New and experienced students alike often ask: how does A Course in Miracles define love? The answer is both simple and revealing, and an understanding of it can greatly facilitate our ability to practice and learn from the Course.
In the Introduction to the text, Jesus notes that A Course in Miracles does not “aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught.”
It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite (T-In.1:6-8).
We can say, then, that love cannot be taught – its meaning lies beyond our limited capacity to understand – and it is also all-encompassing. It is everywhere and in all things.
Jesus goes on to point out that:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God (T-in.2:2-4).
Thus, we can say that Love and God are synonymous in the Course, and that a real appreciation of this fact is not something that we can grasp intellectually. It is more a function of willingness and insight than reasoning something out. Love is given to us – it is already here. What A Course in Miracles does is teach us how to get rid of all the psychological and ontological baggage that obstructs our awareness of this simple truth.
The Course also distinguishes between love with a capital “L” – what we have been talking about – and love with a lower-case “l,” which is the special sort of love that we feel for our spouses and close friends and favorite meals and singers and flowers and so forth. Special love is always premised on individual tastes and wants and it always represents the ego’s efforts to get something for itself.
The Love of God – in which a peace that surpasses understanding – can be known is for everybody and from everybody. It doesn’t know separation – of self from God, of brother from sister, or sister from brother.
It is simple to say that God is Love. But to begin to practice that – on a daily basis – is quite challenging. Most of us do not simply snap our fingers and wake up in Heaven. We take one step forward, half a step to the side and then two or three steps backward. Yet it is this knowledge that Love awaits that fuels our willingness and our desire to continue practicing the Course – reading the text, tending to the daily lessons, studying the manual, going to study groups, writing or teaching.
Love is what we remember, however dimly. Somewhere in our insane and twisted egoic minds, a thread of melody – a hint of the great Love that we are in truth – echoes and re-echoes, ever calling us back to its glory.