comment 0

ACIM Chapter 20 The Vision of Holiness VI The Temple of the Holy Spirit

1. The meaning of the Son of God lies solely in his relationship with his Creator.  If it were elsewhere it would rest on contingency, but there is nothing else.  And this is wholly loving and forever.  Yet has the Son of God invented an unholy relationship between him and His Father.  His real relationship is one of perfect union and unbroken continuity.  The one he made is partial, self-centered, broken into fragments, and full of fear.  The one created by his Father is wholly self-encompassing and self-extending.  The one he made is wholly self-destructive and self-limiting.

2. Nothing can show the contrast better than the experience of both a holy and an unholy relationship.  The first is based on love, and rests on it serene and undisturbed.  The body does not intrude upon it.  Any relationship in which the body enters is based not on love, but on idolatry.  Love wishes to be known, completely understood, and shared.  It has no secrets, nothing that it would keep apart and hide.  It walks in sunlight, open-eyed and calm, in smiling welcome and in sincerity so simple and so obvious it cannot be misunderstood.

3. But idols do not share.  Idols accept, but never make return.  They can be loved but cannot love.  They do not understand what they are offered, and any relationship in which they enter has lost its meaning.  The love of them has made love meaningless.  They live in secrecy, hating the sunlight and happy in the body’s darkness, where they can hide and keep their secrets hidden along with them.  And they have no relationships, for no one else is welcome there.  They smile on no one, and those who smile on them, they do not see.

4. Love has no darkened temples where mysteries are kept obscure and hidden from the sun.  It does not seek for power, but for relationships.  The body is the ego’s chosen weapon for seeking power through relationships.  And its relationship must be unholy, for what they are it does not even see.  It wants them solely for the offerings on which its idols thrive.  The rest it merely throws away, for all that it could offer is seen as valueless.  Homeless, the ego seeks as many bodies as it can collect to place its idols in, and so establish them as temples to itself.

5. The Holy Spirit’s temple is not a body, but a relationship.  The body is an isolated speck of darkness, a hidden secret room, a tiny spot of senseless mystery, a meaningless enclosure carefully protected, yet hiding nothing.  Here the unholy relationship escapes reality and seeks for crumbs to keep itself alive.  Here it would drag its brothers, holding them here in its idolatry.  Here it is “safe,” for here love cannot enter.  The Holy Spirit does not build His temples where love can never be.  Would He Who sees the face of Christ choose as His home the only place in all the universe where it can not be seen?

6. You cannot make the body the Holy Spirit’s temple, and it will never be the seat of love.  It is the home of the idolater, and of love’s condemnation.  For here is love made fearful and hope abandoned.  Even the idols that are worshipped here are shrouded in mystery and kept apart from those who worship them.  This is the temple dedicated to no relationships and no return.  Here is the “mystery” of separation perceived in awe and held in reverence.  What God would have not be is here kept “safe” from Him.  But what you do not realize is what you fear within your brother, and would not see in him, is what makes God seem fearful to you, and kept unknown.

7. Idolaters will always be afraid of love, for nothing so severely threatens them as love’s approach.  Let love draw near them and overlook the body, as it will surely do, and they retreat in fear, feeling the seeming firm foundation of their temple begin to shake and loosen.  Brother, you tremble with them.  Yet what you fear is but the herald of escape.  This place of darkness is not your home.  Your temple is not threatened.  You are an idolater no longer.  The Holy Spirit’s purpose lies safe in your relationship, and not your body.  You have escaped the body.  Where you are the body cannot enter, for the Holy Spirit has set His temple there.

8. There is no order in relationships.  They either are or not.  An unholy relationship is not a relationship.  It is a state of isolation which seems to be what it is not.  No more than that.  The instant that the mad idea of making your relationship with God unholy seemed to be possible, all your relationships were made meaningless.  In that unholy instant time was born, and bodies made to house the mad idea and give it the illusion of reality.  And so it seemed to have a home that held together for a little while in time and vanished.  For what could house this mad idea against reality but for an instant?

9. Idols must disappear and leave no trace behind their going.  The unholy instant of their seeming power is frail as is a snowflake, but without its loveliness.  Is this the substitute you want for the eternal blessing of the holy instant and its unlimited beneficence?  Is the malevolence of the unholy relationship, so seeming powerful and so bitterly misunderstood and so invested in a false attraction your preference to the holy instant, which offers you peace and understanding?  Then lay aside the body and quietly transcend it, rising to welcome what you really want.  And from His holy temple, look you not back on what you have awakened from.  For no illusions can attract the mind that has transcended them and left them far behind.

