1. Do you want freedom of the body or of the mind? For both you cannot have. Which do you value? Which is your goal? For one you see as means; the other, end. And one must serve the other and lead to its predominance, increasing its importance by diminishing its own. Means serve the end, and as the end is reached the value of the means decreases, eclipsed entirely when they are recognized as functionless. No one but yearns for freedom and tries to find it. Yet he will seek for it where he believes it is and can be found. He will believe it possible of mind or body, and he will make the other serve his choice as means to find it.
2. Where freedom of the body has been chosen, the mind is used as means whose value lies in its ability to contrive ways to achieve the body’s freedom. Yet freedom of the body has no meaning, and so the mind is dedicated to serve illusions. This is a situation so contradictory and so impossible that anyone who chooses this has no idea of what is valuable. Yet even in this confusion, so profound it cannot be described, the Holy Spirit waits in gentle patience, as certain of the outcome as He is sure of His Creator’s love. He knows this mad decision was made by one as dear to His Creator as love is to itself.
3. Be not disturbed at all to think how He can change the role of means and end so easily in what God loves and would have free. But be you rather grateful that you can be the means to serve His end. This is the only service that leads to freedom. To serve this end the body must be perceived as sinless, because the goal is sinlessness. The lack of contradiction makes the soft transition from means to end as easy as is the shift from hate to gratitude before forgiving eyes. You will be sanctified by your brother, using your body only to serve the sinless. And it will be impossible for you to hate what serves whom you would heal.
4. This holy relationship, lovely in its innocence, mighty in strength, and blazing with a light far brighter than the sun that lights the sky you see, is chosen of your Father as a means for His Own plan. Be thankful that it serves yours not at all. Nothing entrusted to it can be misused, and nothing given it but will be used. This holy relationship has the power to heal all pain, regardless of its form. Neither you nor your brother alone can serve at all. Only in your joint will does healing lie. For here your healing is, and here will you accept Atonement. And in your healing is the Sonship healed because your will and your brothers are joined.
5. Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, “This was a mistake.” And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given! Each part of Heaven that you bring is given you. And every empty place in Heaven that you fill again with eternal light you bring, shines now on you. The means of sinlessness can know no fear because they carry only love with them.
6. Child of peace, the light has come to you. The light you bring you do not recognize, and yet you will remember. Who can deny himself the vision that he brings to others? And who would fail to recognize a gift he let be laid in heaven through himself? The gentle service that you give the Holy Spirit is service to yourself. You who are now His means must love all that He loves. And what you bring is your remembrance of everything that is eternal. No trace of anything in time can long remain in a mind that serves the timeless. And no illusion can disturb the peace of a relationship that has become the means of peace.
7. When you have looked upon your brother with complete forgiveness, from which no error is excluded and nothing kept hidden, what mistake can there be anywhere you cannot overlook? What form of suffering could block your sight, preventing you from seeing past it? And what illusion could there be you will not recognize as a mistake; a shadow through which you walk completely undismayed? God would let nothing interfere with those whose wills are His, and they will recognize their wills are His, because they serve His Will. And serve it willingly. And could remembrance of what they are be long delayed?
8. You will see your value through your brother’s eyes, and each one is released as he beholds his savior in place of the attacker who he thought was there. Through this releasing is the world released. This is your part in bringing peace. For you have asked what is your function here and have been answered. Seek not to change it, nor to substitute another goal. This one was given you, and only this. Accept this one and serve it willingly, for what the Holy Spirit does with gifts you give your brother, to whom He offers them, and where and when, is up to Him. He will bestow them where they are received and welcomed. He will use every one of them for peace. Nor will one little smile or willingness to overlook the tiniest mistake be lost to anyone.
9. What can it be but universal blessing to look on what your Father loves with charity? Extension of forgiveness is the Holy Spirit’s function. Leave this to Him. Let your concern be only that you give to Him that which can be extended. Save no dark secrets that He cannot use but offer Him the tiny gifts He can extend forever. He will take each one and make of it a potent force for peace. He will withhold no blessing from it, nor limit it in any way. He will join to it all the power that God has given Him, to make each little gift of love a source of healing for everyone. Each little gift you offer to your brother lights up the world. Be not concerned with darkness; look away from it and towards your brother. And let the darkness be dispelled by Him who knows the light and lays it gently in each quiet smile of faith and confidence with which you bless your brother.
