Special Relationships as Forms of Avoidance

Special relationships reflect a decision to avoid looking at guilt and hate within by renaming them “love” and projecting them onto a partner. This only exacerbates the underlying problem, which is our refusal to be responsible for the decision to be separate from both Creator and Creation.

Separation is only a decision not to know yourself. This whole thought system is a carefully contrived learning experience, designed to lead away from truth and into fantasy (T-16.V.15:3-4).

Having a partner in the deception entailed by specialness really helps to sustain the separation thought system. It doesn’t actually help us, but it does help keep the illusion of separation going.

In a sense, all the special relationship actually does is shift our focus away from love and towards the form we would have love take. We isolate an individual – we like how they think, talk, look, walk, kiss, share, work, whatever. They get us, they complete us. It can’t be explained. It’s holy, helpful, healthy, magical, mystical, marvelous . . .

The thing is, our focus is on the other, not on love. A Course in Miracles suggests that this is because we are trying to replace God (rather than examine the illusion that we are separated from God). “The special relationship is a ritual of form, aimed at raising the form to take the place of God at the expense of content” (T-16.V.12:2).

In other words, the special relationship makes an idol of the other, suggesting that it, not God or love, will complete us.

But because its starting point is separation – why else would we need “completion” – it ends up reinforcing the very illusion that it aims to undo.

Love cannot be found in a relationship between partners who still see themselves as bodies. Hate masquerading as love? Yes. Sex masquerading as unity? Sure. Endless 1:1 dialogues masquerading as communication? You bet.

Love? No. Not at all.

Thus, if we perceive the other as a soulmate then we are buying all the way into the ego’s lie that what we are in truth is incomplete.

Critically, to turn away from form is to neither accept nor reject the “other” based on form. It’s not about the body at all.

If it is still about the body, then that is simply a gentle reminder that we are still relying on the ego’s thought system to organize our living and there is a better way.

The better way is always an invitation to re-dedicate the given relationship to holiness, which we accomplish by looking at the separation and hate and illusions underlying it. Those illusions are undone by looking at them, and what remains when they are gone is love.

Our whole job is to see the blocks to love’s inheritance. To have a partner in this work is a gift, orders of magnitude more valuable than anything a body-based relationship can offer, even at its purest.

It’s important to remember that when we say we are focused on content rather than form, we are explicitly recognizing that the form love takes in another’s life will almost certainly be different than it does in ours. This is why it’s basically impossible to lecture one another about holy relationships or special relationships. We have no idea what they are for ourself, much less for others.

Thus, I am speaking here to my own experience of studying and practicing A Course in Miracles, which has included almost continuous nontrivial lessons in special relationships. I am very much a beginner. Yet these relationships are also gifts because each moment becomes a site of learning how to discern between fear and love and, on that basis, choosing love. What else is there to learn?

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