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.
The Introduction to the Text includes the cautionary note that A Course in Miracles does not “aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught” (T-in.1:5).
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.
The introduction goes on to point out (in language that truly does summarize ACIM) 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 merely by intellect alone. As Helen Schucman herself pointed out, the course is meant to be lived. This includes its understanding of Love. Thus, coming to an appreciate of Love as the course frames 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 metaphysical 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 so far in this post – and love with a lower-case “l,” which is the special sort of love that we tend to feel for spouses, close friends, good meals and artists and so forth. Special love is always premised on individual tastes and wants and it always represents the ego’s efforts to get, which is how it sustains itself.
The Love of God – in which one remembers a peace that surpasses understanding – is both for everybody and from everybody. It doesn’t know separation – of self from God or you from me or anthing.
Thus, Love as A Course in Miracles contemplates it, includes a contemplation of unity as the fundament of our shared existence.
It is simple to say “God is Love” or “Love is one.” But to practice that on a daily basis is 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 the call of Love drives both our willingness and desire to continue practicing the course – reading the text, tending to the daily lessons, studying the manual, going to study groups, writing or teaching. It is Love that invites us to remember it, and in remembering it, to extend it.
Love is what we remember, however dimly. Its call has not been totally obliterated. Somewhere in the twisted hatred of ego, a thread of melody – a hint of the great Love that we are in truth – echoes and re-echoes, ever calling us back to Itself.
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