Showing posts with label Special relationships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Special relationships. Show all posts

Monday, May 27, 2019

ACIM and UU - Chapter five, "The world of special relationships."

Chapter five
The world of special relationships
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.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

After Church on Sunday 03/24/19 - Film, Gloria Bell

After church on Sunday I went to see Gloria Bell with Julianne Moore.

Waste of time.

Gloria is a divorced woman in her 50s looking for love in the dance clubs. Doesn't find it and has nothing else in her life either.

I was hoping that Gloria would grow up but all she does is grow older.

Her kids are leaving her to get on with their own lives and she seems to think that she will find salvation in special relationships, but alas, they are empty and meaningless even if there does seem to be a half hearted effort by Arnold, also a divorced person,  who can't seem to separate from his ex and his two grown daughters. Arnold says the "right things" to Gloria, but his heart isn't in it and Arnold leaves her high and dry going back to his family.

At the end of the movie, Gloria is smoking more pot and back in the dance clubs.

This film earns a 2 out of 5 on the UU A Way Of Life movie scale. I don't recommend it.


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Where would you rather go: hell or heaven?

Universalism teaches us about the unconditional love of the Divine. There is a very small audience for this idea. Most people put their faith in special relationships. They have made an idol out of special relationships. Special relationships are the home of the ego and this home is its own kind of hell.

Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote the respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part and then ignore this affirmation and promotion and travel along the path of the ego in pursuit of special relationships. No wonder it is a stagnant faith slowly losing membership and unable to attract new adherents. UUs don't act on what they profess to believe.

Just as we have special love relationships, we have special hate relationships. "I love you. I hate you. I love to hate you."

I get to play the victim if you will play the persecutor. "Why does this always happen to me!" is the cry of the victim.

There is a certain sense of righteousness with the expression of indignity at the projected attacks. These attacks are not only the things the persecutor did, but the things the persecutor didn't do especially not loving me enough or in the right way or only a little bit when the full attention was expected.

It is taught in A Course In Miracles that the special relationship is the ego's home. As Kenneth Wapnick, a teacher of the Course writes, "It is to protect its 'home' that the ego always strives to justify anger." p.19 (Christian Psychology in A Course In Miracles)

The path of the ego takes us to hell. The path of the spirit takes us to heaven. Where would you rather go?

Friday, June 29, 2018

What is the Love you seek?

Unitarian Universalists have developed a campaign that is branded, "Standing On The Side Of Love." What is the Love to which this campaign refers? It probably is not eros and more likely agape and philia.

We live in a culture which puts a high value on the romantic relationship, the one special relationship which we are taught to believe will make us whole, and complete, and happy.

This belief in the salvation of romantic relationships is utter nonsense as they fail more often than they succeed because they are based on the scarcity principle. This scarcity principle is the delusional belief that only this other special person can make us happy.

This belief that only another special person can make us happy is a delusion which leads us to hell. This delusion is based on the unconscious idea that the other special person can give us what we are lacking in ourselves. When the special other pays any attention to anyone else or anything else we go into panic mode that this feared abandonment and rejection will be the death of our emotional, psychological, and social well being.

This search for what is lacking in ourselves in others can only lead to failure. We are looking for love in all the wrong places and wind up playing the game described in A Course In Miracles of "Seek and do not find."

We move from one disappointing special relationship to another usually in succession, but sometimes simultaneously. Betrayal and bitterness, hurt and sorrow become the fruits of our misguided search for Love. At some point, the wise, more mature person comes to realize that the Love they are seeking is within themselves. It is the oneness with the all that they seek and that is found within and between others in a Holy relationship which is inclusive and not exclusive.

When we come to realize that the romantic love we seek is simply using other people and a subtle form of exploitation, we come to see our guilt and shame from the mistakes we have made looking for love where it cannot be found.

True love is unconditional. True love is not based on a "give to get" cycle of mercenary, conditional exchange. We come to realize that we can't give what we don't have, we can't share what we don't possess. True happiness comes from within when we realize the grace of our Oneness with Creation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Relationships have a purpose: they are teaching-learning opportunties

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to accept one another and encourage each other's spiritual growth. This acceptance and encouragement depends on the initiation and development of relationships.

The path of the spirit involves relationships at three levels.

First is the momentary. We smile at someone next to us in line at the supermarket cashier and even at the cashier her/himself.

The second type of relationship is more than a moment but temporary, a fellow student in a class, a co-worker, a neighbor, someone we play softball with.

