NOTE: This is a THREE PART series. Please make sure to read/listen to Part One before continuing 😉
Holy Relationship Evolution – A Bird’s Eye View
Perhaps a bird’s eye view of the essential components of Holy Relationship may help here by outlining a broad overview of them. Keep in mind there are phases and levels in the development of advanced Holy Relationship where complete forgiveness of our brother as the Son of God, is attained.
Another important factor to keep in mind is the long range goal which Jesus speaks of. While we can most assuredly reach advanced Holy Relationships in this lifetime, the crucial prerequisite must be met first. And that is our strong desire to see and know our brother as blameless (sinless, guiltless) despite so many tempting appearances to the contrary. Remember that we either perceive him or her as a body (guilty) – or – as the Spirit (innocent), the Christ. And as we see him or her, we will see our self.
Remember to believe something either good or bad is to value it. Belief is value. Belief in one – body or spirit – eclipses the other, as these two opposites cannot be valued at the same time because they are literally, mutually exclusive. Our value of one cancels out the other. This is precisely why the body together with its sensual appetites (specialness) must be divinely re-purposed with Holy Spirit; because until they are, temptation to view our brother as a body and not as the shared, Holy Self will continue to pull us into judgment, blame and pain.
Keep in mind that in the long dream of all the dimensions of time we have experienced possibly thousands of seeming lifetimes, all of which include special relationships. In my experience, and in working with thousands of others, it has been revealed that we repeat relationships with certain individuals in each lifetime until these unions are fully healed.
The single yet largely unrecognized spiritual purpose of these relationships is to wake-up from the specialness dynamic, to awaken from our false sense of self, the body and the illusion of separation. But we don’t fervently desire to wake-up from these prized idols until we have hit the proverbial wall in exercising our own independent “ego will,” apart from Spirit. This involves peaking out on suffering, and special relationships are the perfect playground to experience the depths of despair and disillusionment.
Hence the majority of our relationships, romantic or not, will often reflect themes of pain such as abandonment, betrayal, victim and perpetrator.
For instance, I had a very difficult relationship with my mother in this lifetime. I had believed that I was victimized by her as a child. Yet when I worked through my own forgiveness process with Holy Spirit, it was revealed later that our mother/daughter relationship in this life was merely a continuation of a previously and conveniently repressed one.
In a previous life-frame, I had been the victimizer and she had been the victim. Such is the “specialness dynamic” in all relationships since the beginning of time itself. In this lifetime I was given the priceless gift of being able to forgive myself for having unknowingly used her to try to prove that I was a victim and was therefore separate. And thus, with this profound gift…our relationship was healed for all time.
While Holy Relationship is the bridge toward our experience of the final Real World dream, within the dream of time it is an evolution depending on the strength of our heart-felt desire to “close the gap” with others (and Self). This is the honest measure of our single devotion to the “forgiveness factor”, remembering that all forgiveness is self-forgiveness and the undoing of our unconscious compulsion to self-attack (separate).
It is through relationships that we teach and therefore, learn who we are. They represent our primary teaching- learning classroom in the ego dream. We learn what we are by what we choose to see – value – in others. And the special relationship is the perfect starting point. To the degree we experience relationship conflict reveals perfectly where our very own projections and false self-evaluation need to be healed via forgiveness.
As we unpack the whole specialness theme and undo the key components which have fed our distorted attraction to sin, guilt and fear, Holy Spirit can help us to elevate our vision to high above the battlefield of this particular life-frame. The healing evolution of our relationships may be perfected in this lifetime, or it may take many more lifetimes of conflict and pain depending on the degree of our desire to see others (and our self) as sinless, blameless and innocent.
Five Phases of Relationship Evolution
In this broad overview, we begin with the special relationship. While all special relationships are referred to here, specifically, the romantic relationship appears to be most challenging because it involves the ego’s most prized and defended appetite, sex. And while the sexual appetite has not been given to Holy Spirit for divine re-purposing, it lies at the seat of our unconscious desire to be body-identified rather than spirit-identified. This fundamental confusion is a prime magnet for special relationships and if not healed, is a repetitive theme that pursues us into further incarnations.
