Graphic by Suzette Boulais
CH 22 "SALVATION AND THE HOLY RELATIONSHIP"
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
3 A holy relationship starts from a different premise. Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. He sees no difference between these selves, for differences are only of the body. Therefore, he looks on nothing he would take. He denies not his own reality, because it is the truth. Just under Heaven does he stand, but close enough not to return to earth. For this relationship has Heaven's holiness. How far from home can a relationship so like to Heaven be?
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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
WHAT IS THE WORLD
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
The world is false perception. It is born
of error, and it has not left its source.
It will remain no longer than the thought
that gave it birth is cherished. When the thought
of separation has been changed to one
of true forgiveness, will the world be seen
in quite another light; and one that leads
to truth, where all the world must disappear,
and all its errors vanish. Now its source
has gone, and its effects are gone as well.
The world was made as an attack on God.
It symbolizes fear. And what is fear
except love's absence? Thus the world was meant
to be a place where God could enter not,
and where His Son could be apart from Him.
Here was perception born, for knowledge could
not cause such insane thoughts. But eyes deceive,
and ears hear falsely. Now mistakes become
quite possible, for certainty has gone.
The mechanisms of illusion have
been born instead. And now they go to find
what has been given them to seek. Their aim
is to fulfill the purpose which the world
was made to witness and make real. They see
in its illusions but a solid base
where truth exists, upheld apart from lies.
Yet everything which they report is but
illusion which is kept apart from truth.
As sight was made to lead away from truth,
it can be redirected. Sounds become
the call of God. And all perception can
be given a new purpose, by the One
Whom God appointed Saviour to the world.
Follow His light, and see the world as He
beholds it. Hear His Voice alone in all
that speaks to you. And let Him give you peace
and certainty, which you have thrown away,
but Heaven has preserved for you in Him.
Let us not rest content until the world
has joined our changed perception. Let us not
be satisfied until forgiveness has
been made complete. And let us not attempt
to change our function. We must save the world.
For we who made it must behold it through
the eyes of Christ, that what was made to die
can be restored to everlasting life.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 242
This day is God's. It is my gift to Him.
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I will not lead my life alone today.
I do not understand the world. And so
to try to lead my life alone must be
but foolishness. For there is One Who knows
all that is best for me. And He is glad
to make no choices for me but the ones
that lead to God. This day I give to Him,
for I would not delay my coming home,
and it is He Who knows the way to Him.
And so we give today to You. We come
with wholly open minds. We do not ask
for anything that we may think we want.
Give us what You would have received by us.
You know all our desires and our needs.
And You will give us everything we want
and that will help us find the way to You.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM October 19, 1970
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
This day is God's. It is my gift to Him.
In the Lesson yesterday, the focus was that the world of false perception was made as an attack on God. The world is a result of our choice for separation and with it our choice for individuality and differences. Now Jesus shows us that what we have made can be used as a classroom for undoing the ego thought system. He tells us, "As sight was made to lead away from truth, it can be redirected." (W.PII.Q3.4.1) Just like anything we have made-the world, the body, and our special relationships---all can be used by the Holy Spirit for healing when given over to Him. While the ego tries to ensure that we see the world as real, the Holy Spirit redirects our way of seeing it and gives it a new purpose, which is to help us wake up from this dream.
"Sounds become the call of God, and all perception can be given a new purpose by One Whom God appointed Savior to the world."
(W.PII.Q3.4.2) Now we are called to see the world as the Holy Spirit beholds it, which is beyond the forms of this world and their seeming reality and toward the content of love. Ultimately, we learn that we have been wrong about everything that we think we know and think we understand about ourselves, others, and the world.
The purpose we have given the world is to meet our needs: we use others to support our specialness, we win at their expense, and we project guilt onto them. With our desire for healing, we now choose a new purpose, where we no longer want to see others guilty, we no longer want the power struggles and conflicts, and we use our special relationships for healing and holiness. We increasingly choose to see that the peace and joy that comes from joining has more appeal than maintaining our focus exclusively on what we think we want. There is now a willingness to see that we have been wrong and are willing to be taught.
