A Course In Miracles - Text
Chapter 20

The Vision of Holiness

20.VII. The Consistency of Means and End

1. 1 We have said much about discrepancies of means and end, and how these must be brought in line before your holy relationship can bring you only joy. 2 But we have also said the means to meet the Holy Spirit’s goal will come from the same Source as does His purpose. 3 Being so simple and direct, this course has nothing in it that is not consistent. 4 The seeming inconsistencies, or parts you find more difficult than others, are merely indications of areas where means and end are still discrepant. 5 And this produces great discomfort. 6 This need not be. 7 This course requires almost nothing of you. 8 It is impossible to imagine one that asks so little, or could offer more.

2. 1 The period of discomfort that follows the sudden change in a relationship from sin to holiness may now be almost over. 2 To the extent you still experience it, you are refusing to leave the means to Him Who changed the purpose. 3 You recognize you want the goal. 4 Are you not also willing to accept the means? 5 If you are not, let us admit that you are inconsistent. 6 A purpose is attained by means, and if you want a purpose you must be willing to want the means as well. 7 How can one be sincere and say, “I want this above all else, and yet I do not want to learn the means to get it?”

3. 1 To obtain the goal the Holy Spirit indeed asks little. 2 He asks no more to give the means as well. 3 The means are second to the goal. 4 And when you hesitate, it is because the purpose frightens you, and not the means. 5 Remember this, for otherwise you will make the error of believing the means are difficult. 6 Yet how can they be difficult if they are merely given you? 7 They guarantee the goal, and they are perfectly in line with it. 8 Before we look at them a little closer, remember that if you think they are impossible, your wanting of the purpose has been shaken. 9 For if a goal is possible to reach, the means to do so must be possible as well.

4. 1 It is impossible to see your brother as sinless and yet to look upon him as a body. 2 Is this not perfectly consistent with the goal of holiness? 3 For holiness is merely the result of letting the effects of sin be lifted, so what was always true is recognized. 4 To see a sinless body is impossible, for holiness is positive and the body is merely neutral. 5 It is not sinful, but neither is it sinless. 6 As nothing, which it is, the body cannot meaningfully be invested with attributes of Christ or of the ego. 7 Either must be an error, for both would place the attributes where they cannot be. 8 And both must be undone for purposes of truth.

5. 1 The body is the means by which the ego tries to make the unholy relationship seem real. 2 The unholy instant is the time of bodies. 3 But the purpose here is sin. 4 It cannot be attained but in illusion, and so the illusion of a brother as a body is quite in keeping with the purpose of unholiness. 5 Because of this consistency, the means remain unquestioned while the end is cherished. 6 Seeing adapts to wish, for sight is always secondary to desire. 7 And if you see the body, you have chosen judgment and not vision. 8 For vision, like relationships, has no order. 9 You either see or not.

6. 1 Who sees a brother’s body has laid a judgment on him, and sees him not. 2 He does not really see him as sinful; he does not see him at all. 3 In the darkness of sin he is invisible. 4 He can but be imagined in the darkness, and it is here that the illusions you hold about him are not held up to his reality. 5 Here are illusions and reality kept separated. 6 Here are illusions never brought to truth, and always hidden from it. 7 And here, in darkness, is your brother’s reality imagined as a body, in unholy relationships with other bodies, serving the cause of sin an instant before he dies.

7. 1 There is indeed a difference between this vain imagining and vision. 2 The difference lies not in them, but in their purpose. 3 Both are but means, each one appropriate to the end for which it is employed. 4 Neither can serve the purpose of the other, for each one is a choice of purpose, employed on its behalf. 5 Either is meaningless without the end for which it was intended, nor is it valued as a separate thing apart from the intention. 6 The means seem real because the goal is valued. 7 And judgment has no value unless the goal is sin.

8. 1 The body cannot be looked upon except through judgment. 2 To see the body is the sign that you lack vision, and have denied the means the Holy Spirit offers you to serve His purpose. 3 How can a holy relationship achieve its purpose through the means of sin? 4 Judgment you taught yourself; vision is learned from Him Who would undo your teaching. 5 His vision cannot see the body because it cannot look on sin. 6 And thus it leads you to reality. 7 Your holy brother, sight of whom is your release, is no illusion. 8 Attempt to see him not in darkness, for your imaginings about him will seem real there. 9 You closed your eyes to shut him out. 10 Such was your purpose, and while this purpose seems to have a meaning, the means for its attainment will be evaluated as worth the seeing, and so you will not see.

9. 1 Your question should not be, “How can I see my brother without the body?” 2 Ask only, “Do I really wish to see him sinless?” 3 And as you ask, forget not that his sinlessness is your escape from fear. 4 Salvation is the Holy Spirit’s goal. 5 The means is vision. 6 For what the seeing look upon is sinless. 7 No one who loves can judge, and what he sees is free of condemnation. 8 And what he sees he did not make, for it was given him to see, as was the vision that made his seeing possible.