I will outline five phases of relationship evolution as I see them:
Phase # 1 – There are two people in a special relationship. Neither one has a desire to awaken; while both are still deeply hypnotized by what they can steal from, or trade with each other. This relationship is one of mutual use and their special love is threatened if certain conditions are not met. Often, the relationship will end and the same goal of special love is sought once again in yet another relationship. These two will never experience the perfect relationship while their underlying demand for special love (conflict) is in force. Often they will find that what seemed to bring them together initially eventually drives them apart.
Phase # 2 – There are two people in relationship. Partner number one begins to see clean through “special love” and becomes disillusioned by it. He or she starts to earnestly yearn for changeless Love (God, Holy Self, etc). Yet partner number two is not interested in changing his or her beliefs and values, and certainly does not see the value of practicing forgiveness. They still want special love. The possible outcome here is that partner number one commits to practice forgiveness until it is perfected in him/her within this relationship.
If eventually partner number two does not come on board so to speak, the relationship’s “form” will often change. For example, a marriage may end but the friendship continues. Or the relationship/friendship will end. It is obvious that the two individuals in this relationship have vastly different beliefs, values, goals and purposes. Thus they are each headed on very different trajectories. They may have joined originally with very similar (special love) beliefs, values, goals and purposes. However, partner number one chose to ask Holy Spirit to re-purpose the “goal” of their relationship from special to Holy, which means they will find their old values are in conflict with the newfound purpose of the relationship.
Phase # 3 – Partner number one has the same initial experience as in Phase #2. But their partner is deeply affected by their practice of forgiveness. As a miraculous consequence, partner number two sees and experiences the infinite value of this practice and decides to join partner number one, inviting the Holy Spirit to shift the goal of their relationship from special to Holy. In this case, the two have now joined to consciously initiate the Holy Relationship and are committed to its truly common purpose as accepting the Atonement and applying forgiveness. Hence there is an initial, radical shift that usually takes place in such a relationship (see “Relationship Transition from Special to Holy”).
Phase # 4 – There are two people in relationship. Both partners have previously maxed out in “special love” experiences and have been seriously disillusioned by it along with all its temptations. They have mutually reached the same point. They recognize the blessed and joyous opportunity to join each other in this single purpose, and they set their sights with Holy Spirit, on nothing less than changeless Love. There is nothing in the world they want more than to “close the gap” of separation between them (and everyone else).
This phase of relationship, where both people make forgiveness their single purpose, has been quite a rare occurrence in the dream of time, up until this point. Here we have two people with the exact same truly common purpose, devoted not to allow anything including the body, its appetites and all the other idols that make up the “gap,” to ever come between them. This is truly an advanced Holy Relationship. “So do the parts of God’s Son gradually join in time, and with each joining is the end of time brought nearer. Each miracle of joining is a mighty herald of eternity.” T-20.V.1:5-6
Phase # 5 – Even rarer than the Phase # 4 relationship, this union involves two people whose trust is still further developed. The body concept which constitutes the illusory “gap” is wholly surrendered to Spirit here. Of all body appetites, sexual desire remains at the seat of the ego’s reincarnation recycle program. It is the number one death magnet while it remains un-surrendered and un-healed.
The primal sexual desire is a misdirected miracle-impulse. It’s also the underlying predecessor of all physical impulse distortions and is therefore the most resistant to conscious and mindful relinquishment (See Chapter, “Trans-Orgasmic Union”). No wonder in the earlier stage of dictation of the Course which Jesus gave to Helen Shucman, He stated emphatically the following quote which was edited out of the FIP version, as were most quotes referring to sex: “I want to finish the instructions about sex, because this is an area the miracle worker MUST understand.” T-1.B.40 b.
Limitless relationship necessitates relinquishment of our attachment to its greatest adversary – the body. In Phase # 5 we learn to give up every use the ego has for the body under the Holy Spirit’s Loving direction. The body is entirely and divinely re-purposed. The ego’s corrupted interpretation of this involves sacrifice, struggle and effort. But the presence of any of these is an immediate sign that the spiritualized ego has taken over. The body is re-purposed by the Holy Spirit and not by the ego. As a result, our part involves giving the body and its appetites to Him. And it is He who transforms them.
