|The Message of A Course in Miracles: A Translation of the Text in Plain Language|
Chapter 16: The Forgiveness of Illusions
1. True Empathy
1. From the Holy Spirit’s perspective to empathize does not mean to join in suffering because suffering is what you must refuse to understand. Empathizing to share pain is the personal mind’s interpretation of empathy and it always uses it to form a special relationship. But the capacity to empathize is very useful for the Holy Spirit when used in the Holy Spirit’s way. The Holy Spirit does not understand suffering and It wants you to teach yourself that suffering is not understandable. When the Holy Spirit relates to another through you It does not relate from personal mind to personal mind. The Holy Spirit does not join in pain because healing pain is not accomplished by entering into a delusion and attempting to lighten it by sharing it.
2. The clearest proof that when you are identified with a personal self you use empathy destructively is in the fact that you apply it only to some problems and to some people that you select out to join with. From the personal mind you only join to strengthen the personal mind and having identified with what you think you understand in another you want to increase the personal mind in you by joining only with that. So the personal mind always empathizes to weaken you by increasing itself in your awareness and to weaken is to attack. In your identification with a personal self you do not know what empathizing means. But you can be sure of this: If you will merely sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through you, you will empathize with your True Strength and will gain in your awareness of your True Strength.
3. Your part is only to remember that you do not want anything that the personal mind values to come of any relationship. Do not choose to hurt any relationship and do not choose to heal any relationship because in your identification with a personal self you do not know what healing is. All that you know of empathy is from the personal self’s past and there is nothing from the past that you really want to keep. Do not use empathy to make the past real to you and so to perpetuate it. Put the personal mind aside and let healing be done for you by the Holy Spirit. Keep one thought in your mind and do not lose sight of it however much you may be tempted to respond to any situation with the personal mind’s judgment. Focus your mind only on this:
The Holy Spirit is with me and I will not intrude the past on It.
I only need to not interfere.
4. True Empathy is of the Holy Spirit. You will learn the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of empathy if you let It use your capacity for empathy for your Strength and not to weaken yourself. The Holy Spirit will not desert you; be sure that you do not desert the Holy Spirit. Humility is strength in this sense only: For you to recognize and accept that in your identification with a personal self you do not know how to use anything is for you to recognize and accept that the Holy Spirit does know how to use everything. You are not sure that the Holy Spirit will do Its part because you have not yet done your part completely. You cannot know how to respond to what you do not understand. Do not be tempted to try and do not yield to the personal mind’s use of empathy for its own glory.
5. Weakness is not what you should wish to extend and yet in your identification with a personal self this is what you recognize as worth extending. This does not come from God and the form of empathy which reinforces weakness in your mind is so distorted that it limits you who it should set free. In your mistaken identification with a personal self you cannot correct your perception of weakness as strength but you have the Holy Spirit with you for correction. Do not attempt to teach the Holy Spirit because you are the learner and the Holy Spirit is the Teacher. Do not confuse the personal mind’s role with the Holy Spirit’s Role because this will not bring you Peace. Offer your empathy to the Holy Spirit because it is Its Perception and Its Strength that you want to extend. So let the Holy Spirit offer you Its Perception and Its Strength to extend through you.
6. The Meaning of Love is lost to you in any relationship where you look to the personal self and hope to find Love there. The Power of Love, Which is every relationship’s Meaning, lies in the Strength of God that replaces the personal mind’s projections and blesses every relationship silently by enveloping it in healing. Let this be and do not substitute the personal mind’s “miracle” for this. [If in your perception of a world another asks you to do a foolish thing you should do it because opposing it will only make it real to you. But this does not mean you should do a foolish thing that seems to hurt either of you. All requests in the world that you perceive are foolish because they conflict with Reality and therefore they contain some element of specialness. Only the Holy Spirit recognizes the needs that you think you have in the world as well as your one real need for God. And the Holy Spirit will teach you how to meet your real need for God as well as your needs in the world that you perceive, without loss to you.
7. If you listen to the personal mind you will think that by meeting one of these needs you jeopardize the other because the personal mind wants to keep them separate and secret from each other. This does not lead to Life and Truth. All of your real and perceived needs will soon be met if you leave them to the Holy Spirit, Which has the Function of meeting your needs. Meeting your needs is not the personal mind’s function. The Holy Spirit will not meet your needs in secret because the Holy Spirit extends to you Everything that you extend through It. What you extend through the Holy Spirit is for all that you perceive, not just for some perceptions.] Leave the Holy Spirit Its Function and It will Fulfill It if you ask It to bless every relationship that you perceive by extending to it your awareness of your One Relationship with God.
2. The Power of Holiness
1. You may still think that it is impossible for you to understand Holiness because you cannot see how It can be extended to be every perception that you have. And you have been told that it must be extended to include your entire mind to be Holy. In your identification with the personal mind do not concern yourself with how miracles extend Holiness because from the personal mind you do not understand the nature of miracles and you do not do them. It is their extension far beyond the limits that the personal mind perceives that demonstrate that you do not do them through the personal mind. You do not have to worry about how the miracle extends to fill your entire mind when you do not understand the miracle itself. One attribute of the miracle is no more difficult to understand than the whole miracle because every attribute of the miracle is miraculous.
