth.  III The decision for guiltlessness 11-19. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

III. The Decision for Guiltlessness

1. The happy learner cannot feel guilty about learning. This is so essential to learning that it should never be forgotten. The guiltless learner learns easily because his thoughts are free. Yet this entails the recognition that guilt is interference, not Salvation, and serves no useful function at all.

2. Perhaps you are accustomed to using guiltlessness merely to offset the pain of guilt, and do not look upon it as having value in itself. You believe that guilt and guiltlessness are both of value, each representing an escape from what the other does not offer you. You do not want either alone, for without both you do not see yourself as whole and therefore happy. Yet you are whole only in your guiltlessness, and only in your guiltlessness can you be happy. There is no conflict here. To wish for guilt in any way, in any form, will lose appreciation of the value of your guiltlessness, and push it from your sight.

3. There is no compromise that you can make with guilt and escape the pain that only guiltlessness allays. Learning is living here, as creating is being in heaven. Whenever the pain of guilt seems to attract you, remember that if you yield to it, you are deciding against your happiness, and will not learn how to be happy. Say therefore, tell yourself, gently, but with the conviction born of the love of God and of His Son: “What I experience I will make manifest. If I am guiltless, I have nothing to fear. I choose to testify to my acceptance of the Atonement, not to its rejection. I would accept my guiltlessness by making it manifest and sharing it.  Let me bring peace to God’s Son from his Father.”

4. Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt, the Holy Spirit the choice for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them because they are opposites which cannot be reconciled and cannot both be true. You are guilty or guiltless, bound or free, unhappy or happy.

5. The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom, and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer, or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.

6. No penalty is ever asked of God’s Son except by himself and of himself. Every chance given him to heal is another opportunity to replace darkness with light and fear with love. If he refuses it, he binds himself to darkness, because he did not choose to free his brother and enter light with him. By giving power to nothing, he throws away the joyous opportunity to learn that nothing has no power. And by not dispelling darkness, he became afraid of darkness and of light. The joy of learning that darkness has no power over the Son of God is the happy lesson the Holy Spirit teaches and would have you teach with Him. It is His joy to teach it, as it will be yours.

7. The way to teach this simple lesson is merely this: guiltlessness is invulnerability. Therefore, make your invulnerability manifest to everyone. Teach him that, whatever he may try to do to you, your perfect freedom from the belief that you can be harmed shows him that he is guiltless. He can do nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to think he can, you teach him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for yourself, is also his. There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt this son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause, cannot exist.

8. God is the only cause, and guilt is not of Him. Teach no one he has hurt you, for if you do, you teach yourself that what is not of God has power over you. The causeless cannot be. Do not attest to it, and do not foster belief in any mind. Remember always that mind is one, and cause is one. You will learn communication with this oneness only when you learn to deny the causeless and accept the Cause of God as yours. The power that God has given to His Son is his, and nothing else can His Son see or choose to look upon without imposing on himself the penalty of guilt, in place of all the happy teaching the Holy Spirit would gladly offer him.

9. Whenever you choose to make decisions for yourself you are thinking destructively, and the decision will be wrong. It will hurt you because of the concept of decision that led to it. It is not true that you can make decisions by yourself or for yourself alone. No thought of God’s Son can be separate or isolated in its effects. Every decision is made for the whole Sonship, directed in and out, and influencing a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of.

10. Those who accept the Atonement are invulnerable. But those who believe they are guilty will respond to guilt, because they think it is Salvation, and will not refuse to see it and side with it.  They believe that increasing guilt is self-protection. And they will fail to understand the simple fact that what they do not want must hurt them. All this arises because they do not believe that what they want is good. Yet will was given them because it is holy, and will bring them to all that they need, coming as naturally as peace that knows no limits. There is nothing their will fails to provide that offers them anything of value. Yet because they do not understand their will, the Holy Spirit quietly understands it for them, and gives them what they want without effort, strain, or the impossible burden of deciding what they want and need alone.[1]

Jesus has instructed us that teaching and learning are one thing – we teach to learn; we learn to teach.  This is not a selfish journey for we bring all with us and leave nobody behind!  In section one of this part of our curriculum we learn that there are conditions we must meet to learn of truth.  In section two we learn that we must be happy learners – we do not come to our devotional practice with a desire to be doing other things, with a sense of sacrifice or a sense of missing out on other more tempting offers!  To have truth, our will is in accord with God’s Will – we want love, peace, and joy and all the other wonderful attributes of God in place of the tangible substitutes that the ego realm offers.  We have begun to see past the wealth, privilege, and trinkets of the world to the real world which lies beyond.  We now see that the physical drives that we once lived for and thought of as healthy and natural are actually bondage to a flesh body that can never be sustained for more than a brief amount of time on that which turns foul and wreaks of death.  So we do not look back upon darkness and try to find light in it anymore.  We are happy to be set free, we are joyful at our liberation from darkness and from lies and from the flesh realm.   

Bring no sense of guilt to our learning.  Never forget this, Jesus tells us.  For our innocence frees our thoughts from all that would obstruct us from seeking and learning.  Guilt has no part in our Salvation!  Guilt interferes with our salvation, keeping us steeped in an unhelpful sense of shame and despair and unworthiness.  There is absolutely no good purpose for it. 

Guilt is very tricky.  How many times do we come across people who believe they are extra-special guilty?   They seem to cherish lewd testimonies of all they were saved from in darkness.  Big bad gang members, perhaps, who now live for Jesus.  Charging people money to come hear them speak about all the drugs they did, all the people they beat up, all the people they screwed over, oh how big and bad and stupid they were but now they love Jesus, and we should be so impressed and buy their books and marvel over the saving power of Christ.  Do not be tempted to engage in this kind of thing for Jesus tells us not to use our guiltlessness to offset the pain of guilt!  There is no value in guilt.  You may have stabbed a rival in the back, you may have little tears tattooed upon your face to signify your vengeance upon your enemies – I am not to be amazed or fascinated by your seeming guilt for it has no value.  It does not make your salvation any more interesting than anybody else’s.  You need to lay it down for as long as you hang on to it and try to wring any value from it, you are not whole, and you cannot be happy.  There is no compromise in this area.  Jesus tells us very clearly that to wish for guilt in any way, to love to tell our story of darkness, to embellish how wicked and dirty and hateful we were, to think that we are winning people for Christ by repeating all the bad things we did – will devalue our guiltlessness, not enhance it.  We are to let all thoughts of guilt melt away into the nothingness in which they came. 

To think that you must be bad to be made good is a terrible hindrance in our understanding of salvation.  We are here to learn – that is why we are living in a dream of separation, a dream of opposites and opposition to God.  We are flesh bodies because holy Spirits cannot prey upon one another; we are in time because deviance and death are not part of the eternal Kingdom.  We are here to learn to be whole again, to heal, to be restored. 

The pain of guilt is a sorrowful, sticky, and sickly substitute for learning.  It keeps us trapped in a sense of being on the outside looking in, of being extra-special bad, of being cursed, of not being happy and well-adjusted like other folks who have it so much better than us.  You cannot learn your own happiness and wholeness and place in God’s Kingdom as long as you suck up to guilt or use it in any way as a means to make a living.  It will make you sick and it teaches a sick gospel of unworthiness and impurity and groveling before God rather than accepting your Sonship. 

Guiltlessness sets us free.  We step out of all that pain and shame and sorrow.  We let it go.  We do not use it to impress others or to scare them or to make them feel sorry for us.  Jesus tells us to reject guilt and He tells us how.  In our own words we should say: “What I think about and talk about and choose to dwell upon is what I will manifest in my life.  When I think of or speak of my guilt, I am keeping it alive, and I will live in fear. When I choose guiltlessness, I have nothing to fear.  I am set free from the past and all the vengeance and spite related to it.  I testify only to my guiltlessness for I have accepted the Atonement which leaves my past in the past and makes it no part of my present or my future.  I am set free from all desire to dig about in the past and derive any sense of guilt-based pleasure, profit, or punishment.  I will not think about it or talk about it or share it.  For I manifest only goodness and purity.  I do not bring uproar to God’s Son, I bring peace.”   

