Day 188 - A Course in Miracles
Chapter Seventeen: Forgiveness and Healing
VI. The Healed Relationship
43 The holy relationship is the expression of the holy instant in living in this world. Like everything about salvation, the holy instant is a practical device, witnessed to by its results. The holy instant never fails. The experience of it is always felt. Yet without expression, it is not remembered. The holy relationship is a constant reminder of the experience in which the relationship became what it is. 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.
44 The holy relationship, a major step toward the perception of the real world, is learned. It is the old unholy relationship transformed and seen anew. The holy relationship is a phenomenal teaching accomplishment. In all its aspects, as it begins, develops, and becomes accomplished, it represents the reversal of the unholy relationship. 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 is the first result of offering the relationship to the Holy Spirit to use for His purposes.
45 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. 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. In its unholy condition, your goal was all that seemed to give it meaning. Now it seems to make no sense. Many relationships have been broken off at this point, and the pursuit of the old goal reestablished in another relationship. For once the unholy relationship has accepted the goal of holiness, it can never again be what it was.
46 The temptation of the ego 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, and its structure is "threatened" by the recognition of its inappropriateness for meeting its new purpose. The conflict between the goal and the structure of the relationship is so apparent that they cannot coexist. Yet now the goal will not be changed. Set firmly in the unholy relationship, there is no course except to change the relationship to fit the goal. Until this happy solution is seen and accepted as the only way out of the conflict, the relationship seems to be severely strained.
47 It would not be kinder to shift the goal more slowly, for the contrast would be obscured and the ego given time to reinterpret 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 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. 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.
48 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. 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. 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.
49 Now the ego counsels thus—substitute for this another relationship to which your former goal was quite appropriate. You can escape from your distress only by getting rid of each other. You need not part entirely if you choose not to do so. But you must exclude major areas of fantasy from each other to save your sanity. Hear not this now! Have faith in Him Who answered you. He heard. Has He not been very explicit in His answer? You are not now wholly insane. Can you deny that He has given you a most explicit statement? Now He asks for faith a little longer, even in bewilderment. For this will go, and you will see the justification for your faith emerge to bring you shining conviction. Abandon Him not now, nor each other. This relationship has been reborn as holy.
50 Accept with gladness what you do not understand, and let it be explained to you as you perceive its purpose work in it to make it holy. You will find many opportunities to blame each other for the "failure" of your relationship, for it will seem at times to have no purpose. A sense of aimlessness will come to haunt you and to remind you of all the ways you once sought for satisfaction and thought you found it. Forget not now the misery you really found, and do not now breathe life into your failing egos. For your relationship has not been disrupted. It has been saved.
51 You are very new in the ways of salvation and think you have lost your way. Your way is lost, but think not this is loss. In your newness, remember that you have started again together. And take each other's hand to walk together along a road far more familiar than you now believe. Is it not certain that you will remember a goal unchanged throughout eternity? For you have chosen but the goal of God from which your true intent was never absent.
52 Throughout the Sonship is the song of freedom heard in joyous echo of your choice. You have joined with many in the holy instant, and they have joined with you. Think not your choice will leave you comfortless, for God Himself has blessed your holy relationship. Join in His blessing, and withhold not yours upon it. For all it needs now is your blessing that you may see that in it rests salvation. Condemn salvation not, for it has come to you. And welcome it together, for it has come to join you together in a relationship in which all the Sonship is together blessed.
53 You undertook together to invite the Holy Spirit into your relationship. He could not have entered otherwise. Although you may have made many mistakes since then, you have also made enormous efforts to help Him do His work. And He has not been lacking in appreciation for all you have done for Him. Nor does He see the mistakes at all. Have you been similarly grateful to each other? Have you consistently appreciated the good efforts and overlooked mistakes? Or has your appreciation flickered and grown dim in what seemed to be the light of the mistakes? You are now entering upon a campaign to blame each other for the discomfort of the situation in which you find yourselves. And by this lack of thanks and gratitude, you make yourselves unable to express the holy instant, and thus you lose sight of it.
