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Course Fundamentals: The Trinity and Other Metaphysical and Theological Points of Confusion

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

I don’t speak a great deal on basic Course metaphysics, but whenever I do, I get a barrage of questions, which suggest to me that there is a great deal of confusion around fundamental aspects of the Course’s view of ultimate reality. So I decided to devote a class to this topic. What follows are brief answers from me on a) questions I often hear, b) questions I think are fundamental, and c) questions I was asked in class on Tuesday night.

Who or what is God?

The God of the Course in my view is a blend of the best of the traditional personal God of the West and of the more mystical, impersonal God of many Eastern paths. The disadvantage of the personal God is that He carries all the imperfections of a person—wrathful, moody, changeable. For this reason, many of us left this God behind years ago and became more attracted to the idea of a God who is like the impersonal void of many mystics and Eastern paths. This God seems almost scientific in its perfection—boundless, spaceless, timeless. What I never liked about the impersonal void, however, is that it is more like an “it” than a “he” or “she.” It seems like less than a person. The Course’s God combines the best of both worlds. This God is a sort of Person—He has a Mind, a Will, and Thoughts. He feels (Love and peace and joy) and He cares. Yet He has no boundary and no human imperfections. He is pure, limitless spirit, beyond form and beyond change. Here are a few of my favorite quotes about God:

The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One. Beyond the First there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the First. (T-14.IV.1:7-8)

He is first in the sense that He is the First in the Holy Trinity Itself. He is the Prime Creator, because He created His co-creators. Because He did, time applies neither to Him nor to what He created. (T-7.I.7:5-7)

God is All in all in a very literal sense. All being is in Him Who is all Being. (T-7.IV.7:4-5)

Is God immanent or transcendent?

In the Course, God is definitely transcendent, in that He transcends all of time and space. Yet you could also say that He is immanent, in that He abides within each of us, and in that His Voice, the Holy Spirit, is constantly at work in the dream of time and space.

What does the Course say about God’s Love?

The God of the Course is characterized more than anything else by love. He loves, completely and unconditionally. He never has even the slightest hint of anger or impatience. He is absolutely egoless, in the best sense of the word. The Course says three remarkable things about His Love. First, it is like the most intense, enduring, and encompassing love we experience in this world (see quote below). Second, it has no actual earthly parallel, for it so vastly exceeds all love on this earth that earthly loves do not furnish a real parallel. And so, technically speaking, it is like nothing in this world. Third, it is so profoundly satisfying that it is the only thing we really want. In all of our searching, we are secretly searching for this one Love.

He loves you as a mother loves her child; her only one, the only love she has, her all-in-all, extension of herself, as much a part of her as breath itself.

He loves you as a brother loves his own; born of one father, still as one in him, and bonded with a seal that cannot break.

He loves you as a lover loves his own; his chosen one, his joy, his very life, the one he seeks when she has gone away, and brings him peace again on her return.

He loves you as a father loves his son, without whom would his self be incomplete, whose immortality completes his own, for in him is the chain of love complete. (Gifts of God)

Who or what is Christ?

Because, as the Course says, “God did not will to be alone” (T-11.I.6:3), He created a Son. This Son is called the Christ. And because, as the Course says, “Giving Himself is all He knows” (T-14.IV.3:2), God gave all of Himself into the creation of this Son. He therefore gave the Christ all of His attributes, all of His Nature, all of His Being. The Christ is therefore the complete equal of God in every respect, except one: God created Christ, Christ did not create God.

Christ is the Self the Sonship shares, as God shares His Self with Christ. (T-15.V.10:10)

Christ is the extension of the Love and the Loveliness of God, as perfect as His Creator and at peace with Him. (T-11.IV.7:5)

How does Christ relate to God?

As I said above, Christ is the equal of God, and is also one with God. There is no separation between Christ and God. However, there is still a clear sense of hierarchy. God is Cause and will always be Cause, and Christ will always be effect. God is also the home of Christ, the container of Christ, you might say. Reality, in the Course, is really about God and Christ, Who are so in love that They constantly sing of Their love for each other. That’s all They do, but that is more than enough.

