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Dreamer of the Dream
Workshop / Study / Discussion Guide
(Selections from A Course In Miracles)
Part 2 - Two Uses of Time, Relationships and
In A Course In Miracles, Jesus teaches that the world of time and space is an illusion, a dream, simply the projection of thoughts that God did not create. For the sleeping, dreaming mind which believes that the dream of images is its reality, Jesus has dictated a tool (ACIM) which helps clearly identify two distinct purposes for the dream world; the Holy Spirit’s and the ego’s. The Holy Spirit’s purpose of forgiveness releases the mind from illusions and leads to waking. The ego’s purpose of death is the belief that the separation from God is real and the ego uses the world to reinforce guilt and fear and perpetuate itself. The essential issue, then, is to become clear about these two purposes so that the ego’s purpose can be let go of and the Holy Spirit’s purpose can be embraced. ACIM contains over 1,200 pages. The purpose of this pamphlet is to help identify these two purposes, in a concise manner, using selected passages from ACIM on three main topics of interest: Time, Relationships and the Body. In ACIM Jesus states:
“You have regarded the separation as a means for breaking your communication with your Father. The Holy Spirit reinterprets it as a means of re-establishing what was not broken, but has been made obscure. All things you made have use to Him, for His most holy purpose. He knows you are not separate from God, but He perceives much in your mind that lets you think you are. All this and nothing else would He separate from you. The Atonement is a lesson in sharing, which is given you because you have forgotten how to do it. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of the natural use of your abilities. By reinterpreting the ability to attack into the ability to share, He translates what you have made into what God created. If you would accomplish this through Him you cannot look on your abilities through the eyes of the ego, or you will judge them as it does. All their harmfulness lies in the ego's judgment. All their helpfulness lies in the judgment of the Holy Spirit. The abilities you now possess are only shadows of your real strength. All of your present functions are divided and open to question and doubt. This is because you are not certain how you will use them, and are therefore incapable of knowledge. All you need do is make the effort to learn, for the Holy Spirit has a unified goal for the effort. If different abilities are applied long enough to one goal, the abilities themselves become unified. This is because they are channelized in one direction, or in one way. Ultimately, then, they all contribute to one result, and by so doing, their similarity rather than their differences is emphasized. All abilities should therefore be given over to the Holy Spirit, Who understands how to use them properly. He uses them only for healing, because He knows you only as whole. By healing you learn of wholeness, and by learning of wholeness you learn to remember God.
THE TWO USES OF TIME
God in His knowledge is not waiting, but His Kingdom is bereft while you wait. All the Sons of God are waiting for your return, just as you are waiting for theirs. Delay does not matter in eternity, but it is tragic in time. You have elected to be in time rather than eternity, and therefore believe you are in time. Yet your election is both free and alterable. You do not belong in time. Your place is only in eternity, where God Himself placed you forever. Guilt feelings are the preservers of time. They induce fears of retaliation or abandonment, and thus ensure that the future will be like the past. This is the ego's continuity. It gives the ego a false sense of security by believing that you cannot escape from it. But you can and must. God offers you the continuity of eternity in exchange. When you choose to make this exchange, you will simultaneously exchange guilt for joy, viciousness for love, and pain for peace. You are invulnerable because you are guiltless. You can hold on to the past only through guilt. For guilt establishes that you will be punished for what you have done, and thus depends on one-dimensional time, proceeding from past to future. No one who believes this can understand what "always" means, and therefore guilt must deprive you of the appreciation of eternity. You are immortal because you are eternal, and "always" must be now. Guilt, then, is a way of holding past and future in your mind to ensure the ego's continuity. For if what has been will be punished, the ego's continuity is guaranteed. Yet the guarantee of your continuity is God's, not the ego's. And immortality is the opposite of time, for time passes away, while immortality is constant. Accepting the Atonement teaches you what immortality is, for by accepting your guiltlessness you learn that the past has never been, and so the future is needless.
Holy Spirit’s Use of Time
The purpose of time is to enable you to learn how to use time constructively. It is thus a teaching device and a means to an end. Time will cease when it is no longer useful in facilitating learning.
Yet time has an ending, and it is this that the teachers of God are appointed to bring about. For time is in their hands. Such was their choice, and it is given them.
