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Volume 7   Number 4   December 1996


JESUS: AN EXPRESSION OF LIMITLESS LOVE IN THE DREAM OF SEPARATION

 

You on earth have no conception of limitlessness,
for the world you seem to live in is a world of limits (T-14.X.2:4).

Indeed, people who are truly honest with themselves, as they survey the world about them and within them, would have to testify to the truth of the above statement. We are so accustomed to a life of limitation in the body that we cannot even begin to imagine the glorious and abstract realm of the limitless. The unlimited nature of love is almost impossible for us to comprehend, because limitation and a lack of love, being the laws of the ego thought system that govern our thinking and this world, are our identity and everyday experience as specific beings.

It appears to be an instinctive part of homo sapiens to contemplate its origins. And so, when seeking to understand where we come from, we tend to turn to science for an answer, or those of us who are religiously oriented may imagine our creator to be a supernatural personal entity with human characteristics. As we reflect more and more on what A Course in Miracles is teaching us, we realize that the idea of a personal God is a concept that the ego thought system enshrined in the Bible, among other places. The truth on the other hand, as taught to us in the Course, speaks of Divine Abstraction (T-4.VII.5:4). In fact, the Course even states: "Complete abstraction is the natural condition of the mind" (W-pI.161.2:1), and by this Jesus means impersonal and non-specific. Therefore, the truth of our reality is that we are a non-specific idea in the abstract and impersonal Mind of our Source, a realm of limitless love and all-encompassing totality and wholeness. When in the original instant of separation we chose to use our minds to limit the limitless, ignorance became the outcome, for we blotted from awareness all memory of our reality as one Self, at one with our Source and the realm of total knowledge and truth. Uncertainty, doubt, darkness, limitation, fear, attack, and fragmentation—all seemed to emerge as substitutes for certainty, light, limitless love, perfect peace, and Oneness.

From this ontological error of entertaining the thought of limiting love and separating from unity, the Son projected this thought into a physical "world of limits." Now it appeared as if the Mind of Christ had shattered into billions and billions of pieces, and that each piece in turn also fragmented into billions more, each fragment seemingly contained within a body of physicality and materiality. Thus the nature of the dream of separation stands as witness that the impossible has happened, and that limits and separation indeed have disrupted limitlessness and oneness. Furthermore, the memory of limitlessness, which we took with us into the dream and which A Course in Miracles identifies as the Holy Spirit in our right minds, has been basically shut out by the demanding, commanding, shrieking, and relentless voice of the ego.

The sleeping Son of God decided to choose the lies of the ego over the truth of the Holy Spirit, because he liked the power inherent in believing that he could limit the unlimited, and thus change the very nature of love from oneness to separation, individuality, and fragmentation. However, in the Course Jesus reminds us that "Wholeness has no form because it is unlimited" (T-30.III.3:2). Therefore, any separation, fragmentation, or individual expression cannot emanate from the limitless. Moreover, if the very nature of love is oneness, then the multiplicity of the world cannot be real nor be an expression of love. Nevertheless, within his dream of individuality the arrogant sleeping Son believed that he had changed unlimited love into limitation, his substitute reality for Heaven, yet never accepted responsibility for "the magnitude of that one error" (T-18.I.5:2).

By projecting these thoughts of limitation and separation from the mind, a world of hatred was made because "hate is specific" (W-pI.161.7:1). As ignorance of truth dominated the mind's dream, the same errors of the wrong mind kept being projected. The light of truth that the Son chose to exclude seemed to be forever barred by the veil of forgetfulness, which prevents the Holy Spirit from offering the only help that would present a true correction to the thought of separation.

The history of civilization in our dream world, again, is a living testament to the belief of the ego thought system that the limitless can indeed be limited, and that the ego continues to accomplish this in a world that we experience as real. However, if we understand from the above statement from A Course in Miracles that wholeness can have no form, because wholeness is unlimited, then this perception of fragmentation and limitation can only be an hallucination, something unreal that we as egos made up to replace our reality as an abstract and non-specific idea in the Mind of our Source:

What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it? (T-20.VIII.7:3-7)

Within the hallucination of our world, many notions of God have arisen to replace the true, living, and abstract Source. These include notions of a monotheistic personal being, polytheistic beings, and pantheism, which states that divinity manifests in all matter. Inevitably, the practice of sacrifice and imploring these divine figures through ritual and prayer became the means of religious expression, regardless of the specific form given to the deity by the people. And once these substitutes for God became the central figures in the Son of God's dream, there appeared to be no path or direction that would lead the sleeping Son to the truth.

What would it take to awaken the Son of God from this frightful dream of limitation, to remind him that his only true freedom within this dream of limitation was to choose the Voice that speaks for limitless love in his mind, from outside of the illusion?

