Some classical music masterpieces seem to have originated straight from Heaven, and this is i.m.h.o. certainly the case with Brahms’ A German Requiem (1867). In retrospect, Brahms stated he would have retitled this work “A requiem for mankind”, which seems to fit its universal feel better. Although its lyrics seem to suggest it is a work primarily about sorrow and death, Brahms meant it to be a message of solace, a promise of the certainty of everlasting love to come after this ethereal life of pain and seeming death. Indeed, the seven movements can each be experienced as depicting a particular aspect of God; that is, the nondualistic God as described in A course in Miracles; the God Who equals everlasting Love. If Brahms had known the Course in his lifetime, he might have named the seven movements of his requiem as follows.
1 – God is Love
In the Bible, God is depicted as the almighty Creator Who has his good days and bad days. Both love and anger are clearly part of Him. He judges all our doings, and meticulously prepares His judgment on each of us, to be ‘shared’ with us the day we die. In other words, the biblical God is clearly a dualistic God, subject to opposites. A Course in Miracles, however, obviously presents a nondualistic God, Who equals only Love. Therefore, anything that is not Love is an illusion and does not exist in reality. That is why everything we experience in time and space is no more real than are our nightly dreams. When we finally accept the Atonement, that is, see the face of Christ in all our brothers, we remember God; we awaken from the dualistic dream and return Home to the Eternal Love that we are. The solace in this track, then, is that even though we seem to suffer at the hands of time, our happy return to eternal Love that is God/Heaven/Christ, is guaranteed to be our experienced reality in the end. It’s strictly up to us how long we still want to crucify ourselves.
2 – God (Love) is eternal
Clearly, nothing in this world of time and space lasts. “All things must pass”, as George Harrison recounted in 1970, in the midst of Helen’s process of the scribing of A Course in Miracles. The Course clearly states that anything that does not last forever is without any value. While the Course does not chide or scold us for our desire to cling to false gods (special relationships with people, possessions, events, you name it), Jesus does invite us to reconsider what would make us truly happy. In the end, the only plausible answer is eternity: the nondualistic state of the Love that does not change, since there is no time or space for anything to change in. Surprisingly, the Course states that we are there already here and now; that is, we can experience the reflection of Heaven by temporarily silencing the ‘raucous shrieks’ (or constant babble) of the ego. See for example workbook lesson 106: “Let me be still and listen to the truth”.
3 – God (Love) is mercy
In A Course in Miracles, “mercy” is virtually synonymous with “grace” and “forgiveness”. It is a state completely free of any condemnation whatsoever. Again, a large part of the Course is about reversing the biblical notion of a vengeful Creator Who is out to punish us for our ‘cardinal sin’ of having separated from Him. One particularly helpful illustration of this is the Course’s referral to the biblical parable of the prodigal Son. Even though this son, who had left his father’s house only to find nothing of any value in the world, was deeply ashamed to return home, his father welcomed him warmly back. There was no accusation, no rejection, no need for any guilt. In other words, again: our Father is only unchanging Love. Each of us will be welcomed back with unconditional love, no matter how wretched or guilty we may unconsciously feel in time.
4 – God (Love) is Home
Deep down inside, we know that this world of time and space is not our true home. “A memory of home keeps haunting you, as if there were a place that called you to return, although you do not recognize the voice, nor what it is the voice reminds you of. Yet still you feel an alien here, from somewhere all unknown. Nothing so definite that you could say with certainty you are an exile here. Just a persistent feeling, sometimes not more than a tiny throb, at other times hardly remembered, actively dismissed, but surely to return to mind again.” (W-pI.182.1:3-6). If God had ordained our home to be a world where nothing lasts, where everything withers and dies, “God would be cruel” (T-13.in.3:1). Happily, our true Home is in nonduality outside time and space. It is solely up to us to decide when we will truly choose to see the face of Christ in all our brothers, ending all condemnation forever, paving the way for our return home to Heaven.
5 – God (Love) is consolation
No matter what pain and hurt seems to befall us, unconditional love always comforts, as it recalls the unchanging timelessness of our true Home. Love is the the state of mind where sorrow of any kind is utterly inconceivable, as there is nothing to oppose the perfect peace, happiness and joy that is the state of Heaven. As the soprano very tenderly sings in this fifth movement: “You now have sorrow; but I shall see you again, and your heart shall rejoice and your joy no one shall take from you. I have had for a little time toil and torment, and now have found great consolation. I will console you, as one is consoled by his mother.”
6 – God (Love) is life
According to the Course, anything that does not live forever cannot be called life. Therefore, in our dualistic world of time and space, true life cannot be found. Bodies are not really born and they do not really die; they are merely schizophrenic imaginations of the sleeping Son of God dreaming of exile. Anyone who has briefly experienced a light episode, wherein time and space seemed to vanish and all was bathed in pure light, knows this truth: anything in time and space will not last, and is therefore not life. Moreover, almost anyone with a near-death experience emphasizes that the state of life outside time and space is much, much more real than anything we experience here in this world.
7 – God (Love) is peace
“Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is.” (T-8.I.1:1). “Whatever you may think about yourself, whatever you may think about the world, your Father needs you and will call to you until you come to Him in peace at last” (S-3.IV.10:7). We come to Him thus, not by committing suicide, but by our acceptance of the Atonement through unconditional forgiveness of everyone and everything. We cannot do this on our own, since we are still too attached to self-indulgence. But our willingness to gradually change our minds to consistently follow the Inner Voice for Love (i.e., the Holy Spirit) guarantees that peace is everyone’s due. So why wait for Heaven? (W-pI.131, 188).
In my opinion, the recording of Brahms’ Requiem that most closely approximates the emotional depth as described above is by Herbert von Karajan in 1964, with Eberhard Waechter, Gundula Janowitz, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Singverein. Just put on the headphones and let the essence of its message sink deep down inside. There’s no need to follow any lyrics. Just let the music come. You may be amazed at the depth of consolation, life and peace it offers.
See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:
See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)
Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.