Tag Archives: holy relationship

Tending Our Garden

“This holy relationship is what you are called to cultivate as a gardener cultivates her garden. The gardener knows that although the plant exists fully realized within its seed, it also needs the relationship of earth and water, light and air. The gardener knows that tending the garden will help it to flourish and show its abundance. The gardener knows she is part of the relationship that is the garden. A true gardener believes not in bad seeds. A true gardener believes not that she is in control. A true gardener accepts the grandeur that is the garden and finds it beautiful to behold.” (ACOL, T2:12.10)

If we are not cultivating a holy relationship with all of our brothers and sisters, we are cultivating special relationships sponsored by the ego. And the ego would believe that the seed is everything, that there is no need for relationships, for sharing, with others. No need for earth and water, light and air. And that is why separation fails. The seed doesn’t prosper by itself—ever. And we have not done very well in our attempts to remain separate, supported only by unholy alliances that fail us repeatedly. We need the earth and water, light and air—the relationships that support a garden filled with seeds that are all good and need only sharing to blossom. A true gardener does not believe in bad seeds. The heart of all of us is innocent and filled with love. It is only the unsharing ego that is filled with fear. And, Jesus tells us, we have now left the ego behind—gone, to be unclaimed again forever if we remain in love. If we fall into fear again, we will institute a new ego where the other one withered away. And which of us wishes to do that?

The holy relationship is needs cultivation. Specialness thrives on separation and on highs and lows that know no end. There is no high that is not followed by a low, sometimes a desperate low that sends us to our knees. When we truly love another, we will recognize that our choosing of particular others to love has heretofore been flawed. We wanted what special others could do for us, special others who would supply our needs and our wants. When we truly realize that our needs are always supplied, that giving and receiving are one, we will stop trying to protect ourselves by choosing specialness instead of holiness. Our special relationships will not be snatched from us, but transformed to the holy. We will realize that in trying to meet our needs, we have chosen the form of our relationships badly. We were being selfish out of fear. With needs met, and the continual assurance of needs being met, we are freed to love in holy embrace. The embrace encompasses the whole world, the All, for the Self is shared with all others. We are, after all, truly One. And in the warmth of that embrace, we will come into our own as beloved children of God, One with Him and no longer separated by a nefarious ego that brought on much suffering and much turmoil.

So: We must be good gardeners. We must recognize that there are many elements to a growing plant, and we are that growing plant. The kernel of our Self is the seed that contains all that we have accomplished and will accomplish in life. But it does take earth and water, light and air. And these are our holy relationships, the breeze that keeps us afloat.

Prayer

Thank You for the aptness of Jesus’s metaphor of the garden. All of us, even those without gardening talents, can identify with what he says. And we do know that environmental conditions determine whether or not a garden thrives.

My environmental conditions are my holy relationships, and for these I thank You. I don’t spend a lot of time imagining exactly what “holy” does mean, for if I did I would feel unworthy. But I do think from time to time of the highs and lows that I knew when I was embroiled in a special relationship that brought me more pain than joy, more lows than highs, a fantasy of the mind and heart. Those days are over, and I thank You that You wrapped me up all to yourself during that time. I learned to depend on You. Thank You for always being there for me.

Thank You for the holiness that I am coming to comprehend. I, like everybody else, needs holiness in going about our daily lives. May Your holiness encompass my Self, and in this embrace, I will walk a green earth, filled with gardens.

Amen.

A Part of Heaven Is Laid in Our Relationships

“Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, ‘This was a mistake.’ And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error, and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given!” (T-22.VI.5)

We can easily accept Atonement when we accept it through our special relationships turned holy. A holy relationship, we are told, is a means of saving time. And when we turn to our brother, overlooking his mistakes as just mistakes (not sins), then we see Heaven itself in our relationship. We have walked further toward the grace that is always held out to us.

We have been confused when we fail to overlook mistakes in our brother. Of course, overlooking is hard when we believe ourselves to have really been attacked, and to have suffered from this attack. But to think in such a way is to compound the error, the mistake.

Our brother had only attacked us because his mind is lost in illusion, and we ourselves are attached to that illusion as well. Our real Self has not been harmed in any way. We are intact. And being intact, we can show our brother an innocent face, a face that has not been hurt, and in the showing of this unhurt face, our brother will receive (as do we) a part of Heaven itself.

