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What we’ve been talking at length about, the unholy relationship and the meaning of those words I have expressed, is a relationship with someone or something in which you find God nowhere to be found. Where your divinity and the divinity of your Brother or the divinity of anything escapes your attention completely—doesn’t occupy it at all—because you, in your relationship with everything, are giving definitions to it that have nothing to do with God … hence you find nothing there expressive of God. Your definitions don’t allow it.
Now we’ve also been talking about the two pictures. And although one of them has a very ornate frame, which gets all of your attention, we’ve talked about the necessity of bringing your attention to the pictures ignoring the frame. And the fact that fundamentally, the same thing is in each picture: A relationship—an unholy relationship and (we haven’t used the words in recent weeks) a holy relationship in the other.
As we go along, you find yourself invited like further and further into something you didn’t know you were going to be encountering. A Course In Miracles is not a literary work to be read like other books. It is an expression of ideas, the intent of which are to cause movement in you and move you from one perspective of yourself and the world into another. In other words, to promote actual change.
Recently you may have felt as though I have been pressing for a lot more change than ever before. And you might be surprised at it. But it is important. And although change isn’t always fun, it’s always essential. And facing that with courage is where you find yourselves now. That is where we are in the process and it’s necessary not to cringe or at least not withdraw in the face of the call for change—the call for growth that we find ourselves at.
It’s very important not to misunderstand what’s happening and assume that something must be wrong because there’s a certain amount of discomfort associated with where we are in the process.
Now, this new section is entitled:
The Healed Relationship1
Well, we’ve been talking for weeks now about doing the two-step, haven’t we? About entering into the holy instant because the holy instant, you could say, is the stepping-stone out of the human condition. It’s the stepping-stone out of sin, sickness and death—suffering. It’s the stepping-stone into that place where God’s laws prevail. And as a result, you are never confronted with sin, disease or death, lack, fear, any of these things. You see?
Now, always I’ve suggested that in the practice of the two-step, you become still, you stop your incessant thinking and in the quietness you say, “Father, what is the truth here?” Now think about it. When you say, “Father what is the truth here?” you’re obviously meaning what is the truth relative to this situation, what is the truth relative to what’s happening with these things, what’s the truth relative to what these things seem to be doing? You see? The question always has to do with something you’re in relationship with.
By now it should be obvious to you that the subject, the focal point of A Course In Miracles, is relationships.
Now we’ve described at length what an unholy relationship is, what its characteristics are, what its uses are, how you use it, and on and on. We haven’t talked a lot about a holy relationship. But you could imagine that if you’re going to shift from an unholy relationship to a holy relationship, it’s going to involve your having said, “Father, what is the truth here about this relationship?” And you might imagine that the answer will be an intellectual explanation so that you might understand what the truth is here about this relationship.
And I’m here to tell you tonight that the truth about a relationship is not a head-trip. The truth about relationship is involvement. The truth about relationship is your heart, your nature as Love Itself, which is placed in you by the Father because you are His Self expressed and He is Love. And this Love that you Are must come into play. It must find expression in you as feeling, as caring, as affection, as thoughtfulness … you see?… something far more than an intellectual understanding.
“Oh-h, well you’ve been studying the Course and I’m studying the Course—we’re prime candidates for engaging in a holy relationship …”
Well, you could approach it that way and you could approach it as though you were going to bring into play all the things that the two you think a holy relationship is. Head-trip … head-trip … head-trip … no connection … no connection. An interaction based upon head-trip … head-trip … head-trip times two because both of you are doing head-trip … head-trip … head-trip. You see?
Now what have we been talking about for quite awhile now? We’ve been talking about the two-step and the holy instant. We’ve been talking about not interacting first with the thing you’re in relationship with, but going within first and connecting with the Father or connecting with the Holy Spirit. Being still, stopping your thinking, enquiring, “What is the Father’s Perspective now regarding this?”
Now while you’re doing this, you’ve set aside your interactions. You’ve set aside whatever allegiances you have with this thing you’re in relationship with because you don’t want your preoccupations or their preoccupations to get in the way of what the answer will be through your quiet, genuine inquiry: “Father, Holy Spirit, what is the truth here?”