10. On your learning depends the welfare of the world. And it is only arrogance that would deny the power of your will. Think you the Will of God is powerless? Is this humility? You do not see what this belief has done. You see yourself as vulnerable, frail, and easily destroyed, and at the mercy of countless attackers more powerful than you. Let us look straight at how this error came about, for here lies buried the heavy anchor that seems to keep the fear of God in place, immovable and solid as a rock. While this remains, so will it seem to be.
11. Who can attack the Son of God, and not attack his Father? How can God’s Son be weak and frail and easily destroyed unless his Father is? You do not see that every sin and every condemnation that you perceive and justify is an attack upon your Father. And that is why it has not happened, nor could be real. You do not see that this is your attempt because you think the Father and the Son are separate. And you must think that They are separate, because of fear. For it seems safer to attack another or yourself than to attack the great Creator of the universe, Whose power you know.
12. If you were one with God and recognized this oneness, you would know His power is yours. But you will not remember this while you believe attack of any kind means anything. It is unjustified in any form, because it has no meaning. The only way it could be justified is if you and your brother were separate from the other, and all were separate from your Creator. For only then would it be possible to attack a part of the creation without the whole, the Son without the Father; and to attack another without yourself or hurt yourself without the other feeling pain. And this belief you want. Yet wherein lies its value, except in the desire to attack in safety? Attack is neither safe nor dangerous. It is impossible. And this is so because the universe is one. You would not choose attack on its reality if it were not essential to attack to see it separated from its maker. And thus it seems as if love could attack and become fearful.
13. Only the different can attack. So, you conclude because you can attack, you and your brother must be different. Yet does the Holy Spirit explain this differently. Because you and your brother are not different, you cannot attack. Either position is a logical conclusion. Either could be maintained, but never both. The only question to be answered in order to decide which must be true is whether you and your brother are different. From the position of what you understand you seem to be, and therefore can attack. Of the alternatives, this seems more natural and more in line with your experience. And therefore, it is necessary that you have other experiences, more in line with truth, to teach you what is natural and true.
14. This is the function of your holy relationship. For what one thinks, the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your mind and your brother’s are one? Look not with fear upon this happy fact, and think not that it lays a heavy burden on you. For when you have accepted it with gladness, you will realize that your relationship is a reflection of the union of the Creator and His Son. From loving minds there is no separation. And every thought in one brings gladness to the other because they are the same. Joy is unlimited, because each shining thought of love extends its being and creates more of itself. There is no difference anywhere in it, for every thought is like itself.
15. The light that shines the light that joins you and your brother shines throughout the universe, and because it joins you and him, so it makes you and him one with your Creator. And in Him is all creation joined. Would you regret you cannot fear alone, when your relationship can also teach the power of love is there, which makes all fear impossible? Do not attempt to keep a little of the ego with this gift. For it was given you to be used, and not obscured. What teaches you that you cannot separate denies the ego. Let truth decide if you and your brother be different or the same and teach you which is true.
We cannot have freedom of both body and mind and today Jesus asks us to choose which one we value, which one is our goal. If we choose freedom of the body, we will use our mind to devise all kinds of plans to prolong our life in the flesh and gratify our fleshy desires, pleasures, and comforts. The longer in time our flesh survives, the value we place upon our mind will decrease and eventually become functionless as we grasp for each little bit of solace we can squeeze out of our flesh life. We can call this joy if we want, we can call it happiness, we can call it freedom – but no matter what we call it – it will have no meaning for we have dedicated our mind to serve the ego’s lies. Jesus says that those who choose freedom of the body as their goal, do not recognize what has true value.
And yet this does not affect our Father’s love for us, His Son. Continue to choose the body’s freedom, continue to use your holy mind to gratify and satisfy the flesh and ego – God does not change His mind about us. He does not yank our Holy Spirit out of us and doom us forever to lives in the flesh, ruled by the desires of the ego, possessed of that “something else,” which opposes and provides opposites for the loving attributes of God.
