The Holy Spirit as a symbol

A Course in Miracles comes to us in Christian terminology and symbology because that is what most of us in the Western world have been growing up with. Heck, we even number our years according to what we estimate was the birth year of Jesus Christ. Its content, however, is universal, containing elements from both Christianity as well as, for example, Buddhism. In the Course, terms such as “Christ” and “The Holy Spirit” are obviously rooted in Christianity, but they are defined in a markedly different way from how they are presented in the Bible. For one, “Christ” does not exclusively refer to Jesus, but to all seemingly separated life combined; and “the Holy Spirit” is not seen as some divine ghost that comes to bless people, but rather as the Voice for Love that is always available within each and everyone, patiently waiting to be heard and accepted again.

Nevertheless, in A Course in Miracles, the Holy Spirit is often referred to as some entity outside of us, since that is what our deluded, sleepy minds are capable of to understand. In section 7 of part II of the Workbook, just after lesson 280, Jesus specifically addresses the question “What is the Holy Spirit?” (W-pII.7). Some excerpts: “The Holy Spirit mediates between illusions and the truth. Since He must bridge the gap between reality and dreams, perception leads to knowledge through the grace that God has given Him, to be His gift to everyone who turns to Him for truth” (W-pII.7:1); “From knowledge, where He has been placed by God, the Holy Spirit calls to you, to let forgiveness rest upon your dreams, and be restored to sanity and peace of mind. Without forgiveness will your dreams remain to terrify you” (W-pII.7:4).

However, students should never forget that words are “symbols of symbols, and therefore twice removed from reality” (M-21.1:10). In reality, the Holy Spirit is merely the part of our mind that reflects God’s Will, which Jesus assures us is our own will, since it is our deepest desire. After all, “God” in the Course is equated with unconditional Love, and the Sonship (all seemingly separated life combined) as the extension of that unconditional Love. You and I were created — as spirit — by God as the extension of His Love! This is what you and I truly are. Therefore, the Holy Spirit represents all my truly loving thoughts, which I still choose to bury a while because I am still enamoured of the concept of individuality, and therefore afraid to give it up and ‘disappear’ forever into the Oneness of the Love of God.

As a symbool, therefore, we should never forget that the Holy Spirit is not a separate being, but rather a simple (yet all-powerful) reminder of our heritage. Jesus emphasized this quite early in his Textbook (Chapter 5); let’s revisit: “The Voice of the Holy Spirit does not command, because It is incapable of arrogance. It does not demand, because It does not seek control. It does not overcome, because It does not attack. It merely reminds. It is compelling only because of what It reminds you of. It brings to your mind the other way, remaining quiet even in the midst of the turmoil you may make” (T-5.II.7:1-6).

Therefore, do not feel inadequate if you feel you cannot hear, or connect with, this Voice for Love all the time. It’s much better to simply acknowledge the two voices in your mind: the ego on the one hand, and the Voice for Love on the other hand. In each incarnation in the dream world, you and I are simply on a journey to learn to distinguish the two, and to learn to ever more often choose the Voice that we really want, because this guide will lead us back Home to the Love of God, instead of the pain and loss that the ego always leads to, brief pleasures notwithstanding. What else is new? Remind yourself often today to love yourself unconditionally; accept that you are where you are on the spiritual ladder, and be glad that the Holy Spirit is always available to ‘choose once again’: “Do not refuse to hear the Call for Love. Do not deny to Christ what is His Own. Heaven is here and Heaven is your home.… [….] Remember this: whatever you may think about yourself, whatever you may think about the world, your Father needs you and will call to you until you come to Him in peace at last” (S-3.IV.8:5-9; 10:7).

— Jan-Willem van Aalst, October 2022


3 thoughts on “The Holy Spirit as a symbol

    1. Well, this question presupposes that the Holy Spirit is some entity on its own, with His own agenda and actions. The point of this blog post is that the term “Holy Spirit” is a symbol for our collective right-minded way of thinking, or the memory of God, who is but Love. Remember, God created but one Son, which is all seemingly separated life combined. Even though the Son believes he is dreaming of separation in a zillion fragmented parts with separated minds, the mind of the Sonship is still one. So the answer to your question is: whenever you choose wrong-minded thinking, you use time to breed further separation, leading to more pain, misery and decay; whenever you choose right-minded thinking, you use time to invite all life to choose God/Love again, and this automatically steers the “loving outcome” of events, circumstances and meetings. Whenever you feel guided to do anything, it’s always either one of two guides: wrong-minded thinking (ego, separation) or right-minded thinking (Holy Spirit, Love). In both cases you are the seemingly sleeping Son of God, since that’s all there is. Our daily task, therefore, is to learn to diligently scan all thoughts for the guide you choose for your thinking. If you feel guided by Love, it’s fine to see that as the Holy Spirit — but it’s still you as the Son of God.


      1. Tertia Lotz

        Thank you very much for making this so clear and confirming what has been my experience: ego out of the way, love automatically flows through me, and whatever form that takes I can trust to be most helpful all round.
        Thing is for some time I had occasionally been listening to the wrong mind telling me I was lacking something, lol, because many people online seemed to be hearing a voice very specifically telling them what to do.
        Truth is I actually don’t mind not hearing a voice, apart from the fact that this could easily turn into another ego trip, the miraculous flowing of Love is all I need and live for. There is nothing but Everything calling us Home.

        Liked by 1 person

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