54 The experience of an instant, however compelling it may be, is easily forgotten if you allow time to close over it. It must be kept shining and gracious in your awareness of time but not concealed within it. The instant remains. But where are you? To give thanks to each other is to appreciate the holy instant and thus enable its results to be accepted and shared. To attack each other is not to lose the instant but to make it powerless in its effects. You havereceived the holy instant, but you have established a condition in which you cannot use it. As a result, you do not realize that it is with you still. And by cutting yourself off from its expression, you have denied yourself its benefit. You reinforce this every time you attack each other, for the attack must blind you to yourself. And it is impossible to deny yourself and recognize what has been given and received by you.
55 You stand together in the holy presence of truth itself. Here is the goal, together with you. Think you not the goal itself will gladly arrange the means for its accomplishment? It is just this same discrepancy between the purpose that has been accepted and the means as they stand now which seems to make you suffer, but which makes Heaven glad. If Heaven were outside you, you could not share in its gladness. Yet because it is within, the gladness, too, is yours. You are joined in purpose, but remain still separate and divided on the means.
56 Yet the goal is fixed, firm, and unalterable, and the means will surely fall in place because the goal is sure. And you will share the gladness of the Sonship that it is so. As you begin to recognize and accept the gifts you have so freely given to each other, you will also accept the effects of the holy instant and use them to correct all your mistakes and free you from their results. And learning this, you will have also learned how to release all the Sonship and offer it in gladness and thanksgiving to Him Who gave you your release, and Who would extend it through you.
L e s s o n 188
The peace of God is shining in me now.
1 Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home.
2 This light cannot be lost. Why wait to find it in the future or believe it has been lost already or was never there? It can so easily be looked upon that arguments which prove it is not there become ridiculous. Who can deny the presence of what he beholds in him? It is not difficult to look within, for there all vision starts. There is no sight, be it of dreams or from a truer source, that is not but the shadow of the seen through inward vision. There perception starts, and there it ends. It has no source but this.
3 The peace of God is shining in you now and from your heart extends around the world. It pauses to caress each living thing and leave a blessing with it which remains forever and forever. What it gives must be eternal. It removes all thoughts of the ephemeral and valueless. It brings renewal to all tired hearts and lights all vision as it passes by. All of its gifts are given everyone, and everyone unites in giving thanks to you who give and you who have received.
4 The shining in your mind reminds the world of what it has forgotten, and the world restores the memory to you as well. From you salvation radiates with gifts beyond all measure, given and returned. To you, the giver of the gift, does God Himself give thanks. And in His blessing does the light in you shine brighter, adding to the gifts you have to offer to the world.
5 The peace of God can never be contained. Who recognizes it within himself must give it. And the means for giving it are in his understanding. He forgives because he recognized the truth in him. The peace of God is shining in you now and in all living things. In quietness is it acknowledged universally. For what your inward vision looks upon is your perception of the universe.
6 Sit quietly and close your eyes. The light within you is sufficient. It alone has power to give the gift of sight to you. Exclude the outer world and let your thoughts fly to the peace within. They know the way. For honest thoughts, untainted by the dream of worldly things outside yourself, become the holy messengers of God Himself. These thoughts you think with Him. They recognize their home. And they point surely to their Source where God the Father and the Son are one.
7 God's peace is shining on them, but they must remain with you as well, for they were born within your mind as yours was born in God's. They lead you back to peace from where they came but to remind you how you must return. They heed your Father's Voice when you refuse to listen. And they urge you gently to accept His Word for what you are instead of fantasies and shadows. They remind you that you are the co-creator of all things that live. For as the peace of God is shining in you, it must shine on them.
8 We practice coming nearer to the light in us today. We take our wandering thoughts and gently bring them back to where they fall in line with all the thoughts we share with God. We will not let them stray. We let the light within our minds direct them to come home. We have betrayed them, ordering that they depart from us. But now we call them back and wash them clean of strange desires and disordered wishes. We restore to them the holiness of their inheritance.
9 Thus are our minds restored with them, and we acknowledge that the peace of God still shines in us and from us to all living things that share our life. We will forgive them all, absolving all the world of what we thought it did to us. For it is we who make the world as we would have it. Now we choose that it be innocent, devoid of sin, and open to salvation. And we lay our saving blessing on it as we say:
10 The peace of God is shining in me now. Let all things shine upon me in that peace, And let me bless them with the light in me.
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