Clarifying the Holy Relationship
As another Holy relationship has come into my life, several readers have mentioned that they thought the Holy relationship was with the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in your mind) not with another. It is both. It is with another through the Holy Spirit.
In A Course in Miracles, the Holy relationship, one of its chief teaching tools (along with the Holy Instant it expresses), is introduced in Chapter 17 (part V) in “The Healed Relationship”. From then on it never lets it go! And it is very clear throughout that it is referring to the relationship between Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford.
“A relationship, undertaken by two individuals for their unholy purposes, suddenly has holiness for its goal.” (T-17.V.5)
I have experienced the Holy relationship in two ways: mystical and practical. ACIM teaches both, but the labels are mine. The Holy relationship in the Text is clearly mystical. But in the supplement to ACIM, Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice, Helen and Bill are being taught how to turn their relationships with their psychotherapy patients into practical Holy relationships. And the Workbook is full of examples of using relationships as classrooms.
Many readers questioning the Holy relationship quote Ken Wapnick. He seems to describe the practical Holy relationship. I am not sure if he ever experienced a mystical Holy relationship. They are not the same, but the mystical Holy relationship is also, in practice, a practical Holy relationship.
The mystical Holy relationship involves spiritual Vision. You and another actually see and experience your Oneness (wholeness/sameness) together.
“Did you see the holiness that shone in both you and your brother, to bless the other? That is the purpose of your holy relationship.” (T-20.III.8)
“A holy relationship starts from a different premise. Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. He sees no difference between these selves, for differences are only of the body.” (T-22.in.3)
“This is the function of your holy relationship. For what one thinks, the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your mind and your brother's are one?” (T-22.VI.13)
Though seen with one another, you recognize that the Oneness you see is not exclusive to the two of you. The dropping of the boundaries between your two minds makes you aware that, in Truth, there are no boundaries between any seemingly-separate minds. There is only One Mind.
The mystical Holy relationship is an expression of the Holy Spirit within you. Each one is unique, though the content is the same. It occurs when you are ready to accept this miraculous Vision. It deeply threatens the ego (personal thought system) in your mind as it undoes it, so it will only occur when you are ready to face this.
“Those who have joined their brothers have detached themselves from their belief that their identity lies in the ego. A holy relationship is one in which you join with what is part of you in truth. And your belief in sin has been already shaken, nor are you now entirely unwilling to look within and see it not.” (T-21.IV.3)
The practical Holy relationship does not involve spiritual Vision. It is a choice you make to use a relationship to learn of the Holy Spirit within you. Rather than seeking for wholeness in another, you turn inward to the Holy Spirit instead. Your relationship with the other is then the means for growing your relationship with (awareness of) the Holy Spirit within.
“God's Teacher speaks to any two who join together for learning purposes. The relationship is holy because of that purpose, and God has promised to send His Spirit into any holy relationship.” (M-2.5)
So both experiences of the Holy relationship involve the Holy Spirit and another. A mystical Holy relationship between you and another comes from your relationship with the Holy Spirit. A practical Holy relationship between you and another is how you deepen your relationship with (awareness of) the Holy Spirit.
Two questions I’m often asked is whether or not the Holy relationship can be one-sided and does it extend to everyone. It is possible to experience spiritual Vision of another without their awareness. In fact, the Vision of the mystical naturally extends to your other relationships. So what begins with one extends to all others.
“Think what a holy relationship can teach! Here is belief in differences undone. Here is the faith in differences shifted to sameness. And here is sight of differences transformed to vision. Reason now can lead you and your brother to the logical conclusion of your union. It must extend, as you extended when you and he joined. It must reach out beyond itself, as you reached out beyond the body, to let you and your brother be joined. And now the sameness that you saw extends and finally removes all sense of differences, so that the sameness that lies beneath them all becomes apparent. Here is the golden circle where you recognize the Son of God. For what is born into a holy relationship can never end.” (T-22.in.3-4)
The practical Holy relationship is a choice you make to use a relationship as a classroom to learn from the Holy Spirit whether or not the other is doing the same. That attitude and approach also naturally extends to your other relationships. In fact, the first shift students of ACIM make is to use every situation as an opportunity to learn from the Holy Spirit. This makes everything a Holy relationship for you!
However, you can see by the quotes above and below that what ACIM means by a “Holy relationship”, whether mystical or practical, is one where both parties are conscious of Oneness (mystical) and/or have chosen together to use the relationship as a classroom (practical). The term is meant to describe a specific type of intentional relationship between two people.
“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.” (T-20.IV.5)
“The ark of peace is entered two by two, yet the beginning of another world goes with them.” (T-20.IV.6)
“…I said before that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams. That is what the Holy Spirit does in the special relationship. He does not destroy it, nor snatch it away from you. But He does use it differently, as a help to make His purpose real to you. The special relationship will remain, not as a source of pain and guilt, but as a source of joy and freedom. It will not be for you alone, for therein lay its misery. As its unholiness kept it a thing apart, its holiness will become an offering to everyone.” (T-18.II.6)