Every single second of doing time we choose crucifixion or resurrection; we go with ego, or we go with Holy Spirit.  Choose guilt for ourselves or others – we choose ego.  We will feel it is right and natural to crucify, to punish others for their humanity, for getting it wrong.  We will justify punishment over correction.  We will think and share such expressions as: “I hope you rot in jail,” or “I hope you burn forever in hell.”  We will cherish thoughts of and testify that we deserve this ourselves, but Jesus looked down upon our miserable-rotten-to-the-core selves and saved our unworthy asses.  It does not matter how you think it or say it, you are getting it wrong because you are going with guilt, you are choosing to crucify. 

Our power lies in our decision.  There are no gray areas. There is no “some truth” and “some lies.”  There is only truth and all else is an illusion, and the illusion cannot be reconciled with truth.  There is not a little crucifixion left in the resurrection, there is not a little death in life eternal, there is no darkness in light, there is no time in eternity, there is no guilt in innocence and purity and guiltlessness. 

We are accustomed to thinking of miracles as curing cancer or calming a storm or feeding multitudes with a handful of food.  But Jesus tells us that a miracle is a teaching device.  It is the effect of choosing guiltlessness, freedom, and joy.  It is the effect of letting the grudges, spite, and fascination with the past go.  The miracle is the realization of the present moment where there is no guilt, no bondage, no perceptual world where we see and do but the Kingdom of God where we have and enjoy our Beings in a state of creativity fueled by Love.  When we accept the miracle for ourselves, we accept it for others.  We offer the present moment to others; we hold them not accountable for their humanity for we recognize them in that moment for what they really are beyond the flesh. 

Jesus tells us that the cost of giving is receiving.  Therefore, we can give guilt and receive guilt in return, or we can give guiltlessness and receive the guiltlessness required for God’s Kingdom. 

Recently I had an encounter with a person who had been very mean and spiteful to our aunt while she was dying.  A long and complicated story, their lives together had been fraught with bitterness and regret on both sides – but still!  While she was dying!  It seemed unnecessarily cruel, and I have not felt the same toward him ever since. I felt perfectly justified in my feelings and attitude.  I didn’t hate him.  I just felt cool and indifferent toward him. 

But we have been doing our devotional practices with the concept of guiltlessness.  Why should I hold anybody guilty for any reason at all?  I am not the judge!  I do not have all the information.  I can trust in God who knows our hearts and minds and offers only mercy to His Sons.  It is not my job to judge but only to practice guiltlessness for when I offer it to the guy who was mean and spiteful to our dying aunt, I pay the cost of giving what I want and need for myself.  It was a lovely feeling of release.  I could feel it burst forth in my mind – this sense of what we are dealing with when we speak of guiltlessness. 

Every day we have many opportunities to replace the dark spots on our lower minds with light and love and mercy.  Why bind anybody to a decision and behaviors that they did in the past?  Why refuse to give mercy and bind ourselves to the karmic cycle of the dark realm?  When I free you, I am freed.  When you free me, you are freed.  When we do not give our power to that which means nothing, we learn that nothingness has no power.  When we hold on to our judgment and condemnation, our grudges and resentments, we literally throw away an opportunity for joyous release from the cycle that goes nowhere and means nothing. 

Join with me in deciding for guiltlessness for this is how we meet the conditions of being taught of Holy Spirit.  For guiltlessness makes us happy and Holy Spirit requires a joyous and appreciative learner.  Just as Holy Spirit loves to teach the lesson of guiltlessness, so will we. 

In paragraph seven Jesus tells us how to teach this simple lesson.   Accept that guiltlessness is invulnerability.  We are to live beyond victimhood, persecution, hurt feelings, grudges, and resentments.  This teaching really bothered me at first.  We come from rough backgrounds; we have dealt with some gruff characters.  We have felt the need to arm ourselves against those who would hurt us!  And Jesus is telling us to go against our egotistical, flesh-loving natures and live in the world as Sons of God.  When we let others know that they simply cannot hurt us, we teach them that our guiltlessness is their guiltlessness.  What the Atonement has offered us is theirs.  They don’t have to ask for it, they don’t have to humble themselves and get down on their hands and knees and beg God to forgive them for their sins and their great unworthiness, they don’t have to plead the blood of Jesus over themselves.  They simply see that we have accepted Atonement not only for ourselves but for them as well and all thoughts of guilt and fear and wrongdoing dissipate.    

While we do not use the Atonement for an excuse to live cruel and reckless lives hurting others and selfishly believing that the Atonement is a device that gets us off the hook while we plot murder and mayhem in our humanity.  When we use the Atonement for an ungodly purpose, it is no longer the Atonement.  In the hands of the wrongful minded who think that the Atonement is an ego plaything that justifies wrongdoing, it becomes a means to endure exactly what one has been so eager and willing to dish out upon others.  No matter – Jesus tells us that we are to live in the world invulnerable to those bent upon our destruction for our guiltlessness makes us invulnerable as long as we accept it.  If someone recklessly desires to ruin my life, and I offer him guiltlessness, I am protecting myself from all of his evil intentions toward me. 

When I prayed and asked Holy Spirit to teach me invulnerability, Holy Spirit showed me that when I walk in guiltlessness, I draw good things to myself and that which would be out to hurt and destroy me is undone by the Atonement.  Holy Spirit showed me that when weapons are formed against me and I walk in guiltlessness, the weapons disintegrate in the realm of love and peace and joy that surround those who walk in the Spirit.  Do I have a big testimony to share with you about this teaching?  I do not.  For when we walk in guiltlessness and only offer guiltlessness, we have no idea what we are being protected from because that which is guilt and fear is turned into something innocent, pure, and holy.    

When we walk with God we learn that God is the only cause.  God is all there is.  Guilt is not part of God, and we should never say such stupid things or believe such ridiculous concepts that teach God gets some satisfaction out of making us ashamed of ourselves or heaping guilt upon us and pretending to get His feelings hurt to make us feel sorry about who and what we are.  God did not create us to be servile and humble anymore than He brought us forth to be boastful and egotistical.  He brought us forth as Sons, as one with Christ’s Sonship.  When we walk in fear and guilt we teach others that there is a power that comes other than God.  We teach that there is an equally strong and frightening rival that can outwit and hurt God and His Son.  We teach the crucifixion instead of the resurrection! 

We are to free our mind of ignorance and a dimwitted approach to the things of God.  Jesus stresses in this section that we are to remember always:  Mind is one and Cause is one. What does this mean?  We make our Mind one with the teachings of Holy Spirit who resides in our higher minds.  We deny the lower mind and the ego that resides in it any place in our lives – just as we come to communicate with and know the One Cause is God, giving no place at all to the ego and the splintered causes of the ego which distract and obstruct the oneness of God and His Son. 

When we deny the power that God has given us and look upon the many causes of the world, the things that the world holds up for us to lay guilt upon – our abusive parents, our neighbors, the snobs that shunned us, the friends who betrayed us, our coworkers and bosses, preachers and teachers, and ex-lovers and politicians – we impose the penalty of guilt upon ourselves in place of all the joyous teachings of the Holy Spirit.  We keep ourselves bound in karmic cycles.  We refuse to see beyond humanity to the real and everlasting kingdom beyond. 

In paragraph nine, Jesus tells us that when we make decisions for ourselves, we think destructively.  The decisions we make in this frame of mind will always be wrong.  We have come to think that to make it in the world, we must be good decision makers.  People have told me what wise decision makers they are without God.  They think things through.  They weigh out the costs and the consequences.  They bring ethics into it.   They do their best not to hurt people with their decisions.  Thinking such thoughts will hurt us – not because we make sinful decisions, but because we did not realize that we cannot make decisions by ourselves or for ourselves alone.  We cannot be separate from God or from each other.  Every decision is made for the whole Sonship – it doesn’t matter if you pray and ask God to help you in your decision making or not – the decision you make influences a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of Jesus says.  There is one mind and one Cause. 

