do we have more illusionary ideas of what love means
than in the area of romance.
trained by a world of cultural imagery to believe there
is someone, one special someone, who will complete us
and make us whole. Yet what will make us whole is a
deeper love for everyone. Exclusive love is not the
prize it purports to be, and in truth, romantic love
works far, far better when it is grounded in a larger,
more inclusive love. Romance is one from that loves
takes--certainly a manificent one--and yet it is content,
not form, that determines love’s meaning. If we’re
attached to that particular form of love, then we are
on a slippery slope toward the fires of hell. And what
are those fires? They are the anxiety we feel when that
person doesn’t call or acts in a way we interpret
as unloving or doesn’t want us anymore.
the biggest mistakes we make in relationships is when
we get a fixed notion of what love should look like.
If he loves me, he will do this. If she wants to be
my friend, she will do tha. But what if the feelings
we want the other person to have simply don’t
express themselves the way we think they should? Are
we going to forgo a love because it doesn’t come
in the package we expected it to arrive in? Relationships
aren’t black and white, and people aren’t
good or bad. We’re complicated. We’re trying
our best. The more we live, the more we realize that
the failure of others to love us the way we wish they
would is as unintentional as our own such failures.
argues that the right intimate relationship would take
away all the pain of separation, yet that is delusional.
Intimacy isn’t a special category so much as a
deeper layer of existence. When we first hold a baby
in our arms, that is an intimate moment. When we sit
with someone when they die, that is an intimate moment.
When we share deeply from our core about our genuine
feelings, that is an intimate moment. Our obsession
with romantic love as the primary container for intimacy
has often kept us from finding it. It is two hearts—not
two bodies—that make a holy connection. When the
body comes along, that’s fantastic. But anyone
with any experience knows that sex itself doesn’t
guarantee deep connection. And at times, it can obstruct
A Course in Miracles teaches
the difference between special love and holy love.
love means we are attached to another person being
a certain way. We think we know what we need from a
person and put our focus on trying to make it happen.
Not realizing we are looking to a human relationship
to fill a space that only God can fill, we are willing
to go to extraordinary lengths to make the other person,
or ourselves, fit into the picture our ego thinks is
perfect. The problem with this is that control and manipulation,
however subtle, are not love. Love is repelled by any
effort to hold onto it too tightly.
to the ego’s special relationship is the creation
of the holy relationship, in which we allow a relationship
to be what it wants to be and reveal its meaning to
us, rather than trying to determine its meaning first.
Holy love allows another person to simply be who he
or she is. It helps us detach from the need to control
another person's behavior. Yet all of that is much
easier than said than done.
The ego is always on the lookout for ways
to undermine our relationships because genuine relationship
means death to the ego.
Do You Focus on Guilt or
your life as a long-running movie. Now see it made by
two different directors. The first movie, in the hand
of one director, is a movie about fear, anger, scarcity,
and anxiety. The other, in the hands of a different
director, is a movie about love, peace, abundance, and
is your ego; the other is the Holy Spirit. And the star
of the movie is you. Which
director you take your cues from depends on one thing:
the thoughts you hold in your mind.
directions from your ego, all you have to do is focus
on guilt. The ego’s cornerstone thought is that
the child of God is guilty.
To take your direction
from the Holy Spirit, focus instead on innocence.
Love’s cornerstone thought is that the child
of God is innocent.
focus we choose—on someone’s innocence or
on their guilt—determines the drama that unfolds
in our lives and the part that we play in it. It is
our willingness to see the innocence in a person that
allows us to see it. The ego mind is so invested in
the human drama, “He did this, she said that”,
that it often takes a higher power to counterbalance
the ego’s insistence.
helps to remember that the ego’s true target
is you: your ego wants you to see guilt in others
mainly so you might stay convinced of all the guilt
of guilt in anyone is our surefire ticket to hell. Every
time we blame another, we are tightening the chains
that keep our own self-hatred in place. With every human
encounter, we either affirm for people their innocence
or fortify their guilt. And whichever it is is how we
ourselves will feel. We cannot escape our oneness, even
if we do not acknowledge it. "Do unto others
what you would have them do unto you," because
they will. And even if they don’t, you will feel
as though they did.
