Special Love or Real Love

The ideas in this essay are abstract, but the truth is abstract because it applies to everyone. Statements about specific details are not important. What is important is finding the truth that can solve all of our problems at the same time.

All of the world’s problems came from our feelings of guilt. Actually, the whole visible world was produced and is maintained by our feelings of guilt.

Originally, we knew ourselves as a holy and guiltless spiritual presence, at one with all that is. Although we are still guiltless spirit, we now perceive ourselves as separate, guilty bodies and do not remember our state of guiltless love and joy.

While we were in our state of guiltless love and joy, we had the idea of sin. And because we were free to think and do anything, this idea of sin had the power to block from our awareness our innocence and joy. Because we began to believe in sin and guilt, the world we see was made to express and experience these ideas. Because we now believe we are guilty, we want to get rid of this guilt to make ourselves feel better. One way that we try to get rid of guilt is by forming “special relationships” and by attempting to obtain “special love.”

“Special love” is really a contradiction in terms, because real love does not see differences but instead loves everyone and everything equally. Special love separates one part of the world and tries to gain acceptance and love from this special part of the world. Because we feel that we are guilty, we search for someone who will tell us that we are special and important. Without feelings of guilt, we would never attempt the impossible and try to find union through exclusion.

Because we feel guilty, we “sacrifice” our self on the altar of the relationship and attempt to replace our guilty self with the other special self that we have found. However, when we try to steal this special self and take it as our possession, this makes us feel even guiltier, because we feel that we have nothing of value to give in return. Therefore, special relationships continue the cycle of guilt and continue the belief that we are sinful and guilty.

Another side effect of our feelings of guilt is the desire to attack ourselves and others for our perceived guiltiness. If we did not feel guilty, we would not condemn ourselves or others, for we can only see sin in others if we see the same sin in ourselves first.

We cannot get rid of guilt by ourselves because the thoughts of sin and guilt have become a habit and a cycle. We need someone who is not locked into this cycle to tell and show us that we are guiltless. We need the help of someone who does not share our belief in sin and guilt. When we listen to this voice, sometimes called the “Holy Spirit,” we will gradually learn that we have never sinned and that we are still guiltless.

The “Holy Spirit” (the spirit of oneness) teaches us to forgive ourselves and others—to forgive everyone equally. The only way to get out of the mess that we are in is to forgive, or to overlook everything that we think is a mistake. This way, we will not even see sin in ourselves or anyone else.

Special relationships make us feel fearful, selfish, jealous, and even guiltier. On the other hand, holy relationships bring us closer to the awareness of oneness, real love (which is spiritual union), peace, and joy. We are all sick until we are all well. No one can be completely joyful while one of us is separated from the whole. That is why we must all work together and help each other to forgive. We are all working together on this project of regaining our awareness of heaven. We are already within the heaven of real love, but we need to practice forgiveness in order to cleanse our minds of the remaining feelings of guilt.

You might say, “But I really am guilty, for I have done many bad things, and I have hurt many people.” In response, the Holy Spirit says, “What is real is eternal and cannot be destroyed or hurt. Only mistaken thinking can cause anyone to suffer. Are you ready to choose to forgive, let go of the belief in sin and guilt, and return to your home in heaven, which you have never really left?”

An Open Letter to the Oppressed People of the Earth

This poem introduces five ways of dealing with suffering.

Around the world, people are suffering
From hatred, attack, and plundering
But each has his own way of dealing
With the pain and sorrow he is feeling

The first way of dealing with oppression
Is to stoically endure the aggression
To grit one’s teeth and to brace
For the pain that one must face

The second way of dealing with abuse
Is to return the punches, and to refuse
To endure the attacks without
Trying to knock the abuser out

The third way of dealing with forceful whim
Is to feel that one is a superior victim
By suffering, one feels that one is better
And that one’s attacker will be a debtor

The fourth way of dealing with attack
Is to pity the one who strikes one’s back
To believe that the attacker will receive
Punishment for his acts, without reprieve

