There is only one lesson and everyone is your teacher
Feb 20, 2023
A few years ago, during a conversation with Chrisoula about my study and practice of A Course in Miracles, and how it affected our family, I said that God was my priority. Remembering my identity in Love was my only function.
Chrisoula replied, “I am more important than God. Your family is more important than God.”
I was shocked by that. When I told some ACIM friends about it, they were shocked.
When I told the Holy Spirit about it, the Holy Spirit said, “God agrees with Chrisoula.”
I am a very slow learner.
If we are walking around praising God, and anybody around us feels ignored or slighted because we are walking around praising God, then we are tragically confused – about what we are, about what others are, and, critically, about God.
I first glimpsed this thirty some odd years ago when U2’s Achtung Baby came out. The first time I heard One I wanted to be the narrator but I wasn’t. I was the other; I was “you.”
You say love is a temple, love a higher law
Love is a temple, love the higher law
You ask me to enter but then you make me crawl
And I can’t be holding on to what you got
When all you got is hurt
Chrisoula was not asserting any privilege in opposition to God; she was speaking for God. She was refusing to accept fear and hurt in place of Love, no matter how eloquent I was. She was reminding me how God appears in our living, and what kind of response that appearance calls for.
God appears as the other with whom we are in relationship, and asks us to love them without qualification or condition, as best we can. It is a process, not an event.
A Course in Miracles teaches us how to no longer mistake the appearance of separation for actual separation (e.g., T-18.IX.6:2). It shows us that separation is a thing we are doing to ourselves (T-27.VIII.10:1). And it invites us to no longer fear the Love that appears when separation is undone (T-31.V.16:7).
U2 again, same song: “one life / but we’re not the same / We get to carry each other.”
Carrying one another is our privilege because it is the end of hurt and loneliness, ours and everyone else’s. There are no exceptions to this expression of love. The absence of exceptions is what Love is.
Love is incapable of any exception. Only if there is fear does the idea of exceptions seem to be meaningful (T-7.V.5:7-8).
Love holds everything.
So A Course in Miracles invites us to commit to relationship as the site of learning what we are and what the other is. In relationship we learn once and for all that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists (T-in.2:2-3).
The form of this relationship will shift; its function will not. You can dump blood on missiles, you can get a divorce, you can write poetry and grow roses and the underlying function doesn’t change: you are learning what you are in truth, which is learning what the other is in truth, which is learning what Love is.
This is revolutionary. It is terrifying. Love does its own stunts; Love is always all in. Dachau isn’t theoretical; Tyre Nichols isn’t theoretical: you are not theoretical.
Salvation is not an individual matter. It entails saving, delivering, rescuing an entire civilization . . . The salvation of the entire planet requires a total risk of everything – of you, of me, of unyielding people everywhere, for all time (Lynice Pinkard Revolutionary Suicide).
Pinkard’s vision of collectivism is related to the biblical Jesus’s admonition that those who seek their lives shall lose their lives but those who surrender their lives for the sake of God, who is Love, shall find life.
In the world, “surrender rather than seek” sugars out as living nonviolently and creatively together without fear. There aren’t any maps; we make it up as we go. All that matters is learning how to hear the Holy Spirit and listening to nothing but the Holy Spirit.
There are no blueprints. And there is no space of purity from which to act. We must begin imperfectly from within the messiness, in ways that respond to and engage with our concrete and particular contexts and circumstances (Pinkard).
A Course in Miracles teaches us to accept reality. Reality is this: this this. The Course teaches us to accept that our relationship with each other is given for no other reason than to remember we are Love Itself. It takes commitment, devotion, tenacity, willingness. We have to be humbled. We have to show up. And what we show up to is literally right in front of us, crying out for love.
Pinkard again, same essay.
Human life lived in God’s image, lived fully, is found in the crossing over from ourselves to the well-being of others – that is what love is. When we cross over from power to weakness, from strength to vulnerability, from inside to outside, from up to down, we rise above ourselves, we transcend ourselves. In other words, the descent into death of our own self-interest – this revolutionary suicide – is actually a rising, a resurrection.
The point is not what is God or what does God want or what offends God or can God even be offended – those were never the point. I was confused. God lies beyond our understanding; we don’t have to work that out. We have to work on remembering what we are – which is to remember what reality is. Which we do here, now, with the ones who are given us.
We serve them by allowing them to teach us what we have forgotten about Love.
Chrisoula is my teacher not because she has some nuanced understanding of A Course in Miracles. She could care less about A Course in Miracles. Yet by calling out my spiritual blindness – which is always an effect of fear – she invites me to be accountable to Love. She calls me back into the practice of Love with her. She says “choose again,” and shows me what to choose, and so I do. This is my witness.