How Does A Course in Miracles Define Love?

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.

4 thoughts on “How Does A Course in Miracles Define Love?”

  1. The book seems to entertain the subconscious! What else did Jesus right? Did he write the workbook.?

    1. Hi Tim,

      Thank you for sharing. I haven’t read this old post in many years; I appreciate you bringing it back to my attention.

      I do not assert – not in 2013 when I wrote this post, nor now – that Jesus “wrote” A Course in Miracles. Helen Schucman wrote it, projecting responsibility for the text onto her personal projection of Jesus. It is still possible for course students to have a meaningful (i.e., helpful) relationship with the material.

      “Jesus” is the narrator, however, and so I refer to him as such. In doing so – at least in 2013 – I was tracking the writing of my two main teachers of the course, Tara Singh and Ken Wapnick. However, I don’t find that mode of reference helpful anymore as it leads to confusion and argument. 🙂

      I’m not sure what you mean by “subconscious.” The distinction the course draws tends to be more along the lines of intellectual/spiritual rather than conscious/subconscious. If you’d like to clarify your point, feel free.

      Thanks again for reading and sharing.

      ~ Sean

  2. I consider Helen the Scribe, not the Author. So, Jesus did “write” the Course. Technicalities, perhaps, but it is an important distinction. Helen was the conduit through which Jesus “talked”. 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing Amy!

      In a sense, all that matters is that we find an interpretation of the course that allows us to forgive our and everyone else’s guilt. If it helps to think of Jesus as the author and Helen as the scribe, then great! And if somebody needs to adopt a different origin story for the material, that’s great too!

      But it doesn’t feel that way, does it? It feels like we have to take a stand. In fact, it feels like the stance is sort of already taken and we are just aligning ourselves with it. That’s why we always feel “right” and, beyond that, “righteous.” That’s why I have to write a post in which I say – none too subtly but politely – that Helen, not Jesus, is the author. And you have to write a comment saying – politely! – that actually Jesus is the author and Helen the scribe.

      I think that’s okay! But it’s also helpful to own the fear, which is to say, to see clearly the way we are making an assertion in which one of our brothers or sisters has to be wrong (or confused or misguided, or . . . ). Why would we do that if we did not secretly fear that we are wrong, confused, misguided, et cetera?

      In the end, the distinction – between who wrote the course, between who is right about who wrote the course, between a part and apart – dissolves. But its dissolution seems to require that we give attention to what appears to sustain it in its fragmented state.

      There is no Helen and there is no Jesus – much less a Sean or an Amy – and yet here we are, rubbernecking at the very site of the separation, each missing the one who could heal the whole damn mess in an instant.

      Thank you again for sharing!


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