There Are No Accidents in Salvation. Those Who Are to Meet Will Meet. . . .They Are Ready for Each Other.

“. . .[T]he plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other. (M7)”

1 – No Accidents

The fact that there are no accidents in the plan of salvation is a comforting thought. Those who are meant to meet, will meet. Our potential, with each person in our personal world, is the potential to have a holy relationship. There are no exceptions.

2 – Contacts

These “very specific contacts” may give us solace as we go about our days, even as we encounter those whom we find it difficult to love. These may be our most important teachers. It is instructive that the plan of salvation, in the view of A Course in Miracles, is a detailed plan, with particular people entering our lives whom we are meant to meet.

3 – Holy Relationships

Finding the way to a holy relationship is not a straight line. Elsewhere we are bade to turn our special love relationships into holy relationships, but we are not perfect, and at times the hatred in our hearts, as yet unhealed, will surface with attack and anger. This is not a reason to despair, but one to recognize as an opportunity. When we fall down, we are helped up, often by the same brother or sister who has been the catalyst for our fall. Then we will see that special love relationships really can and do become holy, given time and the incentive to make the transformation.

4 – Teaching

“The simplest level of teaching appears to be quite superficial. It consists of what seem to be very casual encounters; a ‘chance’ meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult ‘by chance’ two students happening’ to walk home together. These are not chance encounters. (M7)”

For Jesus to affirm that such casual encounters as described in the passage are not accidental is a momentous assertion. It places our day solely in the hands of a benevolent Providence. Most things that we normally attribute to chance thus become something entirely different—a chance to show others what we are like, and thereby to improve the world, however minutely.

5 – Witnessing

We can witness in the most secular environment, the most secular surroundings. We do not have to make a big deal out of sharing ourselves in everyday life. It does behoove us not to resort to attack and anger in encountering others, whether they be significant others or very casual encounters with people who, at the point of meeting, are indeed strangers to us.

6 – Comforting Passage

This passage is very comforting, for it means that even when we feel alone, we are not really alone. Most of us encounter others who are strangers daily. We can see that each encounter has the potential for a holy relationship, and so we see that we are surrounded by potential friends.

7 – Casual Encounters

“Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come. (M7)”
This passage explains what happens in these casual encounters. Salvation has come! What an assertion and what a blessing! We reach out to another, almost unconsciously, and we are rewarded with a sense of good having been done.

8 – Alone?

We need to invite the feeling that we are losing our separate interests. We are not meant to be all alone, independent beings who don’t need each other. In our heart of hearts, we know that we do need others. Of course, our tendency toward introversion or extroversion will determine how many people we will let into our circle. This need not be a situation of conflict. Not everybody can welcome the whole wide world. Everyone can be open to the individuals given him/her to save. If we don’t get too intent on our own interests and desires, we will know when others are ready, and we will respond accordingly. Be careful not to give more than another is ready to accept. Salvation is always reciprocal, with the giver receiving even more then he/she is receiving, at least part of the time. We give and receive as one. In that One, we are teachers and students together.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that we have particular people whom we are destined to meet. This is one truth that gives meaning to our lives.

May I transform all the special relationships that I have into holy ones. If this seems a too-lofty goal, let me remind myself that I have started the pathway, and once on the pathway, the end is certain.

Amen.

Transformation

tilt-shift-van-gogh-wheat-field-with-rising-sun-detail“The beginning of all transformation is at the source, and this is as true of illusion as of the truth.  You see your body as your self, and your self as source of all that you have done and felt in all your days upon this earth.  Yet your real source is at the center of yourself, the altar to your creator, the Self you share in unity with Christ.  Christ is the ‘part’ of God that resides in you, not in separation but in the eternal wholeness in which God and you together exist in truth.  (A Course of Love, 10.4)”

Affirmation:  “God is within.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM

There are some ideas from A Course in Miracles that need to be explored before we take up the passage for today.  When we say (as the passage says, in other words) that God is within, we must also realize that projection makes perception.  And I believe that the earthly concept of the hologram is a correct analogy, that each part contains the whole.  Of course, this bottom line is that All is One, and that is the why that God is within, and we can also project a world outside of ourselves.  We perceive other people, and so they are, but they are also “us.”