Jesus pleads with us to, "Hear His Voice alone in all that speaks to you. And let Him give you peace and certainty, which you have thrown away, but Heaven has preserved for you in Him." (W.PII.Q3.4.4-5) While we believe that we have thrown away our peace and joy, Jesus assures us that this has not happened and, indeed, cannot happen. It has been preserved for us. We have not changed ourselves and cannot change ourselves from our holy creation; however, we have lost awareness of who we really are. The peace and certainty are still in us, covered over by our mistaken perceptions. Our eyes may still see misbehaving bodies, and our ears may still hear sounds of war, but our purpose now is to see with Christ's vision beyond what our senses report and the interpretation our brain gives them. We bring to question what we see and hear. We become the observers of the characters in the dream, seeing them from outside of the dream where we look at everyone without judgment. Each time we do, we bring back more light to our minds and to the world, and with it comes the realization that no one is separate from us. We all share the same One Self.
"Let us not rest content until the world has joined our changed perception."
(W.PII.Q3.5.1) Our interests are not separate from anyone else's. We save the world by our willingness to release the meaning we have given it. Thus, "what was made to die can be restored to everlasting life," (W.PII.Q3.5.5) meaning we awaken to the reality that life cannot end. While the body was made to die, what we are cannot die. We are changing our minds from thoughts of death to thoughts of life. Our reality as infinite, eternal beings has always been. As Jesus said in the Bible, "Before Abraham was, I am." The world of bodies and of death has no reality.
Today's Lesson, "This day is God's. It is my gift to Him," (W.242) is a lesson in humility. When we lead our lives alone, we are actually leading them with the ego. We are believing we know what is best for us. We claim our free will, not recognizing that we are a prisoner to the ego and the script. To recognize that "there is One Who knows all that is best for me" (W.242.1.3) is to acknowledge that I do not know anything. The information on which I base my decisions is very limited. This means that I am always uncertain. Yet with the Holy Spirit, everything is known and lived in the flow of total trust and certainty.
I know I have turned to the wrong teacher whenever I feel anxious, stressed, worried, unhappy, and focused on my plans and goals for happiness, and thus I am never certain what to do. I know I am mistaken when I feel less than peaceful. I know that when I choose to rely on my own resources, trying to figure out how to resolve the problems of my life as I perceive them, I have turned to the wrong teacher. It is a relief to remember that I just need to step back and turn to the Guide within, Who does know where my peace resides. My issue is forgetting to ask and going off on my own, thinking I know what I need. We think we need to maintain control over all of the many decisions in our lives. We get upset if our preferences for how things should be done do not pan out. Yet, if we release our attachments to preferences and remember that the script is already written, then what is there to manage? All that is left is to ask for help to see the situation differently.
When we were at the funeral for Don's dad, our friend, Linda, was to sing at the gravesite, but she wasn
t there when the interment was about to take place. At first, I was feeling quite attached to having her there and very disappointed that she had not turned up as planned. I spent a moment going within to look at what I was feeling. I noticed my disappointment and watched it and reminded myself, "This need not be." I could choose simply to accept things as they are. Just as the minister was about to start the proceedings, we heard the sound of her beautiful voice coming from the distance, as she was moving toward where we were standing. The hymn we had chosen for her to sing was, "It is Well with My Soul." And yes, those words reverberated with my soul and I knew then---it is truly well with my soul. This is always the case whenever we let go of our expectations of how things should be. Letting go of our attachments does not necessarily mean everything will show up in this way, but it does release us from the upsets that we experience as a result of our attachments. For me, this was a situation that reinforced the value of acceptance.
To let go, to accept, and to trust are the ways we learn the foolishness of living our lives alone. (W.241.1.2) When we turn to our inner Guide, we recognize that the support of the Holy Spirit is always there. He is not only our Guide, but our Companion. He walks with us. We are never alone. Yet to experience this truth, we need to admit that we do not know and that we do not understand. To surrender our understanding and turn within where truth abides is to release our reliance on the ego. There are just too many variables for us to ever be certain, so let us make space for guidance from the One who does know all the variables we cannot know. We make space through forgiveness of all that is false.
