Special Relationships and the Holy Instant
. . . or, how to get schooled by Love
Special relationships are relationships in which we want something from the other we believe only they can offer us. These relationships rest on our conviction - fueled by inner insecurity, manifest in a cultural emphasis on idealized embodied love - that we are incomplete without this other.
Special relationships are inevitable. What shall we do about them?
On way to think of them is that they are part of our learning process. Nobody should be ashamed of special relationships or overly worried about them. They occur. The work is to notice them and then - in the context of the relationship, in the throes of specialness - choose a different way.
The holy instant is an essential tool in the Holy Spirit's plan to teach us "love's meaning" (T-15.V.1:1).
This is so because in the holy instant we are incapable of judgment. Absent past and future, judgment is impossible. Liberated from both the need to judge others, which is not separate from the effects of being judged by others, we remember love. Love is what remains when fear can no longer be sustained.
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 (T-15.V.3:1-3).
Dividing reality into parts and evaluating the parts in order to find those we prefer is an attack on reality and thus an attack on our own self. We cannot know peace when we refuse to accept the condition of peace, which is to accept the complete equality of all that is perceived as different.
The ego emphasizes difference as the key to meaning, yet the Holy Spirit teaches that differences fragment meaning, and undo its natural integrity. The body will always perceive a world of apparently separate objects, but the mind does not have to judge between them. It can choose to accept them all as evidence of God's perfect love.
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 (T-15.V.4:5-6).
Thus, our so-called special relationships are not problems to be fixed, but lessons to be learned. Yet to realize this is to let go of our intention for the relationship, which includes our stated desire to make it holy. So long as we are retaining the prerogative to decide what the relationship means, and thus what it is for, the Holy Spirit is precluded from healing it.
There is no substitute for Love. If you would attempt to substitute one aspect of love for another, you have placed less value on one and more on the other. You have not only separated them, you have also judged against them both (T-15.V.6:2-4).
Again, the work is to notice we are doing this and be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to change our mind so that something else becomes possible. It is important we not predict or insist that we alread know what the "something else" is.
The holy instant is the experience that undoes both the specialness but also the habit of thinking upon which specialness rests. It is a glimpse of Heaven that restores to mind its original function of loving without qualification or condition.
In the Holy Instant no one is special, for your personal needs intrude on no one to make your brothers seem different . . . In the holy instant, you see in each relationship what it will be when you perceive only the present (T-15.V.8:2, 5).
Please note: in the above quote, the emphasis is not on having no personal needs but on not letting those needs intrude on others. Bodies needs food and water, shelter and companions; that is not the problem. The problem is when we equate those needs with our survival. Basically, we elevate the body to something it is not, and then defend the elevation.
The holy instant puts the body's needs into right relationship with reality so they are no longer sources of existential crisis. There is a big difference between hugging somebody for the pleasure of a hug, vs. hugging them because you need somebody to validate your right to live (or because you think you have some special dispensation to validate their right to live).
And, again, it is not a crime against God or Nature to need or want somebody special. It happens to all of us, no matter how spiritually-advanced we believe we are. We simply want to notice that we are doing this - that we are using others in a way that effectively demeans us both, and on that basis to become willing to learn a new way of being in relationship.
. . . in the Holy Instant you unite directly with God, and all your brothers join in Christ. Those who are joined in Christ are in no way separate. For Christ is the Self the Sonship shares, as God shares His Self with Christ (T-15.V.10:8-10).
"Christ" is the self we are when we know ourselves as God knows us. It is the self we are when we catch even a faint glimpse of that knowledge.
God knows you now. He remembers nothing, having always known you exactly as He knows you now. The holy instant reflects His knowing by bringing all perception out of the past, thus removing the frame of reference you have built by which to judge your brothers (T-15.V.9:1-3).
Thus, in the holy instant, we "see that love is in [us],” and we have no need to "look without and snatch love guiltily" from where we thought it was (T-15.V.9:7).
When we realize we are attempting to love in a special way - which is an attack on our brothers and sisters, which is an attack on God, which is a refusal to see reality where and as it is - then we can offer the relationship to the Holy Spirit, simply by refusing to be its author any longer.
This is scary because we have spent a lifetime - longer, really - teaching ourselves that we are the author of life, that we are the arbiters of what is real and what is illusion. A Course in Miracles is an invitation to think in a new way. The holy instant is simply the moment when that new way is revealed in its fullness, and the special relationship is the site of the revelation.
From that moment on, our practice changes. We trust it more; we are more willing. The more trust we place in the Holy Spirit, the closer we are to God. The closer to God the happier we are, and the happier those around us are as well.
Sean im finding it difficult to make any comment on your post. It's probably because of restistance I sense is still in me. My golden wedding anniversary is in six weeks and it has been more than a roller coaster by miles. So your post has laid bare so much and opened up more than im fit to deal with at the moment.or maybe unwilling to. But I sense here is the final escape hatch in your post. Thanks again Sean please don't stop posting
“It’s okay that this makes no sense. It's making no sense just means we're still confused.”
This makes me laugh every time I read it. :-)