In relationships either romantic or platonic, we can only recognize, extend and receive conscious Love to the degree we are willing to learn to desire to see others and our self as guiltless, as innocent.
The ego cannot recognize, give or receive Love. It only knows of special love which is hate in disguise. The capacity to Love sincerely, rests upon our willingness to engage in authentic communication which aims at increasing our willingness to value guiltlessness over condemnation.
A commitment to practice relating with self and others via the Seven Key Principles of authentic communication undoes specialness, as it leads us naturally to an unrelenting appreciation and focus on forgiveness. This commitment initiates the experiential process necessary for the certain undoing of the false-self and its idols. These are the blocks to the awareness of Love’s presence; to the majesty, joy and peace of our one Holy Self.
We can only recognize, accept and reciprocate Love and forgiveness to the extent we have authentically abdicated the separate self-concept along with its past, beliefs and values. Remember that all relationships are special (destructive) until we choose to have them re-purposed to Holy Relationships with the Holy Spirit. And the reason for this is that the “self” in relationship with another “self” is unknowingly consumed and equally blinded by its own darkness.
A common issue we face in relationships where we want to shift the relationship’s goal from special to Holy is when our partner clings to the old goal and structure of specialness. It appears then that we each have separate goals. One is willing to do whatever it takes to undo their false-self concept and its idols, yet the other is often in fierce defense of it. One endeavors to protect and defend their specialness still mistaking it for love, while the other tries hard to undo it. Obviously in this case the one whose aim is Holiness is given the most forgiveness opportunities.
This is not personal or unique. It’s a universal epidemic. All relationship conflict arises from not knowing our True Identity; and therefore, not recognizing it in others. Every special relationship within all the dimensions of time is upheld by the identical foundation, – an obsession with sin, guilt and fear. And it’s this erroneous belief that completely obscures the Love that we already have and are.
Recall the ego is the state of deprivation by default. It can only see and experience that which it believes in. And it is sustained by the belief in separation. It sees itself as bound by a destructible body which seems to have the power to imprison it. It is severely deprived and seeks its illusory completion via relationships and accomplishments. It robs others in relationships by trying to exchange the self it hates for the self it thinks it wants in another, not realizing it’s the same illusory image only in another form.
All its past, its world and everything its body’s senses seem to perceive is actually seen through darkness. It has become familiar and numbly comfortable in this severely restricted perception. It doesn’t know that the darkness it depends on is really a general anesthesia to keep it from seeking the light of Love.
Love is the light that will obliterate this false-self. And this is why it’s so terrified to let go of specialness because this is its defense against the Love that will certainly erase it altogether. This false-self seeks refuge in the darkness of special relationships and mistakes them for Love.
My Epiphany – There is No Lee
When one in relationship initiates the undoing of specialness it always affects the other even if they do not consciously participate in this change.
In my previous experience in this area, where I was the one who initiated the undoing of specialness, my partner at the time was threatened by this change which is often the case. He was very invested in the darkness of the false-self and its idols. Consequently he viewed this shift toward the light (Truth and authentic communication) as the threat of annihilation to the “self” he had always tried to protect and defend.
So here I was leaping toward the undoing of self and specialness, yet he was still invested in the opposing goal. This was a hugely valuable classroom for me to practice self-forgiveness. And I am so very grateful for that phase of living with someone who helped me by mirroring to me all the unconscious areas in my mind that I had not forgiven.
Reflecting on that learning phase I see very clearly that I needed those years of being with a significant other who had no interest in the Course or the awakening it was pointing to. It may be helpful at this time to share just what happened for me in the fourth year of this relationship to clarify an important point: All forgiveness is self-forgiveness.
Let me begin by saying that Lee (not his real name) is an outstanding person, a truly wonderful soul. I realize now that he was sent to help me learn how to forgive myself for perhaps lifetimes of un-forgiveness. My Love and gratitude for him has not changed to this day. The only reason we are not together today is that we each had opposing goals which was perfect for my own specific period of un-learning specialness. However, I eventually reached a stage in my own development of trust; where it was clear for me to go from un-learning specialness to moving into a phase of learning Holiness.
There was a grand turning point for me in this relationship. The first four years became more and more difficult. Unfortunately I’d fallen into a common trap whereby one is on the spiritual path and the other is not the slightest bit interested. The spiritual ego intensified and began to claim superiority. I wanted him to change which is a no-no. As a result the gap between us increased and I tried to convert him using the excuse that he needed saving.
