Lesson 227
Holy Spirit's Temple is a Relationship
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49 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?

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What is Forgiveness
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   Forgiveness recognizes what you thought
   your brother did to you has not occurred.
   It does not pardon sins, and make them real.
   It sees there was no sin. And in this view
   are all your sins forgiven. What is sin
   except a false idea of God's Son?
   Forgiveness merely sees its falsity,
   and therefore lets it go. What then is free
   to take its place is now the Will of God.
   An unforgiving thought is one which makes
   a judgment that it will not raise to doubt,
   although it is untrue. The mind is closed,
   and will not be released. The thought protects
   projection, tightening its chains, so that
   distortions are more veiled and more obscure;
   less easily accessible to doubt,
   and further kept from reason. What can come
   between a fixed projection and the aim
   that it has chosen as its needed goal?
   An unforgiving thought does many things.
   In frantic action it pursues its goal,
   twisting and overturning what it sees
   as interfering with its chosen path.
   Distortion is its purpose, and the means
   by which it would accomplish it as well.
   It sets about its furious attempts
   to smash reality without concern
   for anything that would appear to pose
   a contradiction to its point of view.
   Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still
   and quietly does nothing. It offends
   no aspect of reality, nor seeks
   to twist it to appearance that it likes.
   It merely looks and waits and judges not.
   He who would not forgive must judge, for he
   must justify his failure to forgive.
   But he who would forgive himself must learn
   to welcome truth exactly as it is.
   Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show
   you what to do through Him Who is your Guide,
   your Saviour and Defender, strong in hope
   and certain of your ultimate success.
   He has forgiven you already, for
   such is His function, given Him by God.
   Now must you share His function, and forgive
   whom He has saved, whose sinlessness He sees,
   and whom He honors as the Son of God. "

      ~ Original Handscript of ACIM September 21, 1970

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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 227
This is my holy instant of release.

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    Father, it is today that I am free,
    because my will is Yours. I thought to make
    another will. Yet nothing that I thought
    apart from You exists. And I am free
    because I was mistaken, and did not
    affect my own reality at all
    by my illusions. Now I give them up,
    and lay them down before the feet of truth,
    to be removed forever from my mind.
    This is my holy instant of release.
    Father, I know my will is one with Yours.
   And so today we find our glad return
   to Heaven, which we never really left.
   The Son of God this day lays down his dreams.
   The Son of God this day comes home again,
   released from sin and clad in holiness,
   with his right mind restored to him at last.

~ Original Handscript of ACIM

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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
This is my holy instant of release.