The third type of relationship is life long, a parent, a child, a life long partner in a committed relationship, a friendship which has lasted decades.

All these types of relationships create a teaching-learning dynamic. To understand the teaching-learning dynamic we simply have to ask, "What is the purpose of this relationship?" Is the purpose of the relationship "give to get" or "me or them" or "one or the other," or is it "what's mine is yours," or "both together," or "one for all and all for one?"

To use the terms described in A Course In Miracles, is the relationship a "special relationship" or a "holy relationship?" A "special relationship" manifests a "give to get" dynamic while a "holy relationship" is about joining and sharing.

All relationships are learning opportunities and it is up to us what we will learn. What do we want to learn? Do we want to learn about our specialness or do we want to learn about Love? Do we intend to use this relationship as a means of our journey on the path of the ego or the path of the spirit? Is the relationship about me and you and how we are separate, or about us and how we are the same? Will we continue our journey separate and alone or together and connected?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What is the purpose of our relationships?

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. UUs also claim that they are not as interested in getting people into heaven as heaven into people. The desire to help people find heaven within them, and among them, requires a skeptical attitude about special relationships and the encouragement of Unconditional Love.

If you have the same dignity and worth as every other human being, how can some be special while others are deemed not worthy?

Love which is conditional is not love. We could call it appreciation, responsibility, obligation, compassion, protection, possessiveness, desire, identification, but not Unconditional Love.

Unconditional Love is a whole other thing and abides in the cosmic consciousness of which we each are a part and from which we have separated ourselves out of fear of the loss of our little egos.

To protect our little egos we strike special bargains with others to give to get. This illusion becomes the basis for our justification for our behaviors. However, ultimately, give to get leaves us broken hearted, disappointed, angry, bitter, and even more fearful. The give to get dynamic of special relationships is no basis for a peaceful and fulfilling life. Special relationships cannot be the basis of our security and well being. And yet we enter into them unwittingly often and it is not until we find ourselves in anguish because of them that we question "what is the purpose of this relationship?"

Indeed, what is the purpose of our relationships?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Ask yourself, "What is the purpose of this relationship?" UUs third principle

Dear Lucy:

Since our discussion about Unitarian Universalism and sex you have asked some good questions about what A Course In Miracles calls "special relationships." At 26 these are very important questions for you to be asking because our society loves to pair people off and there is pressure from family, friends and society at large to find that special someone with whom to settle down and perhaps have children with and make a family. As a species this is evolutionarily desirable because it assures the continuation of our species, homo sapiens. The problems arise when the ego wants to play games and usurp the place of God, the Spirit of Life in our lives. The ego teaches the idea of romantic love and that there is a special someone, a soul mate, who will understand you completely and be there for you always so you will never be misunderstood or lonely again. You are wise enough to understand that this is utter nonsense and impossible and some with a theological perspective might even call it idolatry because it puts love in special relationships in front of  the love of God. The faith in special relationships, as you sense, is, the path to hell on earth.

For most people special relationships are imprisoning and require the individual to give up his/her freedom.  In the twentieth century this was jokingly referred to as the "ole ball and chain" meaning that getting married was a life of possessiveness, restriction, and servile compliance with the desires of another. Rather than being liberating, marriage, committed relationships, were seen as enslavement.

As you seem to sense, true love is freedom and by placing yourself in bondage you separate yourself from freedom and embark on a path of misery and claustrophobia.  The trick of the ego is to tell us that we have to give something to get something and the price of marital bliss is sacrifice. Sacrifice though will never make you happy but leads down a path to resentment, fear, and suffering,

The biggest lie ever told is that sex is the ultimate proof of love. The ego wants us to believe this, but all we have to do is watch pornography and we can tell this is not true. A body sexually aroused is just that and often nothing more. When we realize this, we feel betrayed and disillusioned, and depressed and sometimes suicidal because we are greatly confused about the meaning of life.

To get ourselves better oriented we should look for the divine spark in people and focus on that. Joining in mutual purpose with other human beings is great joy. When we experience this lift in our awareness and consciousness, we feel a grace and a blessing which is very liberating and brings an enhancement of hope, faith, and confidence in the goodness of Life. A good relationship is one that is turned over to the Holy Spirit for use as a schoolroom for salvation and reunion with awareness of being a part of the Godhead. Does this relationship help us become a better person and relate to the world in more beneficial and loving ways? The true test of loving relationships is peace.

