The world of special relationships
As we have reflected on the thought systems of A Course in Miracles we have come to appreciate that it is based on a nondualistic metaphysics meaning that the ultimate source is the Oneness which we sometimes call “God.”
Our human pain and suffering arises from our separation from the Oneness, what A Course in Miracles calls a “tiny mad idea,” and the concomitant guilt, fear, and grievance. We don’t realize at first that what we call the world and what we think is our life is merely the shadows on the wall of the cave to use Plato’s metaphor. What we think of as the world is merely the illusions we have created as a result of our projections from the world of the ego.
When we begin to awaken from the dream of this world, we realize that what we seek is the experience of Unconditional Love and not further socialization into a thought system which only perpetuates separation. At this point, we realize that we have the power to choose between the path of the ego, the way of the world, or the path of the Spirit, the Unconditional Love of the Oneness.
As the drama plays out in our lives, we come to appreciate the tremendous role that what the Course calls “special relationships” play in our lives on the path of the ego. Special relationships take a multitude of forms and involve relationships with not only people but with things and ideas. Whatever form special relationships take, the content is always the same which is the belief that from these special relationships our happiness and salvation will be achieved. This belief always disappoints and fails us even though sometimes it takes a long time and much suffering before we realize it. In Alcoholic Anonymous, the dawning occurs when we hit bottom.
It is written in A Course In Miracles, “Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point. This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening investment in physical sight.” T-2.III.3:5-8
As we experience this dawning, the search begins for Love, Truth, and Completion. This search first involves a recognition and acknowledgement of our wrong choices and mistaken beliefs. We can’t change what we don’t recognize. We can’t manage what we can’t name. Becoming consciously aware of the obstacles and blocks to our awareness of Love’s presence, our Natural Inheritance, is necessary for their removal. As the Course insists, it is our choice about giving up the path of the ego for the path of the Spirit, and this choice will never be forced on us. The Course tells us in the introduction that we don’t get to choose the curriculum, but we do get to choose when we want to take it.
The recognition and acknowledgement of the obstacles and blocks to our awareness of Love’s presence is based on our appreciation and understanding of “special relationships” and the roles we have created for them in our lives.
Unitarian Univeralism is a covenantal religion meaning that people join together to pursue a common goal which is the affirmation and promotion of seven principles. In the covenant, there is a recognition of the Unconditional Love of the Oneness which some call “God” and others call “Tao” or “Higher Power” or “Brahmin.”
Unitarian Univeralism’s covenant, based on the affirmation and promotion of seven principles, sandwiches 5 of the principles between two that are seminal: the inherent worth and dignity of every person, the first principle, and respect for the interdependent web of all existence, the seventh principle. In these two, the awareness of Love’s presence, our Natural Inheritance, is explicitly stated.
If the awareness of Love’s presence is our Natural Inheritance, and to experience this we must remove the obstacles and blocks to this awareness, we must recognize and acknowledge the role that special relationships play on the path of the ego to distract, dismiss, and disqualify our awareness of Love. We will turn to the topic of special relationships in more detail in our next chapter.