When I look at my life, it does not always look like things are working out the way I would like. I now accept more and more that the way I would like it to be does not mean it is the way that will lead to God. The goal is to awaken. It is not to have a prettier dream. I have to remind myself daily that I do not know my own best interests. What I think serves me can actually set me back, while what I think is good can keep me invested in the dream. As Jesus tells us, "Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success." (T.18.V.1.6) (ACIM OE T.18.VI.41)
In Chapter 24, we are told to "Forget not that the healing of God's Son is all the world is for." (T.24.VI.4.1) (ACIM OE T.24.VII.52) The situations that offer us the most healing may take place in ways that we do not welcome, but what does the ego know of true healing? To awaken from this dream is to release investment in the ego. The ego is invested in keeping us from choosing the right mind. Indeed, when we make progress in releasing our mistaken thoughts, tremendous resistance can arise. I know that we have all experienced it from time to time in many different ways. We seem to take two steps back with every step forward. Resistance is there because we still cling to our individuality and our specialness, and when we do make progress, the ego can become very suspicious. Then, when things seem to get more difficult for us on this path, we may question whether it is right for us.
Whenever something we think we want fails to happen, we need not be distraught. It can all be used for our greater good. We have not been abandoned. He knows our deepest needs. It is only the interpretation or meaning I give to the situation that gives rise to my emotional experience. My interpretation is what I need to be willing to release for His judgment to prevail. In the Manual for Teachers, Section 10, we learn, "It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgment, he is merely giving up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up. He has actually merely become more honest. Recognizing that judgment was always impossible for him, he no longer attempts it." (M.10.2.1-5) (ACIM OE M.10.2)
Don't we all feel the burden of deciding by ourselves? Wouldn't it be easier if we learned to trust the Guide, Who offers us His certainty? He is not something outside of us. It is our own Voice. Jesus tells us, "When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer." (T.14.IV.6.1-2) (ACIM OE T.13.IX.92) Don't we all wish for that---just to be in the flow where everything works?
Let us give this day to God. Let us remember to enter the quietness of our minds and ask for His help with everything. Let us determine to take our hands off the levers of control that we think we have, which is only an illusion anyway! We may protest that we aren't hearing guidance from the Holy Spirit, but we need to ask, and to listen, and to pay attention to the inner nudges. We must leave room for His Answer by stepping back from the problem and continuing to ask in every situation. Then, we trust that the answer will come when we are willing to receive it. When we express gratitude for every answer we receive, we feel blessed.
In the midst of some difficult communication where the ego is holding sway, we may literally have to leave the room and take a few moments away from the storm in order to return our minds to sanity. Take the time you need in order to remind yourself that you do not know your own best interests, and ask Him to lead the way for you. You can then reenter the situation that seemed to be the cause of the distress, recognizing that there is no cause outside of your own mind. Bringing our minds to peace is where the resolution lies to every difficult situation.
Jesus continually encourages us to remember that our investment in healing is on behalf of our own happiness. Many of the things we ask for from God delay our homecoming. They are things that we think we need for our happiness. Isn't that what we usually pray for? Isn't that what the secret of the "Secret" is all about? We believe that we know what we want for our happiness, but the "me" that thinks it knows is always the ego, and the ego is not for our best interests. The things that I think I want may instead weigh me down and keep me attached to the world. If we insist on hanging onto our personal goals and staying in charge of our decisions, we will find that turning our minds over to the Holy Spirit and surrendering to His guidance will indeed be threatening. His priority is not about our stuff, our status, or our special relationships. He knows just as a good parent knows that what a child thinks he wants will not deliver the joy and happiness the child believes is contained in the thing he demands. Jesus reminds us often---we are like that child.