In this world the only remaining freedom is the freedom of choice; always between two choices or two voices (C-1.7:1).

There appeared in this dream a pure expression—a resplendent being of limitless love—who was not bound by any of the rules, laws, or limits imposed on the body by the dream world. His appearance was like a signal, whose frequency, as it were, beamed into the right mind and awakened a memory of the pure tone of Heaven's frequency of limitless love. Its soundless melody acted as a unifying principle that would blot out the disparate and discordant sounds of the ego's insanity, reminding the Sonship that the impossible, specific world never happened, and that God's Son remains the abstract being He created as part of Himself.

The name given to this being of pure love and light is Jesus. As the Holy Spirit speaks of him in the manual for teachers:

     The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol. But it stands for love that is not of this world. It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray. It becomes the shining symbol for the Word of God, so close to what it stands for that the little space between the two is lost, the moment that the Name is called to mind....
     No one on earth can grasp what Heaven is, or what its one Creator really means. ...Then turn to one who laid all limits by, and went beyond the farthest reach of learning. He will take you with him, for he did not go alone. And you were with him then, as you are now (M-23.4:1-4; 6:1,8-10).

We are advised in the above passage that the name of Jesus Christ is the "shining symbol for the Word of God," and that he laid all limits by because he chose not to accept any thought of limitation or separation. Therefore his mind is one with God's. Repeatedly in A Course in Miracles,he urges us to use him as our model for learning. The reader must remember that this does not mean the biblical Jesus, who we are told died for our sins, nor does it refer to the many Hollywood images of him, all based in one way or another upon the biblical accounts. Western audiences, familiar with these stories of Jesus, ought to take an in-depth and impartial look at their contents, specifically as they relate to the "persons" of God and Jesus. It becomes obvious from even a quick review of the four gospels and the epistles, that:

1. The personal God is very much a personality, who ordains that his only begotten Son die for the sins of his adopted children because they disobeyed him. We can see that this must be a rather strange God who demands a blood sacrifice and death to atone for the world's sins that he perceives as real.

2. The life of Jesus is almost totally centered on the body. He is born through a miraculous event of the body, through a very special body that was linked through her betrothed's body to a very special group of bodies—the chosen people of the House of David; he possesses a miraculous body that does miraculous and loving things to and for other bodies, suffers and dies in a persecuted and crucified body, resurrects in a glorified body, and finally ascends in this body to sit at the right hand of still another body—that of God Himself.

In this connection it is instructive to look at an illustrative passage from the text, and see what Jesus has to say to us in A Course in Miracles about the body:

It is only the awareness of the body that makes love seem limited. For the body is a limit on love. The belief in limited love was its origin, and it was made to limit the unlimited. Think not that this is merely allegorical, for it was made to limit you. Can you who see yourself within a body know yourself as an idea? Everything you recognize you identify with externals, something outside itself. You cannot even think of God without a body, or in some form you think you recognize (T-18.VIII.1).

Clearly, he is teaching us that "limited love"—i.e., the thought of separation—was the origin of the body, and that its purpose was to "limit the unlimited." He is speaking literally to us here in this passage—"Think not that this is merely allegorical"—and he goes on to state very clearly that we are really an idea. Thus Jesus' true reality cannot be the body, as the Bible and Christian tradition relate, because his expression in the world was to teach that we are a limitless ideaof love in the Mind of our Source, as he is. Have we been able to accept this? The world's history, not to mention our personal experience, tells us obviously: not yet.

If we were to accept the truth that we are an idea in the Mind of God, then what would happen to our personalities, individuality, uniqueness, and specialness? They would disappear "into the nothingness from which [they] came" (M-13.1:2). So we all endeavor to hold on to our self-concepts, thus guaranteeing that we shall not awaken from the ego's dream of separation and a world of limitation.

Sprinkled throughout A Course in Miracles are many passages that remind us of the unlimited. We look at some of these now, and we ought to ask ourselves as we peruse them—"Do I really believe this?"

What we can accomplish together has no limits, because the Call for God is the call to the unlimited (T-5.II.12:5).

Can it be difficult for us to walk past barriers together, when you have joined the limitless? … And can the limitless be limited? (T-19.IV-B.5:6; T-30.III.2:5)

You are part of Him Who is all power and glory, and are therefore as unlimited as He is (T-8.II.7:7).

The mind that serves the Holy Spirit is unlimited forever, in all ways, beyond the laws of time and space, unbound by any preconceptions, and with strength and power to do whatever it is asked (W-pI.199.2:1).