“In the holy instant, where the Great Rays replace the body in awareness, the recognition of relationships without limits is given you. But in order to see this, it is necessary to give up every use the ego has for the body, and to accept the fact that the ego has no purpose you would share with it.” T-15.IX.3:1-2
Remember that to the degree we are willing to undo all our idols, both the challenging ones and the pleasurable ones, will be the extent to which Holy Spirit has our permission to send us the perfect partners with which we can ascend back up the ladder of separation that we descended upon. Recall that everyone is given a “savior” (or saviors) with which to complete the Holy Relationship. And this person will show up when all we want is to see his or her innocence. However, as I said before, our resistance to relinquishing our idols of specialness, especially the body, may span lifetimes, and seem to draw out time.
“To each who walks this earth in seeming solitude is a savior given, whose special function here is to release him, and so to free himself. In the world of separation each is appointed separately, though they are all the same. Yet those who know that they are all the same need not salvation. And each one finds his savior when he is ready to look upon the face of Christ, and see Him sinless.” T-20.VI.5:3-6
Looking on the “Gap” together
Let me explain that at some point in the seemingly endless timeline of reincarnation, we will all max out in Phase One of special relationships. They all lead to conflict, disease, aging and death. Still today, two thousand years after Jesus appeared in a body, the vast majority of the world is drowning in a sea of special relationships all revolving around a single common denominator, the central idol in the dream – the body.
Some of us, especially you who are reading this book, have heard the sacred Call to Holy Relationship. And for that, I thank you with all my heart.
As we look down from high above the battlefield, we can see that all the broken relationships we experienced were either Phase One or Two relationships. The good news is that while they seemed to fail or end, sometimes even quite painfully, they are always destined for a wholly Loving completion. They will all eventually become Holy Relationships. This is inevitable. However that may not be in this lifetime.
“As with the first level, these meetings are not accidental, nor is what appears to be the end of the relationship a real end. Again, each has learned the most he can at the time. Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy.” M-3.4:4-6
To continue this bird’s eye view Jesus actually reveals that there are certain milestones in the Holy Relationship’s evolution. Once these two (or more) have found each other and agree to the Holy Spirit’s mutual goal and purpose, they are ready together to apply the means (forgiveness) and advance their trust. “This is the place to which everyone must come when he is ready. Once he has found his brother he [is] ready.” T-19.IV.D.10:2-3
Needless to say, there is an essential element in the Holy Relationship’s advancement. Each partner’s hidden attraction to specialness; along with every false belief including the false-self concept is mindfully yet ceaselessly examined before it is healed via forgiveness. Old patterns, past hurts, unseen agendas, secret idols and inappropriate body appetites all come out of denial to be seen – together. To the ego, this is its worst nightmare because its illusory existence depends entirely on keeping these idols from being discovered and healed.
When two people agree together to look upon the ugly idols in the “gap” with Holy Spirit, something quite miraculous occurs. Recall that all problems regardless of their severity exist only while two or more minds agree that they’re real, that there is indeed a problem. When two accept the Atonement, the divine correction instead, whatever appeared previously in the “gap” must disintegrate. Healing occurs.
As these two gaze upon the issue or idol, with the single intention of accepting the Atonement for themselves, they withdraw their agreement to its seeming reality. In other words, they withdraw as a consenting witness to the particular problem so its deceptive reality vanishes. The issue itself – mental, emotional or physical – requires two or more witnesses who agree to its reality in order for it to continue. In a Holy Relationship, both people have committed to the one sanctified purpose. Therefore, when one person removes his agreement to witness what is not there, the problem cannot survive for lack of consenting witnesses.
When one partner does this, it is done for both. The two are healed as a miraculous consequence of having genuinely accepted the Atonement. In addition to this, a miraculous ripple effect continues to wash over the entire Sonship because when we heal…we never heal alone.
“Heaven is restored to all the Sonship through your relationship, for in it lies the Sonship, whole and beautiful, safe in your love.” T-18.I.11:1
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