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ACIM Chapter 20. The Vision of Holiness VII. The Consistency of Means and End

1. We have said much about discrepancies of means and end, and how these must be brought in line before your holy relationship can bring you only joy.  But we have also said the means to meet the Holy Spirit’s goal will come from the same Source as does His purpose.  Being so simple and direct, this course has nothing in it that is not consistent.  The seeming inconsistencies, or parts you find more difficult than others, are merely indications of areas where means and end are still discrepant.  And this produces great discomfort.  This need not be.  This course requires almost nothing of you.  It is impossible to imagine one that asks so little or could offer more.

2. The period of discomfort that follows the sudden change in a relationship from sin to holiness may now be almost over.  To the extent you still experience it, you are refusing to leave the means to Him Who changed the purpose.  You recognize you want the goal.  Are you not also willing to accept the means?  If you are not, let us admit that you are inconsistent.  A purpose is attained by means, and if you want a purpose, you must be willing to want the means as well.  How can one be sincere and say, “ I want this above all else, and yet I do not want to learn the means to get it?”

3. To obtain the goal of the Holy Spirit indeed asks little.  He asks no more to give the means as well.  The means are second to the goal.  And when you hesitate, it is because the purpose frightens you, and not the means.  Remember this, for otherwise you will make the error of believing the means are difficult.  Yet how can they be difficult if they are merely given you?  They guarantee the goal, and they are perfectly in line with it.  Before we look at them a little closer, remember that if you think they are impossible, your wanting of the purpose is shaken.  For if a goal is possible to reach, the means to do so must be possible as well. 

4. It is impossible to see your brother as sinless and yet to look upon him as a body.  Is this not perfectly consistent with the goal of holiness?  For holiness is merely the result of letting the effects of sin be lifted, so what was always true is recognized.  To see a sinless body is impossible, for holiness is positive and the body is merely neutral.  It is not sinful, but neither is it sinless.  As nothing, which it is, the body cannot meaningfully be invested with attributes of Christ or of the ego.  Either must be an error, for both would place the attributes where they cannot be.  And both must be undone for purpose of truth. 

5. The body is the means by which the ego tries to make the unholy relationship seem real.  The unholy instant is the time of bodies.  But the purpose here is sin.  It cannot be attained but in illusion, and so the illusion of a brother as a body is quite in keeping with the purpose of unholiness.  Because of this consistency, the means remain unquestioned while the end is cherished.  Seeing adapts to wish, for sight is always secondary to desire.  And if you see the body, you have chosen judgment and not vision.  For vision, like relationships, has no order.  You either see or not.

6. Who sees a brother’s body has laid a judgment on him and sees him not.  He does not really see him as sinful; he does not see him at all.  In the darkness of sin, he is invisible.  He can but be imagined in the darkness, and it is here that the illusions you hold about him are not held up to his reality.  Here are illusions and reality kept separated.  Here are illusions never brought to truth, and always hidden from it.  And here, in darkness, is your brother’s reality imagined as a body, in unholy relationships with other bodies, serving the cause of sin an instant before he dies. 

7. There is indeed a difference between the vain imaginings and vision.  The difference lies not in them, but in their purpose.  Both are but means, each one appropriate to the end for which it is employed. Neither can serve the purpose of the other, for each one is a choice of purpose, employed on its behalf.  Either is meaningless without the end for which it was intended, nor is it valued as a separate thing apart from the intention.  The means seem real because the goal is valued.  And judgment has no value unless the goal is sin. 

8. The body cannot be looked upon except through judgment.  To see the body is the sign that you lack vision and have denied the means the Holy Spirit offers you to serve His purpose.  How can a holy relationship achieve its purpose through the means of sin?  Judgment you taught yourself; vision is learned from Him Who would undo your teaching.  His vision cannot see the body because it cannot look on sin.  And thus it leads you to reality.  Your holy brother, sight of whom is your release, is no illusion.  Attempt to see him not in darkness, for your imaginings about him will seem real there.  You closed your eyes to shut him out.  Such was your purpose, and while this purpose seems to have a meaning, the means for its attainment will be evaluated as worth the seeing, and so you will not see. 

9. Your question should not be, “How can I see my brother without the body?”  Ask only, “Do I really wish to see him sinless?”  And as you ask, forget not that his sinlessness is your escape from fear.  Salvation is the Holy Spirit’s goal.  The means is vision.  For what the seeing look upon is sinless.  No one who loves can judge, and what he sees is free of condemnation.  And what he sees he did not make, for it was given him to see, as was the vision that made his seeing possible. [1]

In today’s devotional text Jesus brings us to our awareness the consistency between the means to holy relationship and the goal of holy relationship.  We cannot have true communion in the body – our bodies will always get in the way of our truly knowing and sharing Being between our everlasting Selves.  So what do we do with the body?  It is here and it is getting in our way of experiencing our Being as holy – is Jesus suggesting that we kill the body, slowly starve it to death, jump off a cliff, join some kind of suicide cult?  No.  He is simply asking us not to perceive it.  This is impossible in the flesh.  I cannot fail to perceive my body.  It is always with me – when I wake up in the morning there it is and when I go to bed there it is.  To not perceive my body then seems to be madness.  Has this been a Course in madness or what?

