How in the world is it possible for love to hurt? How can love change or even end? In this world it seems that we can experience a time of union with someone and then often, these relationships can erode and finally end, sometimes even bitterly. There once “appeared” to be love there, and then it disappeared or turned to hate.
The shocking fact here is that if the love between two people does diminish or end – it was not real Love but hate in disguise. Let me explain.
In the world’s distorted version of love it is commonly accepted that in a relationship both love/like and disdain – expressed as anger, blame, guilt, hurt, resentment, hate, etc – can be interspersed accordingly. Sometimes these companions appear to be loving or friendly toward each other and then at other times they resent each other.
Everyone has experienced this seesawing between love and resentment in relationships with family, spouse, children, parents, colleagues, friends, etc. But what we haven’t recognized is that all the vacillations between love/like and resentment are not what they seem. Resentment and special love/like appear to be two very different behaviors evoking two very different reactions. The shocking news however, which we discover as we begin to “live” the Holy Relationship, is that they are the same.
So when a relationship seems to vacillate from love to resentment, it merely swings from ego’s version of love which is a desired form of fear – to – resentment as an undesired form of fear. Yet it’s all fear!
Special love is always fear in disguise. Using the image of a pendulum here, we will call this special relationship pendulum, “fear.” In our special relationships all that occurs is that this pendulum swings incessantly from the ego’s hotly desired forms of fear such as pleasure, to its most viciously rejected forms of fear such as conflict, pain and loss. The whole pendulum is fear. As fear itself, it can only swing between these two versions of fear. These two polarities of fear represent the ego’s “symbols” of love. As a pendulum, its entire field of action is completely circumscribed by fear. This is not Love. And this is why so many human relationships fail.
Real Love on the other hand, is not an emotion that seems to change or end. We cannot trade it or use it to bargain. It’s not a feeling that comes and goes. It does not change from person to person. Changeless Love is all that remains once we release everything that Love is not. And specialness is all that Love is not.
“Love is not an illusion. It is a fact. Where disillusionment is possible, there was not love but hate. For hate [is] an illusion, and what can change was never love.” T-16.IV.4:1-4
Only through a body-centered perception could we possibly believe that real Love can change or end. Instead of knowing our Self as changeless Love, we have made up “symbols” of love/like in a convincing effort to blank out the innocence of our shared Identity.
The ego mind gathers these fractured symbols like pieces of a jig saw puzzle. It places them together in an attempt to convince us that once set in the right configuration these symbols form the whole picture of love or friendship. But when any of these symbols are threatened by someone’s behaviors, beliefs, body appetites, values, conditions, possessions, etc, it withdraws its love or appreciation, and suddenly there appears to be a “falling out of love,” or failed friendship or family relationship, etc. Love then seems to be replaced with its opposite as anger, blame, guilt, hate, or hurt, etc.
Let me share just a few of these symbols of specialness here:
Exclusivity, falling in love, sexual lust, conditional gift giving, people-pleasing, body-focused, pride, concern and worry, sympathy and colluding, sacrifice, jealousy, withholding, keeping score, separate self-seeking agendas, self-gratification, need to be right, impatience, false humility, co-dependent behavior, neediness, habituated, possession/control, fault-finding, rivalry, accusing, guilt-tripping, defending, dishonesty, distrusting, ungrateful, abandoning self for another’s interests, turning our light down to not threaten another, superiority, victimhood, love for status, love for position, money, safety, security, fame, or possessions, etc.
These are all symbols of specialness both seemingly good and bad. Generally, we take for granted that there can be fluctuations between love and resentment in a relationship; that we can like or love someone, and then just as quickly withdraw from them if they don’t meet our perceived specialness needs.
Yet all these symbols of special relating, both seeming positive and negative, are classified together under just one umbrella –fear, as the opposite of Love.
This is big. The ego’s symbols of love always represent some “form of fear.” Even those highly valued symbols of love like sympathy, concern, worry, sexual lust, falling in love, exclusivity, giving to get, sacrifice and playing small (false humility), all arise from fear and not from Love. This is what special relating is. It is a form of fear made to exclude the very nature of our Identity as changeless innocence and Love. And that is why the world’s version of love is a trap; and an epidemic.
It may be helpful here to include some of the traits which develop to be shared and extended in Holy Relationships, to expose the stark contrast between the ego’s symbols of love, and the Holy Self’s expressions of Love. As you will see, they are worlds apart:
Sharing in one truly common purpose, committed to see each other, self and others as sinless, inclusivity, shared guiltlessness, commitment to unlearn body identification, genuine emotional intimacy, emotional transparency, authentic bonding, shared reverence, shared grace, sacred communion, interdependence, empathy, radical self-honesty, unequivocal self-accountability, all-forgiving, patience, shared defenselessness, unconditional communication, willing to be wrong, trusting implicitly, shared gratitude, harmony, joint will, joint motivation, joint experience, spontaneous, sincerely selfless, genuine humility, etc.
