You know, I say sometimes that A Course in Miracles is deeply personal – that is, it will meet you where you are. If you need Jesus to be a body with whom you can hold hands, you got it. If you need it to be really abstract and symbolic, it will work that way, too. That is a characteristic of all effective scripture – all sacred writing that is not just pretty and inspirational, but relevant and applicable. It has to help in real ways. We need that.
I won’t unsay that – it is true – but I want to add to it. I want to push it a bit further maybe. If the course is personal, Jesus is not. Love is not. It feels that way – probably thers is some value to its feeling that way – but it is not actually that way. Jesus does not love you more than he loves and he does not love me more than he loves the most heinous evil human being you can imagine.
There is nothing special about it. It’s the same for all of us.
Maybe we resist that a little. It’s okay. If we are not resisting at least some of the time, then we probably aren’t really paying attention. We probably aren’t being honest. But I think it is worth stepping back and seeing this a little more clearly. I think it is good to get right with this, to clear some ground and create some peace.
We want the special relationship because it is the cornerstone of separation from God. It is the ultimate statement of lovelessness. If I can be loved more than you, then I have proven that God is capable of degrees of love, which means that hate is possible, and that love can shift and change and be withheld and made conditional. If the special relationship is true, then love is not. It’s that simple.
But if I am not special . . . then I am bereft. Or so it seems, right? When I wrote that previous paragraph, something in me pushed back. It doesn’t want to give specialness up. At some level we believe that if we are not loved the most and the best, then we are not real. It is like on the one hand we are the favored son or daughter and on the other . . . death. No middle ground! And no room for our brothers and sisters.
There is some value – some clarity and peace – that comes from looking at this, that’s all. We don’t have to accept it right away. But if we look at it, the logic of it doesn’t really hold. How could a loving God choose you and not me? Or love you a little more? It doesn’t scan.
There is another step, too. When we accept that Jesus loves unconditionally and without exception, then it’s good to give that loving a shot ourselves. It won’t work – I can tell you from personal experience, it is all but impossible – but it is quite interesting. What if you loved the clerk at the supermarket with the same intensity with which you love your son or daughter? Or loved the neighbor with the same fervor as you love your spouse?
I am not saying the form of the love would be the same – the hugs, the kisses, the helping with homework, whatever – but what if the content was not changed? And what if you extended that love to people you had never met – people around the globe? People who aren’t born yet and people who have long since passed? What then?
It becomes very radical. It becomes transformational at a level we can barely imagine. Yet that is the love contemplated by the course. That is the love to which we are called.
There is perhaps one more point to be made about this love – we have said it is impersonal and that it is radical in its inclusivity. But it is also unchanging. It can’t change from one body to the next. We can’t dial it up in intensity and dial it down later. It is a constant unchanging tenor. If we can accept that, even for just a moment, does it not follow that this love is not in us? I mean in these bodies in this world?
It is hard to conceptualize – and maybe I am wrong altogether – but I want to suggest that we are inside this love. Or that that is a helpful way of thinking of it, at this stage. It is not coming out of us; we are simply becoming aware of our presence in it. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense. But when we think of love it is always attached to specifics – you know, rhubarb pie instead of apple, vanilla ice cream instead of blackberry, tall people instead of short ones, people who like reading more than television and so forth.
But this love – this impersonal, radically inclusive love – is not specific. It has no form. Rather than looking inside – as if we are looking at our heart or in our brain – we might think of it as outside us, or all around us. It is just a metaphor, really, but maybe a helpful one. Love as mind – or the space in which mind is.
It is just a question of seeing how far we can helpfully go before it breaks down and we are just thinking in circles, reinforcing the ego, whatever. This love is great beyond imagination, beyond words certainly, but we have to approach it. It can feel like knocking around in the dark, stumbling for the cushion, but then suddenly you find it and so you can sit and pray.
Often, I have to stay with this simple fact that the love of Jesus is not conditional and not special. The guy driving the truck behind me is loved by Jesus and the guy who is shooting people is loved by Jesus and the guy who devoted his life to feeding the hungry is loved by Jesus. All of them and all the same. And that is just so hard to work with that I have to stay with it. But then once in a while I get it and so I can go a little further – I can open up a bit more and have a more abstract but also a deeper and more helpful experience of that love.
Sooner or later Jesus ends, you know? We get to that place where there is no Jesus and no Buddha and no holy scripture and no methods and it’s just this love. It’s just this energy or openness or whatever you want to call it. We are heading to that – that is where we are going – and from time to time it is good – fun even – to just step out over the line and see what happens. Or see how love happens.