2. The personal mind fragments and so it is only concerned with making “true” just a little part of any whole thing. It avoids looking at the whole by looking at a part that it thinks it can better understand so as to keep understanding to itself. A more helpful way for you to look at miracles is this: In your identification with a personal self you do not understand miracles in whole or in part. But they have been done through you so there is Something in you that does understand them.
3. In your identification with a personal self your experience of the miracle does not seem natural to you because this identification is so hurtful and unnatural for your mind that you do not remember what is natural for you. So when you are told what is natural you cannot understand it. Recognizing that the part is whole and the whole is in every part is Perfectly Natural because it is the way that God thinks and what is Natural to God is Natural to you. Wholly Natural Perception shows you instantly that every extension of God’s Love takes the same effort from you in every situation or the miracle would contradict itself. If you can understand that the meaning of miracles is Oneness their attributes will not confuse you.
4. You have experienced miracles and it is quite apparent that they did not come from the isolation of a personal mind. You have succeeded whenever you have extended God’s Love in place of a projection of the personal mind. When you extend God’s Love to your perception of another in the world that you perceive and you see God’s Love reflected back to you from your extension the first link in your awareness of your mind as One has been made. When you make this extension as the Holy Spirit guides you the Holy Spirit’s Natural Perception of it enables the Holy Spirit to extend Its Own understanding of the miracle to you. It is impossible for you to be convinced of the reality of what has clearly been accomplished through your willingness while you still believe that the personal mind must understand it or it is not real.
5. You cannot have faith in Reality while you are determined to make Reality unreal. You are not safer maintaining the reality of illusions than you would be Joyously accepting Truth for What It is and being thankful for It. Honor the Truth and be glad that the personal mind does not understand It. Miracles are natural to the Holy Spirit because Its Task is to translate your experience of miracles into the Knowledge of God, Which they represent, and Which you have hidden. Let the Holy Spirit’s understanding of miracles be enough for you and do not turn away from all the Witnesses to Its Own Reality that the Holy Spirit has given to you.
6. No evidence will convince you of the Truth of What you do not want. But your Relationship with the Holy Spirit is Real. Do not fear this but rejoice that the One that you called upon is with you. Welcome the Holy Spirit and honor the Witnesses that show you that the Holy Spirit is here. It is true, just as you fear, that for you to acknowledge the Holy Spirit is for you to deny all that you think is true in your identification with a personal self. But what you think is true was never true and there is no gain to you in clinging to it and denying the Evidence for Truth. You have come too near to Truth to renounce It now and you will yield to Its compelling attraction. You can only delay this now but not for long. Your Christ Mind has called to you and you have heard and never again will you be wholly unwilling to listen.
7. This is a year of Joy in which you will listen to the Holy Spirit more and more and your Peace will grow as you do. The Power of your Holiness and the weakness of your attack on yourself through your identification with a personal self are both being brought into your awareness. And this has been accomplished in your mind, which was firmly convinced that Holiness is weakness and attack is Power. This should be a sufficient miracle to teach you that your Teacher is in you but not of you. Remember also that when you have listened to the Holy Spirit’s interpretations the results have brought you Joy. Consider honestly the results of the personal mind’s interpretations and ask yourself if you prefer them. God wills you better than they offer and you can look with greater charity on yourself, whom God loves with Perfect Love.
8. Do not interpret against God’s Love because you have many Witnesses that speak of It so clearly. This year determine to accept What has been given to you by God. Be aware of God’s Love and extend God’s Love because this is why God has called to you. The Holy Spirit has spoken but you have little faith in What you have heard because you have preferred to place greater faith in the disaster of separation that you seem to have made. Resolve today to accept with Joy the fact that disaster is not real and that Reality is not disaster. Reality is Safe and Sure and Wholly Kind Everywhere. There is no greater Love than for you to accept this and be Happy. Love asks only that you be Happy and It will give you Everything that makes for happiness.
9. Every problem that you have given to the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit has solved for you and It will always do so. Any problem that you have tried to solve with the personal mind has not been solved. It is time you brought these two facts together and made sense of them. This is the year for you to apply the ideas that have been given to you in this course. These ideas are mighty forces to be used and not set aside. They have already proven their power sufficiently for you to place your faith in them. This year invest in Truth and let It work in Peace. Have faith in the Holy Spirit, Which has faith in you. Think about What you have really seen and heard and recognize that you cannot be isolated to the personal mind with Witnesses like these.
3. The Reward of Teaching
1. You have already learned that you teach yourself all the time. You may have taught yourself the Truth but without accepting the Comfort of your teaching. If you consider What you have taught and have therefore learned and how alien It is to what you thought you knew before you will be compelled to realize that your Teacher came from beyond the personal mind’s thought system. The Holy Spirit can look fairly on the personal mind’s thought system from a very different thought system that has nothing in common with it and the Holy Spirit can perceive that it is untrue. Certainly What you learn from the Holy Spirit as you teach yourself through the Holy Spirit has nothing in common with what you taught yourself through the personal mind. And your results have been Peace where there was pain and Joy where there was suffering.
