Course in Miracles
17 - Forgiveness
& Two Worlds or Two Pictures
established His relationship with you "to make you happy,"
nothing you do which does not share His purpose can be real.
The purpose God ascribed
to anything is its only function. Because of His reason for creating
His relationship with you, the function of relationships became
forever "to make happy." And nothing else. To fulfill
this function, you relate to your creations as God to His. For nothing
God created is apart from happiness, and nothing God created but
would extend happiness as its Creator did. Whatever fulfills this
function not cannot be real.
In this world it is impossible
to create, yet it is possible to make happy.
We have said repeatedly
that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships
but would transform them. And by that all that is meant is that
He will restore to them the function given them by God. The function
you have given them is clearly not to make happy. But the holy relationship
shares God's purpose, rather than aiming to make a substitute for
it. Every special relationship which you have made is a substitute
for God's Will and glorifies yours instead of His because of the
delusion that they are different.
You have made very
real relationships even in this world which you do not recognize
simply because you have raised their substitutes to such predominance
that when truth calls to you, as it does constantly, you answer
with a substitute. Every special relationship which you have ever
undertaken has as its fundamental purpose the aim of occupying your
minds so completely that you will not hear the call of truth. In
a sense the special relationship was the ego's answer to the creation
of the Holy Spirit, Who was God's answer to the separation. For
although the ego did not understand what had been created, it was
aware of threat.
The whole defense
system—which the ego evolved to protect the separation from
the Holy Spirit—was in response to the gift with which God
blessed it and by His blessing enabled it (the separation) to be
healed. This blessing holds within itself the truth about everything.
And the truth is that the Holy Spirit is in close relationship with
you because in Him is your relationship with God restored to you.
The relationship with Him has never been broken because the Holy
Spirit has not been separate from anyone since the separation. And
through Him have all your holy relationships been carefully preserved
to serve God's purpose for you.
Ego Is Insane
The ego is hyperalert
to threat, and the part of your mind into which the ego was accepted
is very anxious to preserve its reason as it sees it. It does not
realize that it is totally insane. And you must realize just what
this means if you would be restored to sanity. The insane protect
their thought systems, but they do so insanely. And all their defenses
are as insane as what they are supposed to protect. The separation
has nothing in it, no part, no "reason," and no attribute
that is not insane. And its "protection" is part of it,
as insane as the whole.
The special relationship,
which is its (the separation's) chief defense, must therefore be
You have but little
difficulty now in realizing that the thought system which the special
relationship protects is but a system of delusions. You recognize,
at least in general terms, that the ego is insane. Yet the special
relationship still seems to you somehow to be "different."
Yet we have looked at it far closer than at many other aspects of
the ego's thought system which you have been more willing to let
go. While this one remains, you will not let the others go. For
this one is not different. Retain this one, and you have retained
It is essential to
realize that all defenses do what they would defend. The underlying
basis for their effectiveness is that they offer what they defend.
What they defend is placed in them for safekeeping, and as they
operate, they bring it to you. Every defense operates by giving
gifts, and the gift is always a miniature of the thought system
the defense protects, set in a golden frame. The frame is very elaborate,
all set with jewels and deeply carved and polished. Its purpose
is to be of value in itself and to divert your attention from what
it encloses. But the frame without the picture you cannot have.
Defenses operate to make you think you can.
The special relationship
has the most imposing and deceptive frame of all the defenses the
ego uses. Its thought system is offered here, surrounded by a frame
so heavy and so elaborate that the picture is almost obliterated
by its imposing structure. Into the frame are woven all sorts of
fanciful and fragmented illusions of love, set with dreams of sacrifice
and self-aggrandizement and interlaced with gilded threads of self-destruction.
The glitter of blood shines like rubies, and the tears are faceted
like diamonds and gleam in the dim light in which the offering is
Look at the
picture. Do not let the frame distract you. This
gift is given you for your damnation, and if you take it, you
will believe that you are damned.