Perhaps now after seeing this massive contrast between the ego’s symbols of love and genuine Love, we may have an appreciation of just why we really don’t know what Love is. And why our greatest unconscious terror is of God as Love. After all, in the Course’s introduction it explains its aim. And it tells us just how to make our way back to Love, to God and our cherished Holy Self:
“The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.” T-in.2:6-8
The kind of “love” that we have taught our self is really hate in disguise. Special relationships are based on the whims of fear and not on changeless Love. And that is why they appear to be so unpredictable. Any love that can be threatened is fear.
Here, born in and sustained by our addiction to special love as our fearful replacement for Love, lays an epic oversight. Realizing that it is fear and not changeless Love that underpins humanity’s relationships since time’s first inception, perhaps we can appreciate that the heaviest and longest standing defense against Love in the dream, is the special relationship. This includes the specialness involved in all our relationships not just romantic ones. In its attempt to balance hate and love it completely obliterates Love in our awareness. And that is why the special relationship represents the very seat of our unconscious aversion to God, to our one, shared and Holy Self with all our brothers.
“You cannot limit hate. The special love relationship will not offset it, but will merely drive it underground and out of sight. It is essential to bring it into sight, and to make no attempt to hide it. For it is the attempt to balance hate with love that makes love meaningless to you. The extent of the split that lies in this you do not realize. And until you do, the split will remain unrecognized, and therefore unhealed.” T-16.IV.1:5-10
“The special love relationship is the ego’s chief weapon for keeping you from Heaven.” T-16.V.2:3
The false-self only knows fear because it was made in fear. It does not know Love. Since the illusion of time began, in no single instant has it ever known changeless Love which is an undivided totality as our Holy Self. All it knows and experiences from birth to death is a cleverly disguised and richly seductive smorgasbord of fear. Its symbols of love which are really symbols of fear (hate) constitute the ego’s version of special conditional love.
The ego’s fearful love arises from an endless abyss of deprivation, emptiness and worthlessness. It always seeks to get. Even in its giving it demands something in return. Its love quickly turns to anger if its illusory needs are not met by another.
If love can be superseded by anger then it was not love but disguised hate. In special relating the symbols of love and the symbols of hate fuse together as one and the same. They share the same purpose which makes them synonymous. They are fear and not Love. Love is total. Changeless Love is everything that fear is not.
“The symbols of hate against the symbols of love play out a conflict that does not exist. For symbols stand for something else, and the symbol of love is without meaning if love is everything.” T-16.IV.2:1-2
Love is undivided and eternally innocent. It is changeless and cannot by any means be intermingled with fear. Love and fear are each totally mutually exclusive thought systems. They cannot coexist in our awareness at the same time. The presence of one in our awareness completely obliterates the other. There are no degrees of fear. It is total. There are no degrees of Love. It is total. These two, fear and Love, cannot meet.
The same can be said about the “one” who thinks they can both love and hate together. The false-self that perceives fear in any form is isolated from our beloved Holy Self. This is the split mind.
Taking this even further, if we say we do indeed love one person, but we despise or hate another person, then we cannot possibly truly Love the one we think we cherish. Love is not really Love unless it is extended across the board.
“Perhaps you think that different kinds of love are possible. Perhaps you think there is a kind of love for this, a kind for that; a way of loving one, another way of loving still another. Love is one. It has no separate parts and no degrees; no kinds nor levels, no divergencies and no distinctions. It is like itself, unchanged throughout. It never alters with a person or a circumstance. It is the Heart of God, and also of His Son.”
“Love’s meaning is obscure to anyone who thinks that love can change. He does not see that changing love must be impossible. And thus he thinks that he can love at times, and hate at other times. He also thinks that love can be bestowed on one, and yet remain itself although it is withheld from others. To believe these things of love is not to understand it. If it could make such distinctions, it would have to judge between the righteous and the sinner, and perceive the Son of God in separate parts.” W-127.1,2.
Taking this one step further again, the “one” who believes in and practices special love, as the special self that can appear to love at times, and then be hurt or angered at other times, does not exist. That false body-identity, the one that tries to get love, is the darkest, most formidable opponent to our awakening to the breathtaking joy and resounding Love of our shared and Holy Self.
In its adoration of special love as hate, there is a profound confusion. So extreme is this confusion that through the body-self, we do not recognize and therefore value changeless Love, the very substance of our eternal being. One permanent and uninterrupted attribute of this Love we are is our uninterrupted, incorruptible innocence. This is our perfect sinlessness; the ever-present safety and joy of our being which gives us literal immunity to all the attacks of the ego. Whenever this innocence is not perceived in our self or others, then it can only be the false-self believing and thus seeing its very own un-forgiven projections.
Thank God for quantum forgiveness. Those who trigger us consistently offer us opportunities to recognize the single “source” of the trigger which is always the false, body-identity so we can forgive it in our own mind. Only this false-self can be triggered! Only this self can believe in or experience suffering. Our Holy Self cannot. Thank God.
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