The fifth way of dealing with insults
Is to see that error has no results
The body that does hurt and ache
Does not of reality partake

This is the way that the mind does transcend
The suffering that does not seem to end
The mind that can transcend by forgiving
Will find a new peaceful way of living

The body cannot suffer without the mind
So the mind simply needs to seek and find
A way to cancel all thoughts of pain
That travel through the physical brain

The mind that does not cling to guilt or fear
Can overlook the past, and become clear
For the past and its errors do not exist
And only thoughts of love and truth will persist

So to the oppressed I say
Look with hope toward that day
When the past is canceled out
And peace and joy are felt throughout

You don’t need to feel the pain forever
You don’t need to hate the oppressor
You don’t need to feel superior to him
Or pity him for reaping his harvest grim

Be glad that creation is all the same
We all need to give up attack and blame
And when we conquer the darkness within
We will finally achieve the win-win

The Fear of Love

Recently, I was discussing with someone whether we will have bodies after we die. His opinion was that we will have bodies. He thought our bodies would keep us from “freaking out” or from becoming extremely uncomfortable. He thought that our bodies would help us retain our individual identities.

A few days ago, a friend told me that he thought this world could not be any better than it is.

Let’s consider these two ideas: (1) we need a body or some kind of physical form to be comfortable, and (2) the world cannot be any better than it is. Don’t these two ideas come from the fear of love? Love is spiritual union. We are afraid of this spiritual union because we fear that we will lose our self-identities when we unite with the Whole. In bodies we can pretend that we are separate from others and that we can be protected from love, protected from spiritual union. While we think that the world cannot be any better than it is, we “protect” ourselves from the better reality of heaven, where love and union rule.

The reason that we fear love is that we know that love wants to understand and know us completely. We fear this understanding, this exposure of who we really are. However, if we knew that our basic, essential nature is love, we would not be afraid. God is love, and we are also love (as the creation of God, or the extension of God). However, we are confused about what we are. We look at our actions in a body, and we judge ourselves for not meeting our expectations and for not meeting the expectations of others. Others also judge us for not meeting their expectations. We believe that we are sinful, guilty bodies.

However, our limited bodies and our limited lives in this world have no effect on reality, no effect on eternal heaven. Therefore, we simply need to realize that we are not sinful, guilty bodies. We need to “forgive” ourselves and realize that we are still as God created us. We are still unlimited love.

God does not judge us, for God knows us only as love. In order to decrease our fear of spiritual union, and decrease our fear of heaven, we need to know ourselves as God knows us.

We will not be happy or satisfied until we realize that we are unlimited love and unlimited knowledge. To enter heaven is to be who we really are. We are unlimited love and knowledge. We will never be completely satisfied while we are limited by bodies, while we live in an imperfect world, and while we are afraid to know and be known.

Forgiveness is the door to heaven and the door to our true selves. Forgiveness is not unjust or unfair. Forgiveness is just and fair because it only sees what is true and real. Forgiveness overlooks errors because they are not true. Our “sins” are only temporary errors that disappear when we meet the eternal truth.

From Zero to Infinity in an Instant

We worship an idol (though we know it not) because we want to have more of something. And in order for one person to have more of something, another must have less by comparison. If the universe is finite, and if physical things represent ultimate reality, then physical goods cannot be shared. Rather, we must compete for them.

This is similar to the “zero-sum game” in economics theory. According to Investopedia, the zero-sum game is “a situation in which one participant’s gains result only from another participant’s equivalent losses. The net change in total wealth among participants is zero; the wealth is just shifted from one to another.”

Of course, this ignores the fact that physical things can be made and destroyed. However, we know from experience that life in this world is usually a struggle to obtain physical things, and the world thinks that if one person has many physical things, this prevents others from having them. This type of thinking is a large part of what A Course in Miracles wants to reverse. In fact, even buying and selling are nonsensical to the spirit:

The idea of buying and selling implies precisely the kind of exchange that the Soul cannot understand at all because its supply is always abundant and all its demands are fully met. –A Course in Miracles: Original Edition

According to A Course in Miracles, we can only make one mistake:

For there is but one mistake; the whole idea that loss is possible, and could result in gain for anyone. If this were true, then God would be unfair; sin would be possible, attack be justified and vengeance fair. –A Course in Miracles

God does not will that part of His creation have more than another part. He gives everything to everyone. However, as long as we see ourselves as limited physical beings, we won’t know ourselves as the unlimited love that we are.

