“Only from this shared vision, this observation of what is can you begin to produce unity and relationship through unity and relationship. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 2.18)”
1 – Hallmark Features
The hallmark features of A Course of Love are the “unity and relationship” in which we are now to live. We are one in unity, and we are one in relationship. We do not “learn” in the old way, but we observe in this world, and especially in our encounters with our brothers and sisters, the new way.
2 – Personal Self
“A Treatise on the Personal Self,” the third treatise (just prior to the “Treatise on the New”), explains more fully what unity and relationship really mean. In a sense, the meaning is no different from the words themselves. We are all One (unity), and yet we are differentiated into individuals (making relationships necessary, and, indeed, allowing us to experience life, and for the God within us to experience life).
3 – Sharing a Vision
We share a vision with all of our brothers and sisters, whether or not they have walked the same pathway that we are walking through ACIM and ACOL. They may choose a different pathway, even though Jesus says that this curriculum is required. He goes on to say, elsewhere, that the curriculum is mandatory much as school is mandatory for young people, but if they don’t go to school, they learn in a different way. In ACIM, Jesus says that contemplation will work, but that it is tedious, and it is not our way. In ACIM, our way is the special, turned holy, relationships with our brothers and sisters, through forgiveness. And even this forgiveness, we ultimately realize, is not even necessary, as the thoughts and actions that we spurned were madness, an illusion. In ACOL, the difference in emphasis is on the unity and relationship that we experience with these same brothers and sisters who people our world. Thus there is a logical progression from ACIM toACOL.
4 – Pay Attention
The terms “unity” and “relationship” are used so often in A Course of Love that we must be very careful always to remember what they mean. It is easy to gloss over the terms, but Jesus means something very precisely by them, and it is well for us to take in their full meaning.
5 – Oneness and Diversity
In a sense, the terms mean “oneness” and “diversity,” and if we think of the fact that we truly are all One, and yet we are divided into a multiplicity of beings, then we have the concept firmly in hand. This is the way that God experiences Himself through us. This is the way of reality.
6 – Shared Reality
There is another aspect to this quotation, the aspect of a shared reality. We are all in this together, and the sooner we realize that we are never, ever, isolated, the better off we will become. This means that we are never alone.
7 – Does God Know about Us?
For too long, we have tried to be “independent,” when this is a flawed concept. We are not meant to be independent of God as we understand Him. We are meant to communicate with our Creator, and He will communicate with us. There is some difference of opinion among students/teachers of A Course in Miracles about whether or not God actually enters into our illusion, and therefore knows about us. I think He does know, and knows intimately. Obviously, we are a part of Him—how can He not know? To remove God from our faith is to take away a support that we all need, and we all need, sometimes desperately. We can talk about the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but this seems somewhat barren if we don’t realize that God is a part of this Trinity. I don’t want to leave God out of my life by deciding that He doesn’t enter into my dream, my illusion. This is not my experience. My experience of the Ultimate is of a God Who cares, and cares intimately. The Holy Spirit, when we are following ACIM, is our Teacher, but His guidance doesn’t give me the intimacy that communing with God does. His guidance seems more impersonal.
8 – Our Community
These are personal reflections. These reflections are not spelled out in either A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love. There is plenty of room for differences of opinion about what God knows in A Course in Miracles. Our community of ACIM and ACOL ought to peacefully coexist with differences of opinion in interpretation.
Please help me to understand all is One, and that, with my brothers and sisters, we are One in relationship. When I am very busy, it is so easy to get tunnel vision, to fail to look outward and to offer my help to those who surround me. May I not forget to reach out to my brothers and sisters today.
Thank you, as always, for being there for me. As someone said, “I may forget You today. But please don’t forget me.”
Thank you for Your guidance, the guidance that comes either from the Holy Spirit or from the inner Christ Self. I am never certain from where my guidance comes, but comes it does, and often. I try to use my mind and heart, in conjunction, so that I don’t make inferences that are misinformed. Help me to use my wholeheartedness today, as I walk through a peaceful world. Thank You for allowing me to see peace in the midst of turmoil. Be with me today, as always. And thank You for talking to me, in inner silence.