10. The holy relationship reflects the true relationship the Son of God has with his Father in reality.  The Holy Spirit rests within it in the certainty it will endure forever.  Its firm foundation is eternally upheld by truth, and love shines on it with the gentle smile and tender blessing it offers to its own.  Here the unholy instant is exchanged in gladness for the holy one of safe return.  Here is the way to true relationships held gently open, through which you and your brother walk together, leaving the body thankfully behind and resting in the Everlasting Arms.  Love’s arms are open to receive you and give you peace forever.

11. The body is the ego’s idol; the belief in sin made flesh and then projected outward.  This produces what seems to be a wall of flesh around the mind, keeping it prisoner in a tiny spot of space and time, beholden unto death, and given but an instant in which to sigh and grieve and die in honor of its master.  And this unholy instant seems to be life; an instant of despair, a tiny island of dry sand, bereft of water and set uncertainly upon oblivion.  Here does the Son of God stop briefly by, to offer his devotion to death’s idols and then pass on.  And here he is more dead than living.  Yet it is also here he makes his choice again between idolatry and love.  Here it is given him to choose to spend this instant paying tribute to the body or let himself be given freedom from it.  Here he can accept the holy instant, offered him to replace the unholy one he chose before.  And here can he learn relationships are his salvation, and not his doom.

12. You who are learning this may still be fearful, but you are not immobilized.  The holy instant is of greater value now to you than its unholy seeming counterpart, and you have learned you really want but one.  This is no time for sadness.  Perhaps confusion, but hardly discouragement.  You have a real relationship, and it has meaning.  It is as like your real relationship with God as equal things are like unto each other.  Idolatry is past and meaningless.  Perhaps you fear your brother a little yet; perhaps a shadow of the fear of God remains with you.  Yet what is that to those who have been given one true relationship beyond the body?  Can they be long held back from looking on the face of Christ?  And can they long withhold the memory of their relationship with their Father from themselves, and keep remembrance of His Love apart from their awareness?[1] 

Jesus tells us in today’s devotional text to live not for our body but for our relationship with God and each other.  Holy relationships are wholesome relationships built not on the false connections and ties that the world gives us but on the true communion of our divine Spirits.  As we embrace the reality of Sonship, of the Brotherhood of Christ, as we practice the holy instant in regard to all of our earthly concerns, we learn to disregard the body in favor of the Body of Christ which has never been broken or sullied by our dream of death, decay, and destruction.  As we bring every earthbound connection to Holy Spirit, as we bring our fears of destruction and death, of the insanity of terror and violence, meanness and snideness to the holy instant and put it down before Holy Spirit we gain in strength and in power.  The truth dawns upon our minds and changes our perception from that of the low mind of humanity to the high mind of Christ. 

This then is the temple of Holy Spirit, not our flesh body, its bones and blood and organs, its nerves and impulses and drives.  To live for the flesh body is to live for death and it is important that we shift our emphasis from the body to the Spirit now while in the body for it is my understanding that to continue to idolize the body until it dies is to remain trapped in karmic cycles of birth and death.  Make a conscious choice to be unafraid of what others can do to our bodies or what we want to do to other people’s bodies in retaliation or for our inborn desire to protect ourselves or take revenge.  To choose fear is to deny love, which is not life but a pretense of life.  When we live for the Sonship, we live for life eternal and our life in the flesh becomes only meaningful in regard to our holy relationships – as we bring in the return of Sonship to every mind and heart entrapped in flesh and time and perversion. 

If we are still a bit afraid of and for our bodies, we are at least no longer immobilized by our fear of disease, decay, and death.  We have practiced the holy instant and have found it worthy; we have learned that we are no longer the least bit interested in judgment, condemnation, and vengeance.  We have learned that all that is not holy is unworthy of the Sonship and the Sonship is all we really want.  Do not be saddened or discouraged by your attachment to your body and its concerns – we have a real relationship now and it has meaning.  When we develop holy regard toward our mates, our family members, our children and friends and acquaintances, we honor our relationship with God for when we only desire peace, joy, and love for others, we are stepping up from the low realm of the flesh mind and into the high Mind of Christ, which makes us one with our Father and restores our sanity by restoring our love.  When we can see past the body to the beautiful eternal Being of even one brother and appreciate him fully for the Sonship he represents, we see the Face of Christ and idolatry is over in our lives.  Our attachment to the body may still seem real to us; fear may creep in from time to time as we contemplate the state of the world and the temptation to succumb and believe in what could never be true – but now we know that God is love and what happens in the world is a thing of the past which can never rise against or withstand the love and peace and joy of God’s Kingdom. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 20 The vision of holiness. VI The temple of the Holy Spirit. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

Posted by

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s