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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 www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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