2. You have taught yourself freedom without learning how to be Free. At the end of Chapter 9, Part 5 this course says: “Extend God’s Love and you will know yourself by your results” because it is certain that you judge yourself according to what you teach yourself. What you teach yourself through the personal mind produces immediate results because you immediately accept what you decide through the personal mind. This acceptance means you are willing to judge yourself by the results of your teaching. Cause and effect are very clear in the personal mind’s thought system because all of its teaching has been directed toward establishing them. You have faith in what you diligently teach yourself to believe. But notice how much care you have exerted in choosing the personal mind’s witnesses and in avoiding Witnesses that speak for the Cause of Truth and Its Effects.
3. The fact that you have not learned the Truth that you have taught yourself shows that you do not perceive your mind as One. It is impossible for you to teach yourself wholly without conviction and your conviction cannot be outside of you. You have taught yourself Freedom because you did believe in It and it must be that What you taught came from within yourself. Yet this Self that teaches you Freedom you clearly do not know or recognize even though It functions. But What functions must be there and it is only if you deny What It has done that you can possibly deny Its Presence.
4. This is a course in how to know yourself. With the personal mind you have tried to teach yourself what you are but you have not let What you are in Truth teach you. You have been very careful to avoid the obvious and to not see the Real Cause and Effect Relationship that is perfectly apparent. Within you is Everything True that you have taught so what has not learned it must be a part of you that is outside of you, not by projection, but in fact. It is this part that is not-you that you have taken in. But what you accept into your mind does not really change it because illusions are only beliefs in what is not there. You can only resolve the seeming conflict between Truth and illusion within you by separating yourself from illusion and not from Truth.
5. Your teaching has already done this because the Holy Spirit is part of you. Being One with God the Holy Spirit has not left God or you. The Holy Spirit is both God and you as you are God and the Holy Spirit together. God’s Answer to your perception of separation adds more to you than you tried to take away by trying to separate from God. God keeps you together with your Extension of God though you want to exclude your Extension of God from your awareness. Your Extension of God will replace the world you made to replace It. It is quite Real; a Part of the Self that you deny. Your Extension of God communicates to you through the Holy Spirit and It Gladly offers Its Power and Its Gratitude to you for Its Oneness with you and to your teaching of yourself. You who are One with God are also One with your Extension of God. Nothing Real has ever left the Mind of Its Creator. What is not Real has never existed.
6. You are not two selves in conflict; there is nothing beyond God. You hold God and God holds you and together you are One and there is nothing outside of Oneness. You have taught yourself this and Witnesses to your teaching extend from Oneness within you to replace the personal mind’s projected witnesses to separation. Their gratitude joins with yours and God’s to strengthen your faith in What you teach because you teach Truth. In the isolation of a personal mind you stand outside your True teaching. But with the Witnesses to Oneness you learn that you only teach yourself and you learn from the conviction with which you teach.
7. This year you will begin to learn What you teach. You have chosen this by your own willingness to teach. Though through the personal mind you seemed to suffer for teaching, the Joy of teaching will yet be yours because Joy is in you as both Teacher and learner. As you learn, your gratitude to your Self, Which teaches you what It is, will grow and help you honor It. You will learn your Self’s Power and Strength and Purity and you will love your Self as God does. God’s Oneness is Limitless and Eternal and Perfect. All of this is you and nothing outside of this is you.
8. All praise is due to your most Holy Self for What you are and for What God, your Creator, is. Sooner or later you must bridge the gap that you imagine exists between the illusory personal self and your True Self. The Bridge is your Relationship with the Holy Spirit. You will build this Bridge to carry you over to Truth as soon as you are willing to expend a little effort on Its behalf. Your little efforts are powerfully supplemented by the Strength of Heaven and by the One Will that makes Heaven What It is. When you choose to cross over to Heaven you will be literally carried over There.
9. Your Bridge is stronger than you thin, and your feet are planted firmly on It. Do not fear that your attraction to the Love that stands on Heaven’s side of the Bridge will not draw you safely across. You will arrive Where you want to be and Where your Self awaits you.
4. The Illusion and the Reality of Love
1. Do not be afraid to look at the special hate relationship because your freedom lies in your looking at it. You would know the Meaning of Love if not for the special hate relationship. In the special-love relationship the Meaning of Love is hidden from you. In your identification with a personal self you undertake the special relationship to offset the personal mind’s hatred of you but not to let it go. Your salvation will clearly rise before you as you look on this because you cannot limit hate. The special-love relationship will not offset the personal mind’s hatred of you but will merely drive it underground and out of your sight. It is essential for you to look at this and to not keep it hidden because Love is meaningless to you in your attempt to balance hate with special-love. You do not realize the extent of the split in your mind that lies in this and until you do you will not be able to heal it.
2. The special relationship is only a symbol. The symbols of hate against the symbols of love play out a conflict that does not exist because Love has no symbol since It is Everything. [You will go through this last undoing unharmed and will emerge at last yourself. This is the last step in your readiness for God. Do not be unwilling because you are too near and you will cross the Bridge of your relationship with the Holy Spirit in perfect safety, translated quietly from war to Peace.] The illusion of love will never satisfy you but Love’s Reality, Which awaits you on the other side of the Bridge that is your relationship with the Holy Spirit, will give you Everything.
