Purpose: This is an extremely significant lesson, for it asks you to “take the largest single step this course requests in your advance towards its established goal” (6:5). You take this step by releasing your beliefs that limit love and opening your mind to God so that He can teach you love’s true meaning.
Longer: Two times, for fifteen minutes.
This exercise is very similar to yesterday’s, in which you went to the quiet center in your mind and asked God’s Voice to correct your false beliefs about giving. Today, you do the same, only asking God to correct your false beliefs about love.
Repeat the idea and then “open your mind and rest” (8:2). Now let go of your beliefs—one after another—in the laws and limits of this world, for all of them justify limited and changing love. Let go of your beliefs in partial love, selective love, and changing love. As you give up each such belief, God will replace it with “a spark of truth” (9:3), an understanding of what love really means. Call to Him and ask Him to illuminate your mind on the true meaning of love. That is the essence of this practice period: to open your mind, let go of your beliefs that limit love, and ask God to teach you the real meaning of love, which is far greater and more sublime than your mind alone could ever understand.
Remarks: Gladly give this time. It is the best use of time you could ever make. For if you gain the tiniest glimpse of love’s real meaning, you truly have taken a giant stride. You have gone forward in your journey countless years and have brought freedom to everyone who comes here.
Frequent reminders: Three times per hour, at least.
Think of someone you know and silently repeat to him these lines: “I bless you, brother, with the Love of God, which I would share with you. For I would learn the joyous lesson that there is no love but God’s and yours and mine and everyone’s.“ Like the longer practice, this is a powerful technique for opening your mind to the real meaning of love.
“Perhaps you think that different kinds of love are possible” (1:1). To my mind there is no “perhaps” about it; we all think that there are different kinds of love, varying from friend to family to children to lover, from person to animal to thing. The lesson asserts that there is only one Love—God’s Love. To think that love changes depending upon its object, says the lesson, is to miss the meaning of love entirely (2:1).
“It [love] never alters with a person or a circumstance” (1:6). To us, this can seem to be a very intimidating description of love, because what we call love does not fit this picture. Our “love” comes and goes, waxes and wanes, varying with the person or the circumstance like a thermometer to the temperature. Love, as described in this lesson, is wholly unaffected by anything outside itself. This is truly unconditional love.
I am uplifted today by the idea that, if this is God’s Love, and this is the only love there is, then His Love for me never alters, and has “no divergencies and no distinctions” (1:4). Nothing I do, or do not do, modifies His Love for me in the slightest. God’s Love just is, eternally, endlessly. It has no opposite (3:7). It is the glue that holds everything together (3:8). It is the substance of the universe.
It can be comforting when we think of God’s Love for us being like this. It can be intimidating, however, when we realize that we are being asked to love one another in the same way. It seems beyond us, and if we are judged on whether or not we match up to this love, it would appear that we all “come short of the glory of God,” as the Bible says in Romans 3:23. The lesson, however, meets this fear in us head on, and meets it with an incredible assertion:
“No course whose purpose is to teach you to remember what you really are could fail to emphasize that there can never be a difference in what you really are and what love is” (4:1). In short sentences, this is telling us: “Love is eternal, unconditional, and unalterable. You are that love.” You know this love we’re talking about, that seems so foreign to us, so beyond our capabilities? Well, this is what you really are! It is the other image of yourself, incapable of such love, shifting and changing with every circumstance, that is the lie. This love—this is the truth, this is you. There is absolutely no difference between this love and what we are!
What you are is what He is. There is no love but His, and what He is, is everything there is. (4:3-4)
We aren’t going to see this about ourselves by looking at the world (6:1). It isn’t something that can be seen with the body’s eyes; yet it is perfectly apparent to the eyes and ears that see and hear love (what is called elsewhere the vision of Christ). That is the goal of today’s lesson: to see that love in ourselves, to catch even “the faintest glimmering of what love means” (7:1), to “understand the truth of love” (9:4). This attempt to quiet our minds, to free our minds of all the laws we think we must obey, all the limits we have placed on ourselves, and all the changes we believe we have made in ourselves, and to find our Self, Who is Love—this attempt is called “the largest single step this course requests in your advance towards its established goal” (6:5). If we succeed, we will “have advanced in distance without measure and in time beyond the count of years to your release” (7:1). This is no small thing! To be able, even in a very small degree, to perceive ourselves as this love; to catch a hint of the fact that love is everything there is, including ourselves. This is a quantum leap indeed! To spend a little time for this purpose is worth it. “There is no better use for time than this” (7:2).
As we begin to realize that love is all there is, that this love is everything including ourselves, we will realize that it includes everyone else as well. The only way love can be everything is if it includes everyone! So we begin to see not only ourselves, but the world, in a new way:
The world in infancy is newly born. (11:1)
Now are they all made free, along with us. Now are they all our brothers in God’s Love. (11:3-4)
We cannot leave a part of us outside our love if we would know our Self. (12:1)
And so, three times an hour, we are asked to remember a brother or sister who is making this journey with us, and to mentally send them this message, as I now send it to you:
I bless you, brother, with the Love of God,
Which I would share with you. For I would learne
The joyous lesson that there is no love
But God’s and yours and mine and everyone’s. (12:4-5)