All Relationship is with God

Relationship begins with seeing that duality is not inherent in life but is rather a mode of perception that one can choose to relinquish. It reflects an internal decision to no longer be regulated by ideas and opinions and beliefs – the clutter of a mind that has dissociated itself from God.

Relationship is what remains when our separation from God is ended, and we perceive only the truth that is eternal and unchanging. When we are of that state, we are resonating with all life, whatever its form, whatever its temporary appearance.

In this sense, relationship and atonement are the same.

We think of our relationships for the most part in terms of something other – a person, an object, a place, a belief system. Could be our spouse, could be A Course in Miracles, could be a diet, could be a landscape. But if the other is subject to change, subject to good and bad, subject to helpful or not helpful, then it is not a relationship but a bargain. We are negotiating in an effort to gain something – a good feeling, a sense of purpose, a moment of pleasure.

It is neither necessary nor helpful (nor possible, really) to arrange the external world to our satisfaction, but it is helpful and possible to arrange it in a way that facilitates our learning and the application of that learning.

But reality is not capable of negotiation. One cannot bargan with the truth. And what is perfect does not make deals.

So the suggestion, then, is that the healed relationship contemplated by A Course in Miracles (T-17.V.h) really has nothing to do with what is external. Rather, it is that which follows in the wake of our internal decision to align our thinking with truth as God created it.

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 (T-17.V.9:5-6).

Relationship and attention are intimately connected. Moment by moment we give attention to thought – are we thinking with God or against God? This can sound difficult or tedious until we realize that to give attention to thought is to think with God. By giving attention we enter that state of awareness which knows that it is not possible to be separate from God, only to think that it is possible.

In that moment, we are in relationship with love itself as love itself, and the question of “the other” naturally ends.

I think this requires effort at the beginning: I think it is in the nature of learning. One acquires a map and then studies it, and then ventures tentatively out into the territory, checking and rechecking the map. But gradually, one’s knowledge and experience begin to supplant the map. In a sense, they become the map. And so one ventures more readily into the territory, going deeper, taking less with them, and lingering longer and longer.

It is neither necessary nor helpful (nor possible, really) to arrange the external world to our satisfaction, but it is helpful and possible to arrange it in a way that facilitates our learning and the application of that learning.

This is why I wake up early. Our house is small, Chrisoula and I both work from home, our children our home-schooled, and so things get busy and vibrant quickly. It is more like a fast-paced country diner than a monastery. I love it – I am deeply grateful for it – but I am still learning how to be still in the midst of it.

So those quiet morning hours become the space in which I give attention to truth as God created it, through my practice of A Course in Miracles, and thus nurture my awareness of love which – I know you know this, too – inflects the day with gentleness and peace, ever offering itself to itself.

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  1. Hi Sean,

    In reading your post, I was brought up short by the truth of this: “…to give attention to thought is to think with God.”

    And I so get — and agree with — your description of the process — how effort is necessary at first and how easy it is to forget and then remember to pull yourself back into awareness.

    Then, in moving toward “becoming the map” (which is very much the same as “being the flow,” I imagine) you find yourself deeper and deeper in heartland or Godspace or reality — I guess one description is as good as another — and because it feels not only good but somehow “right,” you choose to linger longer and longer.

    What I find happening more and more these days is witnessing my personal self, my ego self, and all its antics and pettiness from a the kinder, gentler perspective of Spirit.. Because of this, oh so gradually, I am beginning to forgive myself more easily — and consequently, forgive those I perceive as “other.”

    P.S. The birdbath is getting a lot of action these days. When I see a robin or blue jay splashing around so exuberantly, the word that immediately comes to mind is “joy.”

    1. Thanks, Cheryl. Yes – splashing birds are a joy and are in joy, too. Happiness abounds! I was running with my son this morning – he was biking – down an abandoned air strip and the bobolinks were flitting back and forth, very lovely birds.

      I do think that “becoming the map” is akin to “being the flow.” The semantics are tricky, because it is all a metaphor and that is a pretty relative tool, but still (like trying to decide is it “reality” or “godspace).” More and more I feel that sensitivity helps us discern what language is most helpful in a given situation – not the least of which is our learning situation.

