I. The Judgment of the Holy Spirit 6-10
6. Only appreciation is an appropriate response to your brother. Gratitude is due him for both his loving thoughts and his appeals for help, for both are capable of bringing love into your awareness if you perceive them truly. And all your sense of strain comes from your attempts not to do just this. How simple, then, is God’s plan for salvation. There is but one response to reality, for reality evokes no conflict at all. There is but one Teacher of reality, Who understands what it is. He does not change His mind about reality because reality does not change. Although your interpretations of reality are meaningless in your divided state, His remain consistently true. He gives them to you because they are for you. Do not attempt to “help” a brother in your way, for you cannot help yourself. But hear his call for the Help of God, and you will recognize your own need for the Father.
7. Your interpretations of your brother’s needs are your interpretation of yours. By giving help you are asking for it, and if you perceive but one need in yourself you will be healed. For you will recognize God’s Answer as you want It to be, and if you want It in truth, It will truly be yours. Every appeal you answer in the name of Christ brings the remembrance of your Father closer to your awareness. For the sake of your need, then, hear every call for help as what it is, so God can answer you.
8. By applying the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the reactions of others more and more consistently, you will gain an increasing awareness that His criteria are equally applicable to you. For to recognize fear is not enough to escape from it, although the recognition is necessary to demonstrate the need for escape. The Holy Spirit must still translate the fear into truth. If you were left with the fear, once you had recognized it, you would have taken a step away from reality, not towards it. Yet we have repeatedly emphasized the need to recognize fear and face it without disguise as a crucial step in the undoing of the ego. Consider how well the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the motives of others will serve you then. Having taught you to accept only loving thoughts in others and to regard everything else as an appeal for help, He has taught you that fear itself is an appeal for help. This is what recognizing fear really means. If you do not protect it, He will reinterpret it. That is the ultimate value in learning to perceive attack as a call for love. We have already learned that fear and attack are inevitably associated. If only attack produces fear, and if you see attack as the call for help that it is, the unreality of fear must dawn on you. For fear is a call for love, an unconscious recognition of what has been denied.
9. Fear is a symptom of your own deep sense of loss. If when you perceive it in others you learn to supply the loss, the basic cause of fear is removed. Thereby you teach yourself that fear does not exist in you. The means for removing it is in yourself, and you have demonstrated this by giving it. Fear and love are the only emotions of which you are capable. One is false, for it was made out of denial; and denial depends on the belief in what is denied for its own existence. By interpreting fear correctly as a positive affirmation of the underlying belief it masks, you are undermining its perceived usefulness by rendering it useless. Defenses that do not work at all are automatically discarded. If you raise what fear conceals to clear-cut unequivocal predominance, fear becomes meaningless. You have denied its power to conceal love, which was its only purpose. The veil that you have drawn across the face of love has disappeared.
10. If you would look upon love, which is the world’s reality, how could you do better than to recognize, in every defense against it, the underlying appeal for it? And how could you better learn of its reality than by answering the appeal for it by giving it? The Holy Spirit’s interpretation of fear does dispel it, for the awareness of truth cannot be denied. Thus does the Holy Spirit replace fear with love and translates error into truth. And thus will you learn of Him how to replace your dream of separation with the fact of unity. For the separation is only the denial of union, and correctly interpreted, attests to your eternal knowledge that union is true.
In today’s post we will finish the first section of The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum which we started yesterday. Today’s Workbook lesson is 133: I will not value what is valueless. We can practice the concept of the workbook lesson to today’s text reading by no longer valuing the judgments, perceptions, and interpretations of our brothers that our egos make, and only valuing the judgment of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit never changes His mind. Holy Spirit is not in love and forgiveness one day and in hatred and spite the next. Holy Spirit does not base His Joy on the changing social, political, or geothermic landscapes of the world. Holy Spirit has one judgment, and it is the only judgment there is because it is consistently true. Holy Spirit’s judgment toward our brother is the only help there is – for our brothers need the Father even as we need the Father.
When we recognize that every need we have is a need for God, and we offer the mutuality of Sonship to our brothers, we are healed of everything that seems to ail us. When we answer others in the name of mutuality, we are answering in the name of love, we are responding to their need in the name of Christ. The remembrance of our Sonship is brought closer to our awareness each and every time we hear a call for help for what it really is.
A few years ago, a coworker and I were attending an out-of-town training. One night as we were walking back to our hotel after enjoying a nice meal at a local pub, a tall, stout guy started following us, calling out sexual innuendos and making rude gestures toward us. Earlier, during our meal, we had been sharing this particular Course concept and had both agreed that it sounded good on paper. However, here was a perfect opportunity to put what we had been discussing into practice. And so we stopped walking and we turned and gave the fellow our full attention. We smiled at him. We recognized him as a friend and a brother. At first he seemed a bit startled.
“Are you from here?” I asked him. He nodded. “We’ve never been here before,” I told him, “And maybe you could tell us a bit about it.”