As I ask Holy Spirit to shine upon my mind and help me to understand the words of our beloved Teacher, I realize that there is a way not to perceive the body except as part of the illusion of separation.  Days, weeks, months, and even years can go by without us having any contact in the flesh.  We may not telephone each other or text, we may simply communicate in the holy instants in which we cross each others’ mind and instead of vainly thinking about each other, we consciously meet each other in true communion.   Here we trust in the sinlessness between us.  We do not suddenly change our minds about each other, dig up something that was said or done in the past that we would hold against each other, gossip about each other, share each others’ confidences, decide against each other in any way.  We simply rest in the fact that we are all busy with our separate human lives and instead of worrying about each other, wondering over each others’ health and well-being, family and job problems, or stressing over a perceived slight, we devote our time apart in the flesh to our spiritual practices.  In this state of Being, I can enjoy sweet days with my husband cooking meals and taking care of our household chores, my daily swims with my sister, taking my grandson to school, reading and writing, watching movies, and the chats I enjoy in the flesh with neighbors, friends, and old colleagues.   

When we know each other as sinless, we know each other as invulnerable.  Living or dying in the flesh has little concern then to us for the flesh is only an impediment to who and what we really are.  You and I may never meet in the flesh, or if we have, we may never see each other in the flesh again and yet we know each other, enjoy each other, we are with each other forever.  The simple matter that we do not share meals, regard the differences in our skin tones, accents, level of affluence, influence, and lifestyles, suffer and bear patiently our individual personality quirks, opinionated claims, and questionable spiritual insights has no bearing on the truth about us.  For we know each other as we know ourselves – sinless, without shame, with no need for sacrifice, undue attention, or flattery of any kind.  When we come to this, we no longer need salvation for we have entered the golden thread of God which runs through time and is the means of our return.     

This is the consistency of means and ends that Jesus is teaching in this section.  This is our calling and the means to fulfill the Kingdom which is calling to us.  While for years we have associated holiness with a religious rite, a form of religious vanity even, holiness is simply accepting the Love which is God, the Peace that is God, the Joy that is God.  Holiness is simply recognizing that all that we can see with the flesh eyes is an illusion; and is a result of the insane idea that God is fearful, jealous, and spiteful. 

In your quiet time today, contemplate the consistent state of peace which the Vision of Christ gives to our sojourn in time.  Jesus is not asking us to crucify the flesh, to wear a crown of thorns, to disrespect our bodies in any way.  He is simply asking us to remove our identity from them and spend time getting to know the Voice for God which dwells in our higher minds and calls to us to be whole and holy.  This is a very small request and there is absolutely no need to make it difficult.  Holy Spirit is entirely on our side and will take every bit of willingness we have to give up our flesh identity and strengthen our faith in our divine beingness.  As we come to know ourselves and each other in truth, we are relieved from the worries and concerns of the flesh.  We know ourselves as Christ – the Son of God, we say.  In Spirit we are not separated by gender or sex.  We don’t say children of God because Love does not create lesser Beings, Love creates equal Beings. Love does not create lesser beings to worship Love, Love does not create a state of constant unequal dependency, Love has no desire to be the big cheese amongst lesser cheeses.  In love we desire equality, unity, and oneness.  In love giving and receiving are one and is not an expense bore by one and a freebie enjoyed by the other.  Because our language is limited to male and female, he and she, Jesus chose the pronoun Son to indicate the genderless state of Being that is our Spirit. 

The use of gender pronouns has become an especially tiresome issue in the world and one in which Jesus calls for us to rise above when He instructs us to perceive Spirit rather than flesh.  The more we perceive our true Selves as Sons of God, the less concerned we are about gender issues.  They cease to matter.  Why should we give a toss if someone has a penis or a vagina, both, or neither?  Gender issues and sexuality is of the flesh.  The sexual impulse is a sad substitute for the ideal of love, communion, and communication offered by Spirit.  We arrive at holiness by choosing holiness, we come to Spirit by choosing Spirit.  The consistency of means and end is a process of consistently choosing to exchange the lower mind of the flesh with its passionate, volatile, and aggressive urges to sin against and with one other, to the calm, conscious, peaceful higher mind of Christ which calls us to God.      


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 20 The vision of holiness. VII The consistency of means and end. 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

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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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