Hearts on the Edge
. . . learning to love in a loveless place
A Course in Miracles is about a way of being in relationship with others that is premised on acceptance and love rather than resistance and fear. This way of relating is actually natural for us, but we have become mostly stupified with respect to it. We live in a low-grade nightmare brought on by our inability to see that there is only relationship, and no separated selves anywhere to be found.
The work the course urges us to do is the work of realizing who our brothers and sisters are in truth. This has to do with refusing to project onto them our own fears, hatreds, insecurities and powerlust. And that has to do with becoming nonviolent with respect to our inner self so that, by extension, we may become nonviolent unto our brothers and sisters, and the world.
. . . lay aside your shield which profits nothing, and lay down the spear and sword you raised against an enemy without existence. Christ has called you friend and brother (W-pI.182.11:1-2).
What does this look like in practice?
If you give attention to judgment - if you study carefully how judgment arises, what its foundation is, and what its objectives are - you will see that it rests upon a decisive binary: good/bad, in/out, right/wrong. It's the slash that matters; not the words on either side. Judgment wants - because judgment is - division.
Say that someone approaches you and declares that the white race is genetically, intellectually and morally superior to all other races, and then informs you that they are actively working to support systems which eradicate non-white people.
I judge that person is wrong in both their ideas and their practice.
I judge that I am right to try and talk them out of their ideas and, if necessary, obstruct their practice.
I am very clear about this.
A Course in Miracles makes an interesting observation about that person, our relationship, and my certainty about what to do next.
Recognize what does not matter, and if your brother asks you for something "outrageous," do it because it does not matter. Refuse, and your opposition establishes that it does matter to you (T-12.III.4:1-2).
Please go slowly with me here.
We are not going to support hate-filled ideologies; we are not going to help build death camps. We are doing the opposite of that - we are loving in a loveless place (T-14.IV.4:10). That is what healed healers do. We do what helps, not what hurts (T-16.I.6:4-5).
So ask: is it possible that our brother is not asking us to support their hatred but rather to save them from it, by loving them in spite of it?
It takes a lot of study and practice to hear the cry for love masquerading as "something outrageous." When we do hear it that way, then the "something outrageous" becomes loving someone who is wrong - a brother whose beliefs and behavior apparently justify not loving them.
The closest most of us get to loving someone like the racist in my example above is along the lines of "you're wrong but I love you anyway" or "I hate the sin but I love the sinner."
A Course in Miracles calls these forms of forgiveness "forgiveness to destroy" and invites us to let them go and then go beyond them.
All forms forgiveness takes that do not lead away from anger, condemnation and comparisons of every kind are death . . . be not deceived by them, but lay them aside as worthless in their tragic offerings (S-2.II.8:1,3).
Here is the thing: we have to give attention to our brother or sister who is absolutely unconditionally wrong and accept that, if we were them - if we had their education, their genetics, their brain, their cultural conditioning - then their argument would not only feel right, it would be right.
That fact that we can’t do that is about our fear. It reflects our lack of trust in God. We need the other to be wrong - we need them to be evil. How else are we going to sustain the illusion that we have outgrown hatred and violence?
A common ego argument here is that if we overlook the sin/error of racism, then we implicitly permit its existence and allow its effects.
I promise you that when you perceive your brother without projection - when you accept that his "wrongness" could as easily be yours - then the division that underlies racism (and myriad other forms of fear) will dissolve. Our ability to advocate for peace by emobodying peace - by responding to a cry for love with love - is what persuades others to join us in both ideals of peace and practices of peace.
This is the secret of nonviolence: when you set aside the sword of judgment, then you will see that you never needed it in the first place. "The sword of judgment is the weapon that you give to the illusion of yourself, that it may fight to keep the space that holds your brother off unoccupied by love" (T-31.VII.9:2).
Judgment begets separation by making perception of differences valuable. We are the protagonists we are asking Christ to save us from.
So we surrender judgment in order to perceive others as God perceives them. This takes willingness, humility and trust. Yet in that space, the Holy Spirit teaches us how to meet both the foolish requests and the real ones, without sacrificing either (T-16.I.6:7-8).
Until we welcome the one we would keep apart as proof of our specialness in the eyes of God then we are choosing to remain separated from All our brothers and sisters and from God. In truth, such alienation is impossible; in the nightmare of separation, nothing is more real.
We are never justified in holding our brothers and sisters apart from us. As students of A Course in Miracles, we are called to understand how this is so, and to make it our daily practice.
The Holy Spirit knows that no one is special. Yet He also perceives that you have made special relationships, which He would purify and not let you destroy . . . He can translate them into holiness by removing as much fear as you will let Him. You can place any relationship under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain . . . (T-15.V.5:1-4).
When we truly hear the cry for love in our brothers and sisters - the ones we hate, the ones we reject, the ones we are just a little more Christlike than - then we learn that it is our cry for love. Beyond the form relationship takes - beyond the body, beyond the world - there is only love and the call for love and the response to both is the same.
We are here to be in relationship, and we are in relationship in order to remember that love, not fear, is our inheritance.