Let us give this day to God as our gift to Him. Let us be determined to protect the day from our own whims and wishes by asking for Him to be our Guide today. When we are tempted to set our own goals for the day, let us take a moment and step back and be willing to release our desires and wishes and ask instead, "What would you have me do?" "Where would you have me go?" And then, we listen. Our experience of a day of peace and joy comes from God and not from what seems to be happening to us. Come to this day with a wholly open mind. It is not for us to define what is in our own best interests. We truly do not know.
Chapter Twenty Two
Voice and Music by Martin Weber, CIMS SonShip Radio
Salvation and the Holy Relationship
1 Take pity on yourselves, so long enslaved. Rejoice whom God hath joined have come together and need no longer look on sin apart. No two can look on sin together, for they could never see it in the same place and time. Sin is a strictly individual perception, seen in the other yet believed by each to be within himself. And each one seems to make a different error, and one the other cannot understand. Brothers, it
is the same, made by the same, and forgiven for its maker in the same way.
2 The holiness of your relationship forgives you both, undoing the effects of what you both believed and saw. And with their going is the
need for sin gone with them. Who has need for sin? Only the lonely and alone who see their brothers different from themselves. It is this difference, seen but not real, that makes the need for sin, not real but seen, seem justified. And all this would be real if sin were so. For an unholy relationship is based on differences, where each one thinks the other has what he has not. They come together, each to complete himself and rob the other. They stay until they think there's nothing left to steal and then move on. And so they wander through a world of strangers unlike themselves, living with their bodies perhaps under a common roof that shelters neither-in the same room and yet a world apart.
3 A holy relationship starts from a different premise. Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. He sees no difference between these selves, for differences are only of the body. Therefore, he looks on nothing he would take. He denies not his own reality,
because it is the truth. Just under Heaven does he stand, but close enough not to return to earth. For this relationship has Heaven's holiness. How far from home can a relationship so like to Heaven be?
4 Think what a holy relationship can teach! Here is belief in differences undone. Here is the faith in differences shifted to sameness. [And here is sight of differences transformed to
vision.] And reason now can lead you to the logical conclusion of your union. It must extend, as you extended when you joined. It must reach out beyond itself, as you reached out beyond the body to
let yourselves be joined. And now the sameness which you saw extends and finally removes all sense of differences so that the sameness that lies beneath them all becomes apparent. Here is the golden circle where you recognize the Son of God. For what is born into a holy relationship can
II.The Message of the Holy Relationship
5 Let reason take another step. If you attack whom God would heal and hate the one He loves, then you and your Creator
have a different will. Yet if you
are his Will, what you must then believe is that you are not
yourself. You can indeed believe this, and you
do. And you
have faith in this and see much evidence on its behalf. And where, you wonder, does your strange uneasiness, your sense of being disconnected, and your haunting fear of lack of meaning in yourself arise? It is as though you wandered in without a plan of any kind except to wander off, for only that seems certain.
6 Yet we have heard a very similar description earlier, but it was not of
you. And yet this strange idea, which it
does accurately describe, you
think is you. Reason would tell you that the world you see through eyes which are not yours
must make no sense to you. To whom would vision such as this send back its messages? Surely not you, whose sight is wholly independent of the eyes which look upon the world. If this is not your vision, what can it show to you? The brain cannot interpret what
your vision sees. This you would understand. The brain interprets to the body, of which it is a part. But what it says,
you cannot understand. Yet you have listened to it. And long and hard you tried to understand its messages. You did not realize it is impossible to understand what fails entirely to reach you.
7 You have received no messages at all you understand. For you have listened to what can never communicate at all. Think, then, what happened. Denying what you are and firm in faith that you are something else, this "something else" which you have made to be yourself
became your sight. Yet it must be the "something else" which sees, and as
explains its sight to you.
Your vision would, of course, render this quite unnecessary. Yet if your eyes are closed and you have called upon this thing to lead you, asking it to explain to you the world it sees, you have no reason not to listen nor to suspect that what it tells you is not true. Reason would tell you it cannot be true
because you do not understand it. God has no secrets. He does not lead you through a world of misery, waiting to tell you at the journey's end why He did this to you.
