Living by the Laws of Love, by Ivor Sowton

Remain who you are and continue to live by the laws of love in every circumstance, and you bring love to every circumstance. (Jesus in the Third Treatise of A Course of Love (T2:17))

If forgiveness is the default response to all circumstances recommended in A Course in Miracles, living by the laws of love is the updated automatic response to all circumstances Jesus is now recommending to us all in A Course of Love. This is very helpful because love is usually in the positive because of our associations to the very real love we have received and have given to others in the past, whereas forgiveness is often associated with “I need to do this but I don’t want to.”

So we are urged to remember love now at all times and in all places. We are just to do our part here by trying to bring love into our present experience of life as much as we can. Some others may be very much helped by us if we can do that, but Jesus tells us that some will not respond to our love–but he assures us that timing is the only issue here because “none will be forever lost to his or her own Self”(T2:17).

I just had a funny thing happen as an example of trying to live by this new recommendation of trying to always bring love. The scene was just before an important meeting I needed to help host at our home. The tension was rising and I was starting to sweat. That is just when our cat started yowling loudly. I assumed that she was just needing attention and tried to ignore her. She just kept upping the volume! I started getting angry at her. I assumed that she was picking up my own up-tightness, but now was not the time! I was about to raise my voice at her when finally I remembered to try and bring love to every circumstance. I quickly went and found our cat, and lo and behold she was standing in front of her cat door, which had become jammed shut. She had been trying to tell me she was about to have an accident inside! I was petting her as she made a purr-ful exit.

Now in the past I’m almost sure I would have blown this one; maybe I would have grabbed the cat and thrown her outside, scaring her and hurting the trust in our relationship. She would have had to forgive me, and I would have to forgive myself! What a bunch of extra work!
This example is also illustrative of another very helpful recommendation Jesus makes to us–that is to practice on the small stuff. We have several friends who like to just “drop in” without calling first, which has always been challenging to my equanimity when I’m busy. If it had been one of those friends suddenly showing up right then I would have had a much harder time remembering to love! So practice, practice, practice while the stakes are small; then the love habit will be forming to help you with the bigger things that come along!

In psychology there is a useful distinction made between content and process. The factual content of any situation (e.g. my cat is yowling) is completely different from my inner process around that event (she shouldn’t be doing that and I’m angry about that!) Jesus is telling us in ACOL that our inner process is everything, really, for it doesn’t matter at all what I’m outwardly doing or not doing; what people will feel and be affected by is my energy, my intent–that is, they will feel my love or lack of love for them. Jesus says in T20:16: “These calls go out from love to love. It is not the words of your mouth that will be heard, or the language of your mind that will be responded to. It is the love within your heart that will sound the call. . .All you need do is open the door through which love can enter.”

So our spiritual practice is to bring love.

There is only one distinction that need be made: what comes of love and what comes of fear. All expressions of love are of maximal benefit to everyone. (Jesus in T19.8).

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