A Course In Love

I just finished a book I got from my sister, Tami, when I was visiting her in New Mexico.  It’s called a Course In Love.  I love it because it reiterates what I have been getting from so many other sources, that one has to be intimate with one’s self before he/she can bring a self to a relationship.  Here are a few excerpts:

Pg 2:  In my soul I knew relationships were meant to be holy, not hell.  Loving another meant loving him all the time, not just when he was doing what I wanted him to do or saying what I wanted him to say.  Love had to be unconditional or it wasn’t love.  Being together would be easy, not work.  We would be naturally kind and considerate of each other.  To behave otherwise would be unnatural.  We would be comfortable together.  We would have a great deal in common and respect each other’s differences.  Our essences would connect.

Pg 3: What I had known in my soul to be true was now being confirmed in these teachings: it is possible to have love without conflict, to totally forgive the past, to have happiness as the purpose of relationships, to know that relationships were meant to be holy.  I held to these truths and began an incredible journey of transformation.  That journey and what could be yours is presented to you in A Course in Love.

Pg 13: The reaction to this situation is predictable.  When your mate meets your needs, then you think you’re happy and fulfilled.  When your mate falls short of your expectations, you feel betrayed and empty.  The truth of the situation is that after the initial glow begins to dim, your needs and expectations cannot possibly be met and you become miserable.  She becomes the source of your misery.  He’s behaving selfishly.  She’s thoughtless even though you’ve given so much to her.

Pg 14: Your mother and father never taught you either, but only because they did not know.  They were never taught by their parents.  Here it is.  Pay attention and think about it.  No one can fulfill your needs but you.  No one!  We’ll search on and on, never quite finding the right one.  We keep believing that if only we could find the right person, all our problems would cease.

Pg 17: To truly change, to transform an old negative pattern into a new supportive one takes a great deal of willingness, commitment, and work.  It never happens simply because we want it.

Pg 18: Finding who is to blame isn’t helpful.  Finding the underlying soul wounds within the psyche that attracted such a relationship is.

Pg 20: Nearly all the popular psychology of the day espouses some form of sacrifice.  It may be called compromise or negotiation, but it’s still sacrifice.  It doesn’t work.  Whenever you feel you must sacrifice some aspect of yourself or your life, you will end up resentful and angry.  You will feel like the loser and set a course to win next time.  Everyone loses in the game of sacrifice.

Pg 25: From then on I clung to these two truths — only love is real; only perfect love exists — whenever my enraged ego would rail at me that fear was real and that attempting to give it up was crazy….There are always signs to tell us whether we are doing the right thing or making the right decision.  Fear is a signal of the strain that arises when our desires conflict with our actions.  Listening to our personal egos, we often choose actions that conflict with our ultimate good.  We ignore the obvious signs telling us to slow down or to go ahead or to turn right.

Pg 26:  Discomfort helps us become aware of the need for correction.

Pg 27: Look at all the discomforting circumstances and events in your life.  Instead of viewing them as happening to you, begin to see them as happening through you as a means of getting you to perceive how great is the need for correction within you.

Pg 34: A radical shift in how we experience life comes about when we see ourselves and everyone else, as spirit — a shift no less dramatic than the restoration of sight to a blind person.  A way to initiate this shift is to begin gently reminding yourself of your true heritage.  This can be done through the use of an affirmation, powerfully repeated throughout the day.  One such affirmation comes from A Course in Miracles: “I am not a body, I am free, for I am as God created me.”

Pg 41: Finding exactly who to blame is not your reason for being here.  Healing your psyche, your soul wounds, through forgiveness and love is.  Whenever we are tempted to condemn another person, it is because we secretly believe we are only worthy of condemnation.  Each time we judge another it is really ourselves that we judge.

Whatever we see that we don’t like in someone else is a smoke screen attempting to hide what we really loathe in ourselves.  We are terrified to even look at it in ourselves and use our energy to deny it could possibly be in us, when it is so obviously in the other guy.

Pg 42: Take a clean sheet of paper and draw a horizontal line across the top.  From the center of that line, draw a second line straight down the page.  Now, at the very top center, write the name of a person who has been like sandpaper to your soul, someone who really bugs you.  Then put a plus sign on the left and a minus sign on the right.  In the plus column write down everything you like and admire about that person, any good you can see.  In one workshop I conducted, a woman write only one statement on the plus side: “She writes nice sympathy cards.”  Now that’s stretching, but it will do.  Write everything good and when you’ve exhausted that plus side, move to the minus side and begin to write down everything you cannot stand about that person.  It doesn’t matter how little or petty it may seem — if you think of it, write it down.  Had James been writing down what he was saying, it would have looked something like this:

Pg 43:

Tom

+

Writes a good presentation

Is good to his children

Is punctual

Delivers presentations poorly

Flirts with women

Dresses lousy

Looks tacky

Has awful taste

Has no color sense

Wears cheap clothes

 

Here’s the secret.  The list isn’t about Tom; it’s about James.  Your list isn’t about that other person; it’s about you.  Sound outrageous, or did you already figure it out?  Here’s what James did that really helped him get it.  The same technique will assist you as well.  Read down the left column of your list and before each item, add the words:

“I love myself when I…”

Then go to the right column and add the words:

“I don’t love myself when I…”

If you can be brutally honest with yourself, this exercise is a real eye opener.  Now back to James’s list.  It went something like this:  “I love myself when  write a good presentation.  I love myself when I’m good to my children.  I love myself when I’m punctual.  I don’t love myself when I deliver a presentation poorly.  I don’t love myself when I flirt with women.  I don’t love myself when I dress lousy.  I don’t love myself when I look tacky.  I don’t love myself when I have awful taste and no color sense.  I don’t love myself when I wear cheap clothes.