The Son of God [God’s creation] is limitless. There are no limits on his strength, his peace, his joy, nor any attributes his Father gave in his creation. –A Course in Miracles

The “holy instant,” in which the past and future have no hold on us, is God’s solution to our dreams of limitation and lack, and our desire for vengeance for not getting what we think we deserve.

The holy instant is the opposite of the ego’s fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past. In the holy instant it is understood that the past is gone, and with its passing the drive for vengeance has been uprooted and has disappeared. The stillness and the peace of now enfold you in perfect gentleness. Everything is gone except the truth. –A Course in Miracles

For in the holy instant, free of the past, you see that love is in you, and you have no need to look without and snatch love guiltily from where you thought it was. –A Course in Miracles

How long will it take the holy instant to save the world?

If you are tempted to be dispirited by thinking how long it would take to change your mind so completely, ask yourself, “How long is an instant?” Could you not give so short a time to the Holy Spirit for your salvation? He asks no more, for He has no need of more. It takes far longer to teach you to be willing to give Him this than for Him to use this tiny instant to offer you the whole of Heaven. In exchange for this instant He stands ready to give you the remembrance of eternity. –A Course in Miracles

The holy instant works when one teacher of God does not agree to see his brother’s mind as separate from his own.

No mind is sick until another mind agrees that they are separate. And thus it is their joint decision to be sick. If you withhold agreement and accept the part you play in making sickness real, the other mind cannot project its guilt without your aid in letting it perceive itself as separate and apart from you. Thus is the body not perceived as sick by both your minds from separate points of view. Uniting with a brother’s mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects. Healing is the effect of minds that join, as sickness comes from minds that separate. –A Course in Miracles

What occurred within the instant that love entered in without attack will stay with you forever. Your healing will be one of its effects, as will your brother’s. –A Course in Miracles

Once we see ourselves as one united spirit, and the holy instant brings this truth to our awareness, we will no longer see ourselves as small, weak, and vulnerable.

The Oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power. This limitless power is God’s gift to you, because it is what you are. If you dissociate your mind from it you are perceiving the most powerful force in the universe as if it were weak, because you do not believe you are part of it. –A Course in Miracles

In conclusion, the world believes in scarcity, lack, and, loss. If these things are true, then life is inherently unfair and we are justified in being angry, defending the little that we think we have, and attacking those who try to take the little that we think we have. A Course in Miracles teaches that a thought reversal is needed so that we will recognize what we are–unlimited love. The means to accomplish this thought reversal is through the practicing of forgiveness and non-judgment. In this way, the past and future can be relinquished and the holy instant accepted. At the moment the holy instant is accepted, we will recognize that we are one with God and His creation, and the light of this knowledge will extend into infinity.

Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not. –A Course in Miracles

Forgiveness

The following essay summarizes some of the ideas in the “Song of Prayer,” which can be found in the book A Course in Miracles.

You can only forgive yourself, for it is only your “sins” that you see in another. It seems that another is sinful, but if this were the case, how could you ever be free from being harmed by him? You would be his prisoner forever. However, you can release yourself and your brother together when you offer true forgiveness. As long as this world seems to be your home, there will be illusions and errors. However, if you look at the world through Christ’s eyes, you will see that your mistakes can be overlooked and that eternal peace will be yours.

Forgiveness that has been corrupted by the world can be called “forgiveness-to-destroy.” This type of “forgiveness” focuses on guilt and sin. This type of “forgiveness” overlooks real love because it sees salvation in guilt. “Forgiveness-to-destroy” is death, and it hates everything that it sees because it reminds it of death. “Forgiveness-to-destroy” appears in many ways, but it has one goal: to make different and to separate what God created equal and whole. The following are some of the more common forms of “forgiveness-to-destroy”:

The Patronizer. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person sees himself as better than the one he “forgives.” Thus, he separates himself from the brother whom he hates, for he sees sin and death in him.