3. The personal self does not love you. It is a symbol of your “attack” on God. The personal mind teaches you that you are guilty of separating from God and that you must fear that God will punish you for this. It must keep attack, guilt, and fear in your mind to keep you away from God. The personal mind attempts to limit the destructive effects of its hatred of you with the special relationship, which is meant to be a haven in its storm of attack, guilt, and fear, which it projects outside the relationship. The special relationship does not undo attack, guilt, and fear in your mind; instead it emphasizes them by teaching you to build defenses against their onslaught from outside. So in your identification with the personal self you do not really perceive the special-love relationship as valuable in itself but as a place where hatred is split off and kept outside of you. The special-love partner is acceptable to you only as long as they serve this purpose. Hatred can enter the special relationship, and you actually welcome it in some aspects of the relationship, but an illusion of love must still hold it together. If this illusion of love goes then you break up the relationship on the grounds of “disillusionment”.
4. Love is not an illusion; It is a Fact. If disillusionment is possible then it is hate, not Love. Hate is an illusion and what can change was never Love. God’s Love is Everywhere in your mind and to know this you must extend It everywhere in your perception to replace the world of separation in your mind. But if instead you select out certain people for some form of special-love then you are trying to live with separation from God and mitigate the guilt and fear it produces. In your belief in the reality of your separation from God you think your only choice for relief from guilt and fear is between the special relationship and returning to God and being killed for your “sin”. Special-love, then, is only your temporary reprieve from God’s punishment and your death. You do desperately seek for Love but not in the Peace that Gladly comes Quietly to you. And when you find that your fear of God and death are still with you, the special-love relationship loses its illusion that it can save you. When your defenses against guilt and fear are broken they rush in and hatred triumphs.
5. [Love does not “triumph”; only hate is concerned with the “triumph of love”. An illusion of love can triumph over an illusion of hate but only in illusions can love seem to “triumph”.] As long as the illusion of hatred is real to you love will be an illusion to you and the only question you have is: Which illusion do I prefer? There is no conflict for you in the choice between Truth and illusion because Truth undoes illusion. Conflict enters only when your choice is between two illusions but then your choice is meaningless because they are both illusions. When one choice is as dangerous as the other your decision can only be one of despair.
6. Your task is not to seek for Love but to seek for and find within yourself all the barriers that you have built against your awareness of Love. It is not necessary for you to seek for What is True but it is necessary for you to seek for what is false. Whatever form it takes, every illusion is fear and escaping from one illusion into another will not bring you relief from fear. If you seek for Love outside of yourself you can be certain it is because you perceive hatred within yourself and you are afraid of it. Peace will never come to you from the illusion of love but only from Love’s Reality.
7. Recognize this fact to help you sort out Truth from illusion: The special-love relationship is your attempt to bring Love into separation and fear and to make illusions real to you. In violation of Love’s Oneness, the special relationship seeks to accomplish the impossible and this can only be done in an illusion. It is essential that you look very closely at exactly what it is that you think you can do to solve the dilemma of self-hatred, which is very real to you in your identification with a personal self but which does not exist. You have come this close to Truth and only your perception of this dilemma stands between you and your Relationship with the Holy Spirit, Which is the Bridge that leads you into Truth.
8. Heaven waits Silently and your own Extension of God reaches to you to help you cross the Bridge and welcome It. It is your Extension of God that you really seek because It is your Completion. The special-love relationship is only a shabby substitute for What makes you Whole in Truth. Your Relationship with your Extension of God is without guilt and this enables you to gratefully extend God’s Love in your perception while you perceive yourself in a world. Your acceptance of your Extension of God is your acceptance of the Oneness of God, Which is your Completion. No specialness can offer you the Oneness that God extends to you and Which you extend.
9. Across the Bridge of your Relationship with the Holy Spirit is your Completion in God, Where you wish for nothing special and you only want to be wholly like God and to complete God as God completes you. Do not be afraid to cross into your Home of Peace and Perfect Holiness. Only There is God’s Completion and your Completion established Forever. Do not seek for completion in your illusion of a bleak world, where nothing is certain and everything fails to satisfy you. In the Name of God be wholly willing to abandon all illusions. In any relationship in which you are wholly willing to extend God’s Completion, and only this, God is completed and you are completed with God.
10. The Bridge that leads to the union of your mind must lead to God because It was built with God beside you and It will lead you straight to God, Where your Completion rests with God’s Completion. Every illusion that you accept into your mind by judging it to be attainable removes your own sense of Completion and is your denial of God’s Wholeness. Your every fantasy of love or hate deprives you of God because fantasies are the veil behind which Truth is hidden. To lift this seemingly dark and heavy veil you only need to value Truth beyond all fantasies and to be unwilling to settle for illusions in place of Truth.