The Holy Spirit will respond and communicate with you, I will say, in the form of communion—an inner definite communication that is more than just words but is a communication of feeling and meaning that does something to your mind. It clears out the fog. It clears out the clutter. It simplifies, you might say, the viewing area—the area of consciousness—and reveals to you God’s truth relative to whatever you’ve asked about.
And this changes you. Important.
The realization that occurs in you causes you to behave in a different manner than the way you behaved without engaging in the two-step or the holy instant. Now in your relationship with another, what comes out of your mouth is characteristic of a holy relationship. It’s not a planned behavior, it’s not a patterned or habitual behavior. It’s a behavior in the moment that arises out of fresh, clear, conscious awareness of what you’re involved in, what you’re involved with, with a perspective far beyond your puny little private intellectual capacities.
Now there’s something else. A holy relationship isn’t a nice substitute or alternative to an unholy relationship.
“Oh-h, we’ve been having an unholy relationship, let’s have a holy relationship!”
No. You may choose to engage in a holy relationship in the manner that I just spoke of, which isn’t by plan. But it’s going to be more than just having a new different kind of relationship—one that’s at a higher plateau of being. No. The thing is, that a holy relationship is the only means you have for going Home or for coming Home. It is absolutely humungously meaningful. It is the bottom-line absolute and only way to come Home, to Wake up, to come back into your right Mind. It’s not just a nice alternative to an unholy relationship.
No. It’s not just a nice alternative to an unholy relationship. It’s the most momentous singular act that you can engage in. It’s the act that lets you walk out of the insane asylum. It’s the act that brings you into the arena where God’s laws prevail.
It’s the act that annihilates sin, sickness and death.
It’s the act that illuminates everything as the Kingdom of Heaven that it always has been but which you didn’t see when you were choosing valiantly and with great courage to try to do the impossible and be an independent agent becoming something valid and actual without having a relationship with your Source. You see?
Yeah, I know … you’ve been reading A Course In Miracles. And you’ve read about unholy relationships and holy relationships … it’s very interesting isn’t it. Stimulating. But you’ve got to realize that it’s something far more valuable than a source of stimulation. It involves in its exposure of ideas, your discovering how to do the one thing that will return your sanity to you and cause you to become free of all of the things that you have felt were unjust and inappropriate for you to be bound by, like chance and fate and victimization, and accident and illness and mean-spiritedness.
Whether you could justify the feeling or not, you all have felt that these represent something invalid, that you shouldn’t be actually subject to them and that actually there must be a way to get beyond them. Well, there is and it’s here. But it’s going to mean, as we’ve been talking about, actually changing—actually being in a new way and being it with a Brother or a Sister.
Now I have shared that relationships are with everything: Brothers and Sisters, plants, inanimate objects, animate objects. Inanimate objects don’t join with you, as I’ve said. They don’t join with you in your false assessments—the imaginative meanings that you’ve given to them. But animate objects, especially ones that you would call sentient or conscious, are different. Because abandoning an unholy relationship with them requires interacting with whatever game playing they’re engaged in … whatever roster of definitions that they have applied to their world which of course, you’re part of. And so, there are definitions of you as well, and there are purposes to which they put their mind to manipulate you to get what they want that they think you have and so on.
So it gets a little, shall I say, messier—a little bit more complicated. And it’s not uncommon for everyone to find a way to behave with your animate relationships as though they’re inanimate. You try to turn them into inanimate things and get them to behave according to rules rather than their heart or their emotion.
The holy relationship …
… it says here …
… is the expression of the holy instant in living in this world.
The holy relationship is the expression of the holy instant …
… stop. Become still. Ask the Father or the Holy Spirit, “What is the truth here?” The truth is revealed with meaning and feeling. But until it’s expressed, you might say, it might as well not have happened.
Now that’s not true actually, because it does sit there as an experience for you to actualize by expressing it. But all of you must become clear on this. It’s the expression of what becomes known in the holy instant that actualizes the whole reason for there being the provision of the holy instant. Because when it’s expressed, it’s actualized and it becomes change—change manifest.
The holy relationship is the expression of the holy instant …
… the holy instant discloses things to you, you become aware of them, of the meaning and the feeling and then you express it in the world—in the world that you have been calling a physical world arising from a big bang but which is actually the Kingdom of Heaven. And in your actualizing it in this way, in the world, you are doing exactly what it takes to illuminate this “big-bang” world as what it truly Is, the Kingdom of Heaven.