There is no reason at all to attack, lecture, threaten, or preach at our brothers who choose the flesh over the Mind of Christ. Our function is to see our brother and ourselves as sinless, to perceive our bodies as sinless. Our goal is freedom from thoughts of sin. If the body is an illusion, how can it be sinful? Nothing about the body, its functions, its drives, its weakness and frailty, its passions and perversions can be thought of as sin for it is simply not who and what we are. It does not define us, nor can it obstruct us from the Sonship forever. Why waste our breath in worry over what our brothers are doing with their bodies? Why get all upset over the dramas and traumas offered up by the flesh?
When we live to serve holiness, our bodies cannot be sinful, nor should we hate or despise our bodies – for we use them in service to the corrective, healing, and redeeming function of Holy Spirit. As we serve Holy Spirit’s goal, our brothers will bless us even as we bless them. Our goal for freedom is the mind but yet the body will come along for the ride and be blessed as well in service to the idea of sin no longer.
For when I have a holy relationship with you, my love for you is pure, it is innocent of all distrustful, fearful thoughts of you. I am not judging you on how you failed my expectations in the past; I am not worried that you will fail me again – I meet you as an equally loved and valued Son of God. There is nothing about you that I want for myself nor am I the least bit concerned that you will try to steal my love, my peace, my joy. When I meet you in Mind, our bodies do not stand in the way of our communion. I do not have to worry that you may interpret my friendliness and my affection for you in a sexual way. I have no worries that you will judge me on my physical appearance, nor will I judge you on yours. When I meet you in holiness, the veil between us is lifted. I keep no secrets from you; there is no hidden agenda, I am not secretly plotting vengeance upon you for your past wrongs.
Our holy relationship is the means for God’s plan of salvation for it delivers us from the “something else” that divided us, that kept us apart, that turned our love to fear and hate. Our holy relationship is strong because it mirrors the love and communion that God shares with us, His Son. Our holy relationship is bright and strong and brilliant because it is joined with the Sonship of God which stretches out across the universe forever. Nothing in our holy relationship can be sinful for all that is given it will be used for healing, correction, and happiness.
Without our holy relationship we cannot serve holiness for holiness means nothing when we are not joined. There is no heaven without you in it; there is no heaven without me.
There can be no sin in our holy relationship; anything at all that comes up between us is quietly recognized as a mistake, and lovingly offered to Atonement to be corrected, washed away, and replaced with a part of Heaven. When I reviewed this today in my personal devotions, I was thinking of the estrangement that I have had over the years with family members and friends, old boyfriends, and my ex-husband. As much as I wanted to practice forgiveness, I did not know how to forgive people who would not admit to or say they were sorry for the ways in which they falsely accused me, hurt me, or betrayed me in one way or the other. While I have always tried my best to play fair in my relationships, I was also very quick to toss out ones that offended me, proved to be too taxing, demanding, or untrustworthy.
When I answered the call of God on my life a few years ago, Holy Spirit instructed me to heal all my relationships, and I rather sarcastically responded: “How am I going to do that?” The answer was not to worry about it, but to be willing to learn how and to apply all that I learned in this Course to all my relationships, even the ones that did not seem to need healing.
As the idea of holiness settled into my consciousness, I began to see the beauty and value in each person who has ever graced my life. To mock and make a joke of someone’s life or the role they may have played in my life seemed like ultimate disrespect and unworthy compared to the high regard we are given for each other in holiness. To distance myself from and hold grudges against others for their human foibles, personality quirks, and irksome ego-traits seemed petty and out of sync with the beautiful melody of love which rang through my mind and heart. To join in the gossip circles and engage in meaningless, unbecoming prattle about others seemed extremely unkind and disgraceful.
This is what happens when the light of Christ comes to us. In paragraph five Jesus tells us that when we reinterpret the “sins” of others into correctable mistakes, and continue to uphold others in mercy and love, we bring a part of Heaven to our relationships. We serve Holy Spirit. And when we serve Holy Spirit in this way, we serve ourselves and everyone around us. For when we take a stand for the Kingdom in this way, we give others the courage to step out of harmful, unhelpful behavior by sharing the vision of Brotherhood. Until we practice this on a daily, consistent basis any efforts to change the world through social programs, legislation, waving of signs and demanding this or that will be scattered, chaotic, and largely ineffective.