11. Your journey seems to be through fear to Love. Love calls to you but in the personal mind’s hatred for you it wants you to stay away from Love. Do not hear the call of hate and do no look on fantasies. You Completion lies in Truth and only There. In every call of hate and in every fantasy that tempts you hear the call of Love that rises ceaselessly from you to God. God will answer you whose Completion is God’s Completion. God loves you wholly without illusion, as you must love, because Love is wholly without illusion and therefore wholly without fear. What is One with God is Whole and God has never forgotten that you make God Whole. In your Completion lies your Memory of God’s Wholeness and God’s Gratitude to you for God’s Completion. In God’s Link with you lie both God’s inability to forget you and your ability to remember God. In the Holy Spirit your willingness to love, and all of God’s Love, are joined
12. God can no more forget the Truth in you than you can fail to remember It. The Holy Spirit is your Bridge to God, made from your willingness to unite with God and by God’s Joy in Union with you. Your journey, which seems endless, is almost complete because What is Endless is very near. You have almost recognized It. With your Christ Mind turn firmly away from all illusions now and let nothing stand in the way of Truth. With your Christ Mind you will take the last useless journey away from Truth and then go straight to God in Joyous answer to God’s Call for Completion.
13. Special relationships of any kind hinder God’s Completion and so they can have no value for you. What interferes with God must interfere with you. Only in time does interference in God’s Completion seem possible. The Bridge that God wants to carry you across lifts you from time into Eternity. Leave time behind and fearlessly answer the Call of God. God gives you Eternity in Oneness. On the time side of the Bridge to Timelessness you do not understand anything. But as you step lightly across It, upheld by Timelessness, you are directed straight to God. In God, and only There, you are Safe Forever because you are Complete Forever. The Love of God in you can lift any veil in your mind. The Way to Truth is open; follow It with your Christ Mind.
5. The Choice for Completion
1. As you look at the special relationship it is first necessary for you to realize that it involves a great amount of pain. Anxiety, despair, guilt, and attack all enter into it, broken up by periods in which they seem to be gone. All of these you must understand for what they are. Whatever form they take they are an attack on yourself that you project onto another and for which you make them feel guilty. This has been discussed earlier in this course but there are some aspects of what you are really attempting in the special relationship that have not yet been touched on.
2. Your attempts to make someone else guilty are really always directed at God. In your identification with a personal self you want to see God and God alone as guilty, with you and the world that you perceive open to attack from God and unprotected from God. So the special-love relationship is your substitute for Heaven and your chief weapon for keeping you from Heaven. It does not appear to be a weapon but if you consider how you value it and why you will realize why it must be a weapon.
3. The special-love relationship is the personal mind’s most boasted “gift” to you and the one which has the most appeal to you when you are unwilling to relinquish your belief in your separation from God. The personal mind’s goal of independence from God is clear here and it is counting on the attraction of this gift to you. Your fantasies that center on the special relationship are often quite overt and the personal mind judges them as acceptable and natural, along with the anxiety, despair, guilt, and attack that are part of them. In your identification with a personal self you do not consider it bizarre that you love and hate together and even if you believe that hate is a “sin” you merely feel guilty for it and do not correct it. This is the “natural” condition of the separation and when you learn that it is not at all natural to you, you will seem unnatural in the world of separation. The world that you perceive is the opposite of Heaven, being made to be Its opposite, and everything in the world takes a direction exactly opposite of What is True. In Heaven, Where you know the Meaning of Love, Love is the same as Oneness. In the world that you perceive, where you accept the illusion of love in Love’s place, “love” fosters further separation and exclusion.
4. It is in the special-love relationship, born of your hidden wish for special-love from God, that the personal mind’s hatred of you seems to triumph. The special relationship is your rejection of God’s Love and an attempt to get the special-love that God denies you. It is essential for the preservation of the personal self that you believe that specialness is Heaven, not hell. The personal mind will never let you see that separation can only be loss for you because even it recognizes that Heaven could not be loss.
5. Heaven is Completion and the personal mind and the Holy Spirit do agree on this. But they disagree on what completion is and on how it is accomplished. The Holy Spirit knows that Completion lies first in Oneness and then in the extension of Oneness. To the personal mind completion lies in triumph and in extension of its “victory” to its final triumph over God. This is where it sees the ultimate freedom for itself because then nothing will interfere with it. This is the personal mind’s idea of Heaven, so Oneness, Which is a Condition in which the personal mind cannot interfere, is hell to it.
6. The special relationship is a strange and unnatural device of the personal mind to try to join Heaven and hell, or Oneness and separation, thereby making them indistinguishable to you. This attempt to find the imagined “best of both worlds” has merely led you to fantasies of both and to your inability to perceive either as they are. The special relationship is the triumph of this confusion because it is a kind of union from which Oneness is excluded and the basis for your attempt at union is preservation of separation. There is no better example of the personal mind’s maxim: “Seek but do not find.”
7. Most curious of all is the concept of the “self” which the personal mind fosters in a special relationship. In your identification with a personal self you seek to make yourself complete in the special relationship but when you find one in which you think that you can find completion you give yourself away and you try to “trade” yourself for the other’s self. This is not Oneness because there is no extension or increase. Each of you tries to sacrifice the self that you do not want for the other’s self, which you think that you would prefer, and each of you feels guilty for the “sin” of taking and giving nothing of value in return. You cannot put much value on a self that you want to give away for a “better” one.
8. The “better” self that you seek in your identification with a personal self is always one that is more special and that you love for what you can take from him or her. When each of you sees this special self in the other you see a union “made in Heaven.” Neither one of you will recognize that you have asked for hell and you will not interfere with the personal mind’s illusion of Heaven. This illusion is what the personal mind offers to you to interfere with Heaven. But all of your illusions are of fear because they seem to make separation from God real to you and the illusion of Heaven is nothing more than an “attractive” form of fear in which the guilt you feel for separating from God arises as the illusion of “love”.