all minds are joined, whatever I choose to think about
you I am in essence thinking about myself. To the extent
to which I perceive your guilt, I am bound to perceive
my own. It doesn’t feel that way at first, of
course, because the ego would have us believe that as
soon as we place the blame on someone else we’ll
feel better. But that’s just a temporary delusion—
something the ego specializes in. Once we get over the
temporary high of having cast the blame away from us,
it will come back to us a hundredfold. An attack
thought is like a sword we think we’re dropping
on someone else’s head, when in fact it’s
dropping on our own. Only if I’m willing to be
easier on others will I ever learn how to be easier
can be very hard when someone has acted horribly. But
the truth, whether or not we care to admit it, is that
someone did what we too might have done if we had been
as freaked out by something as they were; if we had
been as scared of something as they were; if we had
been as limited in our understanding as they were. That
doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be held accountable
or that we shouldn’t have boundaries and standards.
It doesn’t even mean we have to stay in contact
with that person. But it does mean we can come to understand
that humanity is not perfect. Just knowing that is a
realization that opens the heart to more enlightened
understanding. And that’s what we’re on
the earth for, because in the presence of people with
enlightened understanding, darkness ultimately turns
are laboratories of the Holy Spirit, but they can also
be playgrounds for the ego. They can be heaven, or they
can be hell. They are infused with love or infused with
fear. Most of the time, they are a little of both.
speaks first and the ego speaks loudest, and it will
always make a case for separation: the other person
did this or that and therefore does not deserve our
love. And in whatever moment we choose to listen to
the ego—denying love to someone else—then
to that extent we will be denied. Knowing that the mind
works that way, we can call for help. We can pray for
a power greater than our own to push back the storm
of neurotic thinking.
ego, the purpose of a relationship is to serve our needs
as we define them. I want to get this job; I want him
or her to marry me; I want this person to see things
the way I do. To the Holy Spirit, the purpose of a relationship
is to serve a divine curriculum. It is there for a reason,
but the reason might not be the one we ascribe to it.
The ego and God have diametrically opposed intentions.
The only way to make sure we’re not playing sick
and destructive mind games in a situation, particularly
in relationships where the ego has so much invested,
is to invite the Holy Spirit to enter there and prevail.
At the earliest moment you think to do it, place a relationship
on the altar to God within your mind.
God, I place my relationship with _____ in Your hands.
May my presence be a blessing in his life. May my thoughts
toward him be those of innocence and love. And may his
thoughts toward me be those of innocence and love. May
all else be cast out. May our relationship be lifted
to divine right order, and take the form that best serves
Your purposes. May all unfold, in this and all things,
according to Your will. Amen.
we try to take the paintbrush out of God’s hands,
under the erroneous assumption we can paint a better
picture than He can. The ego will try to get a relationship
to fit into our idea of how it should be rather than
allowing it to organically reveal itself. We have pictures
and idealizations we try to foist on others, thinking,
“It should feel like this,” or “They
should act like that.” Yet
at the deepest level, we are simply souls encountering
other souls, and relationships should be places where
we free each other, not imprison each other. When our
consciousness is simply that of one child of God honoring
another—regardless of how things look in the outer
world—we exude a peace and acceptance that calls
people to their highest.
calm, people around us will be calmer; when we’re
kind, people around us will be kinder; when we’re
peaceful, people around us will be more peaceful. Once
we find the love within ourselves, calling it forth
in our relationships comes much more easily. Yet even
when relationships are good, the ego is always alert
to ways it can drive two hearts apart. The ego directs
us toward love but then sabotages it once it gets here.
You think you’re so in love, but then you act
needy and repel it. You
think you’re feeling peaceful, but then love comes
near and you get totally neurotic. You
want to make a good impression, and then go and act
like an idiot.
is always on the lookout for ways to undermine our relationships
because genuine relationship means death to the ego.