We reached an unbearable impasse and I was convinced that it was his fault. After all, I was on the spiritual path and he was not. I had not yet learned that he was my teacher and I was the student. Spiritual pride had blocked my awareness at the time.
One day in August of 2004, the conflict became absolutely intolerable for me. On top of that I’d spent fifteen years with the Course only to reach this point of feeling so utterly hopeless and helpless. I was ready to give up entirely.
That fateful morning I was home alone. I felt such crushing confusion that I just dropped to my knees sobbing uncontrollably. I called out to Holy Spirit with every fiber of my being, crying for help to end this conflict. Suddenly, from out of nowhere came a thundering Voice announce this, “There is no Lee!”
I was shocked. The Voice was commanding and authoritative. It was unmistakable. “There is no Lee!” My God, what if the Voice was right I thought. No Lee? That meant that all my conflict arose from within my own mind. Not just some of it…but all of it. So I continued the dialogue in my mind, “Do you mean to say that I had been unknowingly using Lee to attack myself? You mean all of it?” The answer was a resounding, “Yes”.
I will never forget that life-changing epiphany. Suddenly, my mind felt like it was swept clean of eons of false victimization. I was given a glimpse of Christ Vision that seemed to permeate many dimensions of time. A comprehensive collapse of time and suffering resounded in that one instant of recognition.
It was True. I was 100% responsible (without judgment) for every instance in which I had perceived myself as having been victimized. I chose it, and I did this to myself. No self-blame and no guilt. Just a quiet and impersonal glimpse of the ego thought system. But, that was not me. The Self that witnessed the ego’s choices was quite unperturbed by it all.
And in that precious Holy Instant I decided to return to my previously tumultuous relationship; only this time I returned without my projections and with a heart full of forgiveness. I gladly recognized he was my Loving teacher and the bearer of illuminating life lessons. I now saw him completely differently. I felt gratitude for all the tests he offered me which I had earlier condemned him for. And I saw my utter disrespect and irreverence at my prior attempts to try to change him.
I said earlier that when one genuinely initiates the undoing of specialness in relationship the other must be affected by this shift. And this is exactly what occurred for us. We all share the one mind. Even though I never mentioned my breakthrough to my partner at the time, he was changed by it because I had accepted the Atonement on our joint behalf. My goal was to see him as sinless, guiltless. The result was that we never had an argument again in the ten years which followed that miraculous epiphany.
If we genuinely want a Holy Relationship with at least one other person then we have a critical decision to make. The number one prerequisite is an honest desire to learn to see another as sinless, as guiltless. This is the desire to learn to forgive, to “close the gap” with another more than we want to judge them. How else will we ever behold the magnificence within unless we are willing to see it in another? For they are one and the same; our Holy Self, the Christ.
Living with the Christ in Disguise
Initially, through the ego, Lee triggered me tremendously. I perceived him as being overly critical of me. In those first few years I often felt judged, condemned. And it seemed to be in all the little things. My driving, the way I washed dishes, did laundry, cooked, ate, etc. There was this persistent nagging about how I just didn’t do things “right”. I felt belittled and somewhat unseen, unappreciated.
To counter this pattern I went into overdrive to try to please my partner’s critical eye. However, the pressure to fit into another’s “idea” or “image” of how I should be became too much to bear. I had unfortunately fallen into a very familiar and ancient trap. As the conflict escalated between us, so did my recognition that this had happened before a long time ago. It was familiar because this was the same dynamic of my childhood.
My mother and I had unknowingly agreed to play out this painful pattern in my earlier years and it stayed with me in all my adult relationships. Others appeared to judge and criticize me over and over. And I would bend over backward to please them only to resent them fiercely for it. But this ego pattern eventually became unbearable in this particular relationship with Lee.
Looking at it from a right-minded perspective, the pattern could not have been healed until it became so unbearable that I just had to see it to learn once and for all to locate its singular source in my own mind. It was not with Lee. I saw that he simply mirrored to me my very own denied self-condemnation. He was showing me my own self-judgments and all the areas I had allowed the ego to micro-manage me. This insight was such a gift!
My mind was the source and the only place in which this deep-seated pattern could be healed via forgiveness of myself for having unwittingly used Lee to attack myself. While I continued to project it onto him then I would never have healed it. In that valuable experience I learned that there is only one ego and one Holy Self. If I am triggered by it, then its mine to heal. Period.