9. The appeal of hell for you lies only in your terrible attraction to guilt, which the personal mind holds out to you when you put your faith in it. Your certainty that you are limited to a personal self lies in every special relationship that you make because only if you are limited will you value specialness. Your demand for specialness and your perception that giving specialness is an act of Love makes Love hateful because It seems to limit you. In strict accordance with the personal mind’s goal your real purpose for the special relationship is to destroy Reality and to substitute illusions in Its place. The personal mind itself is an illusion and it needs illusions like the special relationship to witness to its “reality”.
10. Would you want the special relationship if you perceived it as a “triumph” over God? Put aside the fearful nature of this idea, the guilt it must entail, and the sadness and loneliness that are its result. These are only attributes of your whole religion of separation from God and of the total context in which you think separation occurs. The central theme of your perceived separation’s litany to sacrifice is that God must die so that you can live. So what you think you have done to God is acted out in the special relationship with another: Through the death of your “self” you think that you can attack another and snatch away their self to replace the self that you despise. You despise it because you do not think it offers you the specialness that you demand. And hating it you have made it limited and unworthy because you are afraid of it.
11. You cannot accept that What you have “attacked” has Unlimited Power. Truth has become so fearful to you that you will not dare to look at It unless you perceive It as weak and little and unworthy of value. You think it is safer to endow the little self that you made with power that you supposedly wrested from Truth, triumphing over Truth, and leaving Truth helpless. Notice how exactly this ritual is enacted on the altar of the special relationship: Two separate people each seek to kill their self and to raise on a body another self to take power from the death of truth in themselves. Over and over and over this ritual is enacted and is never completed; nor will it ever be completed. This ritual for completion cannot complete because Life does not arise from death and Heaven does not arise from hell.
12. Whenever any form of special relationship tempts you to seek for Love in this ritual remember that Love is Content and not form of any kind. The special relationship is a ritual of form aimed at raising form to take the place of God at the expense of Love’s Content of Oneness. There is no Meaning in form and there never will be. You must recognize the special relationship for what it is: a senseless ritual in which strength is extracted from the seeming death of God and given to you, God’s killer, as the sign that form has triumphed over Content and Love has lost Its Meaning of Oneness. Apart from the fact that this is impossible, do you want it? If it were possible you’d be making yourself helpless. God is not angry because God can not let this happen. You cannot change God’s Mind. No rituals that you have set up to delight in death can bring death to the Eternal. Nor can your chosen substitute for the Wholeness of God have any influence upon God’s Wholeness.
13. See in the special relationship your meaningless attempt to raise other gods before God and, by worshiping them, to obscure both their puniness and God’s Greatness. In the Name of your Completion you do not want this. Every idol that you raise to replace God stands before you and will replace What you are.
14. Your salvation lies in the simple fact that illusions are not frightening because they are not True. They seem to be frightening to the extent that you do not recognize that they are illusions and you will fail to recognize them as illusions to the extent that you want them to be true. To this same extent you are denying Truth and so you are failing to make the simple choice between Truth and illusion; God and fantasy. Remember this and you will have no difficulty in perceiving the decision as just what it is.
15. The core of your illusion of separation from God lies in your fantasy of the destruction of Love’s Meaning, Which is Oneness. Unless Love’s Meaning is restored to you, you will not know that you share It. Your perception of separation from God is only your decision to not know yourself. The separation’s whole thought system is a carefully contrived learning experience that is designed to lead you away from Truth and into fantasy. Yet for everything you learn that could hurt you God offers you correction and complete escape from all of the consequences of your perceiving separation.
16. Your decision whether or not to listen to this course and follow it is only your choice for Truth or for illusions. Here Truth is separated from illusion and not confused with it at all. The choice is simple when you perceive it as it is. Only fantasies make your choice confusing and fantasies are unreal.
17. This year is the time to make the easiest decision that has ever confronted you. It is also the only decision that has ever confronted you. You will cross the Bridge into Reality simply because you will recognize that God is on the other side,and that the world where you perceive yourself is nothing. You will make the natural decision for Truth when you realize this.
6. The Bridge to the Real World
1. Your search for the special relationship is the sign that you equate yourself with a personal self and not with God because the special relationship has value only to the personal mind. To the personal mind a relationship only has meaning if it has special value because it perceives all love as special. But this is not natural because it is unlike God’s Relationship with you and all relationships that are unlike this One must be unnatural. God’s Love is One and God extends Love in Oneness with Everything. Love’s Meaning is only as God defines It by God’s Will. It is impossible to define Love any other way and understand It.
2. Love is Limitless. To look for Love by limiting yourself to a personal self is to separate yourself from Love. For the Love of God do not seek for
3. If you want the Holy Spirit’s Help there is a way to extend Help and so to learn that you have It. The Holy Instant is the Holy Spirit’s most helpful Aid in protecting you from the attraction of guilt that draws you to the special relationship. You do not recognize that guilt is the real appeal in the special relationship because the personal mind has taught you that freedom lies in separation. But the closer you look at the special relationship the more apparent it will be that it fosters guilt and therefore limits you to a personal self.
