Everyone who has had the pleasure of falling in love agrees that the experience is a very pleasurable one. Since becoming a student of A Course in Miracles, however, with its insistence that the special love relationship is one of the ego's chief weapons in keeping us out of Heaven, I had become leery of anything that smacked of falling in love. It was pretty clear to me that falling in love was no guarantee of a successful relationship; my own experience and that of thousands of others certainly bears witness to that fact.
I had come to see falling in love as a kind of denial. The old adage, "Love is blind," talks about that ability of people in love to entirely overlook faults in their beloved, often foolishly blinding themselves to obvious faults in the other person that eventually surface and contribute to the destruction of the relationship. When I am in love, I am often not in love with the other person as they really are but with the other person as I want them to be.
So I'd become suspicious of "that loving feeling" in myself and others. It was too prone to self-deception.
Lately, however, I've been revising my views. As I have worked with the Course, I found myself experiencing something very much like falling in love that gave exactly the same experience of clarity, openness of heart and perfect trust in another person, but without the blindness. I could see their obvious faults, but I loved them anyway. The faults just didn't matter. What's more, I was experiencing this strange feeling with more than one person; in fact, with lots of people of both sexes. I found myself looking at someone and just delighting myself in them, thinking, "She's really beautiful!" or "He's really beautiful!"
When I experienced this with a woman, my old mental habits kicked in, telling me, "Aha! Maybe she's the one!" Then some other, rational part of my mind would remind me, "Allen, she's married." Or maybe it would be, "She's half your age!" Then I would find myself thinking that the way I was feeling towards this woman was wrong. I would get the "wrong" signal a lot quicker if I was having this feeling about a man!
Somehow, though, I began to realize that if what I was feeling was genuinely love, it could never be wrong. I began to allow myself to just feel that way about the person without attaching any particular meaning to it (such as, "This means I must live with this person," or "I must spend lots of time with this person."). It was a bit scary just hanging out there, feeling very much in love, and not "doing something about it." It was downright weird! It was also wonderful!
As I've continued to study the Course, I've come to understand that there is no love but God's. I've seen that it tells us that God's Love is given to everyone, equally. And I've begun to understand this, in my own terms, like this: We are meant to be in love with everyone.
One day I was thinking, "What would it feel like to be Jesus?" The closest I could come to describing it to myself was, "If I were Jesus I would be in love with everybody, all the time."
Just think about it! If you've ever experienced being in love, imagine what it would be like to feel that way about everyone you met, every day.
That feeling of no barriers, of openness, of seeing only the good in one another, of a sense of total equality, knowing the other is just as much me as I am—that feeling, which we so insanely try to restrict to one other person, is the feeling we are meant to have with every single person on earth, to whatever degree we relate to them. It has nothing to do with form of any kind; it is a heart attitude. And that attitude cannot be restricted to a single person; we kill it when we try to do that, try to make it special. Its nature is universal, not special, and specialness kills it. We are meant to relate to every person on earth as a part of ourselves, part of a very big Self that includes all the billions on earth now, those that have come before, and those yet to come.
Imagine being in love with everybody, equally! Wow! That is what living in the real world is like. You literally see nothing but love as real in everybody, and experience no reaction except love in yourself. That is what it is like to be a Teacher of God. That is what it is like to know that your function is to give of yourself, and that everything you give you are receiving.
Think how much pleasure it gave you to be with that "one special person" you were in love with, and imagine enjoying everyone in that same way. You would be constantly surrounded by love, aware of the inner beauty in other people all of the time, feeling perfectly safe and totally at peace in their presence, knowing that you had nothing to fear from them because they are love just as you are.
Doesn't that sound familiar to you, as a student of the Course? Doesn't that sound a bit like what the Course calls "living in the real world"?
I've begun to realize that the major problem we all experience with falling in love is that we immediately think it is something special. It just happens with this one person, and it makes them unique; I have to immediately get this person away from everyone else, corner the market so to speak, and make sure they don't give their love to anybody else, just to me. Making it special is what causes all the problems.
The whole point of the Course is not that "falling in love" is bad, but that it's not special. That's the way it should be with everybody, all the time.
As I've begun to allow myself to be in love with more and more people, my life has begun to feel very rich and satisfying. Instead of feeling dissatisfied because the person I'm in love with isn't available for a special relationship with me, I'm just enjoying my love relationship with that person in whatever form it happens to take. And I have more than one love relationship, without any sense of guilt being attached to the fact that I'm sharing my love with multiple persons.
At times it is still a bit frightening, I admit. I feel as though, if I don't go around looking for that special person, but just accept relationships at whatever level they are happening, with whatever degree of involvement is appropriate, that maybe I won't find that special person. On the other hand, there is a part of me that doesn't seem to care so much about finding "the one" anymore, because I can always have "the many." The Course serves as a constant reminder that my salvation doesn't lie in finding "the one" anymore, and never did.
There is such freedom in allowing myself to be in love with whomever I want to, without any artificial restrictions—indeed without any restrictions—that I wonder why I ever thought I had to hold my love in check. I am finding out things about my Self. I am finding I have a limitless capacity to love. I am finding that I feel much more whole, much more like myself, somehow, and that validates what the Course teaches when it says, "Teach only love, for that is what you are." I am finding that loving is the same thing as being happy. (Love doesn't make me happy; love is the choice to be happy with someone.)
To me, the spiritual path is becoming the way I learn to fall in love with everyone; to fall in love with the whole world.