Good Morning and Happy July 4th to USA subscribers!
This lesson contrasts the special and holy relationships, even though those words are not used. The special relationship operates on the ego’s principle of one or the other: you and I are different, and if I am to have my innocence, it must come at your expense. Thus I want to give as little as possible to get what I want, and so I bargain with you, while you, of course, do the same to me. A holy relationship is the opposite, for it operates on the principle that no one loses and everyone gains; my happiness is not based on your loss, but on the Holy Spirit’s correction: “together, or not at all” (T-19.IV-D.12:8). True peace, therefore, comes only from releasing our investment in specialness: someone has to be wrong so I am right; someone has to lose so I can win. The archetype of that principle is that God had to be destroyed so I could exist.
We have discussed the importance of distinguishing between words and experience, form and content. Thus, simple to say “I want the peace of God” is nothing if we do not mean it. We need to be reminded frequently that this is not a course in lip service: we have not succeeded simply because we remembered the lesson every hour or even six times an hour. Saying the words is unimportant, as is repeating God’s Name, but the willingness to look at our thought system, realize we have been wrong and question all values we have held (T-24.in.2:1) – that is important. We thus give up the special investment in maintaining our separate self at another’s expense.
When in the holy instant we say to Jesus, “I was wrong and you are right, and I am glad and grateful this is so,” the ego’s thought system disappears and along with the sorrow of the world. The reason is obvious: choosing peace over guilt is the choice for Atonement over separation. In the holy instant, when the choice for forgiveness is made, the ego – held in place only by our belief in it – cannot but disappear in the light of resurrection.
Again, Jesus tells us how very difficult his course is, for it undoes everything we have learned. Simply to say these thoughts without meaning them is not enough, for it we truly meant them, we would bring him all our illusions, looking without judgment at our thought system of separation: specialness, hate, pain and death. We may thus believe we can make a hell – the ego’s world of one or the other – but we cannot make it real.
NOTE: Very important point to follow:
Ken’s response to “should any two agree these words express the only thing they want”, etc., 2:9-3:1), by writing:
These words have also been misunderstood. A holy relationship does not exist between two people. For the world to be changed – for my mind to be healed – all that is required is that I not see you and me as separate. As this lesson makes clear, the other person does not even have to know about this – he or she may have died, for example – nor has to agree with what I am doing. The two minds that join are mine that joins with yours, which means I undo the prior belief that says my happiness comes at your expense. You need do nothing but accept the healing that comes the instant I realize you and I share one intent and purpose.
Again, Jesus does not speak of two separate personalities or bodies that join. If that were the case, he would be placing a condition upon our salvation: I could not be saved unless another joined with me, thereby making the body and separation real. However, Jesus’ focus is only on undoing my mind’s thought system of separation that says another must lose so I can gain. When I choose against that principle by asking Jesus for help, my mind has joined with another’s, because God’s Son is one.
In specialness the form is always emphasized and the content dismissed. We have seen that bargaining is at the core of the ego’s relationships: I pay as little as possible and hope to get as much as I can in return. Yet the real meaning of relationship – the loving oneness of God’s Son – has nothing to do with specialness at all.
Jesus is not saying to renounce some dreams, but all dreams. If you are truly serious about wanting the peace of God and returning home, you must be just as serious about bringing your illusions to the truth. You need not let them go, but you can at least try not to justify them.
In response to 6:1-2, Ken writes:
To repeat, in saying that God or the Holy Spirit give us lessons, sends us people, or has a plan, Jesus speaks metaphorically. The Holy Spirit’s plan, as we saw in Lesson 135, is the Atonement: His loving Presence in our minds. If we believe it has special form, it is because we have taken the abstract Atonement plan and translated it into something we can accept and understand. Thus, again, do not confuse the symbols of ACIM with their source.
The means for finding peace is a relationship. Yet the relationship is not given us – we are already in relationships. When my wish for peace is genuine and I honestly ask Jesus for help, I see the opportunities that were there all along. Before, I saw them as opportunities for murder: either you kill me or I kill you – but one will survive. They now become my chance to learn I cannot do this on my own. My selfish interests bring nothing, but my selfless interests bring everything.