After that miraculous epiphany when Spirit bellowed out, “There is no Lee!” I consciously withdrew my projections onto him and had asked to see him as he was; completely sinless, guiltless and innocent. And as I mentioned before, a wonderful thing happened. We healed. There was harmony in our relationship because I had finally recognized that the man I had been living with, at the highest level, was none other than the Christ in disguise.
In Truth although he was not conscious of it at the time, he was waiting for me to recognize the miracle and to claim it on behalf of us both. My Love and gratitude for him is deeply felt and it’s infinite and eternal. I can only trust that one day he will also recognize and receive the magnitude of healing that this precious relationship gifted to us both.
When the Teaching-Learning Balance Ends in Relationship
Although there was harmony in our relationship, the teaching-learning balance between us eventually came to an end. And when this happens the relationship often ends which is what occurred for Lee and me. In this case the “form” of the relationship ended yet the Love continues. That can never cease. Nothing real can be threatened.
After the specialness was undone between us there was very little left to hold us together in form. I had thrown myself headlong into undoing my false identity and he was heavily invested in preserving and defending it. Unknowingly, he still desired specialness and had thoroughly confused it with Love. Although we each had different goals in the relationship, this worked for me up to a point because it gave me rich opportunities to unmask and forgive my own denied and projected beliefs.
In a way, our relationship became so harmonious that I ran out of forgiveness opportunities within that relationship. It had provided me many years in which to undo old specialness patterns and to learn to bridge the gap between the ego and the Holy Self. Through it I learned to be authentic. I learned how to follow and trust my Holy Self in the face of upsetting another ego. I also learned to value guiltlessness; to desire to see others as sinless, guiltless and innocent.
As my trust advanced it became even more obvious that Lee and I were pursuing contrasting goals. He remained quite immersed in the separate self and its beliefs and values. Our fundamental beliefs about our identity, the past, others, the body and the world were opposing, however the Love between us never changed. And I chalk that down to consistently forgiving myself each time it seemed his beliefs triggered me. I reached a stage where the old triggers just fell away.
The issue which made it increasingly difficult to close the gap between us was that he was unwilling to practice the Seven Key Principles when communicating. I see now that these principles, if practiced diligently, will undo the false-self, its beliefs and values. They undo the special relationship and naturally create the sacred space for the Healed Relationship if both are willing to do the work together. These principles when applied, undo our attachment to the past along with its effects. Yet they are not valued by those who still wish to keep their false identity; those who have the opposing goal to protect and defend their false-self.
In those who prefer to defend their ego there is a great fear of genuine emotional intimacy. It’s almost impossible for them to drop their defenses, opinions, pride and the past. Their need to be “right” is far more valuable to them than closing the gap with another; than allowing Love in.
They are fearful of feeling genuine remorse and expressing it let alone verbally admitting they were wrong. Unfortunately, the ego regards real strength (emotional vulnerability) as weakness, and it sees weakness (pride and the need to be right) as strength. This highly valued distortion makes it quite difficult to deepen an emotional bond with another. And this is the kind of challenge I eventually faced with Lee. While I was ready to take my learning into deeper territory, he was not. Consequently the teaching-learning balance had come to an end.
Jesus refers to the three levels of relationship; or the three levels of learning where ultimately there is only one goal – to make the relationship Holy. In the following quote He speaks of the second level relationship which is the one Lee and I had engaged in.
“Each teaching-learning situation is maximal in the sense that each person involved will learn the most that he can from the other person at that time. In this sense, and in this sense only, we can speak of levels of teaching. Using the term in this way, the second level of teaching is a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. 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-3.4:1-6
END NOTE: Make sure to listen (or read) PART THREE OF THIS SERIES here. It’s about our experience of an advanced Holy Relationship, but told from Daniel’s view this time…where there is spontaneous joy and eternal union. Words become almost unnecessary. And the body recedes into the background as the Grace of Joyous Union literally lights up our life.
By the way, Here are the links to “A UNIVERSAL BLUEPRINT for HOLY RELATIONSHIP:”
NOTE: My bestselling book, The End of Death, is available in AUDIO BOOK, PAPERBACK & KINDLE. To download a free Chapter of the audio book and for more valuable tools and meditations, go to: