I think this is the last in a series of posts on this little book. Previous posts here and here. Many thanks to those of you who read and shared and also who prompted me to come back to it. And always, love and gratitude to Tara Singh 🙏🙏.
In “What is Relationship” in Love Holds No Grievances Tara Singh talks about resigning from relationship in the sense of no longer taking a stand towards it, choosing this side or the other, preferring this side or the other. It’s not the end of the relationship but a transformation.
It is – in practice and applicaton – a way of discerning between special relationships and holy relationship. In truth, there is only relationship and when it is seen as such, then what formerly appeared as separate relationships, each to be judged on its own merits, dissolves. Seeing the one relationship – even if we are confused by it, even if we are resistant to it – allows us to rest in holiness, and holiness extends its blessing eternally, excepting nothing.
We become students of the Teacher who knows. Learning stops being personal. It is challenging but also exciting, like the last leg of a journey you have been on for a long time.
One has to be very careful. Unless one resigns one would create the friction. One would create unhappiness in oneself. You cannot take sides. You have to take the situation as it is (Singh 47).
The practice is to notice when we are taking sides in or for a relationship, any relationship. The practice is to notice when we prefer this relationship to that one, or this mode of relating to that mode.
If we do this, then we will see that this taking sides thing is hard to notice. It seems to naturally avoid being the subject of our attention. Or else we will see that taking sides is happening all the time. Just walking down the street through a crowd – this person is beautiful, this person is wearing pricey clothes, this person is old, this person looks unhappy so don’t meet their eyes, this person is a little scary so give them a wide berth . . .
We might also notice how we are conditioned to respond to various cultural signals – like if someone wears a MAGA hat or a pin that says “Eat the Rich” or drives a Corvette or uses a walker. We react differently and the reaction is there before we notice.
There is a reason you are married to who you are married to, are divorced from whom you are divorced from, are friends with whom you are friends with, are estranged from whom you are estranged from, fantasize about whom you fantasize about. You think it’s choice or decision but there is no choice anywhere in the system.
So Tara Singh’s suggestion is, resign from all that and from whatever rationalizations seem to justify it. See the programming and conditioning that underlie the rationalizing and become intentional about no longer submitting to it. See what is happening and then don’t get involved. Observe.
That’s easy enough to say, of course. How does it play out in practice?
When I see I am doing it – preferring, investing, attaching in relationship – when I see how deep it runs – and when I become willing to consider that Tara Singh is on to something and maybe I want to follow his suggestion – then I realize just how hard it is to actually stop. I realize that judgment, evaluation and preference run of their own accord; it has nothing to do with me. In truth I can’t stop it, any more than I can stop my hair from growing, or turn a birch tree into a maple tree, or discuss Emily Dickinson poems with a great white shark.
So really, it becomes a question of what am I doing with attention. To what is attention being given? We don’t have to change the programming and the conditioning and the thinking – we have to relate to it differently. To what are you giving attention? If you are giving attention to the forces that bring about conflict, then you will know conflict. You might call it peace or nonviolence or oneness or whatever, but the words you use don’t change the thing. You can call a great white shark a fleck of lint but it’s still a great white shark.
A Course in Miracles comes along and says, there is another way of relating – and it begins with not giving attention to the forces that drive conflict.
We must open all doors and let the light come streaming through. There are no hidden chambers in God’s temple. Its gates are open wide to greet his Children (T-14.VI.8:5-7).
When we hold a preference in relationship, we are giving attention to the forces of conflict because we are accepting division. We are embracing division. We are opening the doors for some people and not for others and thus denying the reality of God’s temple, which is our shared being. This person is beautiful and kind, this other person not so much, so I’m going to enter into relationship with the first one. The Course says, there is another way.
Most of us say, okay, well I won’t do that anymore then. I’ll give attention to other forces. The forces of love or Christ or the angels in Heaven. I’ll read the Course, I’ll go to church, I’ll only sleep with vegetarians and yogis. But it’s the same problem, right? It’s just another preference. Going from one side to another is still taking sides!
Holiness does not decide, because holiness perceives what love knows – there is no distinction or difference anywhere in the system. There is nothing to decide. You couldn’t choose if you wanted to.
Love is incapable of any exceptions. Only if there is fear does the idea of exceptions seems to be meaningful (T-7.V.5:7-8).
And yet we keep slipping back into the belief of, I can solve this problem, I can make the right choice, I can arrange all this in a way that works, et cetera.
That’s the separation. That is fear running the show. That’s you and me buying the lies that ego endlessly peddles. That’s the lullabye that rocks us deep into the sleep of forgetfulness.
When Tara Singh is inviting us to resign from relationship, it is really simply an invitation to give attention in a new way.
If we can recognize how separation-induced thinking happens without our noticing, appearing to us as if it were the way, the truth and the life – if we can see how we get pulled into it, like wading in to a river and being sucked into the currents and dragged away – then we can begin to heal. We are not host to the ego but rather fellow travelers with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Seeing clearly is healing.
. . . when the recognition dawns clearly, you will not be deceived by any form the ego takes to protect itself from your sight. Each form will be recognized as but a cover for the one idea that hides beind them all – that love demands sacrifice, and is therefore inseparable from attack and fear. And that guilt is the price of love, which must be paid by fear (T-15.X.6:6-8).
On this view, healing is realizing that we are trapped. We are stuck. We can say with integrity, I don’t know how to give attention. I don’t know what it means to not be focused on this or that. I don’t how to stop judging. I don’t know how to live in holiness rather than specialness.
We can say with integrity: I don’t know how to resign from relationship. I’m not sure I want to.
It’s hard to say that because nobody likes admitting they don’t know, nobody likes hitting the wall or reaching a dead end, but in another sense, it’s very liberating to realize the futility of our so-called knowing. It opens up a space in which something new can be born. You can remember your own self. You can begin to sense the power of God’s Love. You can begin to remember your place in Creation.
Tara Singh makes a good point – we don’t have to forgive, say, deer or whales or falling leaves, but we do have to forgive people.
Deer don’t mess with our peace by arguing with us; whales don’t confuse us by behaving dysfunctionally. We don’t get angry at the falling leaves while walking in the forest. But other people . . . Certain politicians, historical figures, artists, influencers, whatever. Neighbors, family members, co-workers. They’re doing something wrong or right, they’re symbolic of a good or a bad system, they’re saints or sinners. They need therapy, they need the Course, they need meds.
It’s not a crime to think this way; thinking that way just happens. The question is, is there another way?
Bill Thetford cried out for another way, Helen Schucman agreed to help him find it, and A Course in Miracles was born. What happens when you cry out? Who is with you when you make the cry?
In Love Holds No Grievances, Tara Singh talks about order, but it’s a cosmic order. You can see the way the Cosmos is ordered and lawful. You might not like the laws, you might not be able to understand their mathematical proofs, but still. The laws there. Life works. There are these big forces at play and they are not personal, they don’t play favorites. They are utterly neutral but they are lawful. The First Law of Thermodynamics doesn’t apply some of the time or to some situations. You can’t opt out of it. You cannot deny its existence any more than you can deny your own.
The suggestion is to find out what happens when you bring your life into harmony with that order. How would you do that? What happens when you do that? Don’t make it metaphysical – are the laws real and true? Just notice that you don’t argue with a blade of grass but you do argue with your neighbor and ask: which relationship do I prefer? And be honest in your answer and then be guided by your honesty.
Unless God is your first love, nothing will work . . . Bring some kind order in your own life . . . Take responsibility to do whatever you can do. Whether your like others or dislike them, it should not concern you. You act from a totally impersonal way because you have understood relationship (Singh 54-5).
I feel very tender when I think this way. I feel very gentle. Towards myself and towards you. I know how hard it is to do this. To give attention to this lawfulness, this utter neutrality – e.g., gravity does not recognize good and evil – is to make contact with an order that transcends our sensual and cognitive limits. I don’t care what you call it, but its utter neutrality is a form of love because it doesn’t do personal.
Yes, yes. That is still an illusion. Fine! But see it, okay? And then, upon seeing it, understand that you – whatever else you are – are related to it.
For me, one begins to reach the limits of language here. Attention merges with awareness and there isn’t much to say. I mean, talk all you want but . . . there isn’t much to say. We know this Love in the way that the body knows how to draw a next breath, or a sunflower knows how to turn to face the passing sun, or how we know that a blade of grass is not a threat . . .
And when the body goes – when the sunflower goes – the law does not. The love does not. In the coming and going that does not itself come and go we begin to see what we are in truth, and in that remembering we are made happy together.