The Wallower. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person claims to share in the sin of another. In this case, people often compete with each other to see how deeply they can delve into their sins, which they believe deserve to be punished by a vengeful God. Thus, people attempt to separate themselves from each other and from a God whom they see as fearful and distant.

The Martyr. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person patiently accepts the results of the sin of another. The martyr separates himself from the one who seems to be abusing him, and reinforces the ideas that sin is real in the other person and that God requires sacrifice.

The Bargainer. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person offers forgiveness to another if the other person will give him what he wants or needs. The person who gives in this way is mocking true giving and in the attempt to control another becomes a slave himself.

What is the alternative to “forgiveness-to-destroy”? We simply need to be open to a new way of looking at the world and a new way of forgiving. The way we practice “forgiveness” does not work. We need to be willing to look at the world through the eyes of Christ and not interfere with his plan for salvation. We are not asked to figure it all out ourselves or to make great efforts. All we need is a “small willingness” to let God’s will be done. He will do the rest.

Christ has forgiven you, and in His sight the world becomes as holy as Himself. Who sees no evil in it sees like Him. For what He has forgiven has not sinned, and guilt can be no more. Salvation’s plan is made complete, and sanity has come. Forgiveness is the call to sanity, for who but the insane would look on sin when he could see the face of Christ instead? –A Course in Miracles

Heaven and the Dream of Separation

The following statements summarize some of the main ideas of the book, A Course in Miracles.

Anything that is not eternal is an illusion. Time is an illusion. The body is an illusion. Guilt is an illusion. Sin is an illusion. Sickness is an illusion. Forgiveness is the final illusion because it realizes that illusions are not real and that they can be overlooked.

The separation is the belief that minds are separate from God and from each other. The separation is also an illusion because it is not eternal. Minds that believe in the separation are asleep because these minds try to make the illusions and fantasies of separation real. Minds need to have their errors brought to the truth, so that their illusions will disappear. Minds that are asleep need to be awakened, not punished. However, this awakening can be disorienting and disturbing because the light that awakens them is sometimes seen at first as something threatening and dangerous from the dream. A miracle is something that shortens the time needed for creation to awaken.

Oneness (or wholeness, unity) and sickness (or brokenness, disunity) cannot both be true or real. Oneness claims that creation is essentially whole. Sickness claims that creation is essentially disconnected. When one person accepts unity without qualifications, and overlooks all sicknesses and illusions, this unity will spread throughout all of creation, and creation will awaken from the dream of separation.

The body can be used to reinforce the idea of separation, in which each mind is limited to a separate body, or the body can be used to communicate love and forgiveness, which lead to awakening. Since the body is also an illusion, the body has no place in heaven (eternity), and the body will disappear with all other illusions when illusions are brought to the truth.

The purpose of God’s creations in the world is to work to heal the separation. The purpose of God’s creations in heaven is to create limitlessly and to extend God’s love.

Heaven (eternity, infinity) is the awareness of perfect unity. It has nothing to do with time because it is eternal. Heaven is reality. In heaven are perfect peace, complete knowledge, undisturbed truth, and continual love.

The Turning Point

This passage from A Course in Miracles summarizes how individuals, societies, and planets fundamentally change:

The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time. This may appear to contradict free will because of the inevitability of the final decision, but this is not so. You can temporize and you are capable of enormous procrastination, but you cannot depart entirely from your Creator, Who set the limits on your ability to miscreate. An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point. This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God. Spiritual vision literally cannot see error, and merely looks for Atonement. —A Course in Miracles

“The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time.” In other words, everyone will be “saved.” That is, everyone will find himself. Everyone will be reunited with God, love, and truth. The atonement is a unification process as well as the outcome of this unification process. The outcome or result of this process is the reunification of all of God’s creation in love. To accept the atonement means to relinquish one’s selfish orientation that seeks to benefit only one’s individual, separate self. To accept the atonement means to give up one’s egotistical mindset that seeks to split off parts of God and give love and approval only to special individuals.