Restating this important point, the Holy Spirit does not make plans for us. We are the ones who have made the plan – a plan of death. Yet when we realize our mistake, the ego’s plan of specialness becomes an opportunity for being led home to life in such a way we cannot mistake it – if our asking is sincere. Jesus thus appeals to us to be honest with ourselves, to recognize the lack of sincerity and authenticity in our desire for peace. To want peace truly means the willingness to give up war, by seeing how our lives have been nothing but a series of battles – without sincerity, we must perceive ourselves unfairly treated, justifying our attacks in return.
We have not seen the idea of “careful searching of your mind” for many, many lessons, but remember that early in the workbook Jesus emphasized this important aspect of our training – the honesty he teaches us is so essential for our forgiveness. We need to be aware of the subtleties of our investments in specialness – having our specific needs met by the various idols the ego taught us to cherish in its hate-filled world of illusion.
You need not feel guilty about your search for idols, but it is essential you be aware of “the dreams you cherish still,” (8:1), because they will impede your learning.
Again, we should not feel guilty because we still hold to the dreams of specialness. “But do not hide them from me,” Jesus says to us, “and please do not spiritualize or justify them. Above all, do not believe I am teaching that you are special – this is what you want me to teach you. I am teaching you instead to leave this special world behind. Yet I cannot be of help if you keep your illusions from me.”
Jesus is asking us to bring all our dreams to him, especially those of which we are most ashamed. After all, illusions are illusions – feeling guilty about even one illusion makes them all real – and it is the aim of ACIM to teach us this truth.
In response to 8:8, Ken writes:
This is the ultimate question Jesus urges us to consider: “Do I want the specialness I have made and continue to justify and indulge? Indeed, why would I, knowing it does not make me happy?”.
As previously discussed, joining with another does not mean that person directly joins with you, for the process occurs only in the mind. That is why students of ACIM should never let its metaphysics get too far from them; otherwise, confusion between mind and body, source and symbol is inevitable. Joining means setting side the mind’s belief in separate interests., identifying instead with Jesus’ belief that all interests are one.
The body’s laws – the ego’s laws of separation – disappear because we join outside our selves. Regardless of the form joining takes, healing has occurred, for the holy instant knows not of magnitude or importance: there is no order of difficulty in miracles (T-1.I.1:1).
Every dream in this world has a winner and loser. Recall again that we are not talking about form. Jesus does not mean you should love everyone the same way, but that your love should not exclude anyone else – in content: your love for one should not be a choice against another. Love – since it is one – can only be shared, if it is to be itself.
To state it again, we do not join with a brother’s body, with his mind’s call that echoes the call in ours. That is the “one intent” that makes a relationship holy – shifting from the belief in separate interests to the acceptance that all interests are the same.
Scattered. Lindsay, our niece who lives in Chicago and works for us as does her husband, will be induced and, presumably having her son, on Friday and on Saturday, her two siblings and their families will descend upon Chicago. Stef, her sister/our niece, will be here with her husband and four of her five kids, ages 8 to 24, and Matt, her brother/our nephew, will be here with his wife and three year old.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed. Bill and I are close to my twin’s kids, Lindsay and her two siblings. Given we won’t know how long she’s in labor, etc., and what time on Saturday her sister and family will arrive by car, plus when her brother and his family will arrive by plane, my mind is spinning.
I feel out of control, interesting.
So much up in the air.
When do we plan a meal for them since we don’t know when the baby will be born, etc.?
Don’t know if nephew and family will stay with us or at a motel where his sister and family will be.
And the spinning goes on and on.
That’s what ego does, period.
Hey, what if I just accept that I don’t want this form, above, of specialness?
I don’t have to worry about being a loving and thoughtful Auntie Gayle, now do I?
All I have to do is change my mind for holiness.
That’s what this lesson is all about as I just wrote above.
Do I want peace? If I do, I will trust that it will all unfold as it should and I need not worry for a moment.
I can pray to be truly helpful and to put aside any fears that reflect specialness.
Yep, that’s what my intention and focus will be today.
Happy July 4th!
Love to all,