What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him. (W-pI.132.12:4)

Christ knows of no separation from His Father, Who is His one relationship, in which He gives as His Father gives to Him. (T-15.VIII.4:7)

It was then what it is to become; the single voice Creator and creation share; the song the Son sings to the Father, Who returns the thanks it offers Him unto the Son. Endless the harmony, and endless, too, the joyous concord of the love they give forever to each other. (S-1.In.1:2-3)

Where is Heaven?

We might assume that Heaven is sort of the container of everything, even God. We are used to praying the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven.” Yet in the Course, God is the container of everything. “All being is in Him Who is all Being” (T-7.IV.7:4-5). Therefore, the Course says that God is not in Heaven; rather, “Heaven is…in God” (T-12.VI.7:7). And Heaven is not a sort of celestial space that was prior to God, but rather a “space” which God created for His Son: “Heaven is the home of perfect purity, and God created it for you” (T-22.II.13:6).

What are we?

This is where it all starts to sound more relevant. The Course says that when God created the Son, the Christ, He also created an infinite number of parts (or aspects, or children, or Sons, or brothers, or minds) within the Christ. These parts are God-created and thus predate the separation (indeed, as we’ll see, the separation doesn’t make sense without the prior existence of the parts). Individually, these parts are usually called Sons. Collectively, they are called the Sonship. Each Son is both part of the whole (the whole being the Christ) and are also, paradoxically, all of the whole. In fact, rather than the whole being made up of the parts, each part is made of the whole. The whole (the Christ) is the substance of its being. Another way of saying this is that each Son (each of us) does not have its own unique self. Rather, each Son shares the exact same Self with all the other Sons. This Self is the Christ, which is why I think the best definition the Course gives for the Christ is this: “Christ is the Self the Sonship shares” (T-15.V.10:10). If you were to each to the core of our being, the place where we are most ourselves, then at the core of each one of us, you would find exactly the same thing: Christ.

Creation is the sum of all God’s Thoughts, in number infinite, and everywhere without all limit….We are creation; we the Sons of God. (W-pII.11.1:1, 4:1)

I am God’s Son, complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. In me is His creation sanctified and guaranteed eternal life. In me is love perfected, fear impossible, and joy established without opposite. I am the holy home of God Himself. I am the Heaven where His Love resides. I am His holy Sinlessness Itself, for in my purity abides His Own. (W-pII.14.1:1-6)

How important is the concept of Christ to the practical level of the Course?

The concept of the Christ is extremely important to the practical level of the Course. For the Course’s practicality is almost entirely about seeing beyond the bodies of others, beyond the personality of others, to their reality as Christ. This only makes sense if it is backed up by a metaphysical view in which they really are the Christ. If we see them as mere projections in our dream, or if we see them as mere fragments of a primordial ego, then they are not worthy of our love. Yet seeing them as the Christ grants them infinite value, infinite dignity, infinite respect. It makes them worthy of our love, of our caring, of our time and effort. It makes it reasonable to go out of our way for them.

How do the many Sons relate to the one Son?

I often hear Course students say that there is only one Son. And that is true, but the Course points out that the one Son contains within Himself the many Sons. It is not either-or-either one Son or many. It is both-and. Here are a couple passages in which you can see this paradoxical position:

It should especially be noted that God has only one Son. If all His creations are His Sons, every one must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. The Sonship in its oneness transcends the sum of its parts. (T-2.VII.6:1-3)

God has but one Son, knowing them all as one. (T-9.VI.3:5)

Are the one Son, the Sonship, and Christ interchangeable?

The one Son is the Christ. So those terms are interchangeable. However, the Sonship is a plural term, denoting the collection of all the Sons. So it is not interchangeable with the term Christ. One final note: When the Course refers to a singular Son, only sometimes is that the Christ. It can be an individual Son, or it can be a way of referring to all sleeping Sons. If there is any hint of the Son in question being asleep or dreaming, the reference cannot be to the Christ. The Course is clear that the Christ never falls asleep: “Christ has never slept” (T-12.VI.5:4).

