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Does the concept of Holy Relationship mean that there is one specific person out there who will be my perfect mirror? (In his answer, David also goes
Question: I don't know if you remember my previous letter, but it was about my sister dying mysteriously at the age of thirty six. You helped me put perspective on that. We discovered since that she was secretly anorexic, and my family clearly has some attitudes about the body that we need to heal together.
My personal issue is about special and holy relationships and whether a holy relationship with one particular person is necessary in order to awaken. I have never had a serious long-term relationship. What if I never have one? The Course talks about holy relationships and how important they are, so I have big expectations for each limited relationship I go into, and they all seem to fail quickly. Am I taking this too literally?
Answer: Thanks for your openness and your willingness to look deeply at what is underneath these topics and issues. The split mind contains the problem (the ego) and the solution (the Holy Spirit). When they are brought together only One remains.
The body and the world are always the focus of ego's perspective, for it seeks to make real problems and struggles "in the world" and to avoid the inner healing correction of the Holy Spirit. The ego's distorted world is the product of identity confusion, an outpicturing of the belief that it is possible to make an identity which God did not create. The ego is this identity problem and it was Answered or forgiven by the Holy Spirit the instant it seemed to arise. This one problem could be described as an authority problem or a confusion in who is the author of Reality. The "mind" that believes in the reality of the time-space cosmos has a control issue, for it believes that it can create itself. This ego mind also thinks it is in competition with God, although this is pushed out of conscious awareness. This unconscious ego thought system is exposed in the ACIM Workbook lessons, and Lesson #13 contains an excellent example of this unveiling:
"A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God."
This is the beginning of training the mind to forgive, for the focus is brought back to the mind, back to thinking, and taken away from the body and the world. Anorexia, weight issues, body image issues, and interpersonal relationship issues are examples of projection, of seeing the "problem" where it is not, which is in the world. The mind cannot tolerate the belief in a "war” with God, so this belief is pushed out of awareness. The deep-seated control issue that such a belief entails is then projected to the body and the world. Weight "control,” like any attempt to control the script or the body, is an attempt to control the past. The Holy Spirit teaches that the past can only be forgiven or released or seen as false - not fixed or controlled or changed.
The same ego dynamic is underneath interpersonal relationship struggles of power and control, of wanting to fix or change a person or a self-image. Personal relationships may seem to sail happily along for awhile, yet the make believe self-concept IS the "personal perspective" and thus is always on shaky ground. Decisions are continuous. The Holy Spirit is a decision. The ego is a decision. Atonement is the decision that ends all decisions, an acceptance of the changelessness of Mind. The ego is the decision to believe that the mind can be separate from God. Once the mind believed that it had separated and built this time-space world, this time-space world of bodies became its substitute identity, because it believed it had thrown away the Kingdom of Heaven. The world was made-up as a substitute "identity." The sleeping mind is split on the decision of identity. The Holy Spirit says,”This world is not Identity. This world is an illusion." And thus the Holy Spirit reminds the mind constantly,”This world is not your Home. This world is not your Identity. This world is not real." While the mind is split it is hearing another voice (the ego) that's saying: "You've done it. You've separated from God. You'd better make the best of it and find something of the world to identify with. You can never go back, for God will punish you."
Thought-form associations seem to become a substitute "identity." The ego mind seems to be identified with the body, with family, with environments that seem to surround it (I'm an American, Japanese, I'm male, I'm female, I'm from a wealthy family, from a poor family, I'm Catholic, Jewish, Protestant). All of these are thought-form associations. And these seeming other persons and places surrounding the little personal self are all part of this construction. The mind is very shaky about this small identity, this small self, this little "me." So the little me is shaky, and it seems like other persons give the little me reality and importance (you're my son, my daughter, you're my boss, you're a loving father) and all the different things that these images seem to be telling this little me seem to be really important. Praise thus seems very important (you are a "person" and you're a "good" one)!
