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So, what the hell does A Course in Miracles mean when it talks about seeing everything people do as either expressing love or calling out for it?
Expressions of love are fairly easy to spot, but sometimes in this world our calls for love come disguised in some pretty gnarly and butt-ugly camo, and it can be almost impossible to see through it.
The judgment goggles of our ego mind make it particularly challenging, because the last thing our ego mind wants is for us to start seeing sh*t through the eyes of love. Nope, it wants to see GUILT. As A Course in Miracles reminds us, the ego mind’s uber-limited range of judgment is basically from suspiciousness on a good hair day to viciousness on a bad one.
We’re never going to get home doing that, peeps.
Responding to a call for love with love does not mean that we respond to insanity with insanity, as the ego would like us to believe it does. It does not automatically mean that you give people whatever they say they want in the world of form. If someone is drunk off their *ss and demanding the keys to a car, giving them what they are asking for is not the loving thing to do. But neither is criticizing and condemning them for being an irresponsible drunk a-hole.
We are being urged not to see any brother as worthy of anything less than love, all of the time.
A Course in Miracles teaches us that we are never responding to what is happening in the world, we are instead reacting to our perception – or, the meaning we are making – out of what is happening. It also informs us that we can’t really know anything here, except that we don’t know anything. If we don’t know anything, why do we think we can correctly attribute any kind of meaning to anything anyone does or says?
(Not that stops us from trying. Am I right?)
With regard to this, the Course says,
“Understand that you do not respond to stimuli, but to stimuli as you interpret them. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response. That is why analyzing the motives of others is hazardous to you. If you decide that someone is really trying to attack you or desert you or enslave you, you will respond as if he had already done so, because you have made his error real to you.”
We say we want peace, but when peace means seeing our brothers with whom we are in conflict as innocent and calling for love versus guilty and attacking us, and responding to them with love, doesn’t it kind of become more like we want peace…ish? (Like the kind where I can still judge people?)
What are we afraid would happen if we just treated people with love all of the time, even if they are, in our estimation, behaving badly?
I think the answer is fear that we’d be weak, foolish, not be respected; considered naive, walked over, taken advantage of…and besides, “They have to learn that they can’t act like that”, which in loosely translated egospeak means, “It is my place to teach them.”
No, they don’t and no it’s not. The only thing we’re here to teach each other is love. Because it is what we ourselves are here to learn, and we can’t learn it if we don’t teach it. We’re only teaching to ourselves, bros. If we are all one, there isn’t any “they” except us.
As far as treating people as if they are calling out for love and responding with love as turning us all into doormats – that is the ego mind’s defense. That is because the ego puts everything in the context of the world and the body, whereas seeing someone as calling out for love is done from mind to mind.
What makes us call out for love in the first place is our forgetting who we are as perfect, innocent, and whole, as God created us to be, and instead believing that we are separated from God, and as such, something guilty, bad, shameful, and not worthy of love. When we project that outward onto our bros, it becomes a calling out for love in all of its forms – every perceived negative expression of emotion and behavior the ego is capable of producing.
When we behave in these ways, the reactions we receive from others actually validate our belief that we are in fact guilty bastards and indeed not worthy of love. We then project that guilt back onto other people and the egoic cycle continues, on and on, ad nauseum.
But what starts the cycle in the first place is the negative interpretation we assign to a brother’s behavior, seeing it as some form of attack to which we need to react.
Yet the Course tells us,
“There is but one interpretation of all motivation that makes any sense, and because it is the Holy Spirit’s judgment, it requires no effort at all on your part. Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help. That is what it is, regardless of the form it takes. Can anyone be justified in responding with anger to a plea for help?”
Well jeez, when you put it like that…
As A Course in Miracles reminds us, we are all one interconnected, non-separated being of love and light. So, if we perceive that we are attacked, who is it that is doing the attacking? Us? Would we attack ourselves in this way? The Course ask this question thus, “When you feel that you are tempted to accuse someone of sin in any form, do not allow your mind to dwell on what you think he did, for that is self-deception. Ask instead, “Would I accuse myself of doing this?”
The reason we can even see other people’s behavior as an attack on us is a demonstration of a separation idea, and a reflection of the unconscious negative feelings we are harboring about ourselves in the depth of our being. We take these uncomfortable feelings and project them outward onto other people and say they are guilty.
In A Course in Miracles Jesus is basically saying, (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Ok Dude, whatever you need to tell yourself so that you can still feel good about making people wrong. But fyi, you are also making yourself wrong by doing so. And two wrongs don’t make a right. Everybody knows that. Just saying.”
It is helpful to remember here that the way we see another person is always a reflection of the way we see ourselves. Click To Tweet
If we perceive another as guilty of attacking us, we will see ourselves as guilty of attacking. There are absolutely no exceptions to this in Course philosophy – if we think it of our brother, we think it of ourselves. Trump, Putin, Hitler, the person who abused you, the spouse who left you, the one they left you for, the perpetrators in the Time’s Up movement, the boss who fired you, the ones who abandoned you, lied to you, stole from you, used you, or whatever form it appeared to take – are all facets of you reflecting back to you the unconscious guilt and resulting self-hatred and condemnation that your ego mind would have you think about yourself.