What happened in the separation?

The Course tells a story whereby the parts, the Sons, began to have what you might call separation motives. One motive was for the Son to be no longer the created, the effect, but to supplant God as first Cause, to be their own creator. This was a motive to be separate from God. The other motive was that each Son wanted to be God’s favorite, to be a special Son in God’s eyes (notice how this motive assumes a pre-existent plurality of Sons). This was a motive to be separate from the other Sons. These two motives were just tiny thoughts in the minds of the sleeping Sons. However, out of these thoughts came a whole experience, since that is what each thought does—produces an experience modeled after the thought. And the thought here was the thought of separation, the thought of “I am a part—period. A self-created part. A special part.

The separation, then, was an event in the minds of the parts, the Sons. These Sons became caught up in the idea of separation, and thus in the experience of separation. However, rather than actually leaving God, they merely fell asleep. Think of what happens in sleep. You lose consciousness of your true surroundings and you disappear into your own private bubble. In this private bubble, you dream of new surroundings, yet these new surroundings are illusory; they exist only inside your mind. This is the same thing that happens in insanity—you lose consciousness of reality and withdraw into your own private bubble, and then you begin to hallucinate a phony reality, one that exists only in your mind.

So, in short, what happened in the separation is that minds that were both part of the whole and all of the whole had motives that accentuated their part-ness. They thus fell asleep to their oneness. They didn’t go anywhere, but they lost consciousness of reality and withdrew into the privacy of their minds, where they dreamt of a new reality, a reality that was just the outpicturing of their belief in separation.

How was the cosmos created?

The Course is extremely clear that God didn’t create the cosmos, the universe of time and space. Because it’s a world where everything is limited and trapped inside bodies that get sick and die, because everything suffers and is afraid, to claim that God created this is to accuse Him of insanity. It’s like accusing Rembrandt of doing a crude finger painting. Surely God could do better than this.

The Course makes it very clear that we made the universe. And why not? We are the Sons of God. In our true condition our intelligence and power are not filtered through these tiny brains. The Course says that the notion that brains can really think (think real thoughts) is like claiming that your hand can hold the world, or that you hold the match that lights the sun (W-pI.92.1-2). These brains are just too tiny to allow the real power of thought to come flooding through.

The Course says that we made the universe, that it was projected from our belief in separation. It is nothing but the outward picture of our inward condition, the outward projection of our insane notion of separation. We acquired a belief in separateness, so we see a universe in which everything (literally everything) is separate. We acquired a belief in change (separation is a change from our native state of oneness), so we see a universe in which literally everything changes. It’s just like when you go to bed at night, full of anxiety over a test you are having the next day. You go to sleep and dream of showing up for the test at the wrong place, or showing up late, or wearing no pants. Your anxiety produced a whole little dream world. The same has happened with this world. Our belief in separation has produced a whole little (little, compared to Heaven) dream world that is nothing but the outward picture of our belief. As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s as if someone hooked up a movie projector to the mind of a madman.

Yes, the universe is amazingly complex (at least from the standpoint of these brains), but it’s ingenious design is much like the ingenious design of the Nazi death camps—all of that brilliant organization is designed to kill living things. It produces their lives, only to grant them brief, fear-filled lives which always end in death. If God did design this universe, He is like one of those mad scientists—devoting His genius to an inventions of mass destruction.

What about all the love and beauty in this world?

The Course acknowledges that there are sparks of beauty and love in this world. There is a beautiful section in Chapter 29 in the Text (Section III: “God’s Witnesses”) which speaks of “the spark that shines within the dream.” However, that spark is not so much a scene of natural beauty, but a beautiful act of forgiveness that passes from one person to another, and is then return to the one by the other. “This is the spark that shines within the dream, that you can help him waken, and be sure his waking eyes will rest on you.”