I take this to mean that when I choose to offer you guiltlessness, I am working with Holy Spirit instead of against Him.  And the guiltlessness I offer you will reverberate throughout the whole Sonship and the end of time is that much closer.   I will make myself invulnerable to all that is dark and gloomy.  But those who think of guilt as their salvation will side with guilt.  They will lay blame and shame because they believe that they protect themselves with guilt.  But what they fail to get is that guilt hurts them as much as those they would inflict it upon.  This extends our stint in time for we are one mind and one cause – directed in and directed out. 

We will end with paragraph ten today and continue with the last nine paragraphs in the next blog post.  In your personal devotional practice, take note that God’s Will is in each one of us and it is holy, and God’s Will never fails in what it wills.  Each one of us will come to accept Atonement for what we do not understand, Holy Spirit understands for us.  In our shattered, separated selves we have no idea who we are or what we are and what we are doing in the perceptual world.  We simply cannot know what we need or want on our own. In our human state we have seemed to lose our natural ability to communicate with God in an ongoing, gracious, and fearless manner.  We feel as if we have to put a ribbon on our humanity and shine ourselves up and speak in a certain tone and pretend to be much better or far worse than we really are.  Perhaps we think we have to burn incense or smite ourselves or bow down and kiss the earth or turn in a certain direction.  No contrived and unnatural manner is required to speak to our Nearest and Dearest, our Father, our Maker, our most loving Creator who resides in His Kingdom within us.  Ask Him for guidance, work with Holy Spirit Who is One with God even as we are One with God in Christ.  Let the holy Spirit within you lead the way for He lights our path with guiltlessness and gives us perfect safety as we learn to put our trust in Him.     

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. III The decision for guiltlessness 1-10. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

II. The Happy Learner

1. The Holy Spirit needs a happy learner, in whom His mission can be happily accomplished.  You who are steadfastly devoted to misery must first recognize that you are miserable and not happy.  The Holy Spirit cannot teach without this contrast, for you believe that misery is happiness.  This has so confused you that you have undertaken to learn to do what you can never do, believing that unless you learn it you will not be happy.  You do not realize that the foundation on which this most peculiar learning goal depends means absolutely nothing.  Yet it may still make sense to you.  Have faith in nothing. and you will find the “treasure” that you seek. Yet you will add another burden to your already burdened mind. You will believe that nothing is a value and will value it. A little piece of glass, a speck of dust, a body, or a war are one to you. For if you value one thing made of nothing, you have believed that nothing can be precious, and that you can learn how to make the untrue true.

2. The Holy Spirit, seeing where you are but knowing you are elsewhere, begins His lesson in simplicity with the fundamental teaching that truth is true. This is the hardest lesson you will ever learn, and in the end the only one.  Simplicity is very difficult for twisted minds.  Consider all the distortions you have made of nothing; all the strange forms and feelings and actions and reactions that you have woven out of it. Nothing is so alien to you as this simple truth, and nothing are you less inclined to listen to. The contrast between what is true and what is not is perfectly apparent, yet you do not see it. The simple and the obvious are not apparent to those who would make palaces and royal robes of nothing, believing they are kings with golden crowns because of them.

3. All this the Holy Spirit sees, and teaches, simply, that all this is not true. To those unhappy learners who would teach themselves nothing and delude themselves into believing that it is not nothing, the Holy Spirit says, with steadfast quietness: “The truth is true. Nothing else matters, nothing else is real, and everything beside it is not there.  Let Me make the one distinction for you that you cannot make but need to learn. Your faith in nothing is deceiving you. Offer your faith to Me, and I will place it gently in the holy place where it belongs. You will find no deception there, but only the simple truth. And you will love it because you will understand it.” 

4. Like you, the Holy Spirit did not make truth. Like God, He knows it to be true. He brings the light of truth into the darkness, and lets it shine on you. And as it shines your brothers see it and realizing that this light is not what you have made, they see in you more than you see. They will be happy learners of the lesson this light brings to them because it teaches them release from nothing and from all the works of nothing. The heavy chains that seem to bind them to despair they do not see as nothing, until you bring the light to them. And then they see the chains have disappeared, and so they must have been nothing. And you will see it with them. Because you taught them gladness and release, they will become your teachers in release and gladness.

5. When you teach anyone that truth is true, you learn it with him. And so you learn that what seemed hardest was the easiest. Learn to be a happy learner. You will never learn how to make nothing everything. Yet see that this has been your goal and recognize how foolish it has been. Be glad it is undone, for when you look at it in simple honesty, it is undone. I said before, “Be not content with nothing,” for you have believed that nothing could content you.  It is not so.

6. If you would be a happy learner, you must give everything you have learned to the Holy Spirit, to be unlearned for you. And then begin to learn the joyous lessons that come quickly on the firm foundation that truth is true. For what is built there is true and built on truth. Th universe of learning will open up before you in all its gracious simplicity. With truth before you, you will not look back.

7. The happy learner meets the conditions of learning here, as he meets the conditions of knowledge in the Kingdom. All this lies in the Holy Spirit’s plan to free you from the past and open up the way to freedom for you.  For truth is true. What else could ever be, or ever was? This simple lesson holds the key to the dark door that you believe is locked forever. You made this door of nothing, and behind it is nothing. The key is only the light that shines away the shapes and forms and fears of nothing. Accept this key to freedom from the hands of Christ who gives it to you, that you may join Him in the holy task of bringing light. For, like your brothers, you do not realize the light has come and freed you from the sleep of darkness.

8. Behold your brothers in their freedom and learn of them how to be free of darkness. The light in you will waken them, and they will not leave you asleep. The vision of Christ is given the very instant that it is perceived. Where everything is clear, it is all holy.  The quietness of its simplicity is so compelling that you will realize it is impossible to deny the simple truth. For there is nothing else. God is everywhere, and His Son is in Him with everything. Can he sing the dirge of sorrow when this is true?[1]

Today we come to our devotional practice with a happy heart and mind devoted to learning truth.  As long as we believe that we can find happiness in humanity, we must learn that what is happiness to humanity is but misery and bondage.  All the things that mean so much to us, a bit of food, a diamond ring, our guts, our conflicts, our fun times, our substances, our sex drives, our yearning for status and social acceptance, our cars and houses, our wardrobes and careers are nothing – they pass into oblivion never to be recovered.  The very foundation of our human existence spells meaningless and misery, bondage and scarcity, decay and death but it may still make sense to us – we may think we can make it work for us, we may still be trying to find our treasure in that which passes quickly into nothingness.  We may still find value in that which taxes our overtaxed minds.  We may spend our entire lives trying to make that which is false and destined for death to be true and give us meaning, purpose, and life.  

So the first lesson we learn from Holy Spirit is the contrast between misery and happiness.  I am reminded of an evangelistic service we attended several years ago in Taiwan.  One of the converts was called upon to give her testimony.  She spoke of how happy she had been in darkness and how miserable she was in the light, but it was her pleasure to suffer for Christ because He had suffered for her.  She may have to give up her happiness in darkness now, but she would be in heaven for eternity unlike her friends still in darkness who would burn in hell.   While the efforts of the evangelists to save the ones lost in darkness seemed sincere, the girl testified to the failure of such gospel to make happy. 

Let us not make the same dimwitted mistake!  For if we long for darkness we are not in the light.  If we feel as if we have to give up things we love in exchange for some pie in the sky after we die, we have not recognized our plight in time.  We are still being duped by the ego – accepting the misery of our bondage and cherishing that which herds us away from all that truly blesses, restores and brings us joy unstoppable and full of glory. 

Holy Spirit which dwells within each one of us knows who and what we really are.  We may think we are imprisoned in flesh and blood, fueled by fear, guilt, and death, but Holy Spirit knows we are Sons of God.  The perceptual world is does not hold truth, and only the truth is true.  This is the only real lesson we learn but it is the hardest lesson one.  It is simple and direct, but for minds twisted and muddled by falsehood and guilt, shame and fear it is very difficult.  Out of all that is not Love, Peace, and Joy we have made a world of chaos, uncertainty, weirdness and substitutions of all that opposes God.  Jesus says that nothing is so alien to us as the uncomplicated truth of ONLY TRUTH IS TRUE.  There is nothing we are less inclined to listen to!  No matter how apparent the contrast between that which is of God and thereby Truth and that which must be something else altogether is, we simply do not see it.  We have confused ourselves because we would oppose that which cannot be opposed.  We would take that which is eternal and make it finite.  We would take that which is love and make it fearful.  We would take that which is joyful and put a price tag on it.  And so we made a perceptual world based upon our opposition and weird perversions of the truth.  We made a big nothing, a black hole, a deep sleep.  Whatever you want to call it, it simply is not right or factual or good, but we cherish it because we made it and we call it true. 

