Valentine’s Day, by Ivor Sowton

Through the observation of others recommended by Jesus in A Course of Love (ACOL), through which we can experience the truth in others directly, rather than through our egos, we can perhaps get a new “take” on Valentine’s Day that can be helpful to us.

Valentine’s Day is another of those popular holidays that has gone widely cross-cultural, having achieved wide observance in big parts of Asia and Africa after its obscure beginnings in Western Catholicism. I say obscure beginnings because if you look into its roots you find at least three early Christian saints associated with its founding, and various accounts of their lives are not consistent. Nevertheless, all of these founding saints had names close to “Valentine,” and all of them were martyred for their faith (that used to be the usual requirement for being declared a saint–ouch!). Further–and here we get to the ACOL connection–these saints all had certain special people in their own personal lives to whom they sent short, fervent love notes (smuggled out of prison in their case!)

Now I don’t mean to suggest that these saints were “in love” with the recipients of their notes (although this apparently could be argued!) The point here is that they touched a very deep chord in us collectively and cross-culturally, as evidenced by the tremendous world-wide popularity of Valentine’s Day today.

The Jungian reading of this phenomenon would be that a deep, collective unconscious archetype had being activated here–and these deep archetypes are POWERFUL!

At any rate, Valentine’s Day quickly became about romantic little notes to those we are (or want to be!!) romantically involved with. Very early on in the history of the printing press there were mass produced love notes called “valentines,” and a famous book was soon printed containing short romantic poems to help people express the love they were feeling for that special person in their lives. The phenomena of Valentine’s Day had gone viral, as we would say today!

So, we are looking at the special relationship here, right?

Let’s use observation now, as defined by Jesus in ACOL:

“The power to observe what is is what what will keep you unified with your brothers and sisters rather than separating you from them.” (4th Treatise, 2.17)

So, let’s start with humility. We can’t pretend that “other” people might have the problem of special relationships, but not us. In a way it doesn’t seem fair, I admit. I mean, here we’ve diligently studied “special relationships” in ACOL and maybe A Course in Miracles (ACIM) too–shouldn’t that confer on us some kind of immunity? But we have to remember that our egos thrive on a sense of superiority over others, and are certainly capable of misusing this kind of insight to maintain their own specialness!
Here’s another relevant quote

“A new relationship exists now between the physical and the spiritual…This new relationship is the only state in which observation of what is can occur…It is believing that you exist in relationship and union with all and that each encounter is one of union and relationship…” (ibid, 2.25, 2.26, 2.32)

For me what this means at least for now is that unity and relationship with others is our natural state. As we start to observe others more and more in that light of unity we are going to love them more. But not as special beings outside of us whom we then become dependent on, for that is the old way of separation, rather than the new state of unity in relationship that Jesus is calling us to.

So go ahead and send that Valentine card and gift, but in the new way rather than the old way! The subtext will then be: “I am so glad to finally be able to see you for Who you really are. In doing so we are both ennobled, observer and observed as one in Christ consciousness.”

But the actual words you might write can be innocent, unschooled, and trite, even! We get to be sweet and childlike in the new way, thank goodness!

“Observation is an extension of the embrace that in turn makes the embrace observable.” (ibid, 3.1)
Isn’t that beautiful?

Happy Valentine’s!

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