The miracle is a learning device that lessens the need for time. It establishes an out-of-pattern time interval not under the usual laws of time. In this sense it is timeless… The miracle is the only device at your immediate disposal for controlling time.
It is evident that the Holy Spirit's perception of time is the exact opposite of the ego's. The reason is equally clear, for they perceive the goal of time as diametrically opposed. The Holy Spirit interprets time's purpose as rendering the need for time unnecessary. He regards the function of time as temporary, serving only His teaching function, which is temporary by definition. His emphasis is therefore on the only aspect of time that can extend to the infinite, for NOW is the closest approximation of eternity that this world offers. It is in the reality of "now", without past or future, that the beginning of the appreciation of eternity lies. For only "now" is here, and only "now" presents the opportunities for the holy encounters in which salvation can be found.
You, too, will interpret the function of time as you interpret yours. If you accept your function in the world of time as one of healing, you will emphasize only the aspect of time in which healing can occur. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present, and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to ensure a destructive future. And time will be as you interpret it, for of itself it is nothing.
To perceive truly is to be aware of all reality through the awareness of your own. But for this no illusions can rise to meet your sight, for reality leaves no room for any error. This means that you perceive a brother only as you see him now. His past has no reality in the present, so you cannot see it. Your past reactions to him are also not there, and if it is to them that you react, you see but an image of him that you made and cherish instead of him. In your questioning of illusions, ask yourself if it is really sane to perceive what was as now. If you remember the past as you look upon your brother, you will be unable to perceive the reality that is now… You consider it "natural" to use your past experience as the reference point from which to judge the present. Yet this is unnatural because it is delusional. When you have learned to look on everyone with no reference at all to the past, either his or yours as you perceive it, you will be able to learn from what you see now. For the past can cast no shadow to darken the present, unless you are afraid of light. Darkness is in you. The Christ as revealed to you now has no past, for He is changeless, and in His changelessness lies your release. Bring darkness with you, and by holding it in your mind, see it as a dark cloud that shrouds your brothers and conceals their reality from your sight. For if He is as He was created, there is no guilt in Him. No cloud of guilt has risen to obscure Him, and He stands revealed in everyone you meet because you see Him through Himself. To be born again is to let the past go, and look without condemnation upon the present. The cloud that obscures God's Son to you is the past, and if you would have it past and gone, you must not see it now. If you see it now in your illusions, it has not gone from you, although it is not there.
Time can release as well as imprison, depending on whose interpretation of it you use. Past, present and future are not continuous, unless you force continuity on them. You can perceive them as continuous, and make them so for you. But do not be deceived, and then believe that this is how it is. For to believe reality is what you would have it be according to your use for it is delusional. You would destroy time's continuity by breaking it into past, present and future for your own purposes. You would anticipate the future on the basis of your past experience, and plan for it accordingly. Yet by doing so you are aligning past and future, and not allowing the miracle, which could intervene between them, to free you to be born again. The miracle enables you to see your brother without his past, and so perceive him as born again. His errors are all past, and by perceiving him without them you are releasing him. And since his past is yours, you share in this release. Let no dark cloud out of your past obscure him from you, for truth lies only in the present, and you will find it if you seek it there. You have looked for it where it is not, and therefore have not found it. Learn, then, to seek it where it is, and it will dawn on eyes that see. Your past was made in anger, and if you use it to attack the present, you will not see the freedom that the present holds. Judgment and condemnation are behind you, and unless you bring them with you, you will see that you are free of them. Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true. All healing lies within it because its continuity is real. It extends to all aspects of the Sonship at the same time, and thus enables them to reach each other. The present is before time was, and will be when time is no more. In it are all things that are eternal, and they are one. Their continuity is timeless and their communication is unbroken, for they are not separated by the past. Only the past can separate, and it is nowhere. The present offers you your brothers in the light that would unite you with them, and free you from the past. Would you, then, hold the past against them? For if you do, you are choosing to remain in the darkness that is not there, and refusing to accept the light that is offered you. For the light of perfect vision is freely given as it is freely received, and can be accepted only without limit. In this one, still dimension of time that does not change, and where there is no sight of what you were, you look at Christ and call His witnesses to shine on you because you called them forth. And they will not deny the truth in you, because you looked for it in them and found it there. Now is the time of salvation, for now is the release from time. Reach out to all your brothers, and touch them with the touch of Christ. In timeless union with them is your continuity, unbroken because it is wholly shared.
Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time? Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more. God's Teacher cannot be satisfied with His teaching until it constitutes all your learning. He has not fulfilled His teaching function until you have become such a consistent learner that you learn only of Him. When this has happened, you will no longer need a teacher or time in which to learn.
One source of perceived discouragement from which you may suffer is your belief that this takes time, and that the results of the Holy Spirit's teaching are far in the future. This is not so. For the Holy Spirit uses time in His Own way, and is not bound by it. Time is His friend in teaching. It does not waste Him, as it does you. And all the waste that time seems to bring with it is due but to your identification with the ego, which uses time to support its belief in destruction. The ego, like the Holy Spirit, uses time to convince you of the inevitability of the goal and end of teaching. To the ego the goal is death, which is its end. But to the Holy Spirit the goal is life, which has no end.
Time is your friend, if you leave it to the Holy Spirit to use. He needs but very little to restore God's whole power to you. He Who transcends time for you understands what time is for.
The ego has a strange notion of time, and it is with this notion that your questioning might well begin. The ego invests heavily in the past, and in the end believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Remember that its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of paying for the past in the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present. For the ego regards the present only as a brief transition to the future, in which it brings the past to the future by interpreting the present in past terms.
"Now" has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it were the past. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past, and although the past is over, the ego tries to preserve its image by responding as if it were present. It dictates your reactions to those you meet in the present from a past reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego's dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognizing him as he is. And you will receive messages from him out of your own past because, by making it real in the present, you are forbidding yourself to let it go. You thus deny yourself the message of release that every brother offers you NOW.
The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must escape. They are not real, and have no hold over you unless you bring them with you. They carry the spots of pain in your mind, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of future pain. Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present. The ego would preserve your nightmares, and prevent you from awakening and understanding they are past. Would you recognize a holy encounter if you are merely perceiving it as a meeting with your own past? For you would be meeting no one, and the sharing of salvation, which makes the encounter holy, would be excluded from your sight. The Holy Spirit teaches that you always meet yourself, and the encounter is holy because you are. The ego teaches that you always encounter your past, and because your dreams were not holy, the future cannot be, and the present is without meaning.
The ego … regards the function of time as one of extending itself in place of eternity, for like the Holy Spirit, the ego interprets the goal of time as its own. The continuity of past and future, under its direction, is the only purpose the ego perceives in time, and it closes over the present so that no gap in its own continuity can occur. Its continuity, then, would keep you in time.
The ego, like the Holy Spirit, uses time to convince you of the inevitability of the goal and end of teaching. To the ego the goal is death, which is its end. But to the Holy Spirit the goal is life, which HAS no end.
The ego is an ally of time, but not a friend. For it is as mistrustful of death as it is of life, and what it wants for you it cannot tolerate. The ego wants you dead, but not itself. The outcome of its strange religion must therefore be the conviction that it can pursue you beyond the grave. And out of its unwillingness for you to find peace even in death, it offers you immortality in hell. It speaks to you of Heaven, but assures you that Heaven is not for you. How can the guilty hope for Heaven?
The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego. Their nightmares and their fears are all associated with it. The ego teaches that hell is in the future, for this is what all its teaching is directed to. Hell is its goal. For although the ego aims at death and dissolution as an end, it does not believe it. The goal of death, which it craves for you, leaves it unsatisfied. No one who follows the ego's teaching is without the fear of death. Yet if death were thought of merely as an end to pain, would it be feared? We have seen this strange paradox in the ego's thought system before, but never so clearly as here. For the ego must seem to keep fear from you to hold your allegiance. Yet it must engender fear in order to maintain itself. Again the ego tries, and all too frequently succeeds, in doing both, by using dissociation for holding its contradictory aims together so that they seem to be reconciled. The ego teaches thus: Death is the end as far as hope of Heaven goes. Yet because you and the ego cannot be separated, and because it cannot conceive of its own death, it will pursue you still, because guilt is eternal. Such is the ego's version of immortality. And it is this the ego's version of time supports.
The ego teaches that Heaven is here and now because the future is hell. Even when it attacks so savagely that it tries to take the life of someone who thinks its is the only voice, it speaks of hell even to him. For it tells him hell is here as well, and bids him leap from hell into oblivion. The only time the ego allows anyone to look upon with equanimity is the past.