It causes your relationship with things and with others to become holy. And it causes your affection to be transformed so that you are intent upon acknowledging and upholding and witnessing to that which is holy and whatever you’re in relationship with. And your intent is to uphold that rather than tear it down. And of course, tearing it down was, at the bottom line, your goal in the unholy relationship because, as we said, it’s the goal of the unholy relationship to keep God out of the picture, which means it is its goal to keep you unconscious of your divinity, of who you truly Are—and as I said, that is evil. And that is what the holy instant lifts you out of. That is It’s purpose. The holy relationship is a consummation of that. Very important.
It’s the most important thing! The holy relationship is the most important thing that exists for orphans—for those who are not Awake.
Again, going into the book …
The holy relationship is the expression of the holy instant in living …
… like actualized …
… in living in this world. Like everything about salvation, the holy instant is a practical device, witnessed to by …
… its results.
The manifestation, the actualization, the expression. You see?
The holy instant NEVER fails.
You may fail in abiding in the holy instant long enough for the Holy Spirit to register with you, but the holy instant, if you let it register with you, never fails in its function to disclose to you what the truth is here in your relationship so that it might be actualized as the holy relationship that it is.
The holy instant NEVER fails. The experience of it is ALWAYS felt. Yet without …
… you see? Keep in mind that all of this is relevant to and relative to, because it’s related to everything. The holy instant has as its function, to illuminate the holy relationship. And the holy relationship is the experience of your having, as an orphan, become still and having reached outside of the walls of the orphanage by saying, “Father, what is the truth here?” hearing the Meaning of the answer and feeling it and being moved to act upon it and behave toward what you’re in relationship with as though it’s holy and to reinforce its holiness by not engaging in anything opposed to it. So that your every action is a confirmation of, not the orphan mentality that your Brother might be employing, but the divine one that he is that your reinforcement of, that your witnessing for, allows him to embrace with perhaps a little bit of confidence or a lot of confidence. You see?
That’s actualization. That’s the holy instant causing the expression of the realization of God’s truth and uncovering and illuminating the holiness of the relationship with whatever it is that prompted you to engage in the holy instant.
This is the practical device—the mechanism—by which the transition from dreaming to being Awake is effected. This is the way it occurs.
The experience of it is ALWAYS felt. Yet without expression, it is not REMEMBERED.
Important. Here’s the way it works: When you engage in expressing the meaning that has been revealed to you as a result of having engaged in the holy instant, it, for lack of better words, jogs your memory and you remember the truth, you remember the holiness of your Brother, you remember the experience of experiencing the holiness of your Brother because you’ve had the experience before. You’ve had the experience before you chose to say, “Father, I’d rather do it my way. Father, I’d rather give the meanings to everything. Father, I want a divorce.”
Before that, these experiences that we’re talking about you’re coming back into an experience of, were always yours. And so that it’s like a spiritually visceral remembering of that which you already knew and have always known, [snaps fingers] clicks into place in you.
The holy instant NEVER fails. The experience of it is ALWAYS felt. Yet without expression, it is not REMEMBERED.
When it gets expressed, your memory opens up and you remember what you knew before. And there’s nothing intellectual about it. It isn’t a head-trip at all. You see? This is the kind of change we’re talking about. This is what coming back into your right Mind means.
The holy relationship is a constant reminder of the experience in which the relationship became what it is.
The holy relationship … this experience of being sane, this experience of Knowing the truth about your Brother or Sister and therefore about yourself, as long as it’s present, it’s a reminder of how it came to be remembered, it’s a reminder of the holy instant. And the fact that the holy instant is the one and only thing it takes to get out of the crab barrel, to get out of the orphanage, to get out of the orphan mindset, to get out of fear, to get out of sin, sickness and death, anxiety, jealousy, mean-spiritedness, self-protection, it keeps in place the remembrance of what it took and all it took, which wasn’t nearly as much as you might have thought it would take.
And as the unholy relationship is a continuing hymn of hate in praise of ITS maker, so is the holy relationship a happy song of praise to the Redeemer of relationships.
What’s the Redeemer relationships? The Holy Spirit. What is the Holy Spirit? Nothing more than your right Mind.
