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Course Ideas / Reflections

Our world is being stretched. The tightened skin becomes translucent. It’s like a magic trick, only the illusion is punctured instead of unfurled. What’s really there can no longer be hidden. The make-up is sloughing off. It’s challenging, but clearly it’s needed.

We have far to fall. But the ground is close. As close as we make it. That’s because the ground is us. We are the ones who will catch each other. Not the institutions we’ve made. Not the halls of justice, which fail us in our time of need. But people. People are shining. People are making the difference.

It is true we are falling. But we are falling from the limbs of unwholesome dreams. Dreams of empire. Of economic supremacy. Of earthly power and glory.

We invented toilet paper in 1857. If a generation is 25 years, then we’re in the seventh generation since this fantastic invention. That’s one of the brands we use here at home. There is such beautiful irony in this, I swear. I’m not trying to minimize the impact of this disease, but our capabilities today are unprecedented. We probably don’t know the true mortality rate of Covid-19, but let’s call it 3% or 4%. That’s a quarter of the quantity of the world’s population that doesn’t have enough to eat. According to the World Health Organization, there were 2.3 million new tuberculosis cases in 2018 that were attributable to malnutrition.

I comprehend and grieve with those who will face profound suffering in their lives and in their families because of this virus. At the same time, it is remarkable to me that not that long ago the Native Americans faced smallpox that ravaged whole populations, or political forces beyond their control that deceived, pillaged and killed them, or forced them to look on, powerless, as the bison were systematically exterminated. This isn’t like the days when Africans were shackled and dragged across the sea en masse to be beaten and worked to death and spit upon in service of the elite nation-states and economies of the world. These aren’t the days when immigrants to the United States worked themselves to death on docks, in factories and meat packing plants—laboring through disease and famine and drought.

It’s surely not fair to compare one age to the next. We are not those people, and these are not those times. But it’s wrong to think the disease was different in each of these ages. It’s incorrect to think the disease that kills most human beings in our day today is any different than the diseases of the past, because the disease was greed. The disease was specialness, elitism, the hunger for power, and the fear of falling into the misfortunes of the many. The fear of losing what we’ve gained. The fear of being like everyone else. The world hasn’t changed with the onset of Covid-19—it is only being revealed to us once again.

Hopefully we see it for what it is, and hopefully we realize the profound gift we all are to one another.

There is a line from A Course of Love that seems most apropos for this revelation, and that is the idea that in accordance with the Laws of Love, There is no loss, only gain. For what do we lose, but our specialness and our privilege? And what do we gain, but the humbling appreciation of our mutuality?

This quote is from the second Treatise in A Course of Love: An understanding of the mutuality of needs will aid you in being honest about your needs, thus allowing them to be met. Then the need to define or to identify them ceases. Your needs only continue to be brought to your awareness as needs until your trust in their immediate and ongoing fulfillment is complete. Once this trust is realized you will no longer think in terms of needs at all. Once you are no longer concerned with needs and the meeting of needs you will no longer be concerned with special relationships. You will realize that there is no loss but only gain involved in letting them go.

It is specialness that distorts the truth. The truth that all can be provided for.

These are hardly the worst of the worst times that we have faced. And again, with a full heart for those who suffer directly as a result of this disease, and for all those who suffer from all of the various diseases manifest in our world, I would like to say that Covid-19 is gentle as far as wake-up calls go. It is not a scourge, but a crack in the façade of a normalcy that isn’t working, and hasn’t been working, and which we don’t know how to fix without a nudge or two in the direction of our shared humanity.

I am humbled by those delivering groceries to the elderly, by those singing opera from the balconies, by those working from home while caring for their children. I had a conference call last week: five senior managers in track suits at their laptops. It was heartening. We are all the same. Not in our fear, but in our needs. In our humanity. And when we acknowledge this, when we no longer accept as status quo the specialness and power-mongering that divide us, the world will transform.

And it will be good.


  1. Happy to see you here Michael. This post is beautiful in its elegant simplicity. As I read, Marianne Williamson’s candidacy comes to mind and her mission to promote love over Trump’s reign of fear. As usual, her message of healing America ( and the planet) was prophetic. Many of us who gather here are ahead of the crowd in terms of understanding what is needed and what is at stake.

