One of the implications of the idea of separation is the illusion of a split mind. We believe, imagine, dream that there is a part of our mind that is separate from God. This part is the ego, and as we live in this imagined world, we listen to the ego as we make our day-to-day decisions. We believe the ego has our best interest at heart, and we believe that without the ego, we would not be able to survive in this world.
If the ego is the part of the split mind that focuses on the separation, there must be another part that can’t see the separation, that sees only our Oneness within the Mind of God. That part is called the Holy Spirit in the Course. It is essential if we want to see beyond the ego’s world that we find this part of our mind, this Holy Spirit. For it is with its help that we can begin the practice of forgiveness and find our way Home.
So how do we find this Holy Spirit within? Where has it been hiding all these years? Why doesn’t it just speak up so we can hear it?
What Is the Holy Spirit?
In simplest terms, the Holy Spirit is the connection between the separated world we believe in and the Home within the Mind of God our True Self has never left. Since we believe so thoroughly in all the illusions the ego has presented to us, we need help in finding our way to forgiveness. The Holy Spirit offers that help. The Course refers to the Holy Spirit as the Communication Link between the illusory world of the ego and the real world of God.
Being the Communication Link between God and [the separated self], the Holy Spirit interprets everything you have made in the light of what He is. The ego separates through the body. The Holy Spirit reaches through it to others. (T-8.VII.2)
The Holy Spirit is your Guide in choosing. He is in the part of your mind that always speaks for the right choice, because He speaks for God. He is your remaining communication with God, which you can interrupt but cannot destroy. (T-5.II.8)
This place within the mind is always available to us. We spend our days listening to the ego telling us what to do in life. We look to the outside world for fulfillment and to outside relationships for emotional happiness. The ego tells us that is where our fulfillment lies. But the ego is telling us a tall tale, a great myth that we have been too willing to believe in.
The Holy Spirit, like the ego, is a decision. Together they constitute all the alternatives the mind can accept and obey. The Holy Spirit and the ego are the only choices open to you. God created one, and so you cannot eradicate it. You made the other, and so you can. Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable. (T-5.V.6)
The Holy Spirit asks only your small willingness, a simple intent to find another way. We are all weary in this world because we have listened to the ego for too long. Out of this weariness, we must search for new direction, the direction back to our Home in God. The Holy Spirit is your path to that Home.
The Holy Spirit cannot ask more than you are willing to do. The strength to do comes from your undivided decision. There is no strain in doing God's Will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own. (T-2.VI.6)
Offer the Holy Spirit only your willingness to remember, for He retains the knowledge of God and of yourself for you, waiting for your acceptance. (T-10.II.2)
This willingness will bring you the peace you desire. Finding the Holy Spirit is not about searching, but about intending. When you make that clear intention, you must find what has always been waiting within your mind. God intended you to find this path back Home, and He has only waited for our intention to match his.
God can communicate only to the Holy Spirit in your mind, because only He shares the knowledge of what you are with God… Everything else that you have placed within your mind cannot exist, for what is not in communication with the Mind of God has never been. Communication with God is life. Nothing without it is at all. (T-14.IV.10)
As we learn to forgive and put that forgiveness into practice, we will on a daily basis be strengthening our connection to the Holy Spirit. We will more and more begin to follow the Will of the Holy Spirit, which is ultimately the Will of God. We will make decisions with the help of the Holy Spirit and no longer feel we are completely on our own. We will begin to weaken the ego’s hold on us.
There is another advantage, and a very important one, in referring decisions to the Holy Spirit with increasing frequency. Perhaps you have not thought of this aspect, but its centrality is obvious. To follow the Holy Spirit's guidance is to let yourself be absolved of guilt. (M-29.3)
When we are no longer alone in our decisions, no longer alone in how we relate to those around us, and at peace with our place in the world, the guilt we have felt in this life will melt away. Without guilt, the ego has no power. Without guilt, we are at last on our way Home.
A Simple Meditative Technique
One way to get more in touch with the Holy Spirit is through a peaceful meditation. There are many different ways to envision the Holy Spirit within, but we will explore a simple visual meditation as one means for contact. Though it may seem like you are just using your imagination in this exercise, it is important to remember the Holy Spirit is very real, more real than anything in your life.
Begin by sitting in a quiet place free of distractions. Get comfortable, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. At this stage the only thing you need to do is to relax as much as possible. The relaxation allows your mind to begin to free itself from the ego’s influence. Start with your feet and toes and work your way up the body relaxing each part until you reach the top of your head. Continue to breathe easily.
Now imagine that your mind is a large space above and including your head. Within this space thoughts are flying around in all directions. The space is huge, extending in all directions and without boundaries. Take a few moments to just feel this space, this mind that is your current experience. Observe all the thoughts without fixating on anything. Just be aware of the motion.
Next imagine all the thoughts from the left side of your mind begin to migrate over to the right side. Slowly but steadily these busy thoughts, like bees buzzing around, move over to the right side of your mind. As this occurs, the right side becomes a hive of activity, thoughts of everything physical and emotional flying around. This wild motion is what your everyday thinking is like.
Over on the left side, as the thoughts migrate away, there is a peaceful emptiness remaining. There may be a few stray thoughts around, but the peace is clearly there. Imagine a soft, comforting light filling that empty space. Now imagine that the center of who you are moves over into that peace, taking up residence within that light and peace.
That peace is the Holy Spirit, your connection to God. Experiencing this place puts you in touch with the memory of your True Home. Once you find this place, you will have a new home you can go to whenever you need to get away from the crazy ego world of pain and guilt and fear. Simply feel this place for as long as you like.
Practice this meditation regularly and then when you practice forgiveness, you will be more able to find the Holy Spirit, whether as this peaceful place or more as a spiritual personality you can talk to. The Holy Spirit knows the non-loving thoughts you are forgiving are all illusions, and these illusions will disappear as you remember where you came from.
Using the Workbook and the Manual for Teachers
The Workbook of the Course provides you with 365 daily lessons that guide you gently through the process of changing your perception. Along the way you will be encouraged to get in touch with the Holy Spirit, and to turn more of your everyday decisions over to the Holy Spirit, who always has your best interest in mind. This, combined with practicing forgiveness in your life, will bring you greater peace, and you will be on the road Home.
Forgive, and you will see this differently. These are the words the Holy Spirit speaks in all your tribulations, all your pain, all suffering regardless of its form. These are the words with which temptation ends, and guilt, abandoned, is revered no more. These are the words which end the dream of sin, and rid the mind of fear. These are the words by which salvation comes to all the world. (W-193.5)
And from the Manual, comes this.
To ask the Holy Spirit to decide for you is simply to accept your true inheritance… If you have made it a habit to ask for help when and where you can, you can be confident that wisdom will be given you when you need it. Prepare for this each morning, remember God when you can throughout the day, ask the Holy Spirit's help when it is feasible to do so, and thank Him for His guidance at night. And your confidence will be well founded indeed. (M-29.5)
The Course never wavers on this point – the Holy Spirit resides in every separated mind, and we all have the ability to touch that Spirit, and through this contact, to radically change how we see, feel, and think about everything in this world. Finding the Holy Spirit is the most inevitable thing in your life. It is only up to you to decide to start looking.