Awakening is about relationship. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We know ourselves in relation to others and the world. This perception might be clumsy and gross, but it forms a ground from which finer and finer perception is possible. At last we know each other not as separate but equal parts of a greater whole but as the whole itself.
It’s no good denigrating relationship – be it with loved ones or with enemies, with religious belief systems like A Course in Miracles, or with certain trails in the forest. All of them establish our duality – we are there and they are there and that is how we know ourselves and them. It’s tempting to try and walk away from them or pretend we don’t need them or just have them while simultaneously denying them. It’s an old struggle for those bent on attaining Heaven.
A Course in Miracles calls these relationships “special,” acknowledging the way in which we use them to establish our separateness and make it something unique. Indeed, “[S]pecialness is the great dictator of the wrong decisions (T-24.I.5:1).”
Specialness always makes comparisons. It is established by a lack seen in another, and maintained by searching for, and keeping clear in sight, all lacks it can perceive. This does it seek, and this it looks upon . . . Nor do you understand it is yourself that you diminish thus (T-24.II.1:2-4, 7).
If our devotion to specialness is forever at the cost of knowing peace (T-24.II.2:1), then what possible good can come of it?
Specialness is a form of attack. That is how the egoic self uses it – to reinforce its own existence through comparison and judgment, denigrating others. But the ego is not the only lens through which we perceive and experience the world. The Holy Spirit – what the Course calls “the remaining Communication Link between God and His separated Sons (C-6.3:1) – translates attack into sharing, thus teaching us that we are not special but healed.
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 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 (T-9.IV.3:3-6).
Thus, in the care of the Holy Spirit, all our relationships are converted from means to be separate to means of joining, means of atonement. We don’t have to fear our relationships, or change them, or abandon them, or develop new ones. We simply have to choose to see them with the Holy Spirit.
I realize that can sound awfully vague. How exactly does on “see” with the Holy Spirit?
Remember that the Holy Spirit is not separate from you. It’s not a being “out there,” or an energy field into which you have to move. Rather, the Holy Spirit is the voice for God which has taken form.
The Holy Spirit abides in the part of your mind that is part of the Christ mind . . . He speaks for God, and also for you, being joined with Both (C-6.4:1, 3).
Truly, the Holy Spirit assumes whatever “form” is most helpful to us – an inner voice, an otherworldly hand, a friendly neighbor, a wise teacher, a helpful book, intuition . . . “He seems to be whatever meets the needs you think you have (C-6.4:7).
That is a liberating idea! It removes the pressure to be “right” about the Holy Spirit’s form. We don’t have to guess about it or solve any mysteries or anything. The Holy Spirit is present precisely as we require. All we have to do is pay attention. And we can do that simply by slowing down a little, being clear about what’s going on – the circumstances, our feelings, our judgments and so forth – and the necessary insight will be there because it already is there.
Many days I say to myself, You don’t have to solve this dog thing today. You don’t have to stop reading Emily Dickinson. It’s okay that you’re conflicted about family life vs. religious life. You can becomes a vegetarian or not. Don’t worry that you’re mad at so-and-so. Don’t worry that you’re blocked about work and money.
All of those are special relationships. My job is not to solve them. My job is to bring the Holy Spirit into the picture. When I am stressed out in a meeting and I remember to invoke the Holy Spirit’s transforming vision, I become less stressed. Sometimes I even become happy.
Little steps with the right guide will take us all the way home.