2 – Follow Your Heart

Do not let theology delay you.  If the thoughts in the paragraph above do not resonate with you, then instead set them aside, and take only what feels right in your heart.  We are not too concerned with bodies now, but with the center of our being (not the physical organ).  And this center is the heart.

3 – Real Beauty

We would know that the body deceives.  The body deceives by letting us think that if we just make it pretty or handsome enough, we will attract other bodies who want to be with us.  And so we may.  But will this superficial value last?  I think now.  Aging comes to all of us, though the real beauty is within.  And the holy relationship recognizes that the real beauty is within.

4 – A Summary

The passage for today encapsulates a good bit of the good news of A Course of Love.  God is our Source, and we are heart-centered beings who also use our minds as need be.  But we must not let the ego-oriented mind take over.  We must ask that this ego be dislodged, and then we must replace it with something better. ACOL‘s answer is wholeheartedness–a melding of mind and heart to make one, or One.  The One that is God, as well as all things.  Illusion has no place in this concept.  Behind the illusion is the real, and we would peek behind the illusion to see that real today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I long for this transformation that is described today in the passage selected.  Help me to be patient, as I am not ready, or the revelation would already have occurred.  This transformation is the Awakening or the Christ-consciousness that is the birthright of all of us.  But we may need to wait for this blessing.

Help me to realize that to beautify the body is not enough.  It is good to look good, but even better is to have inner beauty.  And as one ages, the inner beauty becomes more and more apparent.  May we all walk safely along the pathway from birth to old age, and then beyond.  May nothing keep us from You at all times.  Thank You for the guidance that You give me, especially when the guidance comes in unexpected ways and at unexpected times.  You make the decisions.  I will follow.

Amen.

Attack Is Always Made upon a Stranger

“If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself.  You cannot know your brother when you attack him.  Attack is always made upon a stranger.  (T41)”

Affirmation:  “Attack is always made upon a stranger.”

Reflections:

1 – We Are Not Seeing the Holy

When we attack, we are not seeing the holy in our brother.  We are not seeing his (or her) innocence.  So we are not seeing truly.  We have made of him (or her) a stranger.  I would see truly today, and that means that I forgive what has never happened in the real world.  I am always lost in illusions when I attack.  This is not the way to live peaceably in our world.

2 – Personal Experience

I once verbally attacked when a brother did not respond as I would have wished, and this is among my greatest regrets in life.  Be careful of how you respond, even if great stress is making for the insanity.  We do not want to look back on our lives with regret of any kind.  We can ask for forgiveness internally, and sometimes externally–to the one affected.  This will give us a measure of peace of mind.

3 – The Insanity of Guilt

When we attack, we may feel momentarily better, but then the insanity of guilt will overcome us.  We will feel worse than before, and this comes from knowing that we have betrayed both our brother and ourselves.

4 – Our Brothers and Sisters Are Innocent

Recognizing the innocence in our brother even if he (or she) has attacked us first, is to know the evidence of insanity in our world.  A special relationship is usually filled with attack, once the bloom of infatuation is off the relationship.  A holy relationship, however, has moved beyond the specialness (which was always a lie), and knows one’s brother as the loving Self that he (or she) truly is.

Prayer:

Dear Farther/Mother,

May I make no brother or sister a stranger by attacking that person.  May I realize that I have always made him or her a stranger when I have attacked.  I would make nobody a stranger unto myself.  Help me to stay true to this resolution.

May I understand that I make a stranger of my brothers and sisters when I attack them.  We also turn inward to attack ourselves at this same time.  We are all One.

May I see the innocence even in attack received from another.  Attack is a form of insanity–nothing more.  May I forgive and walk into the light.

Amen.

Need the Last Judgment Be a Fearful Prospect?

“The Last Judgment is generally thought of as a procedure undertaken by God.  Actually it will be undertaken by my brothers with my help.  It is a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment, however much you may think that punishment is deserved.  (T34)”

Affirmation:  “The Last Judgment. . .a final healing”

Reflections:

1 – The Last Judgment Is Healing

The Last Judgment is usually fraught with fear.  The way Jesus explains it, though, it is a healing, not an opportunity to determine if punishment is justified.

