There's an interesting fact about that phrase, though. I believe it is true because I've seen it documented in several places. Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence did not write "self-evident." What Thomas Jefferson actually wrote was "sacred and undeniable." Thomas Jefferson wrote, "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable." However Benjamin Franklin objected to that phrase. Apparently he thought it was too religious sounding, and he wanted something a little more secular. Benjamin Franklin suggested "self-evident." So before we credit "self-evident' to Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence over a period of two weeks, let's remember that "self-evident" actually came from Benjamin Franklin. Just a little fact.
So, how are we doing in this country with these self-evident, unalienable rights? Life? Not particularly good. (laughter) We still have the death penalty legal in the United States. A number of states don't have the death penalty, but the death penalty is still legal in the U.S.A. There hasn't been any successful constitutional challenge. There is something in our Constitution against cruel and unusual punishment. The 8th amendment to the Constitution states, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." I guess, somehow, the death penalty isn't considered cruel or unusual punishment. At least it hasn't been considered as that yet by the United States Supreme Court. Maybe one of these days it will be.
In other words, reason also means sanity, and I think that's how A Course In Miracles generally uses the word. When ACIM talks about reason, it's really talking about sanity. It's not necessarily talking about logic. Actually ACIM tells us that insanity can be quite logical. You can, quite logically, have a whole train of thought – thoughts that form naturally one after another – that make sense to be put together, but if it's based on an insane premise, it's insane logic. But it's logical. We get deluded by logic. We see a logical argument, so we think it must be reasonable. But it's not necessarily so. I think this is a very important thing for ACIM students to understand, logic isn't necessarily reasonable. Just because something is logical, doesn't make it true. If it's based on an insane premise it is not true. It's thoughts may follow one after another in a logical progression, but that doesn't mean anything.
A Course In Miracles talks about reason a lot. It's all over the Course. I'm going to give you a couple of quotations. It says, "The introduction of reason into the ego's thought system is the beginning of its undoing. For reason and the ego are contradictory." (OrEd.Tx.22.29) When we introduce sanity to the ego's thought system, it undoes the ego. Here's another one, "You are your brother's savior. He is yours. Reason speaks happily indeed of this." (OrEd.Tx.21.67) We are all saviors to each other. You're my savior; I'm your savior. We're all each other's savior, because we're all one and joined. And reason/sanity will always tell us this.
For me the Course was a practical way of living through the negative emotions we have: anger, non-forgiveness, sometimes there's hatred, or sometimes there's resentment. Sometimes there is a feeling that we're entitled, and other people are not doing their obligation to meet our sense of entitlement. Things like these would come up when I read the Course. Sometimes I'll spend hours on just one paragraph, because I have to make sense of it. And not only that, what I would do is I would try and sense if I was aligned with what the Course was saying. Many times if we only read the Course quickly, we just gloss over it. We get to the end of a line, and then the next line, and the next paragraph, and the next chapter, and so on, and we give ourselves a pat on the back for having finished the Course. We haven't finished the Course unless we have really gotten at least one paragraph or one sentence completely, entirely. We must look at the one paragraph and say, "Okay, I'm in alignment with it." When we are in alignment with what the Course says, then I think we have really begun our journey.
I think Tony mentioned that we will never be at the end of our journey while here. Once we feel we have come to a sense of peace, there's still work to do. There's an alchemy that has to happen. So if you think that some part of your journey has completed, you are not at the end yet. Peter was saying earlier today that you are in a better place than you were before. I feel that way. I feel I am at a place of greater peace of mind than before.
However, A Course in Miracles tells us, "No, that is not true." ACIM teaches us that the Holy Spirit's temple is not our body but our relationships. "The Holy Spirit's temple is not a body, but a relationship." (OrEd.Tx.20.49) That seems a little bit abstract. I mean, how is a relationship the temple, the house, the worship place of the Holy Spirit?
It seems a little unusual, but it is the teaching of A Course in Miracles not to think of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, but relationships are the worship place. Our relationships are the place where we go and make devotions. They're the place where we do our spiritual work, it is in our relationships.This idea is peppered all throughout ACIM. It's not an unusual Course idea, especially in the Text. It's all over.
Here it says, "Your way will be different, not in purpose but in means." in other words, the techniques that you use. "A holy relationship is a means of saving time." (OrEd.Tx.18.67) A Course In Miracles is telling us right here that relationships are the Course's means and this statement actually came after a short dissertation about meditation, and how meditation is not a primary focus of ACIM. It's saying that there are other means, but our means are not necessarily the same means as other spiritual paths. The means this course truly employs is relationships. That's how we save time. That's how we heal. A holy relationship is a temple of healing. That's the title of my talk today, "A Temple of Healing."