We are called to love all whom God loves. And we can only do this through committing ourselves to holy relationship. We bring to each other that which is eternal – love, peace, joy, trust, patience, and goodness. There is nothing in the world that can disturb the peace of a relationship that has been devoted as the means of peace.
Reflect today on paragraph seven for Jesus tells us that in our devotion to holiness in our relationships, when we look upon our brothers with no desire at all to see sin in them, to keep things hidden from them, or to talk about them behind their backs instead of addressing what we are called to address with them – we will be free of the illusion’s ability to obscure truth from us. We will walk through every shadow this world would offer completely undismayed. Nothing will be able to interfere with us because we serve God’s Will. And we serve God’s Will with no coercion, no fear, no sense of doom and gloom hanging over us because there is no coercion, no fear, no sense of doom and gloom!
When we approach one another in holiness, we see our value through each other’s eyes. Instead of jealousy, vengeance, spite, rebuke – you bring me freedom and release, you give me love and trust, you bring me joy and peace – and that is what I bring you. This is how the world is released from madness; this is our part in bringing peace. This is the answer to why we are here, what we are supposed to do, how we can escape the mad cycles of birth and suffering, decay and death. This is our only function. We are not to seek another function, something more flashy, more attention-getting, more vainglorious.
This function, this calling of ours, involves no sacrifice on our part. We do not have to get a certificate or a degree. We do not have to grovel and plead with God for the salvation of our loved ones. We do not have to stand by and watch the world go to hell in a handbag. Using our High Minds of Christ, we simply exchange all unholiness for holiness – nothing too big or too small to take to holiness. We use our God-given creative powers to extend mercy, grace, love, peace, and joy to those whom Holy Spirit leads. We are not expected to save the whole world on our own for it is only in holy relationship that we are saved. This means we tend to those in our lives, the ones whom God has placed within our vision. We do not have to leave our homes and families and pets and friends – we can do the work of Spirit anytime and anywhere.
Commit your mind to be tender and willing to show mercy and extend grace to those whom God loves. Last night while I was reviewing and meditating upon this text, Charles Manson came to my mind. At first, I rejected the idea that Charles was my brother and yet Holy Spirit was calling me to give Him my unwillingness to accept that the crimes Charles committed and led others to commit were part of his warped humanity no more sinful or unforgiveable than snubbing my neighbors or holding grudges against my sister. Holy Spirit’s function is to forgive; our function as we reach for our holiness is to be willing to withhold no blessing and withhold no healing and withhold no correction from anybody for any reason. With no concern for darkness of any kind, we can finally see our brother, accept him and bless him.
The welfare of the world depends upon our learning this, practicing this, and teaching this. Do not be deceived into thinking that your little life is insignificant and your little grudges, gossipy ways, and the ways in which you withhold communication, communion, and blessing from this one and that one does not have any effect on the world at large. You are the Will of God and to refuse your part in God’s plan of salvation is to see yourself as “something else,” a puny, meaningless consumer, needy, whiny, and helplessly at the mercy of everyone and everything. Jesus tells us to look directly at how this error came about, to study it, to reflect upon it, and in understanding it, we can set ourselves free from the fallacy and frailty of this fearful, false, and depraved belief system.
When we focus upon the seeming separation of our bodies, the spaces and distance between ourselves, and between God – we see the separation, the outlines, the distance and difference between us. We are designed to see this separation. Our body’s survival hangs upon fear. We are afraid of God; we are afraid of each other; we are afraid of our true and holy Selves. It seems perfectly natural to attack others, to blame them, to fear God, to quiver and shake in our shoes when all of the natural world seems to be bigger and meaner and far more powerful than we are. We cannot attack God and so we attack each other – sometimes in His name, sometimes not. But we have made a world of seeming separation where each little body is a universe unto itself lashing out, lonely, frightened, constantly aware of the passage of time, and impending death and doom.
In our oneness with God, we know that His power is our power. Believe in attack of any kind, this oneness and unity means nothing to us, but to know it brings us peace and joy and love. Nothing else has any meaning. Nothing else can have any meaning. For to be one with God and with each other gives us Everything in place of nothing.