The Course says that everyone will eventually accept the atonement, or accept all-pervading love. This is true because everyone is a part of God and no one can exist apart from God. God is love, and we, being of God, are essentially love also. When we try to limit love, we feel pain. Being of God, our will is the will of God. When we deny this, and attempt to will against God, we feel extreme discomfort. However, this attempt to will against God is powerless to create any real effects. We are always safe because we are always in God and cannot really will against God, cannot really “sin.” We can make errors in thinking, but all of these errors disappear the moment we overlook or forgive them.

It takes enormous effort to try to will against our own will, meaning, against God’s will. Why do we attempt this? We have become afraid of love and afraid of truth. We believe that truth will attack us or that God will punish us. However, eventually we find that our imprisoned wills (our bonds made by selfishness) cause us more pain than the terror and expected pain of facing God, love, and truth. It is at this place that we reach a turning point. In the Bible, this place is called repentance. To repent basically means to turn around or to change your mind. In the Bible, prophets continually encouraged individuals and societies to repent. However, if the individual or society had not reached their specific turning point (the point at which the pain caused by selfishness is greater than the fear of God, love, and truth), then the prophet’s words are not heard, and they fall on deaf ears.

If an individual, society, or planet is not ready to turn around, or repent, then there is little use in telling them to change. However, when certain conditions occur, repentance becomes inevitable. The prophets of the Bible referred often to events at the end of the current age of the earth. They said that the events of that time would be unprecedented. When people think about the end of the world, they often are filled with fear. However, it may be that the events associated with the end of the world seem fearful because they are a change from our ordinary, expected life. It may be that extreme or painful situations are needed in order to get people to wake up and to reach a turning point in their lives. These extreme situations should not be seen as a punishment but as an opportunity to repent and to see things in a new way. God does not want you to suffer. God wants you to have joy. In fact, these extreme situations were created by us together with God because we know that they will be for our benefit.

“This [turning point] ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God. Spiritual vision literally cannot see error, and merely looks for Atonement.”

Look past error wherever you found it before. Look past pain, which is temporary and therefore not real. Look toward your salvation, which is inevitable. Look forward to all-pervading love, which is your birthright and identity. Look forward to peace and truth, which you will certainly have.

Love and the Call for Love

There are two types of expressions: (1) love and (2) the call for love. Every loving thought is eternal. It is never lost and it benefits everyone. Every call for love is a call for help, a call for healing. In this world, calls for love reveal that healing is needed. Fear, anger, and attack are calls for love.

Those who believe in sin call for love but do not know how to find it. Those who believe in sin feel the fear of being punished for their sins. They feel that they have sinned and that they are trapped by their sin. This leads to anger about the unfairness of their situation. Then they place their feelings of sin and guilt on others and attack others mentally, verbally, and physically to try to make themselves feel better. But this does not work. It merely makes the attacker feel guiltier, and the cycle of sin, fear, guilt, and attack continues.

How do we get out of this cycle? We must learn that what we now think of as unforgivable sin is merely a mistake in thinking that can be corrected. When we seem to see sins in ourselves or others, we need to realize that we are only calling for love. When we attack others, we are really attacking ourselves. This world is a world broken by fear, anger, and attack. When we see others as the same as ourselves and we stop judging ourselves and others, healing will occur. As we heal our sense of separation, we will realize that fear and anger are never justified. Fear and anger are just the results of mistaken thinking. We will realize that only eternal things are real and that we do not need to worry about things that change and disappear. As we reverse our way of thinking—from judgment and attack to compassion and forgiveness—we will begin to find peace. When we are drowning in the waters of pain, it is difficult to find faith in a better type of existence, but there is a patient and strong hand reaching out for us, and it will pull us out of the swirling nightmares that we have created for ourselves.

