Different kinds of love

We are all brought up with the notion that there are many different kinds of love. We are all convinced, for example, that the love between a marital couple is clearly different from the love between friends; the love of parents for their children differs from the love we feel for, let’s say, the planet. And the love we might feel for Jesus or God is of course of an altogether entirely different order. At least that is how we were conditioned to think.

However, in A Course in Miracles, workbook lesson 127 bluntly states that “There is no love but God’s”. In this lesson, Jesus proceeds to explain: “Love is one. It has no separate parts and no degrees, no kinds nor levels, no divergencies and no distinctions. It is like itself, unchanged throughout. It never alters with a person or a circumstance. It is the Heart of God, and also of His Son.” (W-pI.1:3-7). That’s a rather uncompromising viewpoint on the definition of love. How could this be possible in this world, from a practical viewpoint? Should I say to my wife that I love her just like I love everyone in the world?

The key thing to remember here is that Jesus in the paragraph above defines the content of love from a nondualistic viewpoint, whereas the opening paragraph refers, rather, to the different forms that we experience love in, given the dualistic world that we are convinced is our daily reality. Scholar Kenneth Wapnick used this example to explain the difference between special love, which is inherent here in the dualistic dream, and the Oneness love that you and I both have and are, as our true reality in the nondualistic realm of Heaven, which we actually never left, but have merely ‘forgotten’ for now.

In the same lesson, Jesus also explains why we, as the seemingly separated Son of God, prefer to perceive special love instead of the Oneness Love of God. By seeing a hierarchy in forms of love (which is the negation of the first miracle principle that there is no order of difficulties in miracles, T-1.I.1:1), you and I can now point to where there is absence of love. This, of course, is always seen in some person or situation outside of us. Now we can put on our ‘face of innocence’ and hold others responsible for everything that is not lovable in the world, even justifying our own incidental attacks: “The face of innocence the concept of the self so proudly wears can tolerate attack in self-defense, for is it not a well-known fact the world deals harshly with defenseless innocence?” (T-31.V.4:1).

In A course in Miracles, Jesus teaches his students to reconsider their notion of the volatility of love, and train their minds to become consistently and persistently miracle-minded, that is, choosing to perceive only love and express only love. That is, the unchangeable content of love. Jesus explains this principle as follows: “You cannot love parts of reality and understand what love means. If you would love unlike God, Who knows no special love, how can you understand it? To believe that special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation [ultimately from God] is salvation. […] How can you decide that special aspects of the Sonship can give you more than others?” (T-15.V.3:1-5)

Although Jesus’ plea to consistently focus on the content of love is clear, this does not mean that you and I will not express that love in different forms in our daily lives. For example, it’s not very helpful to tell your spouse that you love him or her just as much as any other, since ‘all love is one’. Especially with spouses who are not familiar with the two different teaching levels of A Course in Miracles, this would obviously not deepen the relationship to any significant extent, to say the very least. Nor would it be very practical to try to express the same form of love to everyone you meet during the say, simply because you have been told by Jesus that love is one, and so you ought to love everyone as you love yourself, that is, as the Son of God loves God.

Jesus’ lesson, therefore, is to practice on both levels at the same time. On the nondualistic level I, you practice ‘seeing’ the same light of God’s Love in everyone. The way to do this is called forgiveness, or the relinquishment of judgment, and the choice to switch teachers, as Jesus explains: “When you unite with me you are uniting without the ego, because I have renounced the ego in myself and therefore cannot unite with yours. Our union is therefore the way to renounce the ego in you.” (T-8.V.4:1-2). At the same time, in the dualistic world of level II, you express that love in the form which is most suited to the particular seemingly separated part of the Sonship that you are presented with from day to day in the classroom of the Holy Spirit.

And so you express the special love that you feel for your special life partner in a decidedly different way than the special love that you feel for some of your best friends, or sports team mates, or family members, you name it. It doesn’t matter, for the content of the oneness of Love will also be in the forefront of your mind. So, while you might honestly and passionately exclaim to your spouse that he or she is the greatest treasure in your life (which is a form of love), you can still, without any dishonesty whatsoever, silently bless him or her (and everyone you meet) for having and being the content of the Love of God. In the words of workbook lesson 127: “I bless you, brother, with the Love of God, which I would share with you. For I would learn the joyous lesson that there is no love but God’s and yours and mine and everyone’s.” (W-pI.127.12:3-5). Happy practicing!


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:

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See also my Feb. 2018 Course workshop at www.youtube.com.

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.

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To lighten the weight of death

Each time we are confronted with the death of a loved one, be it through illness, an accident, suicide, or simply old age, we are sharply reminded of the impermanence of all life. What’s more, we are simultaneously reminded that our own life is finite, which sometimes leads to a rethinking about what’s the use of all we do (though also what’s the use of all our worrying). On a spiritual level, each death we perceive is an unconscious affirmation (by the ego) that God has indeed not forgotten about our cardinal sin of separation from Him (which each death ‘proves’ was actually accomplished) and that in due time He will snatch back the life we stole from Him, though only after much suffering on our part.