To be alone is to be separated from infinity, but how can this be if infinity has no end? No one can be beyond the limitless, because what has no limits must be everywhere. There are no beginnings and no endings in God, Whose universe is Himself. Can you exclude yourself from the universe, or from God Who is the universe? I and my Father are one with you, for you are part of us. Do you really believe that part of God can be missing or lost to Him? (T-11.I.2)

If we monitored our minds as we read and tried to grasp the meaning of the above passages, we would have to admit to being somewhat overwhelmed and terrified about the task of moving from the limited to the limitless, even though Jesus said in the first of the above quotations that we can accomplish this together. This fear of the unlimited must inevitably lead us to attempt to defend against it, in the same spirit of this explanation Jesus gives us in the text for how the world hadto react to him when he appeared in its dream:

Many thought I was attacking them, even though it was apparent I was not. An insane learner learns strange lessons. What you must recognize is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them. This is because everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are. If the center of the thought system is true, only truth extends from it. But if a lie is at its center, only deception proceeds from it (T-6.V-B.1:5-11).

It was the threat of the unlimited that Jesus posed to the ego's thought system of limitation that led the world in its accounts and theologies of him to make the infinite finite, the limitless limited, the abstract specific, and the perfect Love of God turn into the special love of the ego. As we discussed above, that is how the person of Jesus who appeared in the dream as the reflection of abstract love became changed in the New Testament into a very specific body with a very specific message of specialness as the "solution" for sin. It is all an example of what in A Course in Miracles' Jesus asks us notto do: bring the truth to the illusion, the light to the darkness. Rather, we are to bring our darkened and illusory thoughts of sin and guilt to the truth of his limitless love, so that together the shared light in our one mind can shine them away. Interestingly enough, we can already observe, in the one generation that has elapsed since the Course's original publication, the same dynamics of the worlds attempting to change Jesus' message of limitless love in the dream (forgiveness) into a curriculum of specialness, wherein the specific is elevated to divinity, and the divine abstract reality is relegated to an almost irrelevant metaphysical afterthought.

So then, finally, how are we to use Jesus as our model for learning that limitation is not of God, and that our reality is His? Above all else, we have truly to want what Jesus is offering to us. He is the gateway to the limitless, and until we are able to say "I want only his gift," instead of all the diversions that the ego offers us, we shall be continually tempted by the ego to bring the limitless to the limited, and keep it there. Paraphrasing the opening of workbook lesson 185, we need to realize that to say these words—"I want only his gift"—is nothing, but to mean them is everything. Any goal that conflicts with aligning our minds with Jesus' has first to be recognized for the specialness it truly is, and then chosen against before we can meaningfully say that our goal is to return to the limitless Love of our Source. As he states in the text:

As you share my unwillingness to accept error in yourself and others, you must join the great crusade to correct it; listen to my voice, learn to undo error and act to correct it (T-1.III.1:6).

Our task, then, is to search for all the barriers of guilt and hatred that our ego minds contain (T-16.IV.6:1-2). In other words, we must become aware of the false assumptions and values that we carry around as excess baggage in our minds, the lack of forgiveness that we harbor within, and all the expectations of specialness that the ego has falsely promised would save us. As we are able actively to bring these illusions to Jesus' truth, we shall be able to "listen" to his voice more and more. Accessing his voice in our right minds, we shall learn how to undo error, as he states above, and then act to correct it through forgiveness as he directs.In effect, then, we must relinquish the control and leadership over our lives that the ego has convinced us is our rightful position as our own creator.

As we practice daily, we must remember the purpose of our being here, the decision that we made, the single goal that we chose above all else, and how much we need Jesus' help to leave the limited and return to the limitless. Moreover, since "the curriculum is highly individualized" (M-29.2:6), we must never adopt the attitude that we even have an inkling of how limitless love can be expressed in any part of our limited lives. True humility is a requirement on this road to limitlessness, lest we unconsciously assume that we know the way and therefore do not need to ask for help.

This Christmas season therefore, we can use the gift-giving symbol of the holiday to remember how much we need and want Jesus' gift to us. And how all he asks in return is our little willingness to accept his gift and join in his decision for God. He tells us in the text:

My mind will always be like yours, because we were created as equals. It was only my decision that gave me all power in Heaven and earth. My only gift to you is to help you make the same decision. This decision is the choice to share it, because the decision itself is the decision to share. It is made by giving, and is therefore the one choice that resembles true creation. I am your model for decision. By deciding for God I showed you that this decision can be made, and that you can make it(T-5.II.9; italics ours, except in 9:4).

The light of Christmas that shines in darkness (T-15.XI.2:1) symbolizes our right-minded decision to leave the ego's world, with Jesus' light of truth as our guide. No longer seeking to trap him in our dreams of specificity and limitation, we gladly follow at last his loving guidance that leads us back to the limitless Home we never truly left.

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