When we learn that only truth is true we become happy learners.  Otherwise we continue to be unhappy learners who teach themselves a different gospel.  We believe the perceptual world is a threat to God; we believe that opposition to God can be made real and true and powerful and make God go into rages and seek vengeance upon us.  To these unhappy learners who are full of fear, whose salvation is not joyful, who secretly dread spending eternity with a God who could go to war upon His own Creation, Holy Spirit says:  The truth is true – nothing else matters, nothing else is real, and everything other than truth is not there.  Let Me make the one distinction for you that you cannot make but need to learn.  Your faith in your fictional kingdom deceives you.  Offer your faith to Me and I will put your faith in the holy place where it goes.  Your faith will be safe and sure in God’s Kingdom for it is where it should be in the first place.   You won’t be afraid anymore.  You will love the holy place because you will be at home there and you will understand it because I will restore to you what you forgot.” 

Holy Spirit did not make truth, but He knows it because Holy Spirit is God’s Voice.  Holy Spirit brings the light of truth into the dark dream and shines it upon us.  As the light of truth shines on you, I see it and realize that you did not make this up – for it goes beyond what has ever been written or said or forced upon us.  It is as daybreak in my mind as I see the light of truth in you for you remind me of where I belong and what I really am.  I will see it in you more than you see it in you, and you will see it in me more than you see it in yourself.  This is because we are one and this is what we are meant to share and to teach one another for I cannot go home without you, and you cannot go home without me.

You can preach another gospel to me all you want.  You can threaten me with hellfire.  You can tell me stories of a God who would take pleasure in the smoke and aroma of charred meat.  You can rattle my conscience with accounts of martyrs, patriots, and idealists who suffered and bled and died for Christ and seek to fill me with guilt and shame.  You can tell me that there are two doors and I better pick the one door that goes to God or otherwise I will spend the rest of eternity with the devil.  This does not make me a happy learner, but a fearful one.   

But give me the light of truth.  Let me see that anything that opposes Love cannot exist, that it is a dream, an illusion, a holographic vision of what can never hold up outside of time.  And my joy will be full.  I will be drawn to the light of truth and the light of truth in me will draw others.  For when we see that all that we do in the flesh that binds us to sorrow and dread, punishment and death is nothing – the chains of humanity drop from us, we see time as a means to an end, not an end in itself, and we will teach each other the truth about who and what we really are. 

When we teach others that truth is true, we learn it with them. When I first met my husband we began a spiritual quest.  Both of us were egotistical and knew that was no way to be – for Holy Spirit was calling to us, reminding us of what we really are.  For the past 24 years we have been teaching each other little by little that only truth is true.  A little over three years ago, Holy Spirit reunited us with an estranged friend, and we are learning truth is true with her.  Others join in with us to learn from us as we learn from them.  We do not need a tabernacle, for we carry about in us the Kingdom of God.  Truth does not need a large congregation.  The gospels indicate that where two or three are gathered together in Sonship there is Christ.  We do not seek a following, only a sharing, one by one, two by two we return to God’s Kingdom.  There are no masters, no gurus, no ridiculous cult-like leadership – we are Sons of God, we are the Brotherhood of Christ.  We come in mutuality. 

I am learning truth is true from you even as you are learning truth is true from me.  We are learning to be happy learners for we have recognized that nothing can never be our anything let alone our everything; we have recognized the difference between darkness and light; we see how futile is our base humanity and we are glad that it is undone for as soon as we see it in the light of God’s truth, it is undone for us.  We cannot go back to it, we cannot be content with nothingness, we have been set free from it.  Our testimony is one of joy. 

To share this joy, we must give everything we think we know already to Holy Spirit to be unlearned for us.  We must see our true predicament; we must see how miserable our salvation is when we think that nothingness is real and that we must be accountable for the illusions made in opposition to God.  When only truth is true, only truth stands and what is built upon truth stands forever.  Jesus tells us that the universe of learning opens up to us in all its gracious simplicity – for we are not putting a lot of garbage into our minds that we have to sort through to separate the truth from fiction.  The fiction melts away because only truth is true.  With truth so apparent to us, there is no longing for darkness, no regrets, no sorrow for we know the truth about darkness and cannot be duped by it ever again. 

In paragraph seven, Jesus tells us that by being happy learners, we meet the conditions of learning.  We do not give up our humanity with sorrow and shame.  We do not lay aside our egos with regret and longing.  We are happy to put them aside for we know they are nothing.  We do not look back upon them with anything but happiness that we learned what we were meant to learn and can return to the place we belong.  Our happiness in Sonship is what meets the conditions of knowing God’s Kingdom.  All of this happens when we work with Holy Spirit instead of against Him – we are freed from the past which is gone forever – only truth is true and only truth is forever.  None of that stuff matters – how could it?  In the big scope of things, what you call precious in time is as nothing – it is over before it began.  This simple truth is the key to our freedom from that which seemed to doom us forever to a stark scarcity and mean loneliness.  This truth is the light that shines away all the things that happen in darkness that terrify us and cause us to rise up in attack and counterattack.  This is the truth of Christ Who gives it to us to join with Him in His Light and in the awakening of all. 

For we awaken not to fly away with Jesus and escape the vengeance of God, but to awaken others even as they awaken us.  This is a world event, and it happens over time.  The world cannot be free of darkness until we all recognize the light of Christ within us.  Our Sonship is established in our minds forever the very instant we perceive the truth.  For when everything is clear to us, all is holy.  There is no darkness, there are no works of darkness, all is calm and quiet and right – and in that simple goodness it is impossible for any one of us, no matter how steeped in darkness – to deny the truth that sets us free.  There is nothing else but truth for only truth is true, only truth stands.  All fiction falls away.  God is everywhere and we are with God in everything for we are the Sonship of God and the Brotherhood of Christ.  Do not let the religiosity of the terms put vain pictures in your head of white hair and gold thrones, crimson blood and whitewashed robes.  Let us remember God in Love, as Spirit and as Truth, even as we remember our holy Selves in Him. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. II. The happy learner.  Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth

I. The Conditions of Learning

1. If you are blessed, and do not know it, you need to learn it must be so. The knowledge is not taught, but its conditions must be acquired for it is they that have been thrown away. You can learn to bless and cannot give what you have not. If then, you offer blessing, it must have come first to yourself. And you must also have accepted it as yours, for how else could you give it away?  That is why miracles offer you the testimony that you are blessed. If what you offer is complete forgiveness you must have let guilt go, accepting the Atonement for yourself and learning you are guiltless. How could you learn what has been done for you, unknown to you, unless you do what you would have to do if it had been done for you?

2. Indirect proof of truth is needed in a world made of denial and without direction.  You will perceive the need for this if you realize that to deny is the decision not to know.  The logic of the world must therefore lead to nothing, for its goal is nothing.  If you decide to have and give and be nothing except a dream, you must direct your thoughts unto oblivion.  And if you have and give and are everything, and all this has been denied, your thought system is closed off and wholly separated from the truth.  This is an insane world, and do not underestimate the extent of its insanity.  There is no area of your perception that it has not touched, and your dream is sacred to you.  That is why God placed the Holy Spirit in you, where you placed the dream.

3. Seeing is always outward.  Were your thoughts wholly of you, the thought system you made would be forever dark.  The thoughts the mind of God’s Son projects or extends have all the power that he gives to them.  The thoughts he shares with God are beyond his belief, but those he made are his beliefs.  And it is these, and not the truth, that he has chosen to defend and love.  They will not be taken from him.  But they can be given up by him, for the Source of their undoing is in him.  There is nothing in the world to teach him that the logic of the world is totally insane and leads to nothing.  Yet in him who made this insane logic there is One Who knows it leads to nothing, for He knows everything.

