Here is another extract from my just completed book: THE WISE OLD MAN & THE KID, A Guide to Living a Positive Life; as yet not independently proof-read and certainly requiring brutal editing.
Davey is a successful author who is writing his autobiography, not to pump up his ego, but to help readers avoid the mistakes he has made on his life’s journey. Noah is a 15 year old kid, who Davey meets up with on most days, spending their time fishing, with Davey sharing what he’s written about his life’s experiences and what he’s learned from them.
“Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” asked Noah.
“Go right ahead. My life is an open book – warts and all.”
“How come you were married three times? I know lots of people get married more than once, but I thought if you loved someone, you’re supposed to love them forever.”
“Or so those soppy old love songs tell us,” said Davey, softly laughing. “Now you’ve opened up the important, but misunderstood topic of relationships and, in particular, relationships that are regarded as special.”
“Why ‘misunderstood’, and what do you mean by ‘special’?”
According to my spiritual guide, ‘A Course in Miracles’, it’s through our relationships that we’re given the greatest opportunities to change how we look at things, change our false perceptions, and practice true forgiveness. Through forgiveness, we undo the guilt in others and, it follows, in ourselves as well. It is through our relationships we can fast-track awakening from our dream, or nightmare.
The opportunity to forgive applies to all our relationships, however, we learn most quickly in the long-term relationships we regard as special in some way, such as romantic relationships, family relationships, and work relationships. The Course teaches how we can turn our special relationships into holy relationships. It says that special relationships are the single most effective weapon of the ego to keep us locked into false perceptions and guilt. Those same relationships, given over to God, through forgiveness, can become the most effective teaching device to break away from the tyranny of the ego, awaken us and lead us to Heaven. So, we can turn our special, or ego-manipulated, relationships into God-inspired holy relationships.
For most of us, relationships are more of a source of difficulty and pain than they are a source of lasting happiness. We form relationships out of a sense of lack, which is a form of our primal guilt – guilt embedded in all of us because we think we usurped God’s authority by separating from him.
Looking back on my romantic relationships especially, I was certainly driven by a sense of lack I hoped my partners would be able to fill. Things soon came crashing down in these relationships (albeit a little longer for my first two marriages) when I realized my partners were not filling my lack. I didn’t realize it then, but it was my problem, not theirs, and my expectations were never going to be fulfilled by them.
We try to use special relationships as a substitute for the love of God, which we believe we’ve lost when, in our dream, we decided to separate from Him. We seek for love but never find it, looking for love in all the wrong places. We use relationships as a dumping ground for our guilt. We ask another person to make us feel whole and complete, and then blame them for their failure to do it. The people we say we love become the scapegoats we blame for our self-made unhappiness.
A holy relationship, in which we join with another person in order to go to God together, can become the most powerful tool for enlightenment there is. The practice of forgiveness taught by the Course, takes away guilt from and grants peace to our partner and is the way we find our own salvation.
We accept forgiveness in ourselves when we forgive someone else. We then recognize the other person as ourselves, and as a result perceive that we’re not separate, but one.
The Course shows us how to free ourselves from guilt by releasing our relationship partners from their guilt. As we give, we receive. In a holy relationship, two people are healed through healing one another. Relationships provide the ideal practice material for releasing each other from guilt and for transforming our perceptions. The closer a relationship is, the more likely it is to bring up the very thought patterns that need healing.
When we give a relationship to God, through forgiveness, our partner becomes our ‘savior’, that is, the avenue through which our darkest thoughts about ourselves can be healed. We have initially projected those dark thoughts onto our partner, and see the guilt in him. When we decide to forgive that person, he becomes our mirror, showing us the dark thoughts we need to bring into God's light for healing.
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