A Course in Miracles

Chapter 20 - Promise of the Resurrection

Consistency of Means and End

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.

The period of discomfort that follows the sudden change in a relationship from sin to holiness should 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?”

To obtain the goal, the Holy Spirit indeed asked 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 has been shaken. For if a goal is possible to reach, the means to do so must be possible as well.

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 purposes of truth.

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. Vision 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.

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 youhold 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.

There is indeed a difference between this vain imagining 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.

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 any meaning, the means for its attainment will be evaluated as worth the seeing, and so you will not see.

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 yourR 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 which made his seeing possible.


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