The Summary Idea of the Course: Summary of a Class Presentation

Yesterday’s class was one that was very important to me. I’ve been trying for nearly thirty years now to boil the Course down to a simple idea that somehow managed to encompass everything, or nearly everything, in it. But I’ve never been satisfied with my various attempts over the years.

But we need this, don’t we? The Course is so vast and multifaceted that we naturally want something simple that it all comes down to. The problem is in coming up with a simple thing that is accurate, that is not just one idea among many that we have decided to privilege, and that is actually true to the Course, not a distortion.

I think my latest one actually fits the bill. I’d love you to listen to the class, but given how important I feel this is, I’m going to go ahead and spill the beans right here. The idea is this: Nothing compromises love. I think we can take this idea all the way through the Course’s story and at each point show that it’s the central idea.

We started out in Heaven, which is a realm of pure love, love that is not limited, diluted, mixed—in short, not compromised—by an opposite. It is just pure, limitless love, God’s Love. This love was our whole happiness, which was beyond imagination.

In the separation, we seemed to compromise love. We went against love. We deserted God (unloving) and attacked God in the process (unloving). We entered a state (the ego) that was the opposite of love. Out of this, we made a world that is the opposite of love.

In this unloving world, we seem to be in tremendous pain because the world treats us so unlovingly. But we are really in pain becausee of our own unlovingness (which becomes projected as the unloving world). Love is so central to our being, so central to our needs, that when we violate it, we violate our own happiness. So that is what we are hurting over in this world, our own compromising of love.

We have to reverse this—we have to let nothing get in the way of love. That is the method of our return. Our return is a return to love (to coin a phrase).

The basis for letting nothing get in the way of love is the Course’s great philosophical truth that nothing can get in the way of love. Nothing can compromise love. “Love is a law without an opposite.” “The opposite of love is fear but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.” “Perfect love casts out fear” and “Only perfect love exists.”

Since nothing can compromise love, our separation (being a compromise of love)¬†was not real. None of it really happened. And all that it produced—the ego, the world—are not real, either.

Forgiveness is essentially this. It is a practice of not letting anything get in the way of love. When you forgive someone, you are in essence saying, “My love for you and the love between us is so important, so vital, so great, that anything contrary to it pales in comparison. I let myself forget that, I let something get in the way of that love. But I am now changing my mind about that. I’m remembering what really matters here. I’m not letting anything get in the way of our love.”

This is what real forgiveness always says. The Course’s forgiveness is different only in that it gives philosophical legs to this. It says it is philosophically justified to not let anything get in the way of love because, in fact, nothing can get in the way of love. Whatever seems to get in its way simply cannot be real.

So, in summary:

  • We started out in pure, uncompromised love
  • We seemed to compromise love, and our compromise of it then became the sole source of our pain
  • We return by returning to love, by letting go of all that seemed to get in the way of love (that’s forgiveness)
  • The basis for our doing that is the great fact that nothing really can get in the way of love—what seems to do so is an illusion. Love is too all-encompassing, too real, and too powerful to have an opposite. That is why we can forgive.

I am thinking that we can hang everything in the Course on this simple idea, that nothing compromises love. Nothing need compromise love (realizing that is the path back), because nothing can compromise love (that’s the foundation of the path back).