This is the third and final piece I’ve written in response to the quotation challenge that Ka presented to me back in June. I have had some fun enjoying a day off today, searching through A Course of Love for some juicy ones. That is an activity that could quickly get out of hand for me… The quotes I’ve selected are somewhat in reaction to a series of mouse-clicks yesterday that landed me on a page devoted to exposing the ignorant tomfoolery of believing in “God”.
As so often happens when I read what is written on these pages, I mourn the short-sightedness of theists and atheists alike in their clinging to false notions of both self and God—notions that can lead only to suffering. It is a great tragedy of this world that the fear arising from the singular misperception of separateness fosters such rigidity of thought, indifference to the feelings of the heart, and reluctance to seek out ever-deepening understanding of one another and the reality in which we abide. I believe strongly that the healing of false notions of self is coincident with the healing of false notions of God, and that what emerges is a landscape requiring adherence to the historical vocabulary of neither one.
Let’s start simply…
An interesting idea that has emerged in modern physics is that of relational theories. I am probably not going to say this in a way that strictly adheres to the physicists’ definition, but the idea is that the properties of all the particles and fields in our universe are in a sense derived from, or related to, one another. This is not a new idea for those who keep the doctrines of inter-being and dependent co-arising close to their hearts, but it is somewhat new to science, which for a long time pictured particles as little kingdoms unto themselves, with properties that were theirs and theirs alone. This is not unlike the “old” pictures of the self and God: each was independent, separated into their domains and spheres of influence, with perhaps the potential for interaction, but only the types of interaction that occur when one discreteness bumps into another.
I’ve pulled out a passage or two from A Course of Love to start us off that tie to the idea that relationship is primary– not only between selves and God, but as the very essence of what both are.
God is being in union and relationship. This is what God is. God is being. God is relationship. God is union.
All relationship is relationship with God Who Is Love.
Can you begin to visualize or perceive your true identity as relationship itself? And what of God? Can you unlearn all concepts and free your mind to accept all relationship instead? If all meaning and all truth lies in relationship, can you be other than relationship itself? Can God? Can you imagine relationship rather than singular objects and bodies, as all that exists, and thus who you are and who God is? Is it such a huge leap to go from saying you only exist in relationship to you only exist as relationship? You think it is, and feel yourself further diminished and lacking in identity just by contemplating such an idea.
An important element in these statements is the notion that Love is at the foundation of all relationship. Love is not a human parameter, or one of those emergent phenomena that come from the complex interactions of many simple elements. Love is not what you get when you mix everything in the pot and let their flavors mingle, encouraging their chemistries to sparkle and twitter. Love is the root. Love has no attributes or qualities. Love is not a feeling that is ours to give or withhold.
The key to overcoming the experience of and the desire for discreteness and independence that together have caused so much suffering is the willingness to experience union. In A Course of Love, as in many teachings, this comes from correcting our false notions of identity, and I would further say the correction of our false notions of that which we have called God. I think the two must go hand-in-hand. This next passage was, I thought, a beautiful discussion of what we are called to offer in our journey to healing this mythical divide within us and our world.
Joining rests on forgiveness. This you have heard before without understanding what it is you would forgive. You must forgive reality for being what it is. Reality, the truly real, is relationship. You must forgive God for creating a world in which you cannot be alone. You must forgive God for creating a shared reality before you can understand it is the only one you would want to have. You have to forgive this reality for being different than you have always imagined it to be. You have to forgive yourself for not being able to make it on your own, because you have realized the impossibility of doing so. You have to forgive yourself for being what you are, a being who exists only in relationship. You have to forgive all others for being as you are. They too cannot be separate, no matter how hard they try. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Forgive God. Then you will be ready to begin learning just how different it really is to live in the reality of relationship.
Forgiveness in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is the act of seeing beyond falsehood. It is not cleansing the palette from a long-held bitterness because someone approached you in the right way, or was truly repentant in your eye. These inner acts of condemnation and release merely perpetuate suffering, and foster inappropriate ideas of who is worthy and who is not. Nor is forgiveness the reluctant, but “higher-road” tolerance for things that are other than we might like them to be. Forgiveness is the courage, or the willingness, to see things as they are—to see so differently that one discovers, unexpectedly perhaps, the impossibility that the truth of things could ever be improved upon or corrected. It is profoundly difficult for theists and atheists alike to look upon themselves and the world in this way, which is called unity. In this way of seeing, the word God simply refers to all relationship, the relationship of each to each and all to all—a relatedness that exists beyond and outside of time and space.
I think the importance of this reconciliation is staggering. Who among us does not wish the suffering of this world were no longer? Yet it will be perpetuated so long as we fail to grasp and embrace our relatedness, not as merely the physical and virtual interactions we have, but as the very nature of our existence. What emerges from the return to unity, from the unlearning of separate selves and a separate God, is the power to birth new life.
In A Course of Love, the freeing of our world from being the painful re-enactment of separation that it has been for so long, to the living expression of unity that we seek, is termed “the creation of the new”. It is the movement of Creation that arises from the dialogue within us that unity alone can broker.
All relationship is but relationship between Creator and Created. The new means of thinking is referred to here as the “art” of thought in order to call your wholehearted attention to the continual act of creation that is the relationship between Creator and Created. Creation is but a dialogue to which you have not responded.
Creation of the new has begun. We are an interactive part of this creative act of a loving Creator. Creation is a dialogue. Creation—which is God and us in unity—will respond to our responses. Will respond to what we envision, imagine and desire. Creation of the new could not begin without you. Your willingness for the new, a willingness that included the leaving behind of the old, a willingness that included the leaving behind of fear and judgment and a separate will, was necessary to begin creation of the new. Your former willingness to accept the old but kept creation’s power harnessed to the old. Does this not make perfect sense when you realize that creation, like God, is not “other than” who you are? How could creation proceed on to the new without you?
False notions of self and false notions of God ensnare us in intellectual ballyhoo that merely spin our cosmic tires. The way forward, the way of unity, begins with the willingness to recognize that our desire for separate selves and a separate God or gods merely foil our most urgent desires. The way forward begins with the desire to experience another way.
Is it time, perhaps, to stop debating the existence of what never was, and never will be? To accept that perhaps we were all wrong about who we are, and God is?