Where we unite with another, God is; and where God is,
ego cannot be. To the ego, therefore, undermining our
relationships is an act of self-preservation. The only
way to ward off its destructiveness is to stand firm
in your commitment to love—not just as a commitment
to another person, who to the ego may or may not deserve
it—but as a commitment to God and to yourself.
thoughts can become a mental habit. Sometimes,
when we’re impatient with each other, it helps
to think of the person we’re dealing with as they
must have been like as a child. For all of us are children
in God’s eyes. When
children are young we know they’re growing, and
we take this into account in our dealings with them.
We don’t expect a twelve-year-old to have the
maturity she or he will have at eighteen. And
as adults we’re still growing too, whether or
not we can always see that in each other. We’re
not finished once we reach a certain age; rather, we
continue to grow and develop as long as we’re
as children do. We stumble, as children do. And we sometimes
fail, as children do. God sees all of us that way, no
matter how old we are. He has infinite mercy upon us,
and we could have mercy too. None
of us arrives in any relationship already healed, already
a holy relationship, it is understood we are all wounded
but we are there to be healed together.
relationship is seen as a temple of healing, with mutual
proactive beneficence our daily medicine, the ego will
then have far less power to snatch away our joy.
Each Other’s Greatness
in a world where judgments are made quickly and easily.
Lies are told about people and printed by an irresponsible
press; anyone can say whatever they want on their Web
site and appear credible. People
tear down others’ reputations and assassinate
people’s character like it’s a sport. I’ve
had a lot of judgment thrown my way since my public
career began. For whatever reason—my womanhood,
my convictions, my basic brashness—some have seemed
to feel it was their duty to rain on my parade. Yet
I’ve learned that you don’t serve the world
by taking on its judgments, hanging your head in shame,
and saying, “Yeah, you must be right. I must be
responsibility for your part in your own disasters,
yes—but take on every projection of guilt from
every unhealed person? No!
For whatever reason people may need to project their
own anger and guilt on you, you don’t have to
accept it if it’s not yours.
environments we receive basic support: “Go, girl!
Fly!” And in others we get, “Who
the hell do you think you are, trying to fly? Get down
here, or we will force you down!” When
we recognize the vengeance of the ego—how much
it detests the spirit of life and love—we more
easily avoid personalizing its vicious attacks. And
there’s learning in anything we go through. Both
the challenge and the growth potential that comes from
having had others judge you harshly is that it makes
you have to decide for yourself what your self-esteem
is based on: other people’s estimation or God’s.
of God is a hundred and eighty degrees away from the
thinking of the world, and one of the many areas where
we have things completely upside down is in the area
of arrogance and humility. We never should apologize
for seeking to actualize our greatness of God that lives
in all of us. And those who refuse to support others
in manifesting their dreams are only withholding support
from themselves. Whatever I refuse to celebrate in your
life, I will not be able to draw into mine. My thoughts
about you are inseparable from my thoughts about myself.
If I won’t give you permission to shine, I can’t
give myself permission to shine either.
living out our greatness takes on an urgency beyond
fulfilling our individual dreams. Bringing forth our
greatness is critical to the survival of the species;
only if you get to live out your potential and I get
to live out mine will the world be able to live out
its own. Since limited thinking produces limited results,
supporting others in believing in themselves helps to
move the entire world forward. And becoming who we’re
capable of being— regardless of other people’s
opinions of us—is part of our responsibility both
to ourselves and to God.
we’re supporting the emergence of greatness in
the people around us, we’re not doing our full
part to help heal the world.
smile, an e-mail, the smallest gesture can make the
difference in helping another person believe in himself
or herself. From a material perspective, what we give
away we lose. But from a spiritual perspective, only
what we give away do we get to keep. When we’re
more generous with our support for others, the universe
itself shows more support for us.
The Gift of Change by Marianne
only way to gain power in a world that is moving too fast
is to learn to slow down. And the only way to spread one's
influence wide is to learn to go deep.