How bleak and despairing is the ego's use of time! And how terrifying! For underneath its fanatical insistence that the past and future be the same is hidden a far more insidious threat to peace. The ego does not advertise its final threat, for it would have its worshippers still believe that it can offer them escape. But the belief in guilt must lead to the belief in hell, and always does. The only way in which the ego allows the fear of hell to be experienced is to bring hell here, but always as a foretaste of the future. For no one who considers himself as deserving of hell can believe that punishment will end in peace.
The Holy Spirit teaches thus: There is no hell. Hell is only what the ego has made of the present. The belief in hell is what prevents you from understanding the present, because you are afraid of it. The Holy Spirit leads as steadily to Heaven as the ego drives to hell. For the Holy Spirit, who knows only the present, uses it to undo the fear by which the ego would make the present useless. There is no escape from fear in the ego's use of time. For time, according to its teaching, is nothing but a teaching device for compounding guilt until it becomes all-encompassing, demanding vengeance forever.
Can you expect to use your brothers as a means to "solve" the past, and still to see them as they really are? Salvation is not found by those who use their brothers to resolve problems that are not there. You wanted not salvation in the past. Would you impose your idle wishes on the present, and hope to find salvation now? Determine, then, to be not as you were. Use no relationship to hold you to the past, but with each one each day be born again.
THE TWO USES OF RELATIONSHIP
… all relationships that guilt has touched are used but to avoid the person and the guilt. What strange relationships you have made for this strange purpose! And you forgot that real relationships are holy, and cannot be used by you at all. They are used only by the Holy Spirit, and it is that which makes them pure. You cannot love parts of reality and understand what love means. If you would love unlike to God, Who knows no special love, how can you understand it? To believe that special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation is salvation. For it is the complete equality of the Atonement in which salvation lies. How can you decide that special aspects of the Sonship can give you more than others? The Holy Spirit knows no one is special. Yet He also perceives that you have made special relationships, which He would purify and not let you destroy. However unholy the reason you made them may be, He can translate them into holiness by removing as much fear as you will let Him. You can place any relationship under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain, if you offer Him your willingness to have it serve no need but His. All the guilt in it arises from your use of it. All the love from His. Do not, then, be afraid to let go your imagined needs, which would destroy the relationship. Your only need is His.
Because of guilt, all special relationships have elements of fear in them. This is why they shift and change so frequently. They are not based on changeless love alone. And love, where fear has entered, cannot be depended on because it is not perfect. In His function as interpreter of what you made, the Holy Spirit uses special relationships, which you have chosen to support the ego, as learning experiences that point to truth. Under His teaching, every relationship becomes a lesson in love.
Everyone on earth has formed special relationships, and although this is not so in Heaven, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring a touch of Heaven to them here. In the holy instant no one is special, for your personal needs intrude on no one to make your brothers seem different. Without the values from the past, you would see them all the same and like yourself. Nor would you see any separation between yourself and them. In the holy instant, you see in each relationship what it will be when you perceive only the present. God knows you NOW. He remembers nothing, having always known you exactly as He knows you now.
Any relationship you would substitute for another has not been offered to the Holy Spirit for His use.
Under the Holy Spirit's teaching all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way. Perfect faith in each one, for its ability to satisfy you completely, arises only from perfect faith in yourself.
In the holy instant guilt holds no attraction, since communication has been restored. And guilt, whose only purpose is to disrupt communication, has no function here. Here there is no concealment, and no private thoughts. The willingness to communicate attracts communication to it, and overcomes loneliness completely. There is complete forgiveness here, for there is no desire to exclude anyone from your completion, in sudden recognition of the value of his part in it. In the protection of you wholeness, all are invited and made welcome. And you understand that your completion is God's, Whose only need is to have you be complete. For your completion makes you His in your awareness. And here it is that you experience yourself as you were created, and as you are.
Your part is only to remember this; you do not want anything you value to come of a relationship. You choose neither to hurt it nor to heal it in your own way. You do not know what healing is.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it is necessary to seek for what is false. Every illusion is one of fear, whatever form it takes. And the attempt to escape from one illusion into another must fail. If you seek love outside yourself you can be certain that you perceive hatred within, and are afraid of it. Yet peace will never come from the illusion of love, but only from its reality.
If special relationships of any kind would hinder God's completion, can they have any value to you? What would interfere with God must interfere with you.
