Excerpted from Vol. I of The Message of A Course in Miracles
entitled All Are Called, pp. 32-36
(concerning the "Holy Spirit" and the Course's use of language)

By Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.

Reproduced here with the permission of the author and 
the Foundation for A Course in Miracles
which holds copyright to the work, © 1997

A Course in Miracles tells us that in the instant that the thought of separation entered into the mind of God's Son, giving birth to the ego and causing the Son to forget the Mind he split off from, in that same instant God gave an Answer, the Holy Spirit. As Jesus metaphorically states of our Creator: "He thought, 'My children sleep and must be awakened"' (T-6.V.1:8). Thus, if the sleep or dream of separation is seen as the ego's answer to creation -- the state of being awake in God -- then God's Answer to the ego was the creation of the Holy Spirit (T-17.IV.4:1). We shall return to this sequence in the next chapter.

Since the separation took place in the mind -- the source and home of the dream -- God "placed" His Answer where it was needed: in the mind as well. The core of the ego's thought is that it has separated itself from God, and so the creation of the Holy Spirit undoes this error by restoring to our minds the link to our Source. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is defined in A Course in Miracles as "the Communication Link between God ... and His separated Sons" (T-6.I.19:1). Through Him we remain connected with our Creator, thus undoing the ego's fundamental premise that we have ruptured this connection. This correction -- namely, the separation from God never truly occurred -- is what the Course refers to as the principle of the Atonement, as is seen in this summarizing passage about the creation of the Holy Spirit, made up of different statements from the text:

[The Holy Spirit] came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time.... The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind.... He is the Call to return with which God blessed the minds of His separated Sons .... The Holy Spirit is God's Answer to the separation; the means by which the Atonement heals until the whole mind returns to creating.

The principle of Atonement and the separation began at the same time. When the ego was made, God placed in the mind the Call to joy.... [This] is given you by God, Who asks you only to listen to it (T-5.I.5:2,4; T-5.II.2:2,5-3:2,6)

On a more sophisticated level, however, and one consistent with the inherent non-dualistic thought system of A Course in Miracles, we can better understand the Holy Spirit to be the memory of God's perfect Love that "came" with the Son when he fell asleep. In this sense then the Holy Spirit is not really a Person Who was specifically and intentionally created by God, but an ongoing Presence that lies within each seemingly fragmented mind; a distant memory of our Source that continually "calls" out to us like a forgotten song, still present beyond all of the ego's attempts to drown it out through its "raucous screams and shrieks" (T-21.V.1:6; W-pI.49.4:3), seeking to have it remain forever unknown to us:
... an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered. Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember, from just this little part, how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you.

The notes are ... a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you (T-21.I.6:1-7:2).

The Holy Spirit's "Voice" is this song, although the Holy Spirit is abstract and formless, non-specific and undifferentiated. Therefore "He" does not and cannot "say" (or "sing") anything: "This form [as God's Voice] is not His reality, which God alone knows... " (C-6.1:5). Thus we can say that the Holy Spirit's song has but one note, as did the protagonist of "Johnny One Note," a jazz song popular in an earlier generation.

The Holy Spirit's function as a memory that links us back to God is similar to the role that our everyday memories hold for us throughout our individual lives, connecting us to events or relationships that are no longer physically here. Thus, when loved ones die, their presence is continually invoked by us in our present lives through our memories of the past. That is why we find them comforting: through these thoughts, it is as if the loved one had not left but were still with us. And so with the Holy Spirit, whose loving Presence reminds us that God is still one with us, and nothing really happened to sever the relationship.

However, all this being said, within the dream of separation the Holy Spirit's perfect Love assumes the form that is needed, taking on the words that the ego's questions demand:

[The Holy Spirit] seems to be a Voice, for in that form He speaks God's Word to you. He seems to be a Guide through a far country, for you need that form of help. He seems to be whatever meets the needs you think you have (C-6.4:5-7).
Therefore, we can understand that the classroom in which the Holy Spirit's Presence is experienced is the ego's thoughts of fear. But now, guided by a new Teacher, these same thoughts fulfill the purpose of love. And then, as A Course in Miracles explains, when all these thoughts are gone,
and no trace remains of dreams of spite in which you dance to death's thin melody.... the Voice is gone, no longer to take form but to return to the eternal formlessness of God (C-6.5:6,8).
This is also why Jesus says of his Course that it
remains within the ego framework, where it is needed. ... Therefore it uses words, which are symbolic, and cannot express what lies beyond symbols (C-in.3:1,3).
The sophisticated understanding of the Holy Spirit that I am advancing here helps resolve a problem that has plagued many a thoughtful student of A Course in Miracles: How could God have given an Answer to a problem that the Course states clearly does not exist, and that God does not even know about?
Spirit in its knowledge is unaware of the ego. It does not attack it; it merely cannot conceive of it at all (T-4.II.8:6-7).
Moreover, speaking earlier of spirit and the ego, Jesus states:
Nothing can reach spirit from the ego, and nothing can reach the ego from spirit....They are fundamentally irreconcilable, because spirit cannot perceive and the ego cannot know. They are therefore not in communication and can never be in communication (T-4.I.2:6,11-12).
And yet A Course in Miracles says elsewhere of God: "There was a need He did not understand, to which He gave an Answer" (W-pI.166.10:5). Once again, we can see Jesus using language metaphorically, words that are not to be taken as literal truth. This is why we can speak of the Course's mythology, however psychologically sophisticated its form. God does not think (at least what we call thinking), weep, nor give answers, any more than He makes things happen in the world, heal physical illness, or end human suffering. These are all metaphoric expressions that Jesus (himself a symbol) uses in A Course in Miracles to express the Love of God that cannot be expressed except through such literary and quite obviously anthropomorphic devices. As he says to us: "You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize" (T-18.VIII.1:7). This crucial issue is discussed at great length in this book's sequel Few Choose to Listen, and so further discussion will be left until then.

In summary therefore, God, strictly speaking, does not truly "give" an Answer -- the Holy Spirit -- to the birth of the thought of separation; rather, His "Answer" is simply His own unchanging and eternal Love that forever shines as a memory in our split minds, as does a lighthouse's beacon shine its light into the darkness of the sea. Thus, in the most literal sense of that term, God's Love does nothing. It simply is: an ongoing state or presence in our dream which we call the Holy Spirit. This is a state of absolute passivity in the positive sense of His not doing anything, since again, there is nothing to be done. We shall return in Chapters Five and Seven to the Holy Spirit and to A Course in Miracles' principle of salvation.


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