The holy relationship, a major step toward the perception of the real world, is learned.
It can’t be remembered because it hasn’t happened before.
The holy relationship, a major step toward the perception of the real world, is learned.
And this is important:
It is the old, unholy relationship, transformed and seen anew.
The simple fact is there are not two “you’s” … there are not two of you—a holy one and an unholy one. There’s only you seeing yourself through a glass darkly or seeing yourself clearly. So if you’re seeing yourself through a glass darkly, clarity is going to have to insert itself and become present and active and transformational in the glass darkly frame of mind. You see?
So, the insane you is going to discover sanity right in the middle of what had seemed to be insanity, because there’s just you. It’s important.
The holy relationship, a major step toward the perception of the real world, is learned. It is the old, unholy relationship…
… the self same one …
… transformed and seen anew. The holy relationship is a phenomenal teaching accomplishment. In all its aspects, as it begins, develops and becomes accomplished…
… expressed …
… it represents the REVERSAL of the unholy relationship.
In other words, it’s you in your unholy relationship mode being changed—allowing yourself to be transformed by the renewing of your Mind, by the remembering of what you’ve always Known, but what you have successfully blocked from view.
Be comforted in this; the only difficult phase is the beginning. For here, the goal of the relationship is abruptly shifted to the exact opposite of what it was.
This means you having to adopt a new goal that is the exact opposite of what your goal had previously been. This is very involving of you … of you … of each of you. And at the same time the means by which it is involving for you is that you must become involved with your Brother or Sister. You can’t do this privately. You can only do it in the context of the relationship. And right now you’re starting out doing this in the context of your current understanding of relationships and that understanding is an unholy relationship.
You might think it will be as impossible as lifting yourself up by your boot-straps. The only thing is, you don’t have to do that. You don’t have to do it with the part of your mind that you separated off from the rest and said, “This is me and everything in this area of my awareness is what’s real.” No! The disowned part is the Holy Spirit. It is waiting for your attention to come back to It so that It can respond and make whole all of you that was never ever actually divided up.
… here, the goal of the relationship is abruptly shifted to the exact opposite of what it was. This is the first result of offering the relationship to the Holy Spirit, to use for His purposes.
Now, you may have read this in the past as though it’s talking about your relationship with your partner or your relationship with another human being and that the first result of offering the relationship to the Holy Spirit to use for His purposes is what will bring the result you need.
Now, offering the relationship to the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean embracing your cherished one in your mind and saying, “I am bringing us to you, Holy Spirit, so that we might have a holy relationship.” It has to do with something we’ve been saying over and over: It is you stepping back from your cherished one or your cherished things, or your stable life-style that is essential you think, and says something about you … it is necessary to step back from them all into the quiet to say, “Father, separate and apart from any of the meanings or definitions I have applied to all of these things, what is the truth here? I want to learn Your perspective.”
So, if you are going to inquire, minus your meanings and definitions and so on, it means minus the meaning that says, “This is my cherished one. I want for my cherished one and I to stand and have our relationship become holy.” That’s too much of you. That’s too much of your thinking. That’s too much of the orphan mindset. You’ve got meanings that you’ve applied to it. And you don’t know how much or whether or not any of it coincides with the Father’s perspective—with the divine truth.
So, offering the relationship to the Holy Spirit really means you’re stepping back from the relationship and all of the meanings that you have given to it and which are affecting you and saying, “Father, in spite of what I’m experiencing, instead of the way I’m experiencing it, what is the truth here?” … because you don’t want your response to arise out of your conditioned thinking because that’s not fresh, it’s not the Father’s perspective in the moment, it’s not the vitality of the Movement of Creation now … now … now. And that’s the promise. That’s what the holy instant is for. And that’s what the holy relationship will be about.
And not only that, your abandonment of your best definitions and meanings and theories and concepts, which will allow the holy relationship to occur, is the means by which you actually and effectively initiate your movement Home. You see? You must embrace a larger picture than just you and your cherished one, that you want to have a holy relationship with, because it’s not just about having a holy relationship with your special one, or finding the special one that’s waiting out there for you … you see? . . to cherish.
Your Brother is your means for Waking up. Your Brother therefore, is your savior, and you are your Brother’s savior. Your relationships are the threshold of your movement Home. Simple … profound.