And the way that that plays out will be your belief that you deserve punishment, and you will experience it in all kinds of forms of suffering in your life.
Conversely, if you choose to see your brother’s “bad” behavior as a call for love, help, or healing, you will see yourself in the same light. Love will be your response to him and thus to yourself, and there will be no perceived guilt, or resulting need to punish yourself. Your life will become easier, more peaceful, more joyful, not stressful – things will work out, fall into place, heal – and you will be happy much more of the time.
So how do we actually get there? What do we do instead of judging when someone is saying something mean or hurtful, or dissing us, or mistreating us?
First, remember that we are talking about the level of the mind – that is the only level where we can actually correct anything, because as the Course reminds us, it is the only level at which we can exercise choice. Let’s remember A Course in Miracles 101: this world is a dream. It seems real, it feels real, just like dreams you have while you are sleeping. That doesn’t mean it IS real. So let’s say you are asleep, and dreaming a dream where you are being chased by a monster. In that instance, the best thing you could do while running away from the monster is to remind yourself as soon as possible that it isn’t real – it’s only a dream. What’s the first thing we say when we wake up from a nightmare? “Oh, thank God, it was only a dream.” We should be saying that to ourselves 27,000 times a day. That is the antidote to the ego’s venom – not making it real.
It does not mean that in the dream you don’t do what you need to do in the dream-story – meaning taking yourself out of harm’s way – of course you do. But just like with the dream, you can do that and still remember when you wake up that what you appeared to be witnessing was not real. You can still see your brother as calling for love, and, in your mind, responding with love.
So, what does it look like from a practical standpoint to “wake up” and respond to a call for love with love?
Well, first, because unless this is your first Kelly Russell teaching rodeo, you know that forgiveness is my jam. Forgiveness is not for your bro – it is for yourself. By the same logic used above, if you are forgiving your brother for what he did not do – because this is a dream – you are actually forgiving yourself for dreaming it in the first place. In releasing your brother, you release yourself.
Second, being a coach and therapist, I tend to think about things from a psychological perspective. It is why A Course in Miracles resonates with me – it is a psychological thought system, albeit one that is completely upside down from the f*cked up one the world operates under. So, one of the approaches I use with people in my work is known as Attachment Theory. It is based on the idea that there is a connection between how securely we were able to attach to our primary caregivers early in life, and how much we are able to trust that we are loved, and respond to those with whom we are in relationship from that place. When triggers from our past activate the fear that we are not loved or are in danger of losing love, that’s when the wheels come off the bus and we act in self-protective ways to keep ourselves from being hurt, rejected, and abandoned. Yet paradoxically, in doing so, we actually sabotage ourselves by behaving in ways that pretty much ensure that that will be the exact result.
The therapy, simply put, involves ways of helping to reassure the child within both the other person and ourselves that they are loved.
Since all roads lead to Rome in A Course in Miracles, and everything in this world of illusion is a replication of what initially got us to believe we are here in the first place, the fact is that we do think we have an insecure attachment to our Creator, and that does cause us to fear that we are not loved, that we will be rejected, and ultimately abandoned.
So, what if, in our minds, we spoke to the child in our brother? If you think about how you react to a baby or toddler who is calling out for love when they are fussy or crying or having a straight-up level 5 on the Richter scale meltdown tantrum. You see that this is just where they are right now – they’re upset, over-tired, hungry, poopy – whatever. You don’t take it personally, right? In your mind you just know for them what they can’t know for themselves – that this will pass and they will feel better in a little while. In other words, you respond with love. You don’t argue with them, make them wrong, insult them, insist that they can’t talk to you that way, or demand that they respect you (well, you might, but you probably aren’t getting great results.) You just know that this is temporary, and you are able to see them as innocent, and you keep loving them, and you wait it out, knowing the truth.
What if we did that with everyone who appears to be expressing anything that doesn’t look or sound or feel like love? Reassuring them in our minds that they are loved, of our belief in their innocence, and knowing for them that they cannot be rejected or abandoned by God and therefore by us?
This is exactly what Jesus in A Course in Miracles does with us. He knows the Truth of us and for us, and holds it in His mind, while we spin out and get our panties all in a wad, and hate on ourselves and each other, and freak out, doing our crazy – and He’s just there, like, yeah, Bro, Imma just be right over here holding the light, chillin’, til you’re ready to accept the Truth of you as the beloved child of God that you are. Lemme know when you wanna bust a move and go home.”
Let’s do it. Let’s rock this thing. They don’t call us the LIGHT OF THE WORLD for nothing.
Thank you so much for being with me today- I love hanging out with you.
If you want to take a deeper dive into living the concepts from A Course in Miracles, and you haven’t yet joined the Presenter Series, I encourage you to do so. I am so excited and honored to be among the teachers in this program, they are amazing. You do not want to miss this opportunity to learn from some of these brilliant lights.
The cart re-opens in a few days for you to join, and the presenter for July is Robert Perry, the editor of the CE edition of A Course in Miracles (the purple book) and an awesome teacher.
If something in this blog resonated with you and caused you to reconsider how you may shift your perception of a bro from attack to a call for love and healing, I’d love to hear about it. Please leave me a comment – I love them and I read every one.
All aboard the Peace Train.
I love you.
Rev Kelly Russell,
Transformational Life Coach & Psychotherapist
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