Does God know we are here?

The Course has two passages that address this directly. The first, and most meaty, says that God is aware that the constant outgoing of His Love is hitting a blockage. The minds of His Sons, which should be receiving His Love and passing it on in the form of new creation, are asleep. Because we are asleep, communication between us and God has broken down. We are no longer receiving God’s communication to us (His Love). As a result, we are not in a state of joy. “And this He does know.” How does He know it? “His Being” is having a direct experience of “His Son’s experience.” And since our experience is one of incomplete joy, and He is directly experiencing that, and then “His joy is not complete.”

So He does know that we are asleep (“So He thought, ‘My children sleep'”) and He does directly experience the emotional essence of that sleep (incomplete joy). However, based on other material from the Course, I believe that God—as God—doesn’t know any of the details. I think He only knows the total picture, which is all He needs to know. However, as we’ll see later, in the guise of the Holy Spirit, I think He knows things down to a level of detail that is beyond our comprehension.

But unless you take your part in the creation, His joy is not complete because yours is incomplete. And this He does know. He knows it in His Own Being and its experience of His Son’s experience. The constant going out of His Love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him. (T-4.VII.6:4-7)

What God does know is that His communication channels are not open to Him, so that He cannot impart His joy and know that His children are wholly joyous. Giving His joy is an ongoing process, not in time but in eternity. God’s extending outward, though not His completeness, is blocked when the Sonship does not communicate with Him as one. So He thought, “My children sleep and must be awakened.” (T-6.V.1:5-8)

Does God hear our prayers?

As a student of the Course, you may have heard the teaching that God doesn’t hear our prayers, since He doesn’t know about this world. This, however, is said nowhere in the Course. I have seen one passage cited in its favor (W-pI.183.7:3). However, when taken in context of the sentences that precede it, this passage turns out to be one that clearly implies God does hear our prayers. Additionally, I’ve collected 17 passages in the Course that directly state that God hears our prayers, our calls to Him. These extend from the early chapters of the Text, through the Workbook and the two supplements (Psychotherapy and Song of Prayer). Here are a few:

Have confidence in your Father today, and be certain that He has heard you and answered you. (W-pI.69.8:1)

You have remained with me, and always will be there to hear my call to You and answer me. (W-pII.232.1:3)

You cannot fail to hear me, Father. (W-pII.290.2:2)

God has promised He will hear my call and answer me Himself. (W-pII.327.1:2)

Father, You promised You would never fail to answer any call Your Son might make to You. (W-pII.356.1:1)

No call to God can be unheard nor left unanswered. (W-pII.358.Heading)

Does He want us home?

The Course states three times that God yearns for us to wake up and return to Him. Here is an advantage, I feel, of the Course’s view of God as what I call the “personal Ground of being” (a combination of the personal God and the impersonal Ground of being). An impersonal God cannot yearn for you to return to Him. Here are two of those passages:

Would you deny His yearning to be known? You yearn for Him, as He for you. (T-14.V.1:4-5)

If you but knew how much your Father yearns to have you recognize your sinlessness, you would not let His Voice appeal in vain. (W-pII.7.3:1)

What is the Holy Spirit?

When God knew that His Sons had fallen asleep, that communication between Him and them had broken down, He knew He needed to awaken them. So He called to them to wake up. This Call, however, was not just a sound. It was a Being, a Being created in that instant. And this Being, the Holy Spirit, had the ability to enter into the mind of every sleeping Son of God, and translate God’s single call into an infinite number of specific calls, each one geared toward the specific needs of that particular Son of God in a specific moment. So when the Holy Spirit gives you guidance about your work, or your romantic relationship, or your spiritual path, He is really giving you the same message over and over again. It doesn’t sound like the same message, because He is applying it differently to the different needs of different moments. But in content, it really is all the same. It’s as if He is taking the white light of God’s Call, God’s Voice, and breaking it up, like a prism, so that what comes out doesn’t look like the same white light over and over. It looks like fascinating tapestries of color, but it really is just white light broken up into different forms. Through this, the Holy Spirit is able to maintain a modicum of communication between Father and Sons. For this reason, the Course calls the Holy Spirit the “remaining communication link” between God and His separated Sons (T-10.III.2:6, C-6.3:1). When we fell asleep, most of our communication from God was blocked out, but the Holy Spirit is there to ensure that some communication remains.