4. Any direction that would lead you where the Holy Spirit leads you not, goes nowhere.  Anything you deny that He knows to be true you have denied yourself, and He must therefore teach you not to deny it.  Undoing is indirect, as doing is.  You were created only to create, neither to see nor do.  These are but indirect expressions of the will to live, which has been blocked by the capricious and unholy whim of death and murder that your Father does not share with you.  You have set yourself the task of sharing what cannot be shared.  And while you think it possible to learn to do this you will not believe all that is possible to learn to do.

5. The Holy Spirit, therefore, must begin His teaching by showing you what you can never learn.  His message is not indirect, but He must introduce the simple truth into a thought system which has become so twisted and so complex you cannot see that it means nothing.  He merely looks at its foundation and dismisses it.  But you who cannot undo what you have made, nor escape the heavy burden of its dullness that lies upon your mind, cannot see through it.  It deceives you because you chose to deceive yourself.  Those who choose to be deceived will merely attack direct approaches, because they seem to encroach upon deception and strike at it.[1] 

In our devotional text today, Jesus tells us that if we have forgotten our blessed state it is because we have thrown away the conditions for knowledge.  What are the conditions for knowledge of our blessed state, our Sonship, our everlasting Brotherhood?  The answer can be found in accepting Atonement for ourselves and learning of our guiltless state and offering that guiltless state to others.  While the wording in paragraph one seems confusing, when we take the time to meditate upon each sentence and ask Holy Spirit to show us what this means, we begin to understand what Jesus is saying – He really must want us to think hard and deep about this – the conditions for learning of our blessedness is, then, something that must be fully realized. 

It is one thing to preach Jesus to people and ask people to be born again.  Many teachers and preachers claim all these souls for Christ simply because they get people to say the three-step plan of salvation and confess Christ as their Savior.  But do we really know what we are talking about?  Do we understand exactly what Jesus is teaching us and how we are to live out the rest of our days in time?  Jesus teaches us our guiltlessness and we cannot accept this Atonement without sharing it with others.  Jesus is not asking us to die on the cross – He is asking us to live in the world, with our brothers with no judgment and no guilt.  In other words, we offer to others what has been given us.  This is our blessed state. 

Jesus calls this indirect proof of truth.  Jesus the human lived thousands of years ago.  Nobody is alive who knew Him then and all we have are some books that were written about him by his disciples and other followers.  Nobody can really prove if Jesus said or did the things that were written about him.  The only proof then we have is what is inside of us and the Kingdom of God within us cannot be understood by the world, it is as insanity to the perceptual world which relies on what can be experienced by the senses to determine reality.  As long as we do this, we are living in a dream and our thoughts mean nothing.  As long as we keep the truth about the Kingdom of God obscured from our awareness, we close off our thought system and remain confused and forget our blessed state of guiltlessness. 

If we are atheists, we deny God’s Kingdom and choose oblivion.  If we are religiously inclined, we cannot accept or offer true salvation for ourselves or others because our ideas about salvation are tainted by guilt and fear, by thoughts of sacrifice, by teachings that fill our hearts and minds with trepidation and sorrow.  Jesus warns us that this is an insane world; we are not to be stupid about this and underestimate its ability to pervert and twist the truth – even by those who teach and preach a fear-based gospel.  Jesus tells us that the insanity of the world envelopes our perceptions and that we cherish the madness and call it sacred. 

While we placed this madness in our minds, God placed Holy Spirit Who knows and never forgot the truth.  All of us seek truth from outside of ourselves.  We try to find ourselves in the perceptions of others who base their opinions about us on how we look, act, what kind of family we came from, how intelligent we are, how rich or how poor, the color of our skin, from what region of the world we came from.  When we rely on the perceptions of others to determine who and what we are – we are in trouble!  We forget our true identity.  We are groping about in the dark trying to find ourselves in a changeable, uncertain world.  Our thoughts then that we share with our higher minds where Holy Spirit resides are beyond our belief, but the thoughts we made about ourselves based upon the judgments and perceptions of others are the ones we choose to believe about ourselves.  This is the identity – not the true identity we have in Sonship, that we choose to love and defend against the truth about ourselves. 

God is not out to be take these false identities away from us.  But Holy Spirit knows the truth about who and what we are and when we come to know the truth about our identity, we only too gladly give up the false and ridiculous to that which gives us the true and the rational.  The world does not teach us of its own insanity and emptiness and lack of promise, yet in each one of us resides our holy Spirit who knows the truth about the world because our holy Spirit knows everything for it is of God.

That is why no matter what we do in the world, no matter how advanced we become, no matter how big, or smart, rich, beautiful, or sexy we may think we are – we end up nowhere and as nothing.  When we deny the love, the peace, the joy, the purity and innocence of truth, we have denied ourselves.  We end up doing things that are entirely unworthy of us, that bring us low. This is why Holy Spirit teaches us not to deny God’s Kingdom within.  We are to accept our Sonship, our holiness and purity and goodness for when we accept our Sonship and all that goes with it, we are accepting God. 

We were created to be like God, to be creators – not perceivers.  Seeing and doing are only indirect expressions of the will to live.  I may call it living when I turn on the coffee and go feed the chickens and sit out on the slab and drink our morning brew with James.  I may call it life when I wash dishes, go to the market, get my exercise and work in the garden – but this is only seeing and doing.  It is not my reality and nothing that I see and nothing that I do define me.  Our will to live has been blocked by desires for death and murder that God did not give us.  Death and murder cannot be shared for death and murder lead to oblivion; there is nothing about death and nothing about murder that is of God.  As long as we think that death and murder is about God, that God ordained death and ordains killing of any part of the Sonship, that it is God’s Will that we prey upon Creation, we will not believe in holiness and purity and guiltlessness.  We will believe instead in our own forms of salvation, our own separate religions.  We will spend our lives praying and trying to please gods that were devised by egos, that look and act and attack like egos.  And this will get us nowhere.  We may as well be atheists. 

In the ending paragraph of today’s devotional text, Jesus tells us that Holy Spirit begins teaching us what we can never learn from the world.  Because our thought systems are so polluted by fear, guilt, idolatry, and identifying with flesh and blood it is impossible for us to see that the perceptual world means nothing. 

We think it really matters.  Everybody acts like it really matters.  The media keeps pumping out stories of death and murder, rape and plunder.  Old battles are fought over and over again.  Blood is shed.  Graves are dug.  New babes are born to take the place of the dead and dying.  Diseases come and diseases go.  People get all worked up over their politics, their football teams, their religious orders, and other silly conflicts.  Tonight my grandson and I got into an argument over his aunt’s address – I was certain I was right, and he was certain he was right and neither one of us were entirely right nor entirely wrong! 

Holy Spirit does not get worked up.  Holy Spirit is quiet, calm, and certain.  Our holy Spirits look directly at the foundation of all that separates us from God and completely dismisses it.  We cannot do this in our humanity.  It is impossible for us to see beyond the perceptual world, beyond our own senses, beyond our own beliefs and memories and relational ties.  We are held fast to all that was made outside of God’s Kingdom.  It is impossible for us to escape the dullness that takes over our lives – the stress, the triteness, the melodrama, the sense of confusion and uncertainty.  We are only deceived by it because we choose to deceive ourselves.  We keep trying to find our happiness where it can never be found.  We keep looking out instead of looking in.  We chase after things – maybe a new lover, a new boat, a new baby.  We live from our lower mind instead of the higher mind of Sonship and Holy Spirit where we are one with God and His Kingdom. 

The Holy Spirit’s message is direct.  It is very simple.  None of this is real.  Holy Spirit is smart.  Unlike me who tends to talk too much and go on rants and call a spade a spade, Holy Spirit knows that a direct approach is not always the best approach.  For those of us who are entranced by the perceptual world, a direct approach is an attack upon the only world we know and accept. 

