The following is a message from Circle founder, Robert Perry, delivered each week to Course Companions members. Course Companions is our global community of students and teachers walking through the Course, section-by-section and lesson-by-lesson, together as friends. For access to any classes, handouts, and additional commentaries referenced in these posts, we invite you to join Course Companions by visiting CourseCompanions.com. Please note that partial and full scholarships are available and no one is turned away from Circle of Atonement programming for an inability to pay.
July 31, 2020
We have had another week rich in wisdom from the Course. I’m not going to do a recap of all the events, though—we’ve had six since last Sunday! Instead, I’ll just focus on a particular theme that struck me, from two of the classes I did.
In Wednesday’s Text class (about “Abandoning the Illusion of Love”—T-16.IV), we looked at how we structure our lives around avoiding the hate within ourselves. We take the people we hate and push them toward the margins of our lives, and then we surround ourselves with the people we “love.” That way, it looks like our lives—and our minds—are just full of love. We can now look around and look within and confidently say to ourselves, “What hate? It’s all love. I’m such a good person.”
And then in Friday’s class (on “The Ladder of Prayer”—S-1.II), we looked at the concept of “enemy.” That section of The Song of Prayer says that, rather than praying for our enemies in the conventional sense, we should realize that if we think we have enemies, we ourselves need prayer. It is we who have placed upon those people the illusion of being our enemy. We have taken that hate within, and the guilt that comes along with it, and projected it onto them. Now, all the ugliness we see in them is that which we can’t face in ourselves, seen as if it’s outside, when it is still within.
What these two classes reminded me is that I really don’t want to face my hate. I want to surround myself with easy-to-love people and tell myself I have no hate. I want to put it on my “enemies” and tell myself they cause whatever modicum of hate is left in me. It’s something they have transplanted into me; it’s not really mine. Meanwhile, I will surround myself with nice things and lovely spiritual words, along with a home altar and a lovely garden. And I’ll basically tell myself I have no ego.
Is this spiritual progress or just more illusion? We need to face the hate within that we have been hiding from. As the Text says, “Be not afraid to look upon the special hate relationship, for freedom lies here” (T-16.IV.1:1). It sounds scary, I realize. Who wants to do that? But Jesus says we can look at it safely: “You will go through this last undoing quite unharmed, and will emerge as yourself” (T-16.IV.2:3). And he says that the greatest prize of all awaits us on the other side. For once we have looked at and relinquished our hate, we will at last know the meaning of love (T-16.IV.1:2).