    Blessings my friend,

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Linda,

      Nice to see you here, too! Thank you for the kind words. You’re right, I think, about those who gather here understanding this dimension to the world story. It was nice that Marianne went for it and got her message out… The sense of something happening is palpable right now, at least with all the outer changes in daily routines. And I hope that as the old things fall away, some really good new ones will emerge. We’re finding ourselves doing things, offering things, creating things that we always could have done–what was stopping us?–but we see that we can do them and survive, and I think that will create some lasting good…


      Liked by 3 people

  2. This is a beautiful perspective and musing on the current drama in human affairs. May we wake from the dreams of specialness and greed, embracing our beautiful humanity as part of the larger world family.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well said, Brad. Thanks for reading as always! Hope you are well and weathering all this in good stead. Interesting times. Perspective can be helpful I think. The truth is that there isn’t a good order of magnitude in feelings, you know? To those who are frightened, the fear is as intense as standing on the edge of a cliff. Regardless of the merits as others perceive them. But partly I did want to say these are not only the worst of times, they are the best of times, too… 🙂


      Liked by 3 people

  3. A very fine essay Michael. Clear, thoughtful, and heart-felt. I agree this is not a scourge, but a nudge very much needed so that we can all see that we need to change course. We are all in this together, and that perhaps is the most important message that this situation highlights for us.
    I hope you and your family are well and safe.
    Don and I are in quarantine having recently returned from overseas, but grateful every day for all we have. We are among the lucky ones.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Alison. We’re so far so good. Will be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Between you and me I keep thinking moments like this with so much worldwide attention are interesting venues for unexpected change. Like… all the dire predictions may not pan out, like when we see a hurricane shift directions out at sea. I have no idea what will happen, but I think these shifts are definitely possible. It feels like there is much hanging in the balance…

      Glad you and Don are well, and taking precautions! We are indeed the lucky ones. All of us…


      Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you for your choice words Michael. I especially appreciated your last paragraph and ending.
    This is a wonderful time to enhance our ability to witness and expand consciousness to embrace it all.🙏

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Val! Yes, when you strip away the “image” what remains is always heartening isn’t it? The real content surprises us with its quality…

      Agreed it is a wonderful time to witness this in one another and expand consciousness…


      Liked by 2 people

  5. J.D. Riso says

    Beautiful words, as always, Michael. It’s Tough Love time from the Universe. For everyone. Those of us who have done the work for so long are relatively prepared, but we are also shaken. I believe that one day we will look back and see the gift in this strange and beautiful time. Warmest wishes, my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Yes, agreed Julie. Well said. I do hope we’ll look back together and see what we’ve been given. It’s worthwhile to contemplate once in a while that there are forces at work in this world we do not control. It is helpful to understand entering this time that we are loved, and that even now light is seeping into this “room” from under the door, through the windows, through gaps in the walls we erected to bound (and control) our experience of what is so…


    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am so glad that I felt a nudge to visit here, tonight. Your words match so well the pregnant nuance of these days. I am grateful for the grace period offered in these changes as I work from home (relishing time with girls whose wings are temporarily clipped). You capture so well the soft blow nature of our comeuppance: our collective Homer Simpson, “Doh!” and face palm for the false constructs becoming ever more apparent before the crumbling!
    I hope your days and time with your family are continuing to go well these weeks later. I can sink deeply for a long while into your sharing about the truth of the gain —
    much love, marga
    (so glad to know Alison and Don are well, too!:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Marga!

      Yes, very interesting times. It’s interesting the blurring of things right now, in particular–time I guess. Even though I’m still on a 5-day workweek, when working from home a number of us have noticed we’re losing track of what day it is. That’s pretty rare unless I’m on an extended vacation or something. Crazy! Deb and I have been chipping away at a puzzle. I’m home for lunch now. I exercise in the middle of the day without missing any meetings… It’s all kind of nice and surreal all at once. I’m glad you’re getting to enjoy some time with your girls…! Blessings, and much love your way, too. (and yes to Alison and Don! I’ve been too infrequent with my postings, and hence my interactions, but it’s good to ‘see’ the familiar faces…)


      Liked by 2 people

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