8 What could be secret from God's Will? Yet you believe that
you have secrets. What could your secrets be except
another will that is your own, apart from His? Reason would tell you that this is no secret that need be hidden as a sin. But a mistake indeed! Let not your fear of sin protect it from correction, for the attraction of guilt is only fear. Here is the one emotion that you made, whatever it may seem to be. This is the emotion of secrecy, of private thoughts, and of the body. This is the one emotion that opposes love and always leads to sight of differences and loss of sameness. Here is the one emotion that keeps you blind, dependent on the self you think you made to lead you through the world it made for you.
9 Your sight was given you, along with everything that you can understand. You will perceive no difficulty in understanding what this vision tells you, for everyone sees only what he thinks he
is. And what your sight would show you, you will understand
because it is the truth. Only your vision can convey to you what
you can see. It reaches you directly without a need to be interpreted to you. What needs interpretation
must be alien. Nor will it ever be made understandable by an interpreter you cannot understand.
10 Of all the messages you have received and failed to understand, this course alone is
open to your understanding and
can be understood. This is
your language. You do not understand it yet, only because your whole communication is like a baby's. The sounds a baby makes and what he hears are highly unreliable, meaning different things to him at different times. Neither the sounds he hears nor sights he sees are stable yet. But what he hears and does not understand will be his native tongue, through which he will communicate with those around him, and they with him. And the strange, shifting ones he sees about him will become to him his comforters, and he will recognize his home and see them there with him.
11 So in each holy relationship is the ability to communicate instead of separate reborn. Yet a holy relationship, so recently reborn itself from an unholy relationship and yet more ancient than the old illusion that it has replaced,
is like a baby now in its rebirth. Yet in this infant is your vision returned to you, and he will speak the language both of you can understand. He is not nurtured by the "something else" you thought was you. He was not given there, nor was received by anything except yourself. For no two people can unite except through Christ, Whose vision sees them one.
12 Think what is given you, my holy brothers. This child will teach you what you do not understand and make it plain. For his will be no alien tongue. He will need no interpreter to you, for it was you who taught him what he knows
because you knew it. He could not come to anyone but you, never to "something else." Where Christ has entered, no one is alone, for never could He find a home in separate ones. Yet must He be reborn into His ancient home, so seeming new and yet as old as He, a tiny newcomer, dependent on the holiness of your relationship to let Him live.
13 Be certain God did not entrust His Son to the unworthy. Nothing but what is part of Him is worthy of being joined. Nor is it possible that anything not part of Him
can join. Communication must have been restored to those that join, for this they could not do through bodies. What, then, has joined them? Reason will tell you that they must have seen each other through a vision not of the body and communicated in a language the body does not speak. Nor could it be a fearful sight or sound that drew them gently into one. Rather, in each the other saw a perfect shelter where his Self could be reborn in safety and in peace. Such did his reason tell him; such he believed
because it was the truth.
14 Here is the first direct perception that you have made. You made it through awareness older than perception and yet reborn in just an instant. For what is time to what was always so? Think what that instant brought-the recognition that the "something else" you thought was you is an illusion. And truth came instantly to show you where your Self must be. It is
denial of illusions that calls on truth, for to deny illusions is to recognize that fear is meaningless. Into the holy home, where fear is powerless, love enters thankfully, grateful that it is one with you who joined to let it enter.
15 Christ comes to what is like Himself; the same, not different. For He is always drawn unto Himself. What is as like Him as a holy relationship? And what draws you together draws Him to you. Here are His sweetness and His gentle innocence protected from attack. And here can He return in confidence, for faith in one another is always faith in Him. You are indeed correct in looking on each other as His chosen home, for here you will with Him and with His Father. This is your Father's Will for you, and yours with His. And who is drawn to Christ is drawn to God as surely as both are drawn to every holy relationship, the home prepared for them as earth is turned to Heaven.
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