4. The special relationship is totally meaningless to you without a body so if you value it you must also value the body. What you value you will keep so the special relationship is about limiting your identity to a body and for limiting your perception to a world full of other bodies. If you look upon God’s Limitless Love instead It will be clear to you that the special relationship has no value. When you look on God’s Love you do not see bodies because they have no value so you have no reason to see them.
5. You perceive what you value. On the side of the Bridge to God where you perceive a world you seek a separate body to join with in a separate union and become “one” by losing your Self. When you try to become “one” with another you are really trying to limit yourself to a personal self. You are denying your Power because a separate union excludes the Oneness of your entire mind. Far more is excluded from the union than is taken in because God is excluded and you take in nothing. If in a perception of another you truly saw your Oneness in place of a projection of the personal self Reality would enter into your awareness. But the special relationship that the personal mind seeks does not even include one whole individual, much less the awareness that your mind is everywhere. The personal mind wants a part of another and sees only a projection of this and nothing else.
6. Across the Bridge to God it is so different! For a time you will still perceive a body but not exclusively because God’s Limitless Love within you cannot long be limited to it. Once you have crossed the Bridge through your Relationship with the Holy Spirit the value of the body will be so diminished for you that you will see no need to magnify it. You will realize that the only value that the body has is to enable you to extend God’s Love to replace your perception of a world and so to release your entire mind as one.
7. The Bridge that is your Relationship with the Holy Spirit is nothing more than a transition in your perspective of what is real. On the side of the world that you perceive everything is grossly distorted and completely out of perspective. What is insignificant you see as important and What is Strong and Powerful you see as insignificant. In your transition there will be a period of confusion and disorientation but do not fear this because it only means that you have been willing to let go of your hold on the distorted frame of reference which seemed to hold your “reality” together. This frame of reference is built around the special relationship. Without this illusion you would not still seek for meaning in a world of separation.
8. Do not fear that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into Reality. Time is kind if you use it on behalf of Reality and it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition. The urgency is only in dislodging your mind from its fixed position in the illusion. You will not be left homeless or without a frame of reference. The period of disorientation, which precedes your actual transition, is far shorter than the time your mind has been fixed firmly on illusions. Delay will seem to hurt you now only because you realize that it is delay and that it is really possible for you to escape from pain. Find hope and comfort rather than despair in this: You will not find even the illusion of love in any special relationship for long because you are no longer wholly insane and you want to recognize the guilt of Self-betrayal for what it is.
9. Anything that you seek to strengthen in the special relationship is not really a part of you. You cannot keep part of the personal mind’s thought system, which teaches you that the special relationship is real, and understand the Holy Spirit, Which knows What you are. You have invited the Holy Spirit to enter your mind and It abides with you. Your Love for the Holy Spirit will not allow you to betray yourself and you can not enter into any relationship where It will not go with you because you do not really want to be apart from It.
10. Be glad that you have escaped the mockery of salvation that the personal mind has offered to you in the special relationship and do not look back with longing on the travesty it has made of your relationships. You do not need to suffer because you have come too far to yield to the illusion of the “beauty” and “holiness” of guilt. Only if you are wholly insane can you look on death and suffering and sickness and despair and see them this way. What guilt has made is ugly, frightening, and very dangerous; do not see any illusion of truth and beauty in it. Be thankful that there is a Place Where Truth and Beauty wait for your awareness. Go to meet them gladly and learn how much awaits you for your simple willingness to give up nothing because you recognize it is nothing.
11. The new perspective that you will gain while crossing over the Bridge to God through your Relationship with the Holy Spirit will be your understanding that Heaven is within you. From the side where you perceive a world Heaven seems outside of you and across the Bridge. But as you cross the Bridge to join with Heaven, Heaven will join with you and become One with you. And you will think in glad astonishment: For all this I gave up nothing! The Joy of Heaven, Which has no limit, is increased with each extension of Love that you return to It. Do not wait any longer for the Love of God and you. The Holy Instant will speed you on the way if you will let It come to you.
12. The Holy Spirit asks only this little help from you: Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you enter a Holy Instant with the Holy Spirit and let It release you from illusions. The Holy Spirit needs only your willingness to share Its Perspective to give It to you completely. Your willingness does not have to be perfect because the Holy Spirit’s is Perfect. It is the Holy Spirit’s Task to correct your unwillingness with Its Perfect Faith and It is the Holy Spirit’s Faith that you share with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s Perfect Willingness is given to you out of recognition that you are still unwilling to be free of illusions. Call upon the Holy Spirit because Heaven is at Its Call and let the Holy Spirit call on Heaven for you.
7. The End of Illusions
1. To let go of the personal self’s past you must let go of the special relationship because the special relationship is your attempt to re-enact the personal self’s past and change it. Through the special relationship the personal mind seeks to restore its wounded self-esteem for the imagined slights, pain, disappointments, injustices, and deprivations of its past story. There is no other basis for choosing a special partner. The choice you make in your identification with a personal self is because of some perceived “evil” in the past to which you cling and for which someone else must pay.