      I identify very much with your sense of perceiving the ego from a gentler perspective – what is interesting in that it starts to become clear that “the ego” is just a habit of thought, so that we are in Krishnamurti’s space of observer and observed. We are the antics and we are the peaceful watcher, too. I think – I think – this moves us in the direction of the course’s call to make a choice. Gentle observer or monkey mind (or whatever metaphor suits 🙂 ) . . .

      Anyway . . . wordiness is a poor chapel for a prayer that needs no shelter . . .

      1. Thank you both for your comments. When I first started studying the course and reading about the ego, I used to think that I needed to “get rid” of the ego, that it was something that I needed to fight against and be victor over this enemy of mine. I also saw and still see this tendency sometimes interacting with others who are studying ACIM.

        But of course this ends up being a circular process since thoughts cannot leave their source and the ego is a thought in itself. To fight against the ego (egoic thinking) there is still conflict in my mind.

        And this is why I think the course emphasizes over and over to come to the Holy Spirit. This is all we’re asked to do as in this prayer.

        I am not alone, and I would not intrude
        the past upon my Guest.
        I have invited Him, and He is here.
        I need do nothing except not to interfere. ~ACIM

        Eric: We’re not asked to get rid of our egoic thoughts before coming to Him. We’re not asked to banish the ego before coming to him. We’re merely asked to be willing to come to Him. The course is very explicit about this when it says:

        Correction is not your function. It belongs to One Who knows of fairness, not of guilt. If you assume correction’s role, you lose the function of forgiveness.~ACIM

        If you already understood the difference between truth and illusion, the Atonement would have no meaning.~ACIM

        You cannot wake yourself. Yet you can let yourself be wakened.~ACIM
        To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten. Forgiveness is a selective remembering, based not on your selection.~ACIM

        The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precedes its coming. You prepare your minds for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more. Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego unto Him and confuse the two.~ACIM

        Trust not your good intentions. They are not enough. But trust implicitly your willingness, whatever else may enter. Concentrate only on this and be not disturbed that shadows surround it. That is why you came. If you could come without them, you would not need the holy instant. Come to it not in arrogance, assuming that you must achieve the state its coming brings with it. The miracle of the holy instant lies in your willingness to let it be what it is. And in your willingness for this lies also your acceptance of yourself as you were meant to be.~ACIM

        The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts which are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. Innocence is not of your making. It is given you the instant you would have it. Yet it would not be Atonement if there were no need for Atonement.~ACIM

        Never approach the holy instant after you have tried to remove all fear and hatred from your mind. That is its function. Never attempt to overlook your guilt before you ask the Holy Spirit’s help. That is His function.~ACIM

        The holy instant does not come from your little willingness alone. It is always the result of your small willingness combined with the unlimited power of God’s Will. You have been wrong in thinking that it is needful to prepare yourself for Him. It is impossible to make arrogant preparations for holiness and not believe that it is up to you to establish the conditions for peace. God has established them. They do not wait upon your willingness for what they are. Your willingness is needed only to make it possible to teach you what they are. If you maintain you are unworthy of learning this, you are interfering with the lesson by believing that you make the learner different. You did not make the learner, nor can you make him different. Would you first make a miracle yourself and then expect one to be made for you?~ACIM

        Eric: There is a very loving and gentle passage in the course that talks about the ego, what it is, and what will happen. It doesn’t damn the ego, or banish it, but merely reinterprets it so that our whole mind returns (its awareness) back into the Kingdom.

        “The wicked shall perish” becomes a statement of Atonement, if the word “perish” is understood as “be undone.” Every loveless thought must be undone, a word the ego cannot even understand. To the ego, to be undone means to be destroyed. The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will be reinterpreted to release you from fear. The part of your mind that you have given to the ego will merely return to the Kingdom, where your whole mind belongs. You can delay the completion of the Kingdom, but you cannot introduce the concept of fear into it. ~ACIM


        1. Hi Eric,

          I missed this comment – I’m sorry.

          I think the notion that the ego will be reinterpreted by the Holy Spirit is very lovely and helpful. That seems to me precisely what happens – it is simply an idea or habit of thinking, a way of thinking, and it can be undone. We can choose again, to think differently – with God rather that at God, or against God, or about God.

          ~ Sean

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