A Course in Miracles

Chapter 22 - Salvation and the Holy Spirit

Message of the Holy Relationship

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.

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 neitherin the same room and yet a world apart.

Holy Relationship

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?

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 never end.

Let reason (right mind) 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.

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.

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 not you, 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.

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..

Your (real) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 22 - Salvation and the Holy Spirit

Your Brother's Sinlessness

Your Brother’s Sinlessness, the opposite of illusions, is not disillusionment but truth. Only to the ego, to which truth is meaningless, do they appear to be the only alternatives, and different from each other. In truth they are the same. Both bring the same amount of misery, though each one seems to be the way to lose the misery the other brings. Every illusion carries pain and suffering in the dark folds of the heavy garments with which it hides its nothingness. Yet in these dark and heavy garments are those who seek illusions covered, and hidden from the joy of truth.

Truth is the opposite of illusions because it offers joy. What else but joy could be the opposite of misery? To leave one kind of misery and seek another is hardly an escape. To change illusions is to make no change. The search for joy in misery is senseless, for how could joy be found in misery? All that is possible in the dark world of misery is to select some aspects out of it, see them as different, and define the difference as joy. Yet to perceive a difference where none exists will surely fail to make a difference.

Illusions carry only guilt and suffering, sickness and death, to their believers. The form in which they are accepted is irrelevant. No form of misery, in reason’s eyes, can be confused with joy.

Joy is eternal.

You can be sure indeed that any seeming happiness that does not last is really fear. Joy does not turn to sorrow, for the eternal cannot change, but sorrow can be turned to joy, for time gives way to the eternal. Only the timeless must remain unchanged, but everything in time can change with time. Yet if the change be real and not imagined, illusions must give way to truth, and not to other dreams that are but equally unreal. This is no difference.

Reason will tell you that the only way to escape from misery is to recognize it, and go the other way.Truth is the same and misery the same, but they are different from each other in every way, in every instance, and without exception. To believe that one exception can exist is to confuse what is the same with what is different. One illusion cherished and defended against the truth makes all truth meaningless, and all illusions real. Such is the power of belief. It cannot compromise; and faith in innocence is faith in sin, if the belief excludes one living thing, and holds it out, apart from its forgiveness.

Both reason and the ego will tell you this, but what they make of it is not the same.

The ego will assure you now that it is impossible for you to see no guilt in anyone; and if this vision is the only means by which escape from guilt can be attained, then the belief in sin must be eternal. Yet reason looks on this another way, for reason sees the source of an idea as what will make it true or false. This must be so, if the idea is like its source. Therefore, says reason, if escape from guilt was given to the Holy Spirit as His purpose, and by One to Whom nothing He wills can be impossible, the means for its attainment are more than possible. They must be there, and you must have them.

This is a crucial period in this course, for here the separation of you and the ego must be made complete.

For if you have the means to let the Holy Spirit’s purpose be accomplished, they can be used, and through their use, will you gain faith in them. Yet to the ego this must be impossible, and no one undertakes to do what holds no hope of ever being done.

You know what your Creator wills is possible, but what you made believes it is not so. Now must you choose between yourself and an illusion of yourself. Not both, but one. There is no point in trying to avoid this one decision. It must be made. Faith and belief can fall to either side, but reason tells you that misery lies only on one side, and joy upon the other.

Forsake not now each other.

For you, who are the same, will not decide alone nor differently. Either you give each other life or death; either you are each other’s Savior or his judge, offering him sanctuary or condemnation.

This course will be believed entirely or not at all. For it is wholly true or wholly false, and cannot be but partially believed. And you will either escape from misery entirely or not at all. Reason will tell you that there is no middle ground where you can pause uncertainly, waiting to choose between the joy of Heaven and the misery of hell. Until you choose Heaven, you are in hell and misery.

There is no part of Heaven you can take and weave into illusions, nor is there one illusion you can enter Heaven with. A Savior cannot be a judge, nor mercy condemnation; and vision cannot damn, but only bless. Whose function is to save, will save. How He will do it is beyond your understanding, but when must be your choice. For time you made, and time you can command. You are no more a slave to time than to the world you made. Would you have partial forgiveness for yourself? Can you reach Heaven while a single sin still tempts you to remain in misery? Heaven is the home of perfect purity, and God created it for you. Look on your holy brother, sinless as yourself, and let him lead you there.

Let us look closer at the whole illusion that what you made has power to enslave its maker.This is the same belief that caused the separation. It is the meaningless idea that thoughts can leave the thinker’s mind, be different from it, and in opposition to it. If this were true, thoughts would not be the mind’s extensions, but its enemies. And here we see again another form of the same fundamental illusion we have seen many times before. Only if it were possible the Son of God could leave his Father’s Mind, make himself different and oppose His Will, would it be possible that the self he made, and all it made, should be his master.

Behold the great projection, but look on it with the decision that it must be healed, and not with fear. Nothing you made has any power over you unless you still would be apart from your Creator—and with a will opposed to His, for only if you would believe His Son could be His enemy, does it seem possible that what you made is yours (your enemy). You would condemn His joy to misery, and make Him different. And all the misery you made has been your own.

Are you not glad to learn it is not true? Is it not welcome news to hear not one of the illusions that you made replaced the truth?

