The Alchemy of Relationships
In my dictionary, there are two definitions for the word ‘alchemy ‘. The first one is the most familiar i.e. ‘turning base metal into gold ‘. The other is rather appropriate to what happens when love enters relationships i.e. it is defined as ‘a miraculous transformation or the means of achieving it ‘. The return to love is a miraculous transformation and love is the means for achieving it. In my view, A Course in Miracles is the means for achieving a miraculous transformation in our relationships. These relationships include the one we have with our Source (Love), the ones we have with others (br-others) and the relationship we have with the world and all that is in it.
When I was training as a counsellor, my teacher explained to me that all the problems that I would listen to would fall into three categories: Health, wealth/money and relationships. Sure enough, she has been proved correct and that is what I have been involved with helping others and myself with, for over thirty years. My teacher also said that the purpose of the healer, or spiritual counsellor, was to bring about a re-uniting with the Source (Love), because all problems in these three categories stemmed from the lack of recognition of our Oneness with the Universal Mind, that is, the Mind of Love.
Therefore, In discussing the alchemy of relationships the place we must start is with the fundamental relationship upon which all relationships rest. For if we believe we are separate from Love, then guilt and fear will pervade our relationships with others and with the things of the world e.g. food and drink, money, possessions etc. We must start with healing our relationship with the Source of Love and be restored to the awareness of our Oneness with the Source. If we believe we are separate from Love then we will be seeking for it outside of ourselves and this is a thirst that can never be quenched and a hunger that will never be satisfied.
So The alchemy of relationship rests upon two great principles: We recognise that the Source of Love, Life and Light is within our own being and that we love it with all our heart and mind. We recognise others as our Self i.e. that we are all one Creation, created by Love and equal in that Love.
These two principles are, of course, the first two of the Ten Commandments from the Old Testament of the Bible. It is interesting that Jesus refers to just these two when he is asked a question by one of the Pharisees. This is recounted in Matthew 22.36-40: “ ‘Which is the greatest commandment in the law? ‘ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord thy God... and love thy neighbour as thyself. All rules and instructions rest upon these two. ‘“
This is a wonderful answer but how can we transform our relationship with God from fear to Love and also, how can we learn to love our neighbours as ourself? I believe A Course in Miracles is the way to achieve this transformation: it is the alchemist ‘s instruction book. What is so different and wonderful about the Course is that it explains that our minds are simply suffering from illusions i.e. things that we see and believe in that are not true.
The most important example of an illusion, the one from which all others stem, is the belief that we are separate from the Mind of God. Clearly it is impossible to be outside and apart from an infinite Mind and yet we do believe it and see an appearance of being separate minds living in separate bodies.
Lesson 79 of the Workbook introduces us to this very problem when it asks us to state to ourselves: “Let me recognise the problem so it can be solved.” In this lesson it states: “A problem cannot be solved if you do not know what it is. Even if it is really solved already you will still have the problem, because you will not recognise that it has been solved.”
So the problem is separation but there is no separation because the problem has already been solved!
It must follow that our perceptions or beliefs are out of accord with the facts. Therefore, it is our perceptions that need to be changed and nothing else. The means for changing perceptions are miracles. They undo false perception revealing what is the truth. The truth is that we are one with our Source (God) and we are one with each other.
The world that we have been seeing is simply one of ‘make belief ‘ i.e. the result of a denial of truth. The process of undoing our denials of the truth is healing the mind of its false perceptions. This occurs in our relationships with each other as teachers and learners of the truth. We help each other to become free of false perceptions by following the One Teacher who gives us the miracles we need to undo them. The One Teacher is the author of the Course and gives us every instruction and lesson we need to free ourselves.
So the healing of relationships is all the world is for, i.e. to restore the seemingly separated minds to oneness and harmony. Originally, all minds sung from the same ‘hymn sheet ‘ -- all were in perfect harmony with the Mind of God. This is the creation of a Uni-verse -- a single voice communicating by song.
The atonement, which is the answer to the separation belief, undoes the error of the past in the present and thus releases the future from all mistaken perceptions. It is the means to return to Love, the return to a unified mind (Unity). This is explained on page seven of the Text: “Miracles unite you directly with your brother.”
Jesus represents the healed part of the mind (the Holy Mind) and through miracles (his communication into our minds) we become re-connected with His Holy Mind, freeing us from the illusion of separation and, thereby, bringing us into the Atonement. We feel our oneness with him and the love that he is at one with (The Source).
In the sense of Oneness with the Holy Mind, which is miracle mindedness, the miracle goes out to others automatically and we feel a connectedness to others that we have never felt before in this world. “Miracles are genuinely interpersonal and result in true closeness to others.” (Text: p.7) This extending of the miracle, by receiving and giving, is our one true vocation and enables us to feel that our wills are one with God ‘s thus releasing all fear and restoring us to Love. “Through prayer love is received, through miracles love is expressed.” (Principle of Miracles II)
In this way, we are loving God with all our heart and mind and loving our neighbour as ourself.
Having introduced us to miracle working, the Text introduces us to another principle in the alchemy of relationships. On page ten, we are reminded of the ‘Golden Rule ‘: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is originally mentioned in the Bible, in Matthew 7: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them.”
This is a vital teaching for enjoying healthy relationships. However, it must be based upon the correct perception of self and others. Page ten of the Text explains: “You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive so shall you behave” and “You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly.”
Unless we see others and ourselves as innocent, we will not behave appropriately and extend the miracle in all situations. We are advised. “You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others.”
What happens if we do not perceive correctly? We will perceive our own sinfulness and project that onto others, believing we deserve to be punished for our sin. We will act out that punishment in our bodies and in our relationships.
This is referred to briefly on page thirteen when it mentions the reverse of the ‘Golden Rule’. When the rule is reversed due to the false perception of the self as guilty, we have the Old Testament teaching of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ (‘I will behave toward you, as you have behaved toward me.’).
The acting out of punishment for perceived sins that forever extend from the past into the future, leaving no hope for healthy, loving relationships in the moment. We see this acted out on the world stage and in our own personal relationships. This pattern can only be broken by the miracle, in which the vision of Christ reveals the innocence of another and ourself, thus releasing grace into our minds, which we then extend as love into our thoughts and actions in our relationships.
Once the miracle is received and given, a real exchange of mind has taken place and, instead of being ruled by the ego and its law of sin, which imprisons the mind to suffering and misery, the mind chooses to be led by Love. Abundance of love follows and manifests in our health, wealth and relationships. In the Course it states that: “The miracle is a sign that the mind has chosen to be led by me in Christ‘s service.” “The abundance of Christ is the natural result of choosing to follow Him.”
Love transforms everything. With love restored to our minds, we find ourselves in a new world, peopled with forgiving friends and harmonious exchanges in all aspects of our life. Even our sense of humour grows, until that instant when we remember to laugh at the insane thought of separation from our Source, i.e. our momentary lapse in thought that hypnotised us for a moment in time and space, but from which we were awoken, an instant later, by the Voice for Love and His Miracle.
Nick Davis – published in issue 98 of ‘Miracle Worker’