"Relationships are served not by self-sacrifice, but by spiritual Self-interest"

The idea of sacrificing oneself or one's values for the good of others has been aggressively promoted under the name "altruism." But in reality, altruism is impossible and makes no logical sense whatsoever because we are all one ... all in this together. What is truly good for one is good for all. What is truly good for all is good for one.

If we tried to sacrifice ourselves or our true interests, everyone would suffer the effects. For a deeper and more complete understanding of the insanity of the idea of altruism, click here: Just say "No!" to altruism

Another alternative which does not serve relationships is pursuing one's ego-vested interests (or the ego-vested interests of any number of people such as in a democracy). As this course repeatedly points out, the ego's ultimate interests are pain, sickness, suffering, and death.

That leaves the final alternative: non-ego (spiritual, enlightened) self-interest.

People who are experiencing an expanding awareness of their spirit (meaning less and less reliance on intellectualizing) would say one's real or spiritual Self (with a capital "S") is already enlightened and has an interest in mind that is not related to the ego-vested interests of one's earthly persona.

Those who still feel heavily drawn to intellectualizing might use the term "rational self-interest" and might say something like: "I'm not as sure about being in-touch with my spirit ... but I definitely want to stay rigidly loyal to science and reason."

These are differences in approaches to viewing, but no difference in the object being viewed. Whether one considers oneself to be "spiritual" or "rational" or somewhere in between, the recognition that one's own non-ego self-interest is indeed also everyone else's best interest (the highest good for everyone) is of key importance.

Using the magnifying power of a fictional story to clearly define and highlight the end result of enlightened people acting in their own self-interest vs. the end result of unenlightened people acting on altruistic or ego interests, Ayn Rand in her novel "Atlas Shrugged" illustrates the issue with uncanny clarity.

Since this lesson is taught almost nowhere else in our culture, Ayn Rand significantly serves mankind, as much as any great inventor or innovator. Her work offers a fundamental breakthrough in learning possibilities. Since thorough understanding of this issue is so crucial to the joyous success of our relationships, as well as to the creation of world peace, reading "Atlas Shrugged" is an assignment of this relationships course.

As you read "Atlas Shrugged" keep in mind the three alternatives mentioned above ... self-sacrifice, pursuing ego-vested interests, or acting in enlightened or spiritual self-interest ... and ask yourself which of the characters in the story promote self-sacrifice and living for others, who in the story is unconsciously pursuing his or her destructive ego-vested interests, and who is in reality being guided by his or her spirit of the joyous fullness of life.

Also as you read "Atlas Shrugged" stay bright and happy even though the world you will be reading about in the story is becoming a progressively darker and more unhappy place, eerily reminiscent of the world we see in the news media. Your job is to keep in mind that you are reading fiction. In fact, if some events in modern life seem very close in principle to events in the novel, you can stay in a happy spiritual frame of mind by asking yourself with a laugh: "What if everything the way I see things is fiction anyway?"

Finally, to train your mind to right thinking and right seeing you can say to yourself many times a day until it becomes second nature:

"I love my life and do not sacrifice myself to others ... or to my ego. My spiritual Self-interest is my guide."

Also available free of charge online:
Course in Political Miracles

"There is nothing which cannot be forgiven!"

Holding grievances certainly has to be the most pain-producing, health-destroying, relationship-dissolving practice humans have invented. Innumerable wars, murders, destructive vendettas, courtroom fights, and relationship breakdowns have resulted from holding grievances.

Lives are ruined by holding grievances.

When grievances are held in mind, no one gains. Even if the person holding a grievance manages to feel temporary satisfaction when a comeuppance takes place, the damage from holding the grievance far outweighs the temporary satisfaction.

Grievances are killers.

Letting go of grievances is potentially the most natural mind action possible. We are born without grievances. We die without grievances. We become enlightened without grievances. Being free of grievances is totally natural.

Yet as natural as it may be to hold no grievances, it may not be easy to let go of a particular grievance in an emotionally charged situation. Letting go may take a very firm decision. Nonetheless since being without grievances is my natural state, when I do decide to let go of a grievance I have all the strength in the universe working to that end.

A powerful key for my success in relationship is the firm decision to let go of any and all grievances quickly ... as quickly as I might notice them in my mind. This is known as "forgiveness," and there is nothing impossible to forgive because letting go is merely a choice.

Sensing the peace that forgiveness would bring, I now commit to training my mind to let go of any and all grievances.

Each day I will devote a meditation period to scanning my mind for grievances. The first one or two I notice may not require much searching because any powerfully present grievances will rise automatically out my subconscious mind.

With each grievance that comes to mind I will decree the following statement as many times as it takes or as long as it takes for the grievance to substantially weaken or disappear:

"Holding this grievance is not my natural state. There is nothing that cannot be forgiven, so this too I release."

The idea is to say this aloud over and over until I feel forgiveness happening. The sound vibration created by the "chanting" cleans out negative energy and I then more easily get in-touch with my spirit deep inside which releases and forgives automatically.

Each day I take a few minutes each hour to monitor my progress. Did I release any grievances during the day? If so, how did it feel to release?

People who have had near-death experiences almost always report something like: "When I knew I was dying, all the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. Nothing on earth mattered any longer. Absolutely total forgiveness was automatic."

What if I could train my ego, the part of me which likes to hold grievances, to "die" every moment in the sense of "expand into light" every moment? What if I could make that choice?

Before sleeping each day I remind myself how forgiveness benefits all my relationships by saying:

"My relationships are becoming peaceful and joyous, because there is nothing which cannot be forgiven."

Also available free of charge online:
Course in Political Miracles