No matter how much we distract the mind by busying ourselves with family, career, hobbies, and other personal ‘goals’, this is a basic fear that lurks in all of us, no matter how deep is it is repressed. How refreshing, then, to read a completely different view on the whole concept of death in A Course in Miracles! This is because of the unique metaphysical foundation of strict nonduality that its entire thought system rests on. It’s a unique view on what is reality and what is illusory. To attain the inner peace that is A Course in Miracles‘ goal, a basic understanding of the distinction between nonduality and duality is required, so let’s recap. I know I do this a lot in my blog posts, but since repetition is the mother of skill, another summary, in this case from the perspective of life and death, may be helpful.

Whenever we’re confronted with the passing of a loved one, we might realize that we see that person as a body; and consequently, we see ourselves as a body as well. A Course in Miracles, however, teaches us that you and I are not a body; we are pure spirit — but not in the sense of a ‘light’ or a ‘soul’ that’s ‘trapped’ in a specific body. Spirit is completely outside time, space, and perception. While in the world we think we live in everything is characterized by differences and change, in the world of spirit everything is one. So when we read in A Course in Miracles that you and I are pure spirit (cf. W-pI.97), one spirit is not different from another spirit — you and I are the very same spirit. Only in the world of time and space does this spirit seem to manifest itself as a myriad of separated bodies.

Scholar Kenneth Wapnick often used the very helpful distinction of a Level I and Level II view of reality. Level I equals nonduality, in which God is the only reality, and you and I and all life combined are but the unified extension of God’s changeless Love. Our linearly programmed brains cannot really grasp this, but according to A Course in Miracles you and I are not made of flesh and blood and bone (W-pI.107.8:2). You and I are one changeless spirit, eternally united with God (Who equals Love) in a ‘oneness joined as one’ (T-25.I.7:1).  This is Level I, the only true reality. This is certainly not our daily experience. Level II comprises the totality of time and space: the universe, the world, our lives, in short, what we generally think of as reality. A Course in Miracles calls this ‘the waking dream’ and states that this is completely illusory. The Son of God has seemingly fallen asleep in a dream of time and space, hoping to retain his imagined autonomy and hide from God, Who must be very angry about what His Son did to Him.

This is why Jesus says in chapter 24 of the text: “You may be surprised to hear how very different is reality from what you see. You do not realize the magnitude of that one error [of seriously considering separation from God]. It was so vast and so completely incredible that from it a world of total unreality had to emerge.” (T-24.I.5:1-3). In this ‘waking dream’ of time and space, we have forgotten what our true reality is. But that does not mean it is gone or lost. “Can you imagine what a state of mind without illusion is? How would it feel? Try to remember when there was a time — perhaps a minute, may be even less — when nothing came to interrupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe. Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity. Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more. And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest intimation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come.” (W-pI.107.2:1-3:1).

So when someone passes away, it’s the seeming end of what never had any reality anyway. It’s one fragment within the dream of the sleeping Son of God, on its journey to fragmenting yet once again. Although A Course in Miracles does not take a definite stand on the issue of reincarnation (cf. M-24), since that would give the concept of time a reality it simply does not have, both the text and workbook contain several allusions to us repeatedly coming back in different bodies, each with the same wrong-minded goal of separation from oneness, and with the same right-minded goal of learning the forgiveness lessons of the Holy Spirit (cf. T-6, the lessons of love). Also, in one of Gary Renard’s books, he was treated by Arten and Pursah on a rollercoaster experience of all the bodies he had inhabited on his journey home. So you and I can be reasonably sure that — at least from the perspective of Level II — we’re been here before many times. As long as we have not yet fully accepted the Atonement (“see the face of Christ in all your brothers and remember God”, M-5.2:1), you and I will be here for several lifetimes to come, until we have learned the final lesson, and only peace remains.

That places the concepts of birth and death in an entirely different perspective. You need never be afraid of death again! This is not to say, though, that you ought not to have any feelings when confronted with death. A Course in Miracles calls upon its students to remain normal persons; so as a loved one passes, you mourn just like anyone would do, and you certainly don’t tell everyone at the funeral that they should cheer up because it’s all illusory anyway. The only difference is that your mind is now capable of viewing it all from ‘above the battleground’ (cf. T-23.IV.5:1-7), and you realize you are in a classroom in which the Holy Spirit offers you yet another opportunity for forgiving a remaining dark spot in the mind. The dark spot is a decision to want to die, since this would ‘prove’ once again that the separation actually happened, and we can definitely mock God. After the mourning, we can now gently smile at such silliness. As Jesus says in chapter 19, in a quote that also appeared in the Bhagavad Gita three thousand years earlier: “How can the immortal die?” (T-19.II.3:6).


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:

buy-now-amazon-button

See also my Feb. 2018 Course workshop at www.youtube.com.

Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.