Now, the invitation to the Holy Spirit to use your relationship with whatever it is that’s prompted you to turn to the Holy Spirit …
This invitation is accepted immediately, and the Holy Spirit wastes no time in introducing the practical results of asking Him to enter.
You see? You might not have thought that you were asking the Holy Spirit to enter when you became still and said, “Father,” or “Holy Spirit, what is the truth here?” You might not have thought of that as inviting the Holy Spirit in, but you were. You were dropping the barriers, the boundaries. You were saying, “You’re welcome here where you hadn’t been awhile ago because I was spending too much time thinking about exactly what I wanted to think about and You weren’t part of it.” You see? So:
This invitation is accepted immediately, and the Holy Spirit wastes no time in introducing the practical results of asking Him to enter. AT ONCE His goal replaces yours.
Mind you, the Holy Spirit is nothing more than your right Mind, therefore, your right Mind’s goal replaces your wrong mind’s goal. Do you see the integrity of that? Immediately it undoes your tiny, mean-spirited, mis-directed, unintelligent frame of mind, thus bringing integrity to you.
This is accomplished very rapidly, but it makes the relationship seem disturbed, disjunctive and even quite distressing.
And this is talking about a partner, another sentient being. And it’s important to understand this. Listen again:
This is accomplished very rapidly, but it makes the relationship seem disturbed, disjunctive and even quite distressing. The reason is quite clear. For the relationship as it IS is out of line with its own goal, and clearly unsuited to the purpose which has been accepted for it.
What does that mean? Not totally clear? What it means is that the goal of the independent authorizer—the orphan—is to become valid without having to be connected to its Source. It’s like, its goal is to be a lit light bulb that isn’t plugged in. Therefore, its goal is insane. Its goal is to accomplish what can’t be accomplished. Its goal is to engage you in something that is a complete waste of your time, energy and attention. And it causes you sin, sickness and death—fear.
So, when the Holy Spirit answers at once, when His goal replaces yours it’s …
… accomplished very rapidly, but it makes the relationship seem disturbed, disjunctive and even quite distressing. [And] The reason is quite clear. For the relationship as it IS …
… you know, the orphan mindset …
… is out of line with its own goal,
… which is to accomplish the impossible …
… and [it’s] clearly unsuited to the purpose which has been accepted for it.
It’s unsuited to it because it’s an impossible task and it’s a task that’s something that doesn’t even exist actually … must accomplish. The thing that doesn’t actually exist is you as an independent agent, you as a physical entity having nothing to do with the divine Mind, intelligence, life, truth, love.
In its unholy condition, YOUR goal was all that seemed to give it meaning.
You see? You had looked at the ornate frame and you had believed what it implied, that you could accomplish and become and the pleasure and the satisfaction and the pride and the self-respect that you would gain from accomplishing this thing that can’t be accomplished. It seemed to give your life meaning even though it was something you could never succeed at.
Now, once the Holy Spirit answers quickly, it makes no sense. Now it makes no sense.
Now it seems to make no sense.
You see? As clarity comes, it undermines your mental habits, your mindsets. It undermines those things that gave you a sense of security, especially in the relationship with the one that you care enough to do the two-step for.
Many relationships have been broken off at this point, and the pursuit of the old goal re-established in another relationship. For once the unholy relationship has ACCEPTED the goal of holiness, it can never again be what it [is] was.
Again, remember there’s only one of you. You’re either clear or your unclear. You’re either sane or your insane. So that’s why it says:
For once the unholy relationship …
… once you and your unclarity …
has ACCEPTED the goal of holiness, it can never again be what it [is] was.
Now, because your holiness is going to take hold in your present mindset of unholiness it is going to call for sometimes wrenching adjustment because of the love you have for the old mindset.
The temptation of the ego becomes extremely intense with this shift in goals.
Now, it’s really good to be clear about this, because then you, as I said, will not cringe or back off from it. You will not think something has gone wrong.
The temptation of the ego …
… at this point …
… becomes extremely intense with this shift in goals. For the relationship has not, as yet, been changed sufficiently to make its former goal completely without attraction…
… in other words, completely unattractive …
… and its structure…
… the structure of the former goal …
… is “threatened” by the recognition of its inappropriateness for meeting its new purpose.