Only your thoughts have been impossible. Salvation cannot be. It is impossible to look upon your Savior as your enemy, and recognize him; yet it is possible to recognize him for what he is, if God would have it so. What God has given to your holy relationship is there, for what He gave the Holy Spirit to give to you he gave. Would you not look upon the Savior that has been given you? And would you not exchange, in gratitude, the function of an executioner you gave him for the one he has in truth? Receive of him what God has given him for you, not what you tried to give yourself.

Beyond the bodies that you interposed between you, and shining in the golden light which reaches it from the bright, endless circle that extends forever, is your holy relationship, beloved of God Himself. How still it rests, in time and yet beyond, immortal yet on earth. How great the power that lies in it.

Time waits upon its will, and earth will be as it would have it be. Here is no separate will, nor the desire that anything be separate. Its will has no exceptions, and what it wills is true. Every illusion brought to its forgiveness is gently overlooked and disappears, for at its center Christ has been reborn, to light His home with vision that overlooks the world. Would you not have this holy home be yours as well? No misery is here, but only joy.

All you need do to dwell in quiet here with Christ is share His vision. Quickly and gladly is His vision given to anyone who is but willing to see his brother sinless; and no one can remain beyond this willingness, if you would be released entirely from all effects of sin.

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 22 - Salvation & the Holy Spirit

Reason & The Holy Relationship

The introduction of reason into the ego’s thought system is the beginning of its undoing, for reason and the ego are contradictory. Nor is it possible for them to co-exist in your awareness, and reason’s goal is to make plain, and therefore obvious.

You can see reason. This is not a play on words, for here is the beginning of a vision that has meaning. Vision is sense, quite literally. If it is not the body’s sight, it must be understood, for it is plain, and what is obvious is not ambiguous. It can be understood. And here do reason and the ego separate, to go their different ways...

The ego’s whole continuance depends on its belief you cannot learn this course. Share this belief and reason will be unable to see your errors and make way for their correction, for reason sees through errors, telling you what you thought was real is not.

Reason can see the difference between sin and mistakes, because it wants correction. Therefore, it tells you what you thought was uncorrectable can be corrected and thus it must have been an error. The ego’s opposition to correction leads to its fixed belief in sin, and disregard of errors. It looks on nothing that can be corrected. Thus does the ego damn, and reason save.

Reason is not salvation in itself, but it makes way for peace, and brings you to a state of mind in which salvation can be given you. Sin is a block, set like a heavy gate, locked and without a key, across the road to peace. No one who looks on it without the help of reason would try to pass it. The body’s eyes behold it as solid granite, so thick it would be madness to attempt to pass it. Yet reason sees through it easily because it is an error. The form it takes cannot conceal its emptiness from reason’s eyes.

Only the form of error attracts the ego. "Meaning" it does not recognize, and does not know if it is there or not. Everything which the body’s eyes can see is a mistake, an error in perception, a distorted fragment of the whole, without the meaning that the whole would give, and yet mistakes, regardless of their form, can be corrected.

Sin is but error in a special form the ego venerates. It would preserve all errors and make them sins. For here is its own stability, its heavy anchor in the shifting world it made; the rock on which its church is built, and where its worshippers are bound to bodies, and believe the body’s freedom is their own.

Reason will tell you that the form of error is not what makes it a mistake. If what the form conceals is a mistake, the form cannot prevent correction.

The body’s eyes see only form. They cannot see beyond what they were made to see; and they were made to look on error, and not see past it. Theirs is indeed a strange perception, for they can see only illusions, unable to look beyond the granite block of sin, and stopping at the outside form of nothing. To this distorted form of vision, the outside of everything, the wall that stands between you and the truth, is wholly true; yet how can sight which stops at nothingness, as if it were a solid wall, see truly? It is held back by form, having been made to guarantee that nothing else but form will be perceived.

These eyes, made not to see, will never see.

For the idea they represent left not its maker, and it is their maker that sees through them. What was its maker’s goal but not to see? For this the body’s eyes are perfect means, but not for seeing. See how the body’s eyes rest on externals, and cannot go beyond. Watch how they stop at nothingness, unable to go beyond the form to meaning. Nothing so blinding as perception of form, for sight of form means understanding has been obscured.

Only mistakes have different forms, and so they can deceive. You can change form because it is not true; it could not be reality because it can be changed. Reason will tell you that if form is not reality, it must be an illusion and is not there to see. And if you see it, you must be mistaken, for you are seeing what can not be real, as if it were.

What cannot see beyond what is not there must be distorted perception, and must perceive illusions as the truth. Could it, then, recognize the truth?
Let not the form of his mistakes keep you from him whose holiness is yours.

Let not the vision of his holiness, the sight of which would show you your forgiveness, be kept from you by what the body’s eyes can see.

Let your awareness of your brother not be blocked by your perception of his sins, and of his body.

What is there in him that you would attack except what you associate with his body, which you believe can sin? Beyond his errors is his holiness and your salvation. You gave him not his holiness, but tried to see your sins in him to save yourself; and yet, his holiness is your forgiveness.

Can you be saved by making sinful the one whose holiness is your salvation?

A holy relationship, however newly born, must value holiness above all else. Unholy values will produce confusion, and in awareness. In an unholy relationship, each one is valued because he seems to justify the other’s sin (lack of love). He sees within the other what impels him to sin against his will, and thus he lays his sins upon the other and is attracted to him to perpetuate his sins. And so it must become impossible for each to see himself as causing sin, by his desire to have sin real. Yet reason sees a holy relationship as what it is—a common state of mind, where both give errors gladly to correction that both may happily be healed as one.

 

 
 

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