You cannot have the
frame without the picture. What you value is the frame, for there
you see no conflict. Yet the frame is only the wrapping for the
gift of conflict. The frame is not the gift. Be not deceived by
the most superficial aspects of this thought system, for these aspects
enclose the whole, complete in every aspect. Death lies in this
glittering gift. Let not your gaze dwell on the hypnotic gleaming
of the frame.
Look at the picture,
and realize that death is offered you.
is why the holy instant is so important in the defense of truth.
The truth itself
needs no defense, but you do need defense against your own acceptance
of the gift of death. When you who are truth accept an idea so dangerous
to truth, you threaten truth with destruction. And your defense
must now be undertaken to keep truth whole. The power of Heaven,
the love of God, the tears of Christ, and the joy of His eternal
Spirit are marshaled to defend you from your own attack. For you
attack Them, being part of Them, and They must save you, for They
The holy instant
is a miniature of Heaven, sent you from Heaven.
It is a picture, too,
set in a frame. Yet if you accept this gift, you will not see the
frame at all because the gift can only be accepted through your
willingness to focus all your attention on the picture. The holy
instant is a miniature of eternity. It is a picture of timelessness,
set in a frame of time. If you focus on the picture, you will realize
that it was only the frame that made you think it was a picture.
Without the frame, the picture is seen as what it represents. For
as the whole thought system of the ego lies in its gifts, so the
whole of Heaven lies in this instant, borrowed from eternity and
set in time for you.
Two gifts are offered
you. Each is complete and cannot be partially accepted. Each is
a picture of all that you can have, seen very differently. You cannot
compare their value by comparing a picture to a frame. It must be
the pictures only that you compare, or the comparison is wholly
without meaning. Remember that it is the picture that is the gift.
And only on this basis are you really free to choose. Look at the
pictures. Both of them. One is a tiny picture, hard to see at all
beneath the heavy shadows of its enormous and disproportionate enclosure.
The other is lightly framed and hung in light, lovely to look upon
for what it is.
have tried so hard and are still trying to fit the better picture
into the wrong frame and so combine what cannot be combined, accept
this and be glad: these pictures are each framed perfectly for what
they represent. One is framed to be out of focus and not seen. The
other is framed for perfect clarity. The picture of darkness and
of death grows less convincing as
picture of darkness and death grows
less convincing as you search it out amid its wrappings. As each
senseless stone which seems to shine in darkness from the frame
is exposed to light, it becomes dull and lifeless and ceases to
distract you from the picture. And finally you look upon the picture
itself, seeing at last that, unprotected by the frame, it has
The other picture
is lightly framed, for time cannot contain eternity. There is no
picture of Heaven and eternity grows more convincing
as you look at it. And now by real comparison a transformation
of both pictures can at last occur. And each is given its rightful
place, when both are seen in relation to each other. The dark
picture brought to light is not perceived as fearful, but the
fact that it is just a picture is brought home at last. And what
you see there, you will recognize as what it is—a picture
of what you thought was real and nothing more. For beyond this
picture, you will see nothing.
The picture of light,
in clear cut and unmistakable contrast, is transformed into what
lies beyond the picture. As you look on this, you realize that it
is not a picture but a reality. This is no figured representation
of a thought system, but the Thought Itself. What it represents
is there. The frame fades gently, and God rises to your remembrance,
offering you the whole of creation in exchange for your little picture,
wholly without value and entirely deprived of meaning.
As God ascends into
His rightful place and you to yours, you will experience again the
meaning of relationship and know it to be true. Let us ascend in
peace together to the Father by giving Him ascendance in our minds.
We will gain everything by giving Him the power and the glory and
keeping no illusions of where they are. They are in us through His
ascendance. What He has given is His. It shines in every part of
Him as in the whole. The whole reality of your relationship with
Him lies in our relationship to one another.
The holy instant
shines alike on all relationships, for in it they are one. For
here is only healing, already complete and perfect. For here is
God, and where He is, only the perfect and complete can be.