Did you get that? As this new purpose registers with you, it becomes clear that your old purposes will not help you accomplish this new goal. And you know what? That’s liable to make you feel totally incompetent, totally incapable, totally worthless as though everything that ever gave you a sense of worth is wiped out from you and you have nothing to draw upon in order to feel worthwhile. This is the experience which results from a great love for that which is nonsense. And when clarity … when the light shines on it, bringing you a new goal that you’re unfamiliar with yet, it’s very confusing. It is likely to be very confusing.
The conflict between the goal and the structure of the relationship is so apparent that they CANNOT co-exist.
When clarity comes to you, it comes to you clearly enough for you not to be confused and you’re able to see just exactly how incompatible the two mindsets are. But then, because of your devotion to the life-long work you expended to try to accomplish the impossible, you become confused because you want to go back. It’s like quitting cigarettes and wanting to go back and have one more puff.
The conflict between the goal and the structure of the relationship is so apparent that they CANNOT co-exist. Yet now, the goal will NOT be changed. Set firmly …
… the new goal …
Set firmly in the unholy relationship, there is no course except to CHANGE the relationship to fit the goal.
To change the unholy relationship mindset to fit the goals of the holy relationship, that’s the only answer.
Until this happy solution is seen and accepted as the ONLY way out of the conflict, the relationship seems to be severely strained.
Now, this needs to be understood.
It would not be kinder to shift the goal more slowly, for the contrast would be obscured…
… it would be like reducing the contrast and making discernment more difficult …
… for the contrast would be obscured, and the ego given time to re-interpret each slow step according to its liking. Only a radical shift in purpose could induce a complete change of mind about what the whole relationship is FOR. As this change develops …
… and I’m going to add: Even though it begins strenuously …
As this change develops and is finally accomplished, it grows increasingly beneficent and joyous. But at the beginning, the situation is experienced as very precarious. A relationship, undertaken by two individuals for their unholy purposes, suddenly has HOLINESS for its goal. As these two contemplate their relationship from the point of view of this new purpose, they are inevitably appalled.
I promise you this is true. If you know it, you won’t be surprised and you will dare to persist, even when the suggestion is to abandon the relationship and establish the old pattern with somebody else.
Their perception …
… those in the relationship …
Their perception of the relationship may even become quite disorganized. And yet, the former organization of their perception no longer serves the purpose they have agreed to meet.
It no longer serves the purpose of the new goal of holiness.
This is the time for FAITH. You LET this goal be set for you. That was an act of faith. Do not abandon faith, now that the rewards of faith are being introduced.
Even though the rewards are being experienced strenuously because the change is so significant and the change undermines things that you felt were significant and necessary for your self-respect and on and on, it’s the time for FAITH.
If you believed the Holy Spirit was there to ACCEPT the relationship, why would you now not still believe that He is there to purify what He has taken under His guidance? Have faith in each other in what [but] SEEMS to be a trying time.
Mind you again, this holy relationship stuff isn’t just about significant others. It’s not … special ones. You need to be asking, “Father, what is the truth here? Holy Spirit, what is the truth here about this, that and the other thing?”
Have faith in each other …
… you see? That’s why I’m saying that, because you can have faith in your neighbor, faith in your grocery store clerk and so on.
Have faith in each other in what [but] SEEMS to be a trying time. The goal is set. And your relationship has sanity as its purpose. For now you find yourselves in an insane relationship, RECOGNIZED as such in the light of its goal.
Clarity uncovers the insanity of your old paradigm, which you believe in and have valued. It is the way sanity returns.
And I’m going to leave this at this point tonight. You might say, “Gee whiz!” you know, I’m sure many of you have said, “Wow, I just turned everything over to the Holy Spirit, or I’ve been really trying to engage in what the Course is teaching and yet everything is turned upside-down. Something must be wrong.” Tain’t so.
I encourage you during this coming week to read this section at least this far so that you might arrive at a place where the strenuousness of things isn’t alarming you as much, isn’t distracting you significantly from still engaging in the two-step and the invitation of the holy instant. Because that’s still where the answer is and that is still where the further clarification that will help you to move out of your old habits will come from.
I love you. I love you all. And I look forward to being with you next week.
T17.5 The Healed Relationship ↩
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