Sarah's Commentary:  
The intent of our practice now is to enter the holy instant. What is the holy instant? It is the instant outside of time in which we choose forgiveness instead of guilt, the miracle instead of the grievance, and the Holy Spirit instead of the ego. It is the expression of our little willingness to enter the experience of the present, which is a window to eternity. Holding onto the past and fearing the future is what keeps us in hell. The holy instant is an experience of Oneness. It is a sense of transcendence from our identification with the body. It is recognizing that we are joined with our brothers where separate interests are dissolved. It is an acceptance of the truth about ourselves. Thus, we can see that the holy instant is a very flexible concept, covering a variety of experiences of the truth of what we are as Spirit. The experiences may be fleeting, yet they increase as we practice the Lessons and apply them in our lives more and more. They bring us to a state of being that brings us closer to the experience of the real world. The real world reflects the truth in our right minds.
Through the experiences of the holy instant, we are released from our mistaken idea that we have defiled ourselves and are too guilt-ridden to ever return home. With guilt comes the fear of God's punishment, which the ego has told us we have coming to us because of our sin. The guilt that is in the mind as a result of our belief in sin is projected onto the world. Now we experience a world of suffering, where problems abound. But the experience of separation is dissolved in the Holy Spirit's gentle love, as we bring all of our misperceptions about ourselves and the world to His healing light. Now our wrong-minded thoughts give way and the recognition that our will is one with God's Will comes to our awareness.
"You are the Will of God. Do not accept anything else as your will, or you are denying what you are. Deny this and you will attack, believing you have been attacked. But see the Love of God in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere. See His abundance in everyone and you will know that you are in Him with them. They are part of you, as you are part of God. You are as lonely without understanding this as God Himself is lonely when His Sons do not know Him. The peace of God is understanding this." (T.7.VII.10.1-8) (ACIM OE T.7.VIII.80)
Yes, as Jesus tells us in this Lesson, we do think we have made another will, but in spite of what we believe, it does not actually exist at all. To us, it does seem that we have a separate will from God's Will. We experience ourselves as separate and alone with a unique individual identity. We seem to have private thoughts, beliefs, and opinions that we think are ours alone. "Yet nothing that I thought apart from You [God] exists." (W.227.1.3) Thus, who I think I am does not even exist! We are all characters in a dream playing out a role with other characters, whom we think are as real as we think we are! Ideas do not leave their source. Everything we see is a projection of what is in our minds.
We exercise our separate will when we focus on what we want to accomplish, what we are hoping will happen, and what conflicts we believe are in front of us to resolve. We exercise our separate will in our chosen individual goals, our plans for safety, comfort, and pleasure, and our self-preservation, both physically and psychologically. We talk of using our willpower to overcome some addiction or other perceived malady in ourselves, and thus we try to exert our will, instead of connecting to the true power available within our right minds. When we recognize that "my will is Yours [God's]," (W.227.1.1) we are surrendering to His Will and joining in His power, which is in us. We admit that in and of ourselves, and through our own willpower, we are actually powerless. We give up our illusions and "lay them down before the feet of truth." (W.227.1.5) When we sincerely give up our illusions, they are forever removed from our minds.
The key is to surrender our goals, our plans, our perceived outcomes, and our control. We surrender our thoughts, release them into His Hands, and give up being in charge of our own lives. Through forgiveness, we release the thoughts we are holding that interfere with our ability to experience the holy instant. In the Song of Prayer pamphlet, a supplementary to the Course, we are told that forgiveness, as defined in the Course, is very different from how we understand traditional forgiveness. Jesus calls traditional forgiveness " forgiveness to destroy. "
" Forgiveness-to-destroy has many forms, being a weapon of the world of form. Not all of them are obvious, and some are carefully concealed beneath what seems like charity. Yet all the forms that it may seem to take have but this single goal; their purpose is to separate and make what God created equal, different. The difference is clear in several forms where the designed comparison cannot be missed, nor is it really meant to be. " (S.2.II.1.1-4)
The key difference is that forgiveness, as defined in the Course, rests on the truth that what your brother did to you did not happen. Why? The reason is that, in truth, nothing exists that does not come from God. Only our interpretation about what seemed to happen is what must be released.
Our beliefs create a struggle for us. We believe that our reality is a body. We believe that we can find happiness in special relationships. We believe that this world is real. We believe that we can accomplish anything we determine to do, entirely on our own. We believe that we are separate from each other and different from each other. We believe that there are things in this world that will make us happy. We believe that we are totally justified in the way we see things. We defend our positions vigorously. Don't all these things seem to be the case in this seeming reality? What do we do? Why do we stay attached to these positions? Why have we closed our minds instead of raising all of our perceptions to doubt? We do this because we have become comfortable with the status quo, which means we are comfortable with our suffering, our experiences, our struggle, and our story. It is something we know and it demonstrates that we exist. Where will this Course take me if I really commit to learning these Lessons? What will God want from me? What will I have to give up? What will I become? Who will I be? The fear of annihilation of this special self is what makes us cling to it.
Jesus tells us, "Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still, and quietly does nothing." (W.PII.Q1.4.1) My spouse left me. "It [Forgiveness] merely looks, and waits, and judges not." (W.PII.Q1.4.3) My boss chastised me. "It [Forgiveness] merely looks, and waits, and judges not." Someone cut me off in traffic. "It [Forgiveness] merely looks, and waits, and judges not."
What it means is that forgiveness looks at the ego thought system, waits patiently for us to change our minds, and makes no judgment. It does not smash reality into a more desirable shape. We have no idea what anything in our lives is for. We simply do not know what any of it means. Our interpretations are always wrong. Now we agree to release our interpretations and instead turn them over to the Holy Spirit, Who will infuse everything that seems to happen with His purpose, which is undoing the way we see now. We surrender our will and our way!
"The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. He sees for you, and unless you look with Him He cannot see." (T.14.VII.6.1-6) (ACIM OE T.14.IV.30)
Thus, to enter the holy instant we clear our minds of what we think we know, what we are withholding: our defenses, our grievances, our will, and our way, and surrender into the quiet center of our being, where we commune with Stillness. This requires no effort. In fact, striving to achieve it puts the ego in charge of our awakening, which will never work. Striving will keep us from this experience. Putting the ego in charge of this process is like trying to make yourself holy. You cannot do it. Just bring your awareness to the thoughts arising and be willing to recognize that they are not the truth. By my taking these thoughts of past hurts, disappointments, anger, hatred, shame, pride, sickness, death, worry, aging, frustrations, and impatience and laying "them down before the feet of Truth," (W.227.1.5) they are "removed forever from my mind." (W.227.1.5)
Being what we are not is a strain. Our true reality is our natural state. Rupert Spira puts it well when he says: " We normally think that to be a separate self is natural and effortless and that to be the open, empty presence of Awareness requires effort. In fact, it is the other way around: to be the open, empty presence of Awareness is natural and effortless, but to be a separate self requires a continuous and subtle effort of thinking and feeling. "
"The world you see is but the idle witness that you were right. This witness is insane. You trained it in its testimony, and as it gave it back to you, you listened and convinced yourself that what it saw was true. You did this to yourself. See only this and you will also see how circular the reasoning on which your 'seeing' rests."
(T.21.II.5.1-5) (ACIM OE T.21.III.19) 
Love and blessings, Sarah 
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VII. The Temple of the Holy Spirit     

45 The meaning of the Son of God lies solely in his relationship with his Creator. If it were elsewhere, it would rest upon 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.
46 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. But idols do not share.
47 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. 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.
48 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 relationships 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.
49 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?
50 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 worshiped 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.
51 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. Brothers, 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 idolaters no longer. The Holy Spirit's purpose lies safe in your relationship and not your bodies. You have escaped the body. Where you are the body cannot enter, for the Holy Spirit has set His temple there.
52 There is no order in relationships. They either are or not. An unholy relationship is no 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?
53 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 minds that have transcended them and left them far behind.
54 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 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.
55 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.
56 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. 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.
57 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 each other 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?

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