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:


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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