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Chapter 15: The Holy Instant

Section VII: The Needless Sacrifice

Read ACIM Chapter 15, Section VII (pages 317-320)

In truth, are there many different kinds of love?

In the first paragraph Jesus describes the Love between the Father and His Son. He reminds us that this Love is the only thing that will satisfy us. Mic Jagger sings the lament of the world when he says, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” We try and try again to get satisfaction from the special love relationships found in this illusionary world of separation. Jesus wants to help us understand that the false images of the ego are not reality and will never bring us satisfaction.

He says, “There is no other love that can satisfy you, because there is no other love. This is the only Love that is fully given and fully returned. Being complete, It asks nothing. Being wholly pure, everyone joined in It has everything.” (1:2-5) Let us think about what Jesus is telling us here. He is helping us understand that there is no other love than our Love for God and His Love for us. And because this Love is fully given and fully received, this Love is total and holds no reservations.

How do we become aware of God’s total Love for us?

Exercise: Relax and let the Holy Spirit bring you the awareness of God’s total Love for you and your total Love for Him. Open your mind to that awareness. Let in the feeling of your closeness to God. Let yourself become aware that, in your true Reality, you are receiving and giving all of God’s Love, now and for eternity. In truth, God’s Love for you and your Love for Him does not change. It does not come and go. Because this Love is all inclusive, It is not special. It is your Reality forever.

What does Jesus call the needless sacrifice?

What we call love in this world is just the specialness that the ego mind craves for. With special love there are differences. It comes and goes because it is not eternal. The needless sacrifice (separation from Love) that the ego asks of us is to give up, or sacrifice, our real Identity, which is eternally at one with all Love, at one with God and all our brothers. Within the oneness of God, Love is always fully given and fully received in a nonstop flow of communication to all of Itself. The ego sacrifices God’s Love in an attempt to establish a unique and separate identity. This can only seem to be accomplished by denying Love’s presence.

There is a very helpful description of the meaning of sacrifice found in Section XI of Chapter 15 that is useful to help us clearly understand what Jesus is telling us here in Section VII. He tells us, “You who believe that sacrifice is love must learn that sacrifice is separation from love. For sacrifice brings guilt as surely as love brings peace. Guilt is the condition of sacrifice, as peace is the condition for the awareness of your relationship with God. Through guilt you exclude your Father and your brothers from yourself.” (T-15.XI.4:1-4)

The ego is the belief that by separating from God (sacrificing the Self) it can become master of its own domain. It believes it can usurp the power of God. In this insane thought system, the ego perceives itself as the maker of all it looks upon. This gives the illusion of power. But what it does not recognize is that by separating from Love, it has cut itself off from the Source of all power. All that it has left is the capacity to make and believe in illusions. It is only belief that seems to give the illusions power. But the moment belief is withdrawn, the illusions disappear. The ego seems to have made a grand and complex universe, but this is accomplished only by sacrificing Reality through separating from It. Having attacked Reality (Love), guilt is inevitable and attack is expected in return.

Why is judgment and guilt so attractive to the ego?

Remember that the ego is the idea of separation. Consequently, it attempts to solve all perceived problems by using guilt as a means to make separation seem real. With separation as the foundation of its thought system, it teaches us that everything we see is separate from us and therefore what we do to others has no effect on us. “For it is the ego’s fundamental doctrine that what you do to others you have escaped.” (4:2) The ego would have us believe that if we judge another we are not judging ourselves; if we see guilt in another we have freed ourselves of guilt.

He tells us, “The sick attraction to guilt must be recognized for what it is. For having been made real to you, it is essential to look at it clearly, and by withdrawing your investment in [guilt], to learn to let it go [forgive]. (3:1-2) Most of the time we do not realize that when we become angry with someone, what is happening at an unconscious level is that we are joining with the ego’s idea of safety. Jesus tells us, “[The ego] counsels, therefore, that if you are host to it, it will enable you to direct its anger outward, thus protecting you. And thus it embarks on an endless, unrewarding chain of special relationships, forged out of anger and dedicated to but one insane belief; that the more anger you invest outside yourself, the safer you become.” (4:5-6)

In paragraphs 2 through 12 Jesus goes into detail describing the ego’s replacement for God’s Love for you and your Love for Him. He describes the ego’s relationships in such detail, not to make us feel guilty for what we are believing in, but to help us see it clearly for the insanity that it is. He wants us to see how hopeless it is to try to find satisfaction within the ego’s thought system. He wants us to see how depressing and stressful our projections of guilt really are and that they will never bring us the experience of the truly rewarding eternal relationship we have with God.

To break the chain of an endless series of unrewarding special relationships, we need to look closely at these relationships with the Holy Spirit Who will show us the truth behind the false stories the ego has made. Because the ego is dedicated to maintaining guilt, it carefully disguises the guilt in its special relationships, telling us that they are loving relationships. When we look closely at ego based relationships, we will see that this is not what we really want. We will recognize the guilt that these relationships hold in place. To the ego, relationships mean that bodies are together. It denies the communication the Holy Spirit would bring.

How does the Holy Spirit teach true communication?

To the Holy Spirit communication means union or joining as one Mind. The ego avoids this at all costs because the ego believes that minds must be kept private to maintain its separate identity. Jesus shows us how the ego thinks: “...if their bodies are together their minds remain their own. The union of bodies thus becomes the way in which they would keep minds apart.” (11:5-6) Because the Holy Spirit does not believe in bodies, He will always show you true communication, or union. He will always help you move past guilt, which is the cause of all feelings of loneliness and abandonment. The Holy Spirit teaches by bringing us the experience of the holy instant. The holy instant is the experience of true communication, of total union and completion. “And here it is that you experience yourself as you were created, and as you are.” (14:10)

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Reference Keys for
A Course in Miracles Quotes

How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles

Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:

T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.

W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.

M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.

C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6

The above numbering system of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992, The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.

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