All mistakes will be corrected, all vision will be cleansed, and all dreams of fear and conflict will end. In our time-dream, conflict and death seem to win. However, when we see things from a larger perspective, when the world no longer seems broken, we will experience the love and joy that are our eternal state. This eternal state of love and joy is more certain than the death and decomposition of our physical bodies, and when we shift our focus from physical dreams to eternal reality, we will find peace at last.

The Biggest Mistake

Our sense of inadequacy, weakness and incompletion comes from the strong investment in the “scarcity principle” that governs the whole world of illusions. From that point of view, we seek in others what we feel is wanting in ourselves. We “love” another in order to get something ourselves. That, in fact, is what passes for love in the dream world. There can be no greater mistake than that, for love is incapable of asking for anything. –from the preface to A Course in Miracles

“Love is incapable of asking for anything.” In other words, love is not needy. Love does not need anything. Love is self-sufficient and only seeks to give of itself and thus increase joy. Love joins with love for the joy of joining. Love sees that giving is the same as receiving since we are all connected.

However, we have made a big mistake about what love is. We feel unworthy, so we seek external validation or affirmation. We call this external affirmation “love.” We do whatever we can to fill the emptiness in our hearts. We look for others who can convince us that we are worthy or good or valuable. We look for others who will do or say things that make us temporarily feel better, and we become “addicted” to these people. After a while, though, we begin to doubt that these other people are sincere about what they tell us. We again doubt that we are worthy or valuable or good. And sometimes these other people get tired of doing and saying things that fill our emptiness, and we leave them to look for others who can fill our “needs.”

Sometimes, two people can attempt to fill the emptiness of each other for a long period of time. However, such a relationship is built upon the maintenance of illusions, bargaining, and self-sacrifice. They maintain the illusion that they have needs, they bargain by trading actions or words, and they believe that they must partially sacrifice their own self-interest in order to get what they want. But this is not love.

Love does not know of pain, sacrifice, or bargaining. These things come from fear, not love. In this world, we are like bottomless pits of needs. Like babies, we think we have a continual need for physical, mental, and emotional support. In contrast with these pits of needs, our true nature is to be mountains of trust, confidence, and love. In reality, we have no needs. In order to return to our true nature, our thinking must be reversed, or turned inside-out. This thought reversal will come about when enough people give up judgment and try to overlook (or forgive) mistakes.

If love is not needy, what is love like? Real love must be experienced to be known, but a general outline of what love is, and is not, is given in Lesson 127 of the Workbook for Students in A Course in Miracles.

What Is A Man?

This poem says that man has an inner core of love, and an outer appearance that changes.

What is a man that we might know his being?
Perhaps our beliefs about him are not freeing
For with our knowledge of his past deeds
We try to predict him as he proceeds

Does a man have a nature set in stone?
Is he a monad, in this world alone?
Is he separate from all other men?
Do interactions have no effect on him?

Or is a man like a sponge with holes?
Is he influenced by all surrounding souls?
Does he always change from day to day
With new experiences on his way?

Maybe each man has an inner core
That has never changed before
Maybe around the core there are changes
Begun by energy exchanges

The core is every man’s real soul
Which is always connected with the whole
But each man projects an outer face
That seems this real soul to replace

Since man has forgotten his soul
He feels he has to play a role
He has others’ expectations to meet
So he must his daily habits repeat

But if man could remember his soul
He would not doubt his true role
If his outer deeds and looks changed
Others would not become estranged

If we could see others with true vision
Differences would not create division
We would see the love at the inner core
And we would know them as never before

Around the nucleus of man is energy
That dances and flows with synergy
And when the flow is not obstructed
The inner love is easily conducted

To free the outer energy flow
We must forgive everyone we know
If we could our judgment suspend
We might understand our good friend

Love that does not keep a record of wrongs
Is the love for which everyone longs
But if we see only others’ past actions
We will be misled by many distractions

If we see only man’s outward side
We will see a place for sin to hide
But if we see the love within
We will see what has always been

Inside, everyone is the same
We all forever hold love’s flame
And when we see that this is true
The world will harmonize anew

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