2. In the special relationship you take vengeance on the present by seeking to remove suffering in the personal self’s past. You overlook the present in your preoccupation with and total commitment to the personal self’s past. You never experience the special relationship in the present and shades of the past envelop it and make it what it is. Since it has no meaning now it cannot have any real meaning at all. You can change the past only in fantasy because who can give you what you think you were deprived of in the past? The past is nothing, so do not seek to lay blame on it for your sense of deprivation. The past is gone and you cannot really not let go of what is already gone so you must be maintaining an illusion that it has not gone because you think it serves some purpose that you want fulfilled. You must also believe that this purpose could not be fulfilled in the present but only in a past that is not here, so what the personal mind seeks to do in the special relationship cannot be done.
3. Do not underestimate the intensity of the personal mind’s drive for vengeance on you in the present for the past. It is completely savage and completely insane because it remembers everything that you have done that has offended it, either through your identification with it or through the Holy Spirit, and it seeks retribution on you. The fantasies that the personal mind brings to the special relationship are fantasies of your destruction. The personal mind holds the personal self’s past against you and in your escape from the past it sees itself deprived of the vengeance it believes you merit. But without your allegiance to it the personal mind cannot hold you to the past. In the special relationship you are allowing your destruction through your identification with a personal self and it is obvious that this is insane. But what is less obvious to you is that the present is useless to you while you pursue the personal mind’s goal.
4. The past is gone. Do not seek to preserve it in a special relationship that tries to teach you that salvation is in the past and that you must return to the past to find it. The personal mind has no fantasy that does not contain the dream of retribution on you for the past. It is your choice whether you act out the dream or you let it go.
5. In the special relationship it does not seem like you are seeking to act out vengeance on yourself through the personal mind. Even when the hatred and savagery of the personal mind briefly break though the illusion of “love” the relationship is not profoundly shaken. But the one thing that the personal mind will never allow to reach your awareness is that the special relationship is the acting out of vengeance on yourself. Yet it could not be anything else because in seeking the special relationship you do not look for God in yourself. You deny that God is within you and the special relationship becomes the substitute for God. Vengeance becomes your substitute for correcting your perception of separation from God and escaping from vengeance by letting go of the special relationship seems like loss to you.
6. In place of the personal mind’s insane idea of salvation the Holy Spirit offers you the Holy Instant. The Holy Spirit must teach you through comparisons and It uses opposites to point to Truth. The Holy Instant is the opposite of the personal mind’s fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past. In the Holy Instant the past is gone for you and with it the personal mind’s drive for vengeance disappears. The Stillness and Peace of now enfolds you in Perfect Gentleness and everything is gone except the Truth.
7. For a while you may try to bring illusions into the Holy Instant to hinder your full awareness of the complete difference between your experiences of Truth and illusion. But you will not attempt this for long because in the Holy Instant the Power of the Holy Spirit will prevail since you have chosen to join the Holy Spirit. The illusions that you bring with you will weaken your experience of the Holy Spirit for a while and will keep you from holding the experience in your mind. But the Holy Instant is Eternal and your illusion of time will not prevent the Timeless from being What It is, nor you from experiencing It as It is.
8. What God extends to you, you receive because the Reality of God’s Gift is in your Oneness with God. God extends the Holy Instant to you and you must receive It because God extends It to you. God Wills your Freedom so you are Free. The Holy Instant is God’s Reminder to you of your Oneness with God. Everything that the Holy Spirit teaches you is to remind you that you have What God extends to you.
9. You cannot hold anything against Reality. Reality has no past and you can forgive only illusions. All that you must forgive are the illusions that you project to perceive a world. God holds nothing against anything because God is incapable of illusions. Release your mind by forgiving it your illusion of a world and you will learn that you are forgiven. In time this is done for you in the Holy Instant to bring you the True Condition of Heaven.
10. Remember that you always seek between Truth and illusion; between real correction and the personal mind’s “atonement”, which wants to destroy you. The Power of God and God’s Limitless Love will support you as you seek only for your place in the plan of the Atonement, Which arises from God’s Love. Be an ally of God and not the personal mind in seeking how correction can come to you. God’s Help is enough because the Holy Spirit understands how to restore the awareness of Oneness to you and how to place all your investment in salvation in your Relationship with God.
11. Seek and find the Holy Spirit in the Holy Instant, Where you forgive all illusions. From the Holy Instant that you extend the miracle blesses all that you see and resolves all problems, whether you perceive them as great or small, possible or impossible. There is nothing that will not be replaced by the Holy Spirit’s Love. To join in close Relationship with the Holy Spirit is to extend Reality to your relationships in your perception of a world and through the Reality that you perceive there to give up all illusions for the Reality of your Relationship with God. Praise be to your Relationship with God and to no other relationship. The Truth lies There and nowhere else. You choose your Relationship with God or you choose nothing.
12. God, You forgive me my illusions so help me to accept my Oneness with You, in Which there are no illusions and Where none can ever enter. Your Holiness is my Holiness. There is nothing in me that needs to be forgiven because Your Forgiveness is Perfect. Forgetting You is only my unwillingness to remember Your Forgiveness and Your Love. I will not be tempted to forget You because it is not Your Will. I will receive only What You extend to me and accept into my mind only Your Oneness and Your Love. Amen.
 Specifically, Chapter 15, Part 7.
 “Atonement” here means “payment”.
 Italicized to indicate a prayer.
|Copyright 2009 Elizabeth A. Cronkhite|