An old friend told me the other day that when I first talked to him about the unreality of this world, he thought I was a whack job!  While my words struck him as somebody who had lost their marbles, he had to find truth for himself.  He gradually came to see what is impossible for us to see on our own just as it happened for me and as it happens for you.  Our friends will not get us and if you are like me, maybe you will feel obligated to make them see – but this is not our job!  This is the function of Holy Spirit.  Our function in the world is to heal and to help, not to attack and divide. However, there is a stark division between truth and unreality and there is sometimes no nice way to address this issue without compromising our love.  Each one of us must seek guidance from Holy Spirit whose function is to teach us, guide us, and return us to God’s Kingdom.  Let our prayer today be that we meet the conditions of learning by offering guiltlessness to the guiltless and thereby know that we are blessed. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth I. The conditions of learning. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 14 Teaching for Truth


1.  Yes, you are blessed indeed.  Yet in this world you do not know it.  But you have the means for learning it and seeing it quite clearly.  The Holy Spirit uses logic as easily and as well as does the ego, except that His conclusions are not insane.   They take a direction exactly opposite, pointing as clearly to Heaven as the ego points to darkness and to death.  We have followed much of the ego’s logic and have seen its logical conclusions.  And having seen them, we have realized that they cannot be seen except in illusions, for there alone their seeming clearness seems to be clearly seen.  Let us now turn away from them and follow the simple logic by which the Holy Spirit teaches the simple conclusions that speak for truth, and only truth. [1]

Today as we come to our devotional practice, Jesus reminds us that we are blessed.  We are learning the vision of Christ through our awakening to truth.  Christ’s vision is the miracle that quietly sees beyond the flesh eyes and the perceptual world.  Christ’s vision is everlasting for it is love.  There is no fear, greed, disease, and death in it. 

We begin to see through the lies of the ego that would keep us trapped in a perceptual world worshipping and groveling before fearful gods of wrath and vengeance, sacrifice and punishment.  Perhaps we think that we alone are amongst the few, the proud, the elect that have the truth, while the rest of the world can miss the Rapture and go to hell.  There is some rationale for the ego’s madness – steeped in darkness and in death, in sin and separation, in sacrifice and suffering – but Holy Spirit’s logic points in the opposite direction and is based upon truth. 

Follow the ego’s logic and see its logical conclusions.  Worship the ego’s gods and behold the promises that are broken, the diseases that ravage, the cost of its service.  One can never do enough for such a master for the master is exacting and punitive and is quick to give you a long list of all that you owe him for you are unworthy of his love and grace.  No matter how much you worship it, the end result is the same.  You die alone and unable to share your reality for you are but a twisted image of yourself broken in parts from the Sonship, one tiny, shattered fragment amongst teeming masses – unwilling to be put back together again with the whole – believing in specialness – possessing an uniqueness, which has no equal. 

We can turn away from all of this.  We do not have to accept such guff in place of truth.  We do not have to accept the fear or the pain, the suffering and uncertainty.  Jesus urges us to turn away from all that we thought we knew, that led us down a fear-ridden path, that promised to set us free but only raised more questions and delivered more grief.  Let us follow the logic of Holy Spirit, the holiness and the Spirit inside of each of us, the Spirit that never left God’s Kingdom, that was never taken in by the nightmare of separation and sin.  Let us follow our hearts which were made in love and by love and for love.  For Holy Spirit’s conclusions are not complicated – they are easy to understand for they speak for truth and only truth.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth.  Introduction. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 13 The Guiltless World

XI. The Peace of Heaven 6-11

6. You will not remember change and shift in Heaven.  You have need of contrast only here.  Contrast and differences are necessary teaching aids, for by them you learn what to avoid and what to seek.  When you have learned this, you will find the answer that makes the need for any differences disappear.  Trust comes of its own will unto its own.  When you have learned that you belong to truth, it will flow lightly over you without a difference of any kind.  For you will need no contrast to help you realize that this is what you want, and only this.  Fear not the Holy Spirit will fail in what your Father has given Him to do.  The Will of God can fail in nothing.

7.  Have faith in only this one thing, and it will be sufficient: God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you. Your wildest misperceptions, your weird imaginings, your blackest nightmares all mean nothing. They will not prevail against the peace God wills for you. The Holy Spirit will restore your sanity because insanity is not the Will of God. If that suffices Him, it is enough for you. You will not keep what God would have removed, because it breaks communication with you with whom He would communicate. His Voice will be heard.

8. The communication link that God Himself placed within you, joining your mind with His cannot be broken. You may believe you want it broken, and this belief does interfere with the deep peace in which the sweet and constant communication God would share with you is known. Yet His channels of reaching out cannot be wholly closed and separated from Him. Peace will be yours because His peace still flows to you from Him Whose Will is peace.  You have it now. The Holy Spirit will teach you how to use it, and by extending it, to learn that it is in you. God willed you Heaven and will always will you nothing else. The Holy Spirit knows only of His Will. There is no chance that Heaven will not be yours, for God is sure, and what He wills is as sure as He is.

9. You will learn salvation because you will learn how to save. It will not be possible to exempt yourself from what the Holy Spirit wants to teach you. Salvation is as sure as God. His certainty suffices. Learn that even the darkest nightmare that disturbs the mind of God’s sleeping Son holds no power over him. He will learn the lesson of awaking. God watches over him, and light surrounds him.

10. Can God’s Son lose himself in dreams, when God has placed within him the glad call to waken and be glad? He cannot separate himself from what is in him. His sleep will not withstand the call to wake. The mission of redemption will be fulfilled as surely as the creation will remain unchanged throughout eternity. You do not have to know that Heaven is yours to make it so. It is so. Yet to know it, the will of God must be accepted as your will.

11. The Holy Spirit will undo for you everything you have learned that teaches that what is not true must be reconciled with truth. This is the reconciliation the ego would substitute for your reconciliation to sanity and to peace. The Holy Spirit has a very different kind of reconciliation in His mind for you, and one He will effect as surely as the ego will not effect what it attempts. Failure is of the ego, not of God. From Him you cannot wander. And there is no possibility that the plan the Holy Spirit offers to everyone, for the salvation of everyone, will not be perfectly accomplished. You will be released, and you will not remember anything you made that was not created for you and by you in return. For how can you remember what was never true, or not remember what has always been? It is this reconciliation with truth, and only truth, in which the peace of Heaven lies.[1]

Today as we come to our devotional text, hark back to yesterday’s first five paragraphs about the peace of Heaven.  We bring nothing of this world to God’s Kingdom!  No matter what we have suffered at the hands of others and what we have done to others has any bearing on our place in God’s Kingdom.  This does not get us off the hook as one would tend to think – but rather it gives us a beautiful standard to live up to – as God’s Son.  As we remember our Sonship we will no longer want to lay any blame or guilt upon ourselves or others – we will not have to compare and contrast to see what is good and what is not, what to move toward and what to move away from.  The answer to all our questions is the one truth – Love is God and God is Love.  When we learn to love God rather than to fear Him, our trust will be in Him even as His trust is in us.

When we belong to truth, there is no lie in us.  When we belong to truth we do not have to worry about lies anymore.  The truth is apparent to us, and no lie will tell us that it is not so!  We will not have to suffer anymore to know that we want joy and wellness, health and wholeness.  We will not have to believe in lies to know that we want only truth.  We will not have to experience darkness to know that we are Sons born of Light.  We will not live shrouded in shadows to find that we desire only clearness and the unobstructed vista. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph seven that our faith is in God’s Will and God’s Will for you and God’s Will for me is for His Kingdom – nothing can keep us from God’s Will; nothing can keep God’s Will from us.  All this terrible melodrama we go through, and we put each other through can melt away in a minute for they mean nothing.  Nothing can prevail against God’s peace that Love wills for us.  This insane world and its batty thinking is not the Will of God for us.  We are not to be out to get each other, to take all we can and leave our beloved brothers with as little as possible, to be afraid of our beloved that they may get a scrap more than we are left!  This is not the Sonship of God; this is the aim of the ego to tear us apart and keep us from being decent and kind and good toward one another.  What God gives to us is enough for us – chasing after the world’s offering is lunacy for while we may get what we think we want, we will never be blessed, we will never be able to enjoy it, we will never truly own it, but it will seem to own us.  Holy Spirit restores our right mind to us and gives us hearts that love and care and bring together not tear apart. 

