A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 17: Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

Section VI: Setting the Goal

Read ACIM Chapter 17, Section VI (pages 365-67)

Why is joining Holy Spirit’s goal of truth so important to our awakening?

This is a very important section to fully understand and applying the content in this section is crucial to our awakening. In essence, Jesus is telling us that we must join with the Holy Spirit’s goal of truth unequivocally in order to awaken to the truth, or awakening to the fact that only God’s Love is real and what is not Love is merely a dream of separation from Love.

Unequivocally means being certain and unwavering, and not in a state of constant flux. When we are unequivocal with the Holy Spirit’s goal, which returns us to the awareness that we never really left Heaven, we consistently apply the goal of truth to every situation in our lives. We cannot want the truth in certain situations and want fantasies of separation to be real in other situations and still remember that we are still extensions of God’s Love and that we have not left the Mind of God.

What does Jesus tell us we are always deciding between?

No matter what any situation in this world looks like, we are always deciding between seeing separation or oneness. Jesus tells us an important way to be unwavering with the Holy Spirit’s goal is to ask yourself with every situation, ” ‘What do I want to come of this? What is it for?’ The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome.” (2:1-2) He also tells us, “The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen.” (4:1)

The opposite of the goal of truth is the ego’s goal. Jesus describes the ego’s goal quite clearly: “The ego’s goal is quite explicitly ego autonomy. From the beginning, then, its purpose is to be separate, sufficient unto itself and independent of any power except its own. This is why it is the symbol of separation.” (T-11.V.4:4-6) on Text page 203.

What happens when we have only the goal of truth?

When we have only the goal of truth, we will see with Christ’s vision. We will overlook what is not the truth. We will see unloving behavior as merely the effect of following the ego’s false ideas. We will see innocence and oneness with God behind the ego’s false facade of separate bodies. We will not make fantasies of separation real. When we do this, we will be at peace.

This accepting the goal of truth is so important that Jesus emphasizes it again and again in the Text. Following are some examples.

“...the question ‘What do you want?’ must be answered. You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment that is anything but ineffectual. Its effects will follow automatically until the decision [of what you want] is changed.” (T-5.V.6:2-4) on Text, page 85. The decision to see separation is changed when we unequivocally decide only to see the truth instead of continuing to make illusions of separation real.

“... ‘What for?’ This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically. When you make a decision of purpose, then, you have made a decision about your future effort; a decision that will remain in effect unless you change your mind.” (T-4.V.6:7-11) on text, page 67.

Another section in the Text that is helpful in this context of the importance of deciding for the truth is: The Rules for Decision, found in Chapter 30, Section I, on pages 625-629.

When we have the goal of truth, will we always experience peace?

In paragraph five of this section, Jesus emphasizes another important benefit of deciding for truth. When we do not waver with our decision to see the truth, we will be at peace. Fear will dissolve. He tells us, “The goal of truth has further practical advantages. If the situation is used for truth and sanity, its outcome must be peace. (5:1) He shows us how truth and peace always go together: “If you experience peace, it is because the truth has come to you and you will see the outcome truly, for deception cannot prevail against you.” (5:6) Note: Also see The Test of Truth on Text pages 296-300.

Another section that expands on how deciding for truth brings peace is found in Chapter 5, Section VII. The Decision for God:

“Decision cannot be difficult. This is obvious, if you realize that you must already have decided not to be wholly joyous if that is how you feel. Therefore, the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise. Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:

I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.” (T-5.VII.6:1-11) on Text page 90.

How does Jesus help us from being deceived by the ego?

Jesus shows us the difference between how the ego works and how the Holy Spirit works so that we will not be so easily deceived. “Here again you see the opposite of the ego’s way of looking, for the ego believes the situation brings the experience. The Holy Spirit knows that the situation is as the goal determines it, and is experienced according to the goal.” (5:8-9) When we become upset for any reason, and blame our experience on the situation, we have fallen into the trap of ego thinking. When we first set the goal of truth, we will be able to see past the ego story line and experience the constant wholeness that the Holy Spirit knows. It is only the ego that has faith in separation and not in wholeness.

Any relationship is not peaceful if its underlying goal is separation, the denial of the oneness of Love. Everyone reaches a point where there is a feeling that there must be a better way. At this point we begin a search for that better way. If we choose the ego as our guide in this search, it will advise us to change the relationship to make it more satisfying or to go find another. But ego solutions do not solve the underlying problem of belief that separation is real. In fact, the ego’s goal is always the maintenance of separation. Thus ego based relationships will never bring us the true Love we seek. The ego’s solutions always follow the ego’s motto, “Seek and do not find.”

But if at our point of decision we choose the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit changes the goal from separation to oneness, the goal of truth. The relationship now is set on a new course. This new direction leads directly to the oneness of Love that we are truly seeking.

Why does the Holy Spirit’s goal of truth require faith?

Because we have been so invested in the ego thought system, the Holy Spirit’s thought system seems like a fantasy, even unknown. Thus to choose the Holy Spirit’s goal requires faith. That faith comes from the part of our mind that we have denied but that still remembers our true Reality. Thus when we accept the Holy Spirit’s goal for our relationship, it can seem quite unsettling because in our split mind we still see some value in the ego’s goal. And so we may vacillate between giving attention to the ego thought system and focusing on the Holy Spirit’s thought system. When we align ourselves with the ego, it’s difficult to believe that everyone involved in the relationship will play his part in accomplishing its holy goal. Yet the part of our mind that remembers Reality knows that, “No one will fail in anything.” (6:7)

The Holy Spirit knows the truth in our brother. He knows that everyone is Love and nothing else. That is why He knows that everyone will join in the goal of oneness. At this point in our experience we cannot see this. And so we have to accept on faith what the Holy Spirit knows. We need to be vigilant to recognize when the ego is attempting to resolve uncomfortable situations with its fantasies based on separation. The ego’s “solutions” may seem to temporarily offer the illusion of peace. But because they retain the belief in separation, this illusion of peace is not the condition in which truth can enter.

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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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