“The second rule of the art of thought is to acknowledge relationship, the call for a response, and the nature of all gifts as being given to all. This is thus a call to realize that you exist in relationship, that your relationship calls for a response, and that you are given to all as all are given to you. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.6)”
Affirmation: “I am part of all.”
1 – Respond
The Treatise on the Art of Thought emphasizes that in relationship, one is required to respond, but not to take responsibility for another. We are all equal. We can help one another, but each is responsible for himself/herself.
2 – Responsibility
What about the sick, the infirm, or those who are too old to care for themselves well? I would say that this is still a time when one responds to need, but does not take “responsibility” for another. This is a fine point, a fine distinction. One does respond to another’s needs, but the actual choice of when to live and die belongs to the other individual’s Self. We are not to interfere with all decisions that another is making on behalf of his/her Self/Christ. That is not our business, not our responsibility.
3 – Given to All
But we are given to all, all others. We are a part of God and all others. We are One. And this response that we are called upon to make may be a tremendous giving on our part. The response may be gigantic, though only, perhaps, rarely. We are not to turn aside from need, though. We are to give to others by way of responding to their needs. We just don’t take their integrity from them.
4 – An Example
I think of this mostly in regard to a parent who has dementia. We take care of that individual, but we do not steal their choices from them until the very last, when they can no longer express preference. We let parents with dementia retain their integrity and their dignity. To do less would not be kind.
5 – Puzzling Reactions
We often need to respond to individuals who puzzle us in their reactions. If we know the person well, we can often fall back on that knowledge and react in ways that have worked previously. But this is not always a viable solution. We are not to look to the past, when guidance will come to us in the present. We are, after all, meant to live in the present as much of the time as possible. If unsure of what response to offer another, go inward for an answer. And we can be certain that the answer will come, usually immediately. Only if there is strong emotion (which may mislead us), need we wait at all for a solution to the problem. As I have said many times in this blog, quoting A Course in Miracles, the solution is with the problem. And we will respond accordingly, if we are thinking and acting wisely.
May we respond with love, realizing that taking responsibility for another is not what is needed or asked. And this is true even for children and the infirm. May I respond fully to need as it is presented to me. May in no way I turn aside from one who asks for help.
May the challenges I face be known as an incident only, for there is no challenge when one has studied long and hard. I try to be attuned to guidance, and I ask, especially today, to be so attuned.
Help me to reach out to others who need my care. I will respond, and I will do so lovingly, given Your help to do so.