The term “love” is one of those words with the major potential of confusion. Whenever I hear or read it I do not have any clue about what it truly means for the speaker or writer.
The ancient Greek language employs four different words for “love”: eros (sexual desire), philia (love and affection between friends), storge (related to the love between parents and children) and agape (unconditional love or the love of God). This latter term is used in the New Testament’s commandment of “love thy neighbour”. Whereas the first three types of love are based on some form of reciprocity or conditions, agape is impartial, unconditional and devoid of any obligation.
According to A Course in Miracles (ACIM) there are two basic kinds of love relationships, just as there are two thought systems: the ego’s and God’s (or, in astroshamanic terms, the Core Multidimensional Identity’s, i.e. the united true self).
The ego’s thought system is based upon the belief of being a separate identity, a split mind living in a separate body, with its own personal history and potential, its private thoughts and feelings. The alternative system is based upon unity, which is devoid of any private identity or thought. Everything and everyone is part of the same whole and whatever exists in infinitely shared. Here love is total and unconditional, without any degree, discrimination or selectivity.
The ego’s type of love, on the contrary, is dispensed in diverse dosages at different times and to selected relationships. These relationships, which ACIM calls special relationships, are “the ego’s most boasted gift”[i] and also the most advertised and desirable activity in our separated world.
Special love relationships basically consist in employing another human being as the provisional projection of the missing parts of my separated identity. The development of such relationships is beautifully described by Robert Perry in Glossary of Terms from A Course in Miracles, in the following stages
1. First we search for a person different from the rest, one who is more special and has a special body with special parts (see T-15.V.2-3). Yet this process separates that person from her wholeness, for she is the whole. It reduces her from infinite magnitude down to a little pile of body parts (see T-15.V.7).
2. Then we offer her special behaviors and gifts that give her our specialness and, ultimately, give her our special self (see T-16.V.7-8). These “gifts,” however, are attacks designed to make her guilty and so induce her to give her special self in return (see giving/receiving).
3. We (almost certainly) do not receive from her the specialness we think we paid for. So we resort increasingly to taking vengeance on her for not reciprocating (see T-16.V.1). Whether we break up or stick it out, we almost inevitably feel disillusioned (see T-16.IV.4). There is truth in this response, for the love was an illusion.
4. The Holy Spirit, however, would not deprive us of these relationships (see T-17.IV.2:3) or have us throw them away. He would transform them into holy relationships, through forgiveness and the holy instant. Yet most holy relationships are still special relationships (see T-18.V.5:2-3); they have accepted the goal of holiness but have not yet reached that goal.
(from Robert Perry, “Special relationships” in Glossary of Terms from A Course in Miracles see also “special relationships” at http://www.circleofa.org/glossary/s.php)
What happens in special relationships is that, as I feel uncompleted and unhappy due to my separation from God, or Core Multidimensional Identity, I catch at someone with whom I can experience a surrogate unity with God.
When most people talk about love they usually refer to this kind of relationship, which is bound to nourish a malicious circle of guilt and harassment. On the one hand it satisfies my need for unity and love, and this gives me a temporary sense of relief. On the other, it strengthens the adherence to the ego’s thought system based on separation.
This builds up through the increasing dependence from my partners, the exclusive need to be with them, the fear to lose them and the, more or less conscious, realisation that because of them I am breaking up my relationship with God and the whole.
As a consequence the sense of separation is reawakened, together with the related guilt and pain, which is indeed the original cause for the creation of the relationship itself. As it is such guilt that scares me more than anything else, and my partners contribute to recollect it, then I will hate or attack them, or find a way to break the relationship.
Due to an underlying sense of guilt, all special relationships are based on fear. This is why they can be very painful or change so often. When fear abides in a relationship, then there is no space for love and what is left is guilt.
I have had many experiences of special relationships, having preposterous expectations regarding them, transforming my partners into idols or demons. I felt uncompleted, a meaningless fragment cut off from the puzzle of life. I needed another piece to stick to, so as to complete myself. When I found it, I would then experience a veiled and ongoing anguish as I deeply inside I knew that sooner or later it would disappear, die or leave me, or that I would disappear, die or leave it.
In the desperate attempt to procrastinate the inevitable, I have employed all kinds of compromise, manipulation, game, fight and trick. I have done that due to the fear of losing my hold to that piece as I had lost that to the Core Multidimensional Identity.
Yet this original loss has been a choice of mine and I can decide otherwise.
Power is based on my capacity to choose. There is absolutely nothing wrong or bad in being in a relationship based on separation, as long as this is the result of my conscious choice.
It is only through direct experience that I understand more about myself and life. And it is not at all possible to judge from the outside what is truly happening in a relationship, whether it is a special love relationship or not.
The only way is to delve into the relationship, to have an uncompromising experience. In this respect, and from a pure multidimensional perspective, all relationships are holy.
What appears to be a special, addictive and so called co-dependent relationship may indeed be a major gate of transformation or bliss. Nobody can judge what is going on in a relationship.
All relationships eventually serve a sacred purpose, which is represented by the liberal coexistence of the games of separation and the game of unity. Again, as long as I am aware of which game I am playing and also in as much as I can choose which one to play, I am in a position of power. Power is based on awareness and choice. All choices are powerful as long as there is awareness about them.
A relationship based on separation according to A Course in Miracles “is based on differences, where each one thinks the other has what he has not.
“They come together, each to complete himself and rob the other. They stay until they think that there is nothing left to steal, and then move on. And so they wander through a world of strangers, unlike themselves, living with their bodies perhaps under a common roof and yet a world apart”.[ii]
A relationship based on unity has a different foundation. “Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. He sees no difference between these selves, for differences are only of the body. Therefore, he looks on nothing he would take. He denies not his own reality because it is the truth. Just under Heaven does he stand, but close enough not to return to earth.”[iii]
The sole reality of the universe is unity and, although according to the ego’s thought system based on separation I appear as split, I am inevitably connected with whoever and whatever I perceive by a web of projections.
Those on whom I project my split parts (or astroshamanic templates), do the same with theirs. However, no one is able to understand how he receives the projections of others until he has had a complete experience of how his projections manipulate the lives of other people. I am the only inhabitant of my mind and all I perceive outside is just a part of that mind.
All those I meet in my life are projected components of the wholeness from which I have separated myself, and every single relationship is a path to that wholeness.
Here it is a question of pragmatically accepting with no reservation that “your partner is doing exactly what your energies, unconscious though they may be, are manipulating the partner into doing or saying. And you have to take full responsibility of this without saying, ‘Well, hey – Come on. He’s doing something too.’ What he’s doing in his movie, in his reality experience, doesn’t make any difference. It’s what he’s doing in your movie that carries the message from your Shadow. You have to begin by taking 100 percent responsibility for that – not 50 per cent or half and half – or the insight will never come. Only when you do take full responsibility (without any blame) for your partner’s behavior, for your partner’s speech and actions, only then are you in the place of power where you can begin to experience the manipulation of your partner by your Shadow side. You can then begin to bring the energy back to live comfortably in your own life. Then it no longer has to manipulate your partner into getting its messages to you or doing whatever it is that may be causing the problems between you, causing the barriers or the feelings of separation”.[iv]
[i] A Course in Miracles, Text, p. 341.
[ii] A Course in Miracles, Text, p. 467.
[iii] A Course in Miracles, Text, p. 467.
[iv] Edwin C. Steinbrecher, The Inner Guide Meditation: A Transformational Journey to Enlightenment and Awareness, Aquarian Press, p. 139.