The change in this guy’s demeanor was immediate. He became very courtly and offered to escort us back to our hotel through the dangerous neighborhoods. He promised not to let anyone hurt us, even though he had been the only perceived danger that we could tell! While he did not tell us much about the city, he did seem to enjoy talking about himself. He told us how his wife had left him, and his sons do not come to see him. He told us how he came home from Vietnam a bit of a drunk and wasn’t that great of a husband or a father and now he is not even allowed to see his granddaughters. He said how much he hated himself and that every day when he woke up he had a sense of dread and loathing for himself that only went away when he drank. He held up his paper bag and showed us his bottle of whiskey. But even though alcohol made him feel a little better, he said, he knew it was not his friend. He actually was a very nice man, escorting us all the way to the door of our hotel. Exhorting us not to go out walking around by ourselves the way we did because we could end up getting …and he looked away and seemed too embarrassed to complete the sentence.
Our brother was calling to us for help. He wanted us to recognize him, to see past his shabby clothes, the racial difference, the alcohol laced breath, the slurred words, the calling of names, and see him as he really was, not a man who had had more than his fair share of sorrow, shame, and degradation, but as a brother. We didn’t respond to his insults, we responded to his Sonship. God can only answer us when we answer the appeal of others in the name of Christ. How do we answer in the name of Christ? We answer in the spirit of Sonship, in the spirit of Brotherhood. There is no magic in the word – Jesus. True power is – in His Name, which is the Love we find in Sonship, the mutuality we find in Brotherhood.
When we recognize the fear that is behind all insults, accusations, calls for battle and strife, we do not stop there. We do not say, Oh the guy is just afraid – our skin color, our nice clothes, our high heels and walking about his neighborhood makes him afraid that his community is going to be taken over by people like us, we may remind him of the oppression of his people, we may stand for all the women who have rejected his advances; we may be rubbing his nose in what he can never have. My oh my we could analyze this scenario to death. We could pick it apart and make up all kinds of stories about it. We could blame him; we could blame ourselves. We could be afraid; we could be snotty; we could have called the cops; we could have pepper sprayed the guy. But we saw past the fear. We recognized that this fellow wanted us to see him. Care about me, love me, appreciate me, listen to me is the cry of the outcast, the peevish, the jealous and the downtrodden. See me, talk to me, smile at me, heal me, make me better, says the abuser, rapist, killer, and traitor. When we see all forms of attack, all forms of that which is not love as fear – fear is no longer a reality – it is instead a call for love, an unconscious recognition of what has been denied. Fear says: “I need to be loved, and I am not loved. I need to love, and I cannot love. Since I cannot have love, recognition, and appreciation, I will take it from you by attacking you. I will be bitter about your privileges and blessings because I do not recognize my own privileges and blessings. I will not only withhold my love, affection, and attention from you, I will get others to side with me against you. I will steal and rob, rape and kill not only you but everyone who looks and acts like you. I will find some way to shatter your peace because my peace is shattered. I will find some way to rob you of joy because I have no joy. I will take whatever it is that I don’t have away from you, so that we both can suffer together.”
Fear is a symptom of our deep sense of loss. When we perceive fear in others and we respond to it with love, we teach ourselves that there is no place for fear in our lives. We demonstrate this by responding to fear, not with social programs that exacerbate the fear and make everyone feel ashamed and guilty, but we deny fear for we know there is no truth in it. We cannot lose our place in the Sonship; God’s Love will never leave us or forsake us. To deny this is to deny reality and to deny reality is to believe falsely. When we go beyond fear to what it is hiding, we find there a call for love. When we do not respond to aggression, cruelty, violence, and anger except with a spirit of brotherhood and an intent to heal, we have washed away the veil that would mask the face of Christ.
You may or you may not believe in this. I used to get so annoyed with James when he would make comments like, “Well, it sounds good on paper, but it would never work in the real world.” Then he would go on to cite instances where responding in love would seem like it would never work. While each instance would seem to be a strong example of why we should respond with anger, defense, counterattack, and forms of punishment to evildoers and the evildoing of the world, after some discussion it would become apparent how senseless, useless, and cruel the justice of the world turns out to be.
We must learn to respond to unbelief with peace. James does not have to believe in truth for truth to be true. I do not have to force a belief system upon anyone in order to prove truth is true. This either works or it does not. All we must do is be willing to work with Holy Spirit instead of against Him. We must all learn for ourselves that this is true and go from there. We will not be asked to move mountains until we are ready to move mountains. We will not be asked to prevent catastrophes until we are ready to prevent catastrophes. Holy Spirit is our Comforter, not our slavedriver, taskmaster, or king. He comes in the spirit of love and joy and peace, not in fear and threat and curses.
We want to live our lives without fear and without shame. We want joy for the world and peace on earth. We want goodwill to characterize our relationships, our communities, our nations, and world. Holy Spirit replaces fear with love and translates error into truth. We learn of Holy Spirit by practicing these concepts in our daily lives, by accepting and admitting that we do not know how to interpret the perceptual world, and that we are better off allowing Holy Spirit’s judgment to replace our dream of separateness with the reality of Sonship. For when we see our brothers’ antagonism as only a denial of the Brotherhood and correctly interpret it as a call for acceptance, healing, and love, our lives attest to our everlasting knowledge that nobody is forever lost, nobody is forever alone, nobody is left behind – for we are One.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 12 The Holy Spirit’s curriculum I. The judgment of the Holy Spirit. 6-10. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily workbook lessons, visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com