The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time….The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no call to return. But what God creates is eternal. The Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God, to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy. (T-5.I.5:1-7)

The Holy Spirit is described as the remaining communication link between God and His separated Sons. In order to fulfill this special function the Holy Spirit has assumed a dual function. He knows because He is part of God; He perceives because He was sent to save humanity. (C-6.3:1-3)

Are we the Holy Spirit?

In the Course’s theology, we are definitely not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit, a Self, a divine Person, who extends from the Father, through the Christ (our true Self), to our sleeping mind. So, in a sense, He is the Voice of our own true Self. But He and us are still distinct—united, but distinct.

How does the Holy Spirit relate to God?

The Holy Spirit, like Christ, is not separate from God. He and God are continuous. But whereas Christ has the role of being God’s Son, the Holy Spirit has the role of restoring communication between Father and Son. His role, therefore, is to facilitate the primary relationship in Heaven, that between Father and Son.

The exact relationship between God and the Holy Spirit is quite subtle and sophisticated. The Holy Spirit is spoken of as if He is something separate, but the Course makes it clear that He is really just an extension of the Father. You could say that He is the Father appearing in another guise. Remember, the Holy Spirit’s messages are just specifications of God’s one Answer. They are just God’s Call broken up into specific forms. For this reason, the Course often talks about God doing things that it says elsewhere the Holy Spirit does. The functions of the two blur together in the way the Course speaks.

We can see this subtle unity/distinction in the way the Course talks about God’s Voice. Look at these three passages:

Now hear God speak to you, through Him Who is His Voice. (T-30.II.3:3)

Listen, and hear your Father speak to you through His appointed Voice. (W-pI.106.2:1)

Hear, holy Son of God, your Father speak. His Voice would give to you His holy Word. (W-pI.125.4:1-2)

In the first two passages, God speaks to you through His Voice. In the third, however, God speaking is also His Voice giving to you His holy Word-His Voice speaking. So when you hear real guidance, a) you are hearing God speaking to you, and b) you are hearing God speaking through the Holy Spirit, and c) you are hearing the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Indeed, when the Course quotes the Holy Spirit speaking, the “I” of such quotes is often not the Holy Spirit, but God. In these cases, when the Holy Spirit says “I,” the “I” is the Father.

Is the Holy Spirit a Being, a metaphor, a memory, what?

Many Course students, following Ken Wapnick’s teaching, see the Holy Spirit as really just a metaphor for something that is more impersonal, more like our own memory of God. The problems with this, however, are many. First, the Course never refers to the Holy Spirit as the memory of God. When the Holy Spirit and the memory of God are referred to together, the Holy Spirit is characterized as something distinct from that memory, as the Bringer of that memory: “I have within me both the memory of You, and One [the Holy Spirit] Who leads me to it” (W-pII.352.1:7; italics mine).

Second, the Course says many times that the Holy Spirit is a creation of God, and even says once that the Holy Spirit does His Own creating in Heaven. “Creation” is a technical term for the Course, one it never throws around carelessly. When it says that something is created, it is saying that thing is eternally real. When it says that something creates, it is saying that thing is a real heavenly being or spirit who has its own mind, will, and awareness and who produces (through creation) more eternal spirit in Heaven. It is not appropriate to take the Course’s most technical terms—like creation—and call them metaphors without any textual support for that in the Course.

The Holy Spirit, being a creation of the One Creator, creating with Him and in His likeness or spirit, is eternal and has never changed. (C-6.1:2)

Yet He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. (W-pI.43.1:3)

What happens to the Holy Spirit when we wake up?