To come to the understanding that there is nothing that stands between me and you is to know that what hurts me will hurt you, what blesses me will bless you. When nothing stands between you and me, I can communicate with you at any time no matter where you are and what you are doing. When there is nothing between us, we would keep no secrets from each other; we would plan no meanness or spite of any kind, we can not throw each other under the bus or say unkind things about each other. With nothing between us, we know that attack is not evil, sinful, or punishable, it is simply impossible. When my freedom is of the Mind, I know the universe as one, not millions and billions of unrelated fictional facts and scattered bits of knowledge which can quarrel and kill one another over stupid lies and greedy alliances. When my Mind is free to know God as Love, all thoughts of fear fade away. As fear fades away into the nothingness it is, there is no cause for attack of any kind. We love each other in perfect trust, our melody is one of love that comes from the Wellspring of our Being.
In your personal devotions today take the time necessary to reflect upon paragraph 13. For if you conclude that attack is possible, and it surely seems possible in our world today, we are not perceiving our oneness. We still see each other as different. We are still comparing ourselves to each other in an ego-based way based upon the outward perception. When I see you with my flesh eyes you look very different from me. You do different things than I do. You come from a different place. You talk different than I do. You smell different. Your body is different from mine. My focus will be on our differences and whether I idolize you or despise you I will never be able to love you or see you as you really are for I cannot know you. And when I cannot know you, I will make up an identity for you in my head. According to how willing you are to match this false identity I made up for you based upon the facts I have collected about you, the ways in which I perceive you treat me and the ones I care about, the church you attend, the political party you support, your educational level, your attractiveness, who you are related to, what you have to offer me and mine – we will be allies or we will be enemies but we will never be pure or holy in our relationship to one another. Based upon this random, scattered, constantly changing, ego-based perception, you are invisible to me. This way of relating seems natural to us because this is the way we “know” each other in the flesh. This is why we have to work so hard in our relationships; this is why someone always seems to be getting the short end of the stick; this is why we tend to complain about our “loved ones” behind their back; this is why we end up overeating, turning to substance abuse, and unwholesome relationship – slaking our yearning for truth and reality in more fiction, in more illusion and disillusionment.
And so, Jesus offers us today other experiences in relationships. There is a way to have holy relationships that are more in line with truth, that teach us what is natural and true about you and about me. In these other experiences we get to practice Sonship; we get to practice the joy and bliss of heavenly relationships; we get to mirror the everlasting love and devotion that the Father and His Son share together.
These other experiences are called holy relationships. When we commit ourselves to holiness between us, what one thinks the other will experience with us. This will assure us of our oneness. All of us have had many instances in our lives to illustrate the oneness we share with one another in our inner worlds, in our Minds. We are thinking so much of someone we have not seen for years; we are remembering something we did with them years ago, a conversation we had, a walk we shared, and we will run into them, get an email from them, or the phone will ring and it will be them. We think of this as something odd, something that happens every once in a while, and we are usually a bit tickled by it, a bit awed by it, it seems so remarkable. But Jesus says, nope, it is not remarkable at all. This is the way it really is when our Minds are free and our relationships are holy – not obstructed by thoughts of the body, thoughts of sin, punishment, and attack, thoughts of separateness and differences. Our Minds are always connected and what one experiences the other feels.
Now you may think that this is a scary thing. You may not want to feel what another feels; you may not want to share on this level. You may think of this as another burden upon you. However, when we accept this with gladness, we know that this level of communication and communion can only bring us great and everlasting joy. The light that shines the light that joins you and me shines throughout the universe. It makes us one with our Creator and with all Creation. We are not alone anymore; we are connected to a Source that knows everything and gives us free reign of all that is. With this power of love, fear is impossible. To keep even a little of the low-minded, small-minded ego, to see the flesh as offering us a safe haven, to find any value at all in the ongoing cycles of decay, despair, and death of the flesh world could only obscure the truth of our reality in Oneness. There is no ego in the unity of Sonship.
Today let truth decide for you if you and your brother are different or the same. Ask Holy Spirit to give you the other experiences of oneness that teach you which is true. And above all enter the light of the holy relationship – consciously and prayerfully devoting every encounter to the mercy, grace, and purity of purpose that reflects the love of God for His Son.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 22 Salvation and the holy relationship. VI The light of the holy relationship. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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