V. The Holy Instant and Special Relationships, P 3
3 You cannot love parts of reality and understand what love means. If you would love unlike to God, Who knows no special love, how can you understand it? To believe that special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation is salvation. For it is the complete equality of the Atonement in which salvation lies. How can you decide that special aspects of the Sonship can give you more than others? The past has taught you this. Yet the holy instant teaches you it is not so.
Typically, when Course students start realizing that they must give up the specialness in their relationships, they experience some fear, or a lot of fear, at the thought. We have given great value to this specialness. In fact, we think it is our salvation. What helps is to understand that it is not the love you are asked to forfeit; it is only the specialness, the neediness in the relationship that must go. It is the belief that this one person, or these few people are essential to you and no one else can substitute for them. It is the belief that you cannot love another like you love these ones and that no one else can love you like they love you.
The problem is that we have muddled the love with the neediness to the degree that we can’t tell them apart and so we no longer know what love is, really. I say we because it is true for nearly all of us. For instance, when I was married, I loved my husband and that love was real and holy. But that was not the only thing the relationship represented for me. I also depended on him to provide for the family, at least his share of this responsibility. I expected him to be there for me when things were going wrong, if not to fix the problem, to at least give me a shoulder to cry on.
I expected him to love me alone, forsaking all others. I expected him to share his feelings and discuss his life choices with me. I wanted him to agree with me and take my side against others. I expected him to put the children and me first. I thought he would always make me feel special and needed and loved. There were a lot of needs and expectations in that relationship and I thought that getting these needs met by him meant he loved me. I also thought that if they weren’t met that I didn’t love him anymore. I don’t think I was a lot different in these beliefs than most other people are.
What I have come to understand through the study and practice of the Course is that none of those needs and expectations had anything to do with love. So if we take them away, and it is possible to do this, then what we have left is pure love, or at least as pure as it will ever be in the world. I think of that love and how it felt and it was wonderful. It was why I wanted to be with him in the first place, why it felt so good when I was with him. What if I loved everyone the way I loved him, loving without needs and expectations, just the pure love? Then when he wasn’t with me, I would not have suffered a sense of loss or loneliness because I would still feel that love.
I would feel it within from myself and so I would never be without it. I would have that love when I was with anyone else or when I thought of anyone at all. Can you imagine how you feel when you think of someone you love with all your heart and completely unconditionally, and then imagine feeling that way all the time no matter the circumstances? You could feel that love when alone or when with the butcher or the postman or a complete stranger. Life would be sublime. Could you imagine being unkind or unthinking to someone you loved completely? If everyone allowed that kind of love the world would be a reflection of Heaven. We would be living in the holy instant.