The Course does address this once (in a passage I quoted above). It says, “When the Atonement is complete and the whole Sonship is healed there will be no call to return [which was the Holy Spirit’s whole function—to call the Sons to return]. But what God creates [in this case, the Holy Spirit] is eternal. The Holy Spirit will remain with the Sons of God [since He is eternal], to bless their creations and keep them in the light of joy [read: keep them out of trouble]” (T-5.I.5:1-7).

Does the Holy Spirit do things in the world?

Yes, unequivocally. The world is our dream, a dream that comes out of our minds, but the Holy Spirit is a Presence within those minds. So just as He can inspire dreams at night, so He can have a certain influence on the daytime dream, the dream of our lives. The amount of that influence is really up to us—how much permission we give Him determines how much He can do. But the Course speaks of Him doing quite a number of things within the dream. Here is an example. This passage is talking about physical possessions, about the things you buy in stores (T-13.VII.1). It says that we shouldn’t be the ones who decides what things we need. It then goes on:

In time, He gives you all the things that you need have, and will renew them as long as you have need of them….Therefore He has no investment in the things that He supplies, except to make certain that you will not use them on behalf of lingering in time…Leave, then, your needs to Him. He will supply them with no emphasis at all upon them. (T-13.VII.12-13; italics mine)

Is there a hierarchy in the Trinity?

The Course clearly sees a hierarchy in the Trinity. It speaks of the Levels of the Trinity, and has the following meaningful quote. In speaking of Christ, it says that He is the “home of the Holy Spirit, and at home in God alone” (W-pII.6.3:1). Do you notice the hierarchy there? God is the home of Christ; Christ is the home of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit is inside of Christ, and Christ is inside of God.

Who is Jesus?

Jesus, according to the Course, is not the same as Christ. Christ is the Self we all share. Jesus is one of those Sons who, like us, shares that Self. He is one of the sleeping Sons who woke up to his true Identity as part of the whole, and as the whole. Therefore, when Jesus speaks, he is speaking as a Son of God, and as the Son of God (the Christ). He is our own true Self appearing to us in the guise of a brother.

The name of Jesus is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God. The man was an illusion, for he seemed to be a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusions do. Yet who can save unless he sees illusions and then identifies them as what they are? Jesus remains a Savior because he saw the false without accepting it as true. And Christ needed his form that He might appear to men and save them from their own illusions. (C-5.2:1-6)

How does Jesus relate to the Holy Spirit?

Jesus twice calls himself “the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.” This means that the Holy Spirit is, in a sense, his Boss, the source of all of his thoughts and actions. As a Son working in the dream, Jesus, you could say, is the servant of the Holy Spirit, the messenger, the manifestation. However, as the Christ (part of the Christ and, paradoxically, all of the Christ) in Heaven, Jesus, you might say, is senior to the Holy Spirit.

I am the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. (T-12.VII.6:1)

Jesus is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. (C-6.1:1)

Do we pray to God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, who?

When divine help reaches us, that help began with God (with His Answer to the separation), went through Christ, and then through the Holy Spirit, and finally through Jesus (and other Teachers of teachers at the same place he is). It is a single flow of divine activity, reaching down to stir from sleep the separated Sons. So it really doesn’t matter whom you pray to. You can pray to any or all of them. When you pray to one, you pray to them all. That being said, however, almost all of the Course’s prayers are directed to the ultimate Source of that flow: God, the Father.

Are other people real or are they just my projections?

The Course makes it abundantly clear that other people are other sleeping Sons of God, who, like us, have fallen asleep and are contributing to this collective dream. As such, they deserve our love, respect, appreciation, and help. Here is a place where all these metaphysical concepts make a very practical difference in our lives. You certainly treat people different if you think they are dreaming Sons of God than if you think they are illusory projections of your own insane ego. The difference in the dignity that you grant them is huge, to say the least. One of my favorite practices is therefore to think of someone and say to him or her in my mind, “You are the [divine] dreamer, not the dream figure.”