2 – Personal Experience

I once had a real phone conversation  in which I wondered later if I had been hypnotized during it.  For six months later, I seemed to remember, through admitted fantasy, that I had been asked questions that were akin to a Last Judgment.  Of course, I was reading A Course in Miracles at the same time that this experience happened.  And it is possible that I imagined the whole experience, much as in a waking dream that John Keats wrote poetry about in the early Nineteenth Century.  From this distance in time, there is no way to know, for I am not in touch with the individual in the phone conversation.  But I do wonder.  Was this fantasy a real example of the “brothers” of Christ conferring the Last Judgment on one who seemed ready, being at the time in a vulnerable state of mind?

3 – Brothers Working with Jesus

There is an indication here of our “brothers,” working with Jesus, to carry out the Last Judgment.  There are no other indications in the Course of what Jesus meant, aside from the tenet that our brothers are our way home, that we learn through our holy relationships.
4 – An Understanding for the Future

We must just accept the idea that Jesus puts forth in this passage, without being able, within the Course or without, to understand the message fully.  As time passes, perhaps we will come to understand.  It is perhaps in the final working out of the holy relationship that the Last Judgment actually takes place.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My I no more fear the Last Judgment.  I do not understand how my brothers will help with the Last Judgment, but I trust what Jesus has said.

I do not know if I was actually under hypnosis so long ago, when I imagined that I was asked question akin to a Last Judgment.  Perhaps I was so exhausted that I fell into a dream.  But, given this experience, I thank You for it.  The experience has led me to understand, somewhat, how the brothers of Jesus and myself could effect a Last Judgment.  It could happen just as Jesus says in this passage, and for that I am grateful to You.

Be with me now as I seek to join in sharing with my brothers and sisters, to love them, and to avoid fear and judgment.  These aspects of the truth are paramount as we move farther along in the way pointed out by Jesus.  Thank You for this revelation, coming to us now, now that we are all ready.  May the credo of A Course of Love influence my reading of A Course in Miracles, and point out the whole way back to You.

May I endeavor to have holy relationships with all of my brothers and sisters.  May this concept grow in time, and may I feel Your blessing on it.

Amen.

Walk into the Garden

“You have reached the end of an ancient journey, not realizing yet that it is over.  You are still worn and tired, and the desert’s dust still seems to cloud your eyes and keep you sightless. . . .Only a little wall of dust still stands between you and your brother.  Blow on it lightly and with happy laughter, and it will fall away.  And walk into the garden love has prepared for both of you.  (T393)”

Affirmation:  “I would walk in the garden today.”

Reflections:

1 – Succinct ACIM

A beautiful passage, this paragraph incorporates the whole of A Course in Miracles in succinct form.  We are meant to learn through our relationship to our brother (and sister), and through this relationship to be brought to Awakening.  Long periods of contemplation are not “our” way, though many ACIM students incorporate meditation as part of the workbook exercises.  (Indeed, the workbook exercises seem to encourage meditation, especially at the close of the year.)

2 – Special Relationships Turned Holy

This passage encourages the way of salvation for ACIM students/teachers.  This way lies in our transition from special relationships to holy relationships with our brothers and sisters.  We are “still worn and tired,” and it is in our forgiveness of others that our safety lies.  When we have let our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (from the Workbook).  We may become somewhat disjoined in our relationships as they move from specialness to holiness.  The purpose is different, when the holy relationship is seen as part of our salvation.  We are reassured that the Holy Spirit will not thrust our special relationships apart from us, but will be there for us as we transform them to what is truly beatific.  And when we are surrounded by holy relationships, what is this but Heaven on earth?

2 – Heaven on Earth

Jesus is very gentle with us, understanding that our way in this world is frequently hard, and indicating that he understands our pain.  The image of the “garden” perhaps indicates that Heaven on earth can yet be ours.  Certainly that is a hope in line with the teachings of ACIM.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this beautiful passage, so comforting and encouraging so much peace in me.  I am drawn to its beauty over and over, and the promises that it makes are profound.  May I spend part of this day in repeating these profound words over and over to myself, as affirmations.

May all of my special relationships, one-by-one, turn holy.  I realize that this is why we are here in this world.  May I say and do my part in making this come about.  But may I lean on You in making the decisions that I need to make to effect these changes in my relationships.

Be with us today as we seek to live peaceably with one another.  It is not right to try to isolate ourselves behind a computer or a print book.  Help me to reach out to others when You lead me to extend a helping hand.  But never let me overreach to those who are not ready or who are uninterested in what I might say or do.

Amen.