“You are one Self, in perfect harmony with all there is, and all that there will be. You are one Self, the holy Son of God, united with your brothers in that Self; united with your Father in His Will...” Workbook page 168, Lesson 95.
The Course stresses over and over again that there is no difference between anyone on earth; we are all one with each other and with God. Maybe it is for this reason that we read so much in the Course about the need to avoid “special relationships” or at least to transform them into “holy relationships.”
A special relationship is one whereby the ego seeks others to join with in order to feel special or to obtain something. It could be a business partner, romantic partner, relative or friend. A holy relationship, on the other hand, is one in which the Holy Spirit is invited in, and in which those involved join at the level of the mind and share a common goal. The goal in special relationships is specialness; whereas the goal in holy relationships is the truth or God. Therefore, it heals those in the relationship and helps them awaken.
The problem with special relationships is that they are not inclusive—some people are necessarily left out of them. Another drawback is that they serve to reinforce the ego, which likes us to feel needy and incomplete on our own. The Course stresses that if love is perceived as separation and exclusion then it is not love but the illusion of love. Moreover, we are complete as we are, since we are all joined with God and with all of creation.
As we read on page 345 of the Text, “...When two individuals seek to become one, they are trying to decrease their magnitude. Each would deny his power, for the separate union excludes the universe. Far more is left outside than would be taken in, for God is left without and nothing taken in...”
Special love relationships and special hate relationships are two sides of the same coin; they are all ego-inspired and involve the projection of guilt, fear or anger onto others. Although it may not be apparent that special love relationships are based on guilt and fear, ACIM explains on page 337 of the Text, “The special love relationship is an attempt to limit the destructive effects of hate by finding a haven in the storm of guilt. It makes no attempt to rise above the storm, into the sunlight. On the contrary, it emphasizes the guilt outside the haven by attempting to build barricades against it, and keep within them...” Then it is explained that if a special love partner does not satisfy the needs of the ego, the relationship will be broken and another relationship could well be formed to take its place. We see this happening all the time as we go from one relationship to another and from one marriage to another. We are seeking that special person to make us feel whole and complete when, in fact, we are already whole and complete but are simply not aware of it. If there is only One of us, then we have to be complete!
A Course in Miracles is not really asking us to avoid having relationships with certain special people in our lives, but it is asking us to make sure our relationships don’t keep us from Heaven. “Every special relationship you have made has, as its fundamental purpose, the aim of occupying your mind so completely that you will not hear the call of truth.” T358. It could well be that we are so wrapped up in a romantic relationship that it prevents us from seeking the truth. But not all relationships are like that. A relationship based on unconditional love, where nothing is gained by it (in terms of ego desires) would not necessarily keep one from Heaven. And a relationship or meeting of minds which has the ability to lift those involved out of the illusory world of the ego could, in fact, point the way to God. When we share a common goal with another, at the level of the mind, we recognise that our minds are joined and then we can really understand the meaning of Lesson 95: “I am One Self united with my Creator, at one with every aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace.”
The following passage, on page 358 of the Text, shows how we are not expected to abandon our special relationships with each other, but how they can be transformed instead into holy relationships, if we invite the Holy Spirit in. “I have said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them. And all that is meant by that is that He will restore to them the function given them by God. The function you have given them is clearly not to make happy. But the holy relationship shares God’s purpose, rather than aiming to make a substitute for it....” God’s purpose is for us to awaken from our dreams and the illusion of living in the world of the ego and to return to our rightful place in Heaven.
Lesson 95 ends in a beautiful way. When we come across any other person we are asked to mentally repeat the following: “You are one Self with me, united with our Creator in this Self. I honor you because of What I am, and What He is, Who loves us both as one.”
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