Visualization

This visualization, which I have included in another set of class notes, is based on a profound experience that Helen Schucman had in the thirties, decades before the Course started coming through. She was on a subway and was absolutely revolted by the sad display of humanity she saw around her. She closed her eyes to shut out the disgusting sight, and then had a brief but powerful experience. She saw herself as a child walking into a light she understood to be God. The child first paused and knelt before this light, then went up to it, sat down, and leaned her head as if against a giant knee, and then the impression of a giant arm swept around her and embraced her, and the child disappeared. The love at this point was so powerful that Helen gasped and opened her eyes, and discovered that for a brief moment she loved all those people on the subway train that she had hated just seconds before. We’ll go through all these same stages, only imagining that we are the child going into that light.

Try to remember a situation in your life that you were finding terribly upsetting, sometime when you were repulsed by the people or events around you; something you very much disliked; that made you wish you were somewhere else…just go with whatever comes to mind.

Imagine yourself now in that situation.
See the scene, hear what is said, feel the feelings.
You are finding the whole situation increasingly disgusting, and close your eyes to shut it out, feeling sick to your stomach.
And then a stunning thing happens. It is very brief.
You cannot describe it in words
As an approximation, however,
it is as though a blinding light blazes up behind your closed eyes
and fills your mind entirely.
Imagine that light. See it filling your mind. (Pause)
Now, you find yourself as a young child,
You are walking directly into the blazing light.
It is not frightening. The light seems to welcome you.
You know exactly what you are doing.
It is as if the situation is completely familiar to you, as if you have been here before, as if you live here.
For a moment you pause and kneel down, touching the shining ground with elbows,
wrists,
and forehead
in something like an Eastern gesture of deep reverence.
While you kneel a feeling of awe and worshipfulness quietly comes over you and fills you
though without the slightest sense of fear, as if this were the most natural, comfortable thing in the world to feel.
You are kneeling before That to which you owe your entire being
and to Which your entire being effortlessly goes out.
In quiet gratitude you give thanks for your existence.
Then you get up and walk forward,
again as if you are completely at home, as if you do this every day, as if you are walking in your own front door,
You walk over to the right side and again you unself-consciously kneel.
This time you rest your head like a young child leaning against a gigantic knee.
As you sit, a sense of warmth, companionship and comfort fills you.
You feel that you are home, as if you are curling up before the fire and could simply drop off to sleep right there.
You feel like you are with your oldest Friend,
your dearest Companion,
your most beloved Lover,
the Mother you have known since before time
the Father Who is more familiar to you than breath itself
You don’t wonder if he loves you or if he wants you there.
Everything in you simply assumes.
You are welcome. You are wanted. You are loved.
You rest, breathing quietly in the Presence of this Love.
Allow this feeling of being loved, being welcome, being known, to wash over you and fill you.
In response to your presence
—A response which holds no surprise for you at all—
The feeling of a great arm reaches around you
Embraces you in pure love
Envelops you
Engulfs you (Long pause)
The light grows even brighter, now,
Shining so brightly that all edges and outlines start to blur.
You feel the most indescribably intense love, which grows and grows
Until at last, “you” disappear.
You feel yourself melting into that Love. Joining It. Merging with It. Becoming part of It.
Now there is no knee, no arm, no child
There is no more you and the Other.
There is only love.
There is only love.
There is only love.
Now turn your attention back to the situation you recalled at the beginning of this exercise.
Look upon that situation from the standpoint of you yourself feeling deeply loved by God.
With His Love shining on you, filling you up, giving you safety and security,
How does the situation look?
How do the people look?
Can you feel God loving you and still look on this situation with hate?
Let your awareness of yourself return now, gently, without regret, knowing the rightness of it.Let your awareness of your body return.
You are here now, in this room, but you carry with you the meaning of that Love, of being loved, of being Love.
Take a deep breath. Move your fingers and toes.
And when you are ready, gradually, easily, open your eyes.