The Holy Spirit asks only this little help of you: Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you, enter with Him into a holy instant, and there let Him release you. He needs only your willingness to share His perspective to give it to you completely. And your willingness need not be complete because His is perfect
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.
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 your brother? Have you consistently appreciated the good efforts, and overlooked mistakes?
Through your holy relationship, reborn and blessed in every holy instant you do not arrange, thousands will rise to Heaven with you.
A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. It will be a happy dream, and one which you will share with all who come within your sight. Through it, the blessing the Holy Spirit has laid upon it will be extended.
We have said that to limit love to part of the Sonship is to bring guilt into your relationships, and thus make them unreal. If you seek to separate out certain aspects of the totality and look to them to meet your imagined needs, you are attempting to use separation to save you.
It is impossible to use one relationship at the expense of another and not to suffer guilt. And it is equally impossible to condemn part of a relationship and find peace within it. Under the Holy Spirit's teaching all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way. Perfect faith in each one, for its ability to satisfy you completely, arises only from perfect faith in yourself. And this you cannot have while guilt remains. And there will be guilt as long as you accept the possibility, and cherish it, that you can make a brother into what he is not, because you would have him so.
The ego establishes relationships only to get something. And it would keep the giver bound to itself through guilt. It is impossible for the ego to enter into any relationship without anger, for the ego believes that anger makes friends. This is not its statement, but it is its purpose. For the ego really believes that it can get and keep by making guilty. This is its one attraction; an attraction so weak that it would have no hold at all, except that no one recognizes it. For the ego always seems to attract through love, and has no attraction at all to anyone who perceives that it attracts through guilt. The sick attraction of guilt must be recognized for what it is. For having been made real to you, it is essential to look at it clearly, and by withdrawing your investment in it, to learn to let it go. No one would choose to let go what he believes has value. Yet the attraction of guilt has value to you only because you have not looked at what it is, and have judged it completely in the dark.
It is only by attack without forgiveness that the ego can ensure the guilt that holds all its relationships together. Yet they only seem to be together. For relationships, to the ego, mean only that bodies are together. It is always this that the ego demands, and it does not object where the mind goes or what it thinks, for this seems unimportant. As long as the body is there to receive its sacrifice, it is content. To the ego the mind is private, and only the body can be shared. Ideas are basically of no concern, except as they bring the body of another closer or farther. And it is in these terms that it evaluates ideas as good or bad.
It is clearly insane to believe that by communicating you will be abandoned. And yet many do believe it. For they think their minds must be kept private or they will lose them, but if their bodies are together their minds remain their own. The union of bodies thus becomes the way in which they would keep minds apart. For bodies cannot forgive. They can only do as the mind directs. The illusion of the autonomy of the body and its ability to overcome loneliness is but the working of the ego's plan to establish its own autonomy. As long as you believe that to be with a body is companionship, you will be compelled to attempt to keep your brother in his body, held there by guilt. And you will see safety in guilt and danger in communication. For the ego will always teach that loneliness is solved by guilt, and that communication is the cause of loneliness.
The special love relationship is an attempt to limit the destructive effects of hate by finding a haven in the storm of guilt. It makes no attempt to rise above the storm, into the sunlight. On the contrary, it emphasizes the guilt outside the haven by attempting to build barricades against it, and keep within them. The special love relationship is not perceived as a value in itself, but as a place of safety from which hatred is split off and kept apart. The special love partner is acceptable only as long as he serves this purpose. Hatred can enter, and indeed is welcome in some aspects of the relationship, but it is still held together by the illusion of love. If the illusion goes, the relationship is broken or becomes unsatisfying on the grounds of disillusionment. Love is not an illusion. It is a fact. Where disillusionment is possible, there was not love but hate. For hate is an illusion, and what can change was never love. It is sure that those who select certain ones as partners in any aspect of living, and use them for any purpose which they would not share with others, are trying to live with guilt rather than die of it.
Recognize this, for it is true, and truth must be recognized if it is to be distinguished from illusion: The special love relationship is an attempt to bring love into separation. And, as such, it is nothing more than an attempt to bring love into fear, and make it real in fear. In fundamental violation of love's one condition, the special love relationship would accomplish the impossible. How but in illusion could this be done?
The special love relationship is the ego's most boasted gift, and one which has the most appeal to those unwilling to relinquish guilt. The "dynamics" of the ego are clearest here, for counting on the attraction of this offering, the fantasies that center around it are often quite overt. Here they are usually judged to be acceptable and even natural.
The special relationship is a strange and unnatural ego device for joining hell and Heaven, and making them indistinguishable. And the attempt to find the imagined "best" of both worlds has merely led to fantasies of both, and to the inability to perceive either as it is. The special relationship is the triumph of this confusion.
The search for the special relationship is the sign that you equate yourself with the ego and not with God. For the special relationship has value only to the ego. To the ego, unless a relationship has special value it has no meaning, for it perceives all love as special. Yet this cannot be natural, for it is unlike the relationship of God and His Son, and all relationships that are unlike this one must be unnatural.
THE TWO USES OF THE BODY
When you equate yourself with a body you will always experience depression….
Remember that the Holy Spirit interprets the body only as a means of communication. Being the communication link between God and His separated Sons, the Holy Spirit interprets everything you have made in the light of what He is. The ego separates through the body. The Holy Spirit reaches through it to others. You do not perceive your brothers as the Holy Spirit does, because you do not regard bodies solely as a means of joining minds and uniting them with yours and mine. This interpretation of the body will change your mind entirely about its value. Of itself it has none…. Communication ends separation. Attack promotes it. The body is beautiful or ugly, peaceful or savage, helpful or harmful, according to the use to which it is put… If the body becomes a means you give to the Holy Spirit to use on behalf of union of the Sonship, you will not see anything physical except as what it is. Use it for truth and you will see it truly. Misuse it and you will misunderstand it, because you have already done so by misusing it.
You can use your body best to help you enlarge your perception so you can achieve real vision, of which the physical eye is incapable. Learning to do this is the body 's only true usefulness.
The Holy Spirit sees the body only as a means of communication, and because communicating is sharing it becomes communion.
If you use the body for attack, it is harmful to you. If you use it only to reach the minds of those who believe they are bodies, and teach them through the body that this is not so, you will understand the power of the mind that is in you. If you use the body for this and only for this, you cannot use it for attack. In the service of uniting it becomes a beautiful lesson in communion, which has value until communion is.
Healing is the result of using the body solely for communication. Since this is natural it heals by making whole, which is also natural… Help and healing are the normal expressions of a mind that is working through the body, but not in it. Perception of the body can be unified only by one purpose. This releases the mind from the temptation to see the body in many lights, and gives it over entirely to the One Light in Which it can be really understood… Learning must lead beyond the body to the re-establishment of the power of the mind in it.
Health is the beginning of the proper perspective on life under the guidance of the one Teacher Who knows what life is, being the Voice for Life Itself.
In the holy instant, where the Great Rays replace the body in awareness, the recognition of relationships without limits is given you. But in order to see this, it is necessary to give up every use the ego has for the body, and to accept the fact that the ego has no purpose you would share with it. For the ego would limit everyone to a body for its own purposes, and while you think it has a purpose, you will choose to utilize the means by which it tries to turn its purpose into accomplishment. This will never be accomplished. Yet you have surely recognized that the ego, whose goals are altogether unattainable, will strive for them with all its might, and will do so with the strength that you have given it.
When the body ceases to attract you, and when you place no value on it as a means of getting anything, then there will be no interference in communication and your thoughts will be as free as God's. As you let the Holy Spirit teach you how to use the body only for purposes of communication, and renounce its use for separation and attack which the ego sees in it, you will learn you have no need of a body at all. In the holy instant there are no bodies, and you experience only the attraction of God. Accepting it as undivided you join Him wholly, in an instant, for you would place no limits on your union with Him. The reality of this relationship becomes the only truth that you could ever want. All truth is here.
Yet what makes God's teachers is their recognition of the proper purpose of the body. As they advance in their profession, they become more and more certain that the body's function is but to let God's Voice speak through it to human ears. And these ears will carry to the mind of the hearer messages that are not of this world, and the mind will understand because of their Source. From this understanding will come the recognition, in this new teacher of God, of what the body's purpose really is; the only use there really is for it.
God did not make the body, because it is destructible, and therefore not of the Kingdom. The body is the symbol of what you think you are. It is clearly a separation device, and therefore does not exist. The Holy Spirit, as always, takes what you have made and translates it into a learning device. Again as always, He reinterprets what the ego uses as an argument for separation into a demonstration against it.
…what you really are must be revealed to you. The belief you are a body calls for correction, being a mistake. The truth of what you are calls on the strength in you to bring to your awareness what the mistake conceals. If you are not a body, what are you? You need to be aware of what the Holy Spirit uses to replace the image of a body in your mind. You need to feel something to put your faith in, as you lift it from the body. You need a real experience of something else, something more solid and more sure; more worthy of your faith, and really there.
Peace will be yours because His peace still flows to you from Him Whose Will is peace. You have it now. The Holy Spirit will teach you how to use it, and by extending it, to learn that it is in you.
The Great Rays would establish the total lack of value of the special relationship, if they were seen. For in seeing them the body would disappear, because its value would be lost. And so your whole investment in seeing it would be withdrawn from it.
Freedom must be impossible as long as you perceive a body as yourself. The body is a limit. Who would seek for freedom in a body looks for it where it can not be found. The mind can be made free when it no longer sees itself as in a body, firmly tied to it and sheltered by its presence. If this were the truth, the mind were vulnerable indeed! The mind that serves the Holy Spirit is unlimited forever, in all ways, beyond the laws of time and space, unbound by any preconceptions, and with strength and power to do whatever it is asked. Attack thoughts cannot enter such a mind, because it has been given to the Source of love, and fear can never enter in a mind that has attached itself to love.
The Holy Spirit does not demand you sacrifice the hope of the body's pleasure; it has no hope of pleasure. But neither can it bring you fear of pain. Pain is the only "sacrifice" the Holy Spirit asks, and this He would remove.
The body can bring you neither peace nor turmoil; neither joy nor pain. It is a means, and not an end. It has no purpose of itself, but only what is given to it. The body will seem to be whatever is the means for reaching the goal that you assign to it…The body is the great seeming betrayer of faith. In it lies disillusionment and the seeds of faithlessness, but only if you ask of it what it cannot give.
…the body is a learning device of the mind. Learning devices are not lessons in themselves. Their purpose is merely to facilitate learning. The worst a faulty use of a learning device can do is to fail to facilitate learning. It has no power in itself to introduce actual learning errors.
It is essential to remember that only the mind can create, and that correction belongs at the thought level.
The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need. To ask for the specific is much the same as to look on sin and then forgive it. Also in the same way, in prayer you overlook your specific needs as you see them, and let them go into God’s hands. There they become your gifts to Him, for they tell Him that you would have no gods before Him; no Love but His. What could His answer be but your remembrance of Him? Prayer is a stepping aside, a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving… And it is to Love you go into prayer. Prayer is an offering; A giving up of yourself to be at one with Love. There is nothing to ask because there is nothing left to want. That nothingness becomes the altar of God. (SOP)
The aim of prayer is to release the present from its chains of past illusions; to let it be a freely-chosen remedy from every choice that stood for a mistake. What prayer can offer now so far exceeds all that you asked before that it is pitiful to be content with less. (SOP)
Ego’s Use of the Body
The ego uses the body for attack, for pleasure and for pride. The insanity of this perception makes it a fearful one indeed.
If you use the body for attack, it is harmful to you.
To use the body unnaturally is to lose sight of the Holy Spirit's purpose, and thus to confuse the goal of His curriculum. There is nothing so frustrating to a learner as a curriculum he cannot learn. His sense of adequacy suffers, and he must become depressed. Being faced with an impossible learning situation is the most depressing thing in the world. In fact, it is ultimately why the world itself is depressing.
In this world, not even the body is perceived as whole. Its purpose is seen as fragmented into many functions with little or no relationship to each other, so that it appears to be ruled by chaos. Guided by the ego, it IS… Perceiving the body as a separate entity cannot but foster illness, because it is not true. A medium of communication loses its usefulness if it is used for anything else. To use a medium of communication as a medium of attack is an obvious confusion in purpose.
You are not limited by the body, and thought cannot be made flesh. Yet mind can be manifested through the body if it goes beyond it and does not interpret it as limitation. Whenever you see another as limited to or by the body, you are imposing this limit on yourself. Are you willing to accept this, when your whole purpose for learning should be to escape from limitations? To conceive of the body as a means of attack and to believe that joy could possibly result, is a clear-cut indication of a poor learner. He has accepted a learning goal in obvious contradiction to the unified purpose of the curriculum, and one that is interfering with his ability to accept its purpose as his own.