God has given us Holiness and made of us Spirit.  This is our communication link with God, and nothing can break it, even our deepest desire to remove it far from us.  No matter what we do – we will never find the deep peace that we yearn for in anything the world offers except the sweet and constant communication we have with God through our Holy Spirit.  We cannot separate ourselves from God no matter how long we sleep, no matter how many times we come back to go another round in the hellish cycles – we will all return to peace eventually for we were created to be peace – peace is ours, we have it now because God and His Peace is in us.

Holy Spirit teaches us how to extend the peace of God because only by sharing it can we learn that it is of us and in us.  If God willed for me to be in Heaven, He willed for you to be with me there.  That is all God wills for us.  He is our Father, and He is not an earthly father who could abandon us, disclaim us, disinherit us – He is God our Loving Father Who is Love Itself.  When I share God’s Love with you, I share God’s peace.  There is not Love without Peace nor is there Peace without Love. 

This is how we save one another. Saving one another is not saying magical words or adopting a belief system or joining a physical church.  We are saved when we remember that God Wills for us to be with Him in His Kingdom.  The Church of Christ is within each one of us.  Our salvation is as sure as God my dear brothers.  It is going to happen.  We have no more worries about the flesh for the flesh and all its dark nightmares holds no power over us when we awaken to the Sonship of God.  When we awaken, we awaken others.  Our safety and security is in the hands of God Whose love and light surrounds us. 

We do not have to shout at people, go on rants, try to convince others, curse them or send them to hell for not wanting to awaken just yet for perhaps it is not their time yet.  We do not have to push the trust down people’s throat and go about blabbing about Jesus all the time – this is unworthy for those whose trust is in God.  We learn our lessons and we teach our lessons in peace, in quiet, in the knowing of God’s Love. 

We can only sleep so long in the nightmare realm that takes away everything it gives to you and then some!  All of us know the truth within us for God is in us and God is truth.  We think of the world as being so big and so important and that everything we do has some everlasting meaning attached to it, but the good news is – that it means nothing for God is not the creator of madness, mayhem, and murder.  Believe in it or not, Heaven is yours and it is mine – our belief in it or against it has no effect upon the truth.  But to know it we must accept the fact that God’s Will and our will is one – there is none of this separate business, there is none of this God is out to get me business, there is none of this God wants me to sacrifice and suffer.  Fearing God is not loving God.  Fearing God is not accepting that God’s Will and our will is one and the same. 

Many of us make the mistake that we must sacrifice our happiness, our joy, and our little pleasures in order to have God’s Will for our lives.  This is a perverted way in which to relate to our Father for our Father’s Will for us is perfectly in accord with our own.  We want to be loved – God loves us.  We want to have peace – God’s peace is our peace.  We want to be full of joy and happiness – the Joy of the Lord has no bounds – and it is ours.  There is no sacrifice involved except the laying down of fear and the lies that come with it. 

Holy Spirit will undo for us all the teaching that programmed us to think that God is out to get us, to make us pay for our sins, to hold us accountable for our fleshly deeds.  This is the ego’s substitution for salvation, and it drives people into sorrow and insanity rather than to peace and God’s Kingdom.  Our reconciliation with God has all to do with recognizing that all failure is of the ego and the ego is a big nothing for the ego is based on a lie that God is a God of vengeance and wrath and out to declare war upon His creation over silly things such as belief systems and doctrines and goofy creeds based upon scraps of ancient myths made up by a primitive people.  Holy Spirit is in you and in me.  Holy Spirit knows the truth and will teach us the truth when we go to the right source and ask for it.  And all of us will sooner or later.  Because sooner or later the ego will fail us.  Our churches and our pastors fail us. Our bibles and other religious books fail us.  Our mates fail us.  Our riches and status and love affairs all fall by the wayside in one way or the other.  All of us must go within in this life or the next or the one after that. 

Let the following observations which Jesus uses to end this section and this chapter ring through your mind today – in your personal devotional practice and as you go through the day.  Come back to it and sip at it like a deer by a clean spring of water for it is so beautiful and so redeeming and such a spiritual release from all that is unholy and impure:

Holy Spirit is our guarantee for the salvation of everyone.  You and I will be released from the hellish realm of separateness, flesh, and decay.  That which was not created in Love and for Love and by Love will be forgotten for it was never true and therefore had no reality.  This is our salvation for why would we remember that which brings us suffering, sorrow, and death?  What is there to cherish in lies that obscure God’s love and devotion toward His Creation?  What is there to remember about the place where the brothers declared war upon each other and killed and plundered and made one another weep in agony and despair and called it honor and called it courage and built monuments to that which is death and decay?  No.  We can forget all about this substitute kingdom where the lies of ego pervert our vision and obscure the truth – for we live forever – perfectly whole and well and good – in the peace and certainty of our Father’s love and devotion. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 13 The guiltless world. XI The peace of heaven 6-11. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 13 The Guiltless World

XI. The Peace of Heaven 1-5

1. Forgetfulness and sleep and even death become the ego’s best advice for dealing with the perceived and harsh intrusion of guilt on peace. Yet no one sees himself in conflict and ravaged by a cruel war unless he believes that both opponents in the war are real. Believing this he must escape, for such a war would surely end his peace of mind, and so destroy him. Yet if he could but realize the war is between real and unreal powers, he could look upon himself and see his freedom. No one finds himself ravaged and torn in endless battles if he himself perceives them as wholly without meaning.

2. God would not have His Son in battle, and so His Son’s imagined “enemy” is totally unreal. You are but trying to escape a bitter war from which you have escaped. The war is gone. For you have heard the hymn of freedom rising unto Heaven. Gladness and joy belong to God for your release because you made it not. Yet as you made not freedom, so you made not a war that could endanger freedom. Nothing destructive ever was or will be. The war, the guilt, the past are gone as one into the unreality from which they came.

3. When we are all united in Heaven, you will value nothing that you value here. For nothing that you value here do you value wholly, and so you do not value it at all. Value is where God placed it, and the value of what God esteems cannot be judged, for it has been established. It is wholly of value. It can merely be appreciated or not. To value it partially is not to know its value. And Heaven is everything God values, and nothing else. Heaven is perfectly unambiguous. Everything is clear and bright and calls forth one response. There is no darkness and there is no contrast. There is no variation. There is no interruption. There is a sense of peace so deep that no dream in this world has ever brought even a dim imagining of what it is.

4. Nothing in this world can give this peace, for nothing in this world is wholly shared. Perfect perception can merely show you what is capable of being wholly shared. It can also show you the results of sharing, while you still remember the results of not sharing. The Holy Spirit points quietly to the contrast, knowing that you will finally let Him judge the difference for you, allowing Him to demonstrate which must be true. He has perfect faith in your final judgment because He knows that He will make it for you. To doubt this would be to doubt that His mission will be fulfilled. How is this possible when His mission is of God?

5. You whose mind is darkened by doubt and guilt, remember this: God gave the Holy Spirit to you, and gave Him the mission to remove all doubt and every trace of guilt that His dear Son has laid upon himself. It is impossible that this mission fail. Nothing can prevent that what God would have accomplished from accomplishment. Whatever your reactions to the Holy Spirit’s voice may be, whatever voice you choose to listen to, whatever strange thoughts may occur to you, God’s Will is done. You will find the peace in which He has established you, because He does not change his mind. He is invariable as the peace in which you dwell, and of which the Holy Spirit reminds you.[1]

In our devotional text today, Jesus assures us that each one of us have are holy and we are spirit.  Our Holy Spirit never left us and there is nothing we can do in the realm of perception to shake Him for He is as we were created and ever will be.  God will never change His mind about His Creations. 

No matter how darkened our minds and perverted our ways seem to be Holy Spirit’s function is to remove all guilt and shame, all sense of sin and uncertainty.  Jesus says that it is impossible that Holy Spirit fails us – it does not matter what voice we listen to, whether we curse God or bless Him, whether we have holy thoughts or strange and dirty thoughts – God’s Will is done, and it is God’s Will that we find the peace in which we were established.  God will never change His mind about us.  His love is as constant as the peace of His Kingdom where we will dwell forever.  Holy Spirit will never let us forget it.  As individuals and collectively – God will gather us Home.  God does not declare war upon His creation.  God does not send for some and not for all.  There is no magic word or potion or behavior or creed that gets us into heaven.  It is time for us to understand God’s love and undying devotion for us and to practice God’s love and undying devotion toward each other and toward Creation. 

