I have finally finished that article on historical Jesus (and can now return to the land of the living). It has really been stretching my mind. I don’t know if you remember (or saw) a Little Caesar’s commercial on TV years ago, where someone grabs a piece of Little Caesar’s pizza out of the box, and there is so much cheese (part of which is stuck to the box) that it stretches and stretches and keeps on stretching. That’s how my mind feels.
What has been stretching me more than anything else is the notion that you should love your enemies so much that even when they attack you, you should treat them like your dearest friend, being concerned only about their pain, and then reaching out with extravagant generosity to alleviate their pain, totally unconcerned about your own conventional needs. It means loving your enemy like you love your spouse or child. It means really loving your enemy.
That idea has been really staying with me. It implies that each person is incredibly precious, unbelievably lovable and priceless. That we should regard every passing stranger as intensely near and dear. That, of course, is exactly what the Course is trying to teach us, that each person has “inestimable worth” (T-7.VII.7:3). That there are “no strangers” (the phrase is repeated four times in the Course). That each and every person we see is our “dearest friend” (W-pI.rI.60.3:5).
I’ve always wanted to believe this, but have never managed to. No doubt I just haven’t wanted it strongly enough. As the Course reminds us, it’s all a matter of motivation. If you want it, you’ll have it. What has been hitting me lately, though, is just how different I would feel if I lived in a world where every person is infinitely dear and precious. Well, the Course says I do live in such a world. How different my life would be if I really knew that!
So my practice has been focusing on that lately. Today I have been doing the second part of 298. The whole thing goes “I love You, Father, and I love Your Son.” Today I realized that when practicing that lesson (which I have long been extremely fond of), I have focused on the first part (“I love You, Father”) and even while saying the second part have more or less ignored it: “I love You, Father, and rumphmumphmumphum.” Funny how we can do that.
So today I’ve just been practicing the second part: “And I love Your Son.” If that person really is God’s Own Son, then what else really matters? What does it matter if they appear to be self-absorbed, immature, unstable, and prickly (no, I’m not talking about anyone in particular)? Surely all of that pales in comparison to the one unparalleled fact that they are God’s Own Son, infinitely precious and dear, possessing literally inestimable worth. It reminds me of a line from Psychotherapy: “Who calls on [you] is far beyond [your] understanding.” As I said in my previous post, if I really believed that, then I would really be alive. When I practice this lesson, I do feel more alive, like I’m coming out of the sleep of egocentrism, at least a little bit.