To the ego the body is to attack with. Equating you with the body, it teaches that you are to attack with. The body, then, is not the source of its own health. The body's condition lies solely in your interpretation of its function… the ego makes a fundamental confusion between means and end as it always does. Regarding the body as an end, the ego has no real use for it because it is not an end.
Look upon all the trinkets made to hang upon the body, or to cover it or for its use. See all the useless things made for its eyes to see. Think on the many offerings made for its pleasure, and remember all these were made to make seem lovely what you hate. Would you employ this hated thing to draw your brother to you, and to attract his body's eyes? Learn you but offer him a crown of thorns, not recognizing it for what it is, and trying to justify your own interpretation of its value by his acceptance.
You do not ask too much of life, but far too little. When you let your mind be drawn to bodily concerns, to things you buy, to eminence as valued by the world, you ask for sorrow, not for happiness.
The first illusion, which must be displaced before another thought system can take hold, is that it is a sacrifice to give up the things of this world. What could this be but an illusion, since this world itself is nothing more than that? It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give. What can the sacrifice of nothing mean? It cannot mean that you have less because of it. There is no sacrifice in the world's terms that does not involve the body. Think a while about what the world calls sacrifice. Power, fame, money, physical pleasure; who is the "hero" to whom all these things belong? Could they mean anything except to a body? Yet a body cannot evaluate. By seeking after such things the mind associates itself with the body, obscuring its identity and losing sight of what it really is. Once this confusion has occurred, it becomes impossible for the mind to understand that all the "pleasures" of the world are nothing… God’s teachers can have no regret on giving up the pleasures of the world.
The body does appear to be the symbol of sin while you believe that it can get you what you want. While you believe that it can give you pleasure, you will also believe that it can bring you pain. To think you could be satisfied and happy with so little is to hurt yourself, and to limit the happiness that you would have calls upon pain to fill your meager store and make your life complete. This is completion as the ego sees it.
Where the attraction of guilt holds sway, peace is not wanted. The second obstacle that peace must flow across, and closely related to the first, is the belief that the body is valuable for what it offers. For here is the attraction of guilt made manifest in the body, and seen in it. This is the value that you think peace would rob you of. This is what you believe that it would dispossess, and leave you homeless. And it is this for which you would deny a home to peace. This "sacrifice" you feel to be too great to make, too much to ask of you. Is it a sacrifice, or a release? What has the body really given you that justifies your strange belief that in it lies salvation? Do you not see that this is the belief in death?
Is not this inevitable? Under fear's orders the body will pursue guilt, serving its master whose attraction to guilt maintains the whole illusion of its existence. This, then, is the attraction of pain.
It is impossible to seek for pleasure through the body and not find pain. It is essential that this relationship be understood, for it is one the ego sees as proof of sin. It is not really punitive at all. It is but the inevitable result of equating yourself with the body, which is the invitation to pain. For it invites fear to enter and become your purpose. The attraction of guilt must enter with it, and whatever fear directs the body to do is therefore painful. It will share the pain of all illusions, and the illusion of pleasure will be the same as pain.
Ruled by this perception the body becomes the servant of pain, seeking it dutifully and obeying the idea that pain is pleasure. It is this idea that underlies all of the ego's heavy investment in the body. And it is this insane relationship that it keeps hidden, and yet feeds upon. To you it teaches that the body's pleasure is happiness. Yet to itself it whispers, "It is death".
Guilt must be given up and not concealed. Fear of escape makes it difficult to welcome freedom, and to make a jailer of an enemy seems to be safety… It is not easy to realize that prayers for things, for status, for human love, for external “gifts” of any kind, are always made to set up jailers and to hide from guilt. These things are used for goals that substitute for God, and therefore distort the purpose of prayer. The desire for them is the prayer. One need not ask explicitly. The goal of God is lost in the quest for lesser goals of any kind, and prayer becomes requests for enemies. The power of prayer can be quite clearly recognized even in this. No one who wants an enemy will fail to find one. But just as surely will he lose the only true goal that is given him. Think of the cost, and understand it well. All other goals are at the cost of God. (SOP)
Prayer for specific always asks to have the PSAT repeated in some way. What was enjoyed before, or seemed to be; what was another’s and he seemed to love… all these are but illusions from the past. (SOP)
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