Pg 44: A Course in Miracles states, “Everything you behold without is a judgment of what you beheld within.”

Pg 50:  Is it Love or Is It Need:  The secret grievances we hold onto are the very things we are attracted to in a new relationship.  Initially, in our delusional thinking, we call it love.  Here’s how it works.  While in a state of delusional thinking, we are out of touch with these grievances, for they are living in the subconscious.  Since the spiritual principle “like attracts like” is always in operation, that which is held in the subconscious is attracting the same to itself, just as a magnet attracts metal shavings.   When we draw this outer manifestation into our lives, it has a familiarity to it, not because it is of the spirit but because it is of the ego.  We have experienced it before, we have attracted it again, and until we are healed of this negative energy, we will continue to attract similar people and circumstances.  Whatever is going on deep within the psyche, whatever we hold to be true — that is exactly what we attract.  What shows up in our lives in the outer is always a reflection of what is occurring in the more subtle, inner recesses of our minds.

Pg 51: We are attracted to a new person, and we believe we are in love.  But we aren’t “new” or clear or healed, so in very short order this fresh relationship, which is still “special,” becomes stale.  It falls apart, looking very similar to the ones that proceeded it.

At this ego-based stage of a relationship, one person’s unhealed agenda is attracted momentarily to another person’s unhealed agenda.  For example, when a man is very wounded he cannot really see his partner; rather, he projects the image he holds of females onto his current partner, who at this stage is a willing party to his drama.  This type of relationship is doomed before it even begins, because none of the women he brings into his life will fit his image or agenda for very long.  Each will soon demand that he see her for who she is, and this will upset his fragile illusions.  These relationships may or may not be broken off at this point, but eventually they will deteriorate.

Pg 52: Specialness can never be a satisfactory replacement for holiness.  Recognizing that we have repeatedly engaged in such ego-based liaisons is the first stage of our own healing.  In this initial stage the call for faith is strong, for the relationship may seem disturbed, disjunctive, and even quite distressing.

Pg 55: A Course in Miracles teaches that the function of all relationships is “to make happy.”  Now you and I surely know the majority of relationships we observe do not have as their function “to make happy,” any more than most of us understand that the purpose of life is “to be happy.”  Our souls are always drawing us toward our joy.  It’s just that we often aren’t ready for it.  We don’t even know how to recognize or accept it, because we have been so misinformed about the purpose of relationships.  Relationships are not about filling your needs.  A needy person is like a human bloodsucker, seeking nourishment, fulfillment, and completion not in himself or herself, but in you.  It is a draining, damaging, dysfunctional means of interaction, and it goes on constantly.  Linda complained to me that Eric was not fulfilling her needs.  Of course he wasn’t.  That would be impossible for him.  He could not heal her insecurities.  He could not heal the wounds left by her abusive father, nor quell her raging daughters.  Remember, we cannot be happy in a relationship when we are attempting to force someone else to fill needs that only we can fill, to heal wounds that only we can heal.

Pg 57: When we ask the Holy Spirit to enter our special relationships, we can be assured that Love will respond.

Pg 60: Stage three is where there is the willingness to let go of everything that has ever hurt us — attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, memories.  Kim was not ready to give to the Holy Spirit everything that she held to be valuable or true.  Here she recognized that her old beliefs were neither true nor valuable.  Her healing has been deep and profound.  She is happy, at peace, self assured.

Kim emanates the radiance of one who truly lives out of a consciousness of peace and love.  She is at peace with herself and her past.  She now focuses on living as a manifestation of love itself, rather than n being in love.  Love is in her rather than she in love.

Pg 66: …we can come to recognize when we are operating out of spiritual laws, which will always be some manifestation of love.  We’ll also know when we are operating out of the domain of the ego, which will always be some manifestation of fear.

Pg 69: When you find your thoughts out of harmony with love, release the negativity as quickly as possible and bring yourself back on course.  Listen to your words as you speak.  Are they in accord with love?  Are they kind, caring, loving, clear, compassionate, and supportive of  yourself ad of others?

Pg 126: If you have wondered what you are doing on this planet, now our question has been answered.  You, dear one, are here to forgive.  Whatever has happened in our life has occurred to support you in learning this one lesson.  Each player upon the stage of your life’s drama that has upset you in any way came into the play at your subconscious request, to give you the opportunity to learn the lesson of forgiveness.

Pg 208: I asked them to elaborate on how coaching works for them.  Hank began by stressing that the coaching is reciprocal and that “there’s no right or wrong.  We don’t make the other wrong or have to be right ourselves.  It’s merely sharing: ‘This is what I see, and I’m stepping away from where you are.  So take it and see it as you see fit, but I have no agenda around it.  I have no issue around it.  I have no judgment around it.  It’s just what I see.’  I see her in a struggle, for example, and I want to try and help by sharing myself in that way.”

Pg 209: Hank explains that when the old stuff (history) is showing up for one partner, the other partner will ask: “Is this something out of your history?”  Their process continues with one of them next saying something like, “I’m here for you.  Tell me what you need.  I’m not going to guess.  I’m not going to pretend I know better than you do.”

A Course in Love: Powerful Teachings on Love, Sex, and Personal Fulfillment, by Joan Gattuso, Harper Collins New York, NY. 1996.

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