Praise and acceptance from others SEEM to stabilize this very shaky thing. (you're a great lover, you're a great provider, you're great with the children, you have a fine intellect, you have such a heart, you help serve so many other people, you're a great team player, on and on). This aspect of the self-concept says that you are a person, and you have all of these positive attributes that really make you a valuable and worthy person—that make you stand out above the crowd. You're not just anyone—you're someBODY special. The flip side is criticism, which directly reflects the shaky sense of self. Criticism would be: you're not as great as you think you are, you're not such a good team player, such a good provider, so good in bed—all the things that are taken as "insults" to the personal self-concept. That's the flip side of the strokes. To this ego self-concept that believes both sides (the positive and negative) of "thinking" are real, the Holy Spirit is perceived as a great threat, for the Holy Spirit leads to the experience of forgiveness, which is just the realization that none of the tiny images perceived as separate have any reality.
When the criticism seems to come, the ego attempts a substitution. It thinks "I don't need this. I'll go elsewhere and start other relationships with people who can appreciate my talents and skills and abilities, appreciate my personhood. I will avoid those 'negative influences' in the world and those negative people. I'll find another 'person' or join a group where people are 'like-minded' and forget about the rest of the world. These new people will like me and stroke me and praise me." The attempt at substitution is an attempt to maintain a sense of specialness, a sense of separation, a sense of individuality (a private mind with private thoughts). Those attempts are special love relationships. They seem to reinforce worth and value and to validate personhood. And they offer a false witness for clinging to the ego as "identity." To the ego, past associations serve to give personhood some sense of stability and consistency and value. Yet the Holy Spirit shows that past associations offer nothing of value, for they were made by the ego to deny the truth of God's Love.
Holy relationship emphasizes and reflects Content (right-minded thinking) and has an awareness of the meaninglessness of form. While the ego is believed, relationships will seem to be specific, yet each one will present an opportunity to release the belief in specifics. Divine Mind is Abstract and Universal. Forgiveness is the bridge to the remembrance of Christ and God, Divine Abstraction. Thus the Holy Spirit teaches:
"When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you.(T-8.III.4.1-8)
The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is "Know thyself." There is nothing else to seek." (T-8.III.4-5)
The focus is always a willingness for miracles. Change but your thoughts and your whole perception of the world is changed. The ultimate outcome of this transformation is: I am as God created Me. My Mind holds only what I think with God.
If there is a temptation to buy the bait of thoughts of form, here is a helpful reminder from the Beyond All Idols section of Chapter 30:
"It is not form you seek. What form can be a substitute for God the Father's Love? What form can take the place of all the love in the Divinity of God the Son? What idol can make two of what is one? And can the limitless be limited? You do not want an idol. It is not your will to have one. It will not bestow on you the gift you seek. When you decide upon the form of what you want, you lose the understanding of its purpose. So you see your will within the idol, thus reducing it to a specific form. Yet this could never be your will, because what shares in all creation cannot be content with small ideas and little things.
Behind the search for every idol lies the yearning for completion. Wholeness has no form because it is unlimited. To seek a special person or a thing to add to you to make yourself complete, can only mean that you believe some form is missing. And by finding this, you will achieve completion in a form you like. This is the purpose of an idol; that you will not look beyond it, to the source of the belief that you are incomplete. Only if you had sinned could this be so. For sin is the idea you are alone and separated off from what is whole. And thus it would be necessary for the search for wholeness to be made beyond the boundaries of limits on yourself.
It never is the idol that you want. But what you think it offers you, you want indeed and have the right to ask for. Nor could it be possible it be denied. Your will to be complete is but God's Will, and this is given you by being His. God knows not form. He cannot answer you in terms that have no meaning. And your will could not be satisfied with empty forms, made but to fill a gap that is not there. It is not this you want. Creation gives no separate person and no separate thing the power to complete the Son of God." (T- 30.III.2-4)
This section gives a clear Answer to your question about holy relationship. Think with God, Perceive with the Holy Spirit, and experience the wholeness of forgiveness. A "personal relationship" is still a self-concept and can only be a transitional "step" in Awakening. The Holy Spirit's Purpose offers a forgiven world, a wholeness that transcends the seeming "parts." Glory and thanks to God for creating All as One!
Love & Blessings, David