One of the principal aims of the Course of Love is to put us in position to respond freely to what is, to be in ongoing and dynamic relationship with all that is, and to move altogether beyond self concepts. Concepts are images- ideals and patterns. What lies beyond all of our conceptual selves, is the true Self that we are… Right now… Jesus speaks with a sense of urgency in many points of the Course of Love, because he is eager for us to accept this shared identity in Christ- to accept our place within Unity- right now.
Yes, the end is assured, and inevitable.
Yes, as the Course in Miracles stated, time is illusory, being but the seeming distance we have placed between ourselves and the full acceptance of the Truth. But the intervening period- our experience in time- is full of suffering. Needless suffering. Who, speaking from compassion, would not urgently desire that his brothers and sisters step away from the torment, and recover the lifelong ability to breath easy? To know a world without strangers? To enjoy perpetual contentment? To be able to offer response to any situation without thinking, simply because what we have to offer is the natural flow through us of what is, to what is. I can see that to do this, I would need to be utterly emptied of questions about who I am, so that my addiction to using events and moments as opportunities to “create” myself, or to prove to myself how [insert adjective defining the ideal self here] I am, would be forever undone.
That is freedom I think.
I think I am coming to see that the process of unlearning Jesus speaks of in A Course of Love is, at least in part, the process of encountering concepts that I live by, and the confusion against which these concepts once guarded me. How often do I ask myself what I should be doing? How should I respond to such and such situation? Here’s a great one to really get myself feeling positive about such deliberation: what would Jesus do? While much can come of this question, if it moves us into the open-ended flow of being for instance, on the other hand, it doesn’t matter! Jesus wants to aid us in discovering the foundation within which renders all such questions moot. He wants us to respond as who we are, as only we can respond. Jesus can’t make the response that only you or I can… He made his own… We are called to offer ours…
It would undoubtedly be easier if we had a manual- but it wouldn’t be real. It wouldn’t be living. It wouldn’t be True. Computers can follow rules. They cannot have the conscious experience of living Truth. They cannot have the experience of blessing, and being blessed, simply by being who they are…
I wrote recently about self-consciousness, and the notion of living up to an ideal, and in the time since I have observed some patterns at work within myself that are related I think. I am finding myself in situations that feel, to me, prickly. I’m not sure what the right way to respond is. Mining this confusion, (which is suffering), I find I have some patterns that have worked well often in my life, but which need to be chucked out of the way. They are like stones in the blender of emptiness.
The desire to be a good person.
The desire to be respected and admired by the people around me.
The desire to be liked and accepted.
These are doozies. What is so awful about wanting to be a good person? Or admired for living by principles, or being a person of your word? Nothing, really, except they’re pointless exercises of the uncertain… They’re traps… Because maybe, I will fall short… These prickly situations I encounter are begging me to prove this to myself.
As the extension of the Mind of God, as an integral and unique fractal of all Creation, as holiness and wholeness expressing- what do these seemingly ‘good’ desires have to offer? They are meaningless in such a context, the only context that is True. They are attempts to quantify the infinite and codify the Truth. They are training wheels that must be discarded if we want to pop a wheely, or fly down a hill and skid into an exhilarating, skidding, twisting, stone-spraying halt on a bed of gravel.
I think at one time they served me. But I think to move into the space from which Jesus beckons us in A Course of Love, they must be let go.
In A Course of Love, Jesus says, “You were birthed in unison with God’s idea of you. This does not need to be understood, but only accepted to the extent you can accept it. This is necessary because of your reliance on a God who is ‘other’ than you for the provision of your answers. Acceptance of your birth in unison with God’s idea of you is acceptance of your self as co-creator of the pattern of the universe, acceptance of the idea or the story that is you. Can you not see that you were birthed into a place within the pattern of God’s creation? Or that you not only can know but have always known of this place? This is not a place of physical form but a place of holiness, an integral place in the pattern that is oneness with God.” (ACOL, 26.23-24)
Sometimes when we find ourselves in these prickly places- places we don’t know how to resolve or solve, places that seem beyond us- I think it is helpful to recognize we are being ushered into an encounter in which we can discover the ultimate futility of the very metrics by which we’ve once defined ourselves. Love has no metric, no rubric, no quantity, no dimension, no limit, no right answer to offer us. Ideals would package Love up, reduce it to something we can put in our backpack and carry around- close by, but still just outside ourselves.
Love offers us but one thing- itself. Wholly and without limit or reason. Beyond ideals lies the greatest gift that could ever have been given, the gift of who we are.