I give you a new commandment:
you shall love one another
in the way that I have loved you.
Love is the way we remember love. This is the law and the prophets.
These words of Jesus are clearly a call to action. They are a call to a radical way of living in the world, one that is based on forgiveness and sharing and leaving nobody out.
But we have to ask: what is the foundation of that action? What needs to be in place in order for us to love one another as Jesus loves us?
How shall we bring forth this new way of living in love?
We have to know what it means to know the love of Jesus. We cannot love like Jesus if we are not intimately aware of what it means to be loved by Jesus.
So we ask ourselves: Do I know the unconditional whole-hearted love of Jesus?
This is a simple question but it can be hard to answer. Most of us do not live as if we are loved unconditionally by anyone, let alone Jesus. We do not live as if our sole function is to extend love through forgiveness to all our brothers and sisters.
Instead, we live in a state of confusion. Sometimes we are happy but our happiness is fleeting. Sorrow seems always at hand. We fluster easily. We get distracted easily. We are guilty one moment and fearful the next.
It is like we are at the wrong dance hall. Or it’s the right dance hall but we’re dancing with the wrong partner. Or we’re dancing with the right partner but we’ve forgotten the steps to the dance. Or . . .
Suffering, it seems, is the measure of our lives.
Have you ever spent time with a child who knows that their parents love them unconditionally? They are so happy and secure! It is always a joy to be around these little people, because their happiness radiates outward, like sunlight through a prism. It asks nothing of us. It is such a blessing.
In the presence of true love freely extended, we remember that our true nature is loving. We remember that in love our living is made clear and simple and direct. We remember that love is the fundament, the foundation, of being.
But we forget this. Over and over we forget it. Why?
We forget because we focus on the second part of the new commandment given by Jesus. We give attention to how we are trying to love one another. We watch ourselves as from a distance, evaluating and judging. Am I doing it right? Is so-and-so doing it better than me? We fall short and vow to improve. We improve and congratulate ourselves on “our” success.
It becomes a ritual that revolves around our own self. Our brothers and sisters become players in the drama of our personal enlightenment.
That is not love.
What are we to do then?
The suggestions is that we focus on our present-moment experience of being unconditionally loved by Jesus.
It feels selfish to give attention to this seemingly personal experience of being loved by Jesus. It feels arrogant to assume such an important figure would be so devoted to us. Perhaps it feels a little silly. We are sophisticated people, after all. We know that all this talk about God and Jesus and Heaven are just metaphors.
But it’s worth asking: However we frame it, how is our refusal to look at Jesus’ unconditional love for us going? Is it working? Are we happy? Are we making others happy?
We should be honest about answering these questions. If the answer is no, then let’s say it and see what happens next. If we don’t know the love of Jesus or we aren’t sure we know it, then we should say so.
If our own efforts to bring forth love and peace, and our own understanding of those efforts are not making us happy and creative, and are not bringing forth love and peace, then perhaps there is another way.
And perhaps that way has already been given to us.
In you there is no separation, and no substitute can keep you from your brother and sister. Your reality was God’s creation, and has no substitute. You are so firmly joined in truth that only God is there (T-18.I.10:1-3).
A Course in Miracles suggests that if we want to experience the unconditional love of Jesus, then we should give attention to our relationships with one another. Not from a space of judgment or analysis. Not from the distance made by our belief in our specialness.
Rather, we should simply attend who is here with us in the world, and how they are with us, quietly and nondramatically responding to their needs, keeping in mind that of ourselves we do nothing but in God all things are already finished.
A great love – a great peace – is already among us awaiting only our invitation to flood the world with love and light. Our “invitation” is simply to stand aside so as not to impede this grace-filled manifestation. Nothing else is required; nothing else could be required.
To love like Jesus – which is to give all to all, without expectation of return – we must allow ourselves to remember the unconditional love of Jesus which is here for us now. To remember that love is to feel that love which in turn naturally extends that love. There is nothing else to do, and no one else to do it.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for making this so clear to me.