This is God’s Will.  This is where we find the peace that has been established for us from the beginning.  This is the call of Holy Spirit within us – reminding us of God’s peace through our laying down of all illusions. 

We will end with paragraph five today and complete this section tomorrow.  In your personal devotional practice, relax into the peace of God.  Know that this world is an illusion – that what you think of as you is not You at all!  All that blame and shame, that belief in victim and victimizer, those sometimes off and sometimes on again relationships that characterize your life, the meanness and spite that was inflicted upon you and that you inflicted upon others – means nothing at all.  It does not define you nor does it define your brothers.  What you really are may be hidden from your awareness as an individual and what we really are is hidden from our awareness as a collective.  But Holy Spirit calls to you and to me as individuals even as Holy Spirit calls to all of Creation, reminding us of and calling to us to put away our weird belief systems that deny the peace of God’s Kingdom and come Home – complete and whole in Christ Who makes us one. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 13. The guiltless world. XI The peace of heaven 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit courtesy of Linda R.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 13 The Guiltless World

 X.  Release From Guilt 8-14

8. Now it is given you to heal and teach, to make what will be now. As yet it is not now. The Son of God believes that he is lost in guilt, alone in a dark world where pain is pressing everywhere upon him from without. When he has looked within and seen the radiance there, he will remember how much his Father loves him. And it will seem incredible that he ever thought his Father loved him not and looked upon him as condemned. The moment that you realize guilt is insane, wholly unjustified and wholly without reason, you will not fear to look upon the Atonement and accept it wholly.

9. You who have been unmerciful to yourself do not remember your Father’s love. And looking without mercy upon your brothers, you do not remember how much you love him. Yet it is forever true. In shining peace within you is the perfect purity in which you were created. Fear not to look upon the lovely truth in you.  Look through the cloud of guilt that dims your vision and look past darkness to the holy place where you will see the light. The altar to your Father is as pure as He Who raised it to Himself. Nothing can keep from you what Christ would have you see. His Will is like His Father’s, and He offers mercy to every child of God, as He would have you do.

10. Release from guilt as you would be released. There is no other way to look within and see the light of love, shining as steadily and as surely as God Himself has always loved His Son. And as His Son loves Him. There is no fear in love, for love is guiltless. You who have always loved your Father can have no fear, for any reason, to look within and see your holiness. You cannot be as you believed you were. Your guilt is without reason because it is not in the mind of God, where you are. And this is reason, which the Holy Spirit would restore to you. He would remove only illusions. All else He would have you see. And in Christ’s vision He would show you the perfect purity that is forever within God’s Son.

11. You cannot enter into real relationships with any of God’s Sons unless you love them all and equally. Love is not special. If you single out part of the Sonship for your love, you are imposing guilt on all your relationships and making them unreal. You can love only as God loves. Seek not to love unlike Him, for there is no love apart from His. Until you recognize that this is true, you will have no idea what love is like. No one who condemns a brother can see himself as guiltless and in the peace of God.  If he is guiltless and in peace and sees it not, he is delusional, and has not looked upon himself. To him I say: Behold the Son of God and look upon his purity and be still. In quiet look upon his holiness and offer thanks unto his Father that no guilt has ever touched him.

12. No illusion that you have ever held against him has touched his innocence in any way. His shining purity, wholly untouched by guilt and wholly loving, is bright within you. Let us look upon him together and love him. For in love of him is your guiltlessness. But look upon yourself, and gladness and appreciation for what you see will banish guilt forever. I thank You, Father, for the purity of Your most holy Son, whom You have created guiltless forever.

13. Like you, my faith and my belief are centered on what I treasure. The difference is that I love only what God loves with me, and because of this I treasure you beyond the value that you set on yourself, even unto the worth that God has placed upon you. I love all that He created, and all my faith and my belief I offer unto it. My faith in you is as strong as all the love I give my Father.  My trust in you is without limit, and without the fear that you will hear me not. I thank the Father for your loveliness, for the many gifts that you will let me offer to the Kingdom in honor of its wholeness that is of God.

14. Praise be to you who make the Father one with His Own Son. Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it.  Before the glorious radiance of the Kingdom guilt melts away and transformed into kindness will never more be what it was. Every reaction you experience will be so purified that it is fitting as a hymn of praise unto your Father.  See only praise of Him and what He has created, for He will never cease His praise of you.  United in this praise we stand before the gates of Heaven where we will surely enter in our sinlessness.  God loves you.  Could I, then, lack faith in you and love Him perfectly? [1]

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 13 The guiltless world. X Release from guilt 8-14. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 13 The Guiltless World

X.  Release From Guilt 1-7

1. You are accustomed to the notion that the mind can see the source of pain where it is not. The doubtful service of such displacement is to hide the real source of guilt and keep from your awareness the full perception that it is insane. Displacement always is maintained by the illusion that the source of guilt, from which attention is diverted, must be true; and must be fearful, or you would not have displaced the guilt onto what you believed to be less fearful. You are therefore willing to look upon all kinds of sources, provided they are not the deeper source to which they bear no real relationship at all.

2. Insane ideas have no real relationships, for that is why they are insane. No real relationship can rest on guilt, or even hold one spot of it to mar its purity. For all relationships that guilt has touched are used but to avoid the person and the guilt. What strange relationships you have made for this strange purpose! And you forgot that real relationships are holy and cannot be used by you at all. They are used only by the Holy Spirit, and it is that which makes them pure. If you displace your guilt upon them, the Holy Spirit cannot use them. For, by preempting for your own ends what you should have given Him, He cannot use it for your release. No one who would unite in any way with anyone for his individual salvation will find it in that strange relationship. It is not shared, and so it is not real.

3. In any union with a brother in which you seek to lay your guilt upon him, or share it with him or perceive his own, you will feel guilty. Nor will you find satisfaction in peace with him, because your union with him is not real. You will see guilt in that relationship because you put it there. It is inevitable that those who suffer guilt will attempt to displace it, because they do believe in it. Yet though they suffer, they will not look within and let it go. They cannot know they love and cannot understand what loving is. Their main concern is to perceive the source of guilt outside themselves, beyond their own control.

4. When you maintain that you are guilty, but the source of your guilt lies in the past, you are not looking inward. The past is not in you. Your weird associations to it have no meaning in the present.  Yet you let them stand between you and your brothers, with whom you find no real relationships at all. Can you expect to use your brothers as a means to “solve” the past, and still to see them as they really are? Salvation is not found by those who use their brothers to resolve problems that are not there. You wanted not salvation in the past. Would you impose your idle wishes on the present, and hope to find salvation now?

5. Determine, then, to be not as you were. Use no relationship to hold you to the past, but with each one each day be born again. A minute, even less, will be enough to free you from the past, and give your mind in peace over to the Atonement. When everyone is welcome to you as you would have yourself be welcome to your Father, you will see no guilt in you. For you will have accepted the Atonement, which shone within you all the while you dreamed of guilt and would not look within and see it.

6. As long as you believe that guilt is justified in any way, in anyone, whatever he may do, you will not look within, where you would always find Atonement. The end of guilt will never come as long as you believe there is a reason for it. For you must learn that guilt is always totally insane and has no reason. The Holy Spirit seeks not to dispel reality. If guilt were real, Atonement would not be. The purpose of Atonement is to dispel illusions, not to establish them as real and then forgive them.

7. The Holy Spirit does not keep illusions in your mind to frighten you and show them to you fearfully to demonstrate what He has saved you from. What He has saved you from is gone. Give no reality to guilt and see no reason for it. The Holy Spirit does what God would have Him do and has always done so. He has seen separation but knows of union. He teaches healing, but he also knows of creation. He would have you see and teach as He does, and through Him. Yet what He knows you do not know, though it is yours.[1]

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 13 The guiltless world. X Release from guilt 1-7. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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