Why are we “drawn” towards a particular person? And what should we do when we are?

Q. Why would we be “drawn” towards a particular person or persons? According to the Course, is this the workings of the Holy Spirit or the ego, or both? Wouldn’t the people we feel drawn to, as well as the ones we have an aversion to, be our way towards healing our minds, our very key to salvation? Unfortunately, these very people can also be the very road towards abusing ourselves. Is there a time when isolation is a better option?

A. I think there are clearly different kinds of “draw.” For example, Helen Schucman reports in her autobiography that when she first met Bill Thetford, she made a silent remark in her mind that she herself did not understand: “‘And there he is,’ I said to myself. ‘He’s the one I’m supposed to help.’” Little did she know that this meeting was really a reunion, the beginning of another segment in her and Bill’s long journey toward a common goal.

Similarly, the Manual reports that when a teacher accepts his function, his pupils “will begin to look for him” (M-2.1:1). Eventually, “The pupil comes at the right time to the right place” to meet his teacher (M-2.4:4). This is because, as the next sentence explains, they already met and worked together “in that ancient instant which he [the pupil] now relives.”

So there we have two examples of a holy “draw.” But there are clearly other kinds. In the early dictation, Jesus talked to Helen and Bill about how they chose their current sex partners. He said, “You selected them precisely because they were not suited to gratify your fantasies.” He said that their fantasies frightened them, and so they unconsciously were attracted to partners who could protect them against those scary fantasies.

But then, he said, “both of you continued to ‘look around’ for chances to indulge the fantasies.” Both, in other words, kept looking for their “dream of the ‘perfect partner.’” So they wanted to be with the person who did not fulfill their fantasies, and from within the safety of that home base, look for suitable persons on whom to project their fantasies.

Here, then, are two examples of a definitely unholy “draw.” Jesus regards choosing someone based on their inability to gratify your fantasy as an expression of “lack of love” and “disrespect.” And he regards the dream of the perfect partner as a search for oneness on the outside as a substitute for resolving conflict on the inside: “an attempt to find external integration, while retaining conflicting needs in the self.”

Near this same place, he says that miracle-inspired attraction “does not involve fantasy at all. If I am asked to participate in the decision, the decision will be a right one, too.” In other words, Jesus seems to envision a process in which the sanity in us is attracted to someone for holy reasons, and in which he is asked to participate in the decision to act on that attraction.

I think that is the key. Everyone we meet has been sent to us. “Whoever comes has been sent” (P-3.III.6:5). And we should greet them with understanding, appreciation, and love. Yet to what degree we then go ahead and include someone in our lives is really meant to be up to the Holy Spirit. That is what the “Development of Trust” section in the Manual is all about—trusting the Holy Spirit for what should be included in our lives. Therefore, we can apply the following statement from that section to the topic at hand. When a teacher of God is deciding what to do with someone he feels drawn to, “He must learn to lay all judgment aside, and ask only what he really wants” (M-4.I.A.7:8).

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