Unitarian Universalism teaches all this in a deep reading of its seven principles with the first probably being the most important: the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This principle is not referring to bodies but to spirits, to souls. The best question you can ask yourself as you try to sort out your thoughts and desires about relationships is: "What is the purpose of this relationship?" Unitarian Univeralism says in its third principle that we should be focused on the encouragement of spiritual growth. The more difficult question to answer is "How do we do that?" Many ways, Lucy. Use your talents and abilities in ways you find satisfying and fulfilling and you will grow and the people you are in relationship with will benefit as well.


Uncle David

Friday, August 4, 2017

Our dramas of suffering and sacrifice create our own hell

Unitarian Univeralism covenants to affirm and promote a principle which is the belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This principle is easy to pay lip service to but it is extremely counter theological with the Christian tradition which teachers the inherent defectiveness of every person because of his/her sinful nature.

Andrea was insecure and this is what Greg loved about her. Greg believed that Andrea would love him because he could take care of her and make her feel safe. As Andrea felt more secure and confident, Greg became increasingly anxious and depressed. Greg went to see his doctor who told him he was suffering from depression and gave him antidepressant medication. The medication helped a little bit, but Greg still felt "off" as Andrea seemed to be doing well and didn't need him anymore.

Greg's doctor told him his neurotransmitters were not working properly and were flooded with Serotonin. Whatever the cause, Greg was not feeling much better and decided to see a psychotherapist. The therapist asked Greg after a few meetings if Greg thought that maybe he was suffering from a spiritual problem? Greg responded that he had no idea what the therapist was asking him. What kind of a spiritual problem could it be?

The therapist offered the idea that Greg was dealing with a sense of shame, a sense of innate defectiveness and inadequacy which he tried to overcome by taking care of, what Greg called "love", people so that they would love him back.

Greg acknowledged that this unconscious dynamic may be at play. The therapist then asked Greg where he thought this sense of inadequacy and defectiveness had come from? Greg said he had felt this way since he was a child and his mom and dad divorced when he was three and he missed his father and his mother started drinking and leaving him with a sitter to go out with other men. Greg said that he always wished his mom and dad loved him more and were there for him. He found that by being very good and trying to be helpful seemed to make his mom and dad like him better. Greg said that maybe his whole life was based on a belief that if he was nice to people they would like him so he has striven his whole life to be what his best friend called "being a people pleaser."

The therapist suggested that his whole life has been based on this belief that he is inadequate and defective in some way and that he would be all alone unless he was able to take care of and please other people. The therapist asked if this was the basis of his "love" for Andrea? Now that she was more secure and confident rather than being happy for her, Greg was getting fearful and depressed believing that Andrea wouldn't need him any more and leave him?

Greg started to cry and said, "I'm really messed up, aren't I?"

The therapist said, "Not at all. You are perfect just the way you are, you're just learning that Life wants you to be happy and have a high quality life just because you are alive and part of this wonderful universe."

Greg smiled and said, "Thank you."

The spiritual problem is one of shame which is the innate belief and feeling that we are inadequate and defective in some way. Further we think that it is only a matter or time and circumstances before this supposed fact comes to light and we are found out to be the shameful creatures which we believe we are. As Christians tell us we all our sinners if not for what we have done, at least because of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden for which Jesus died on the cross to assuage the anger of the Father God who is mad about our disobedience.

This belief in our sinful natures which requires sacrifice and suffering for exoneration and redemption is the Great Lie of the ego. The spiritual fact is that God loves us unconditionally and it is we, humans, who create our own guilt and hell because we have separated ourselves from the unconditional love of God by our willfulness and drama.

If we could overcome and rise above our own drama, we could create heaven on earth. Greg has created his own hell believing that he is unworthy and can only be whole if he sacrifices and suffers, what he calls "love.". Nothing could be further from the Truth and it is Greg's false spiritual belief which has placed him in his own hell. Heaven, however, is within his grasp once he realizes that he is okay and will be okay just the way he is. He is loved by his Creator.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The third principle guides us away from "special relationships."

The third principle of Unitarian Universalism is to covenant together to affirm and promote the acceptance of one another and the encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. It is interesting that this principle does not say that we are to love another. It states that we are to accept and encourage one another. The third principle calls us to a lofty appreciation of our fellow human beings and does not lead us to the development of "special relationships."

Do you think that loving another and being loved by another will make you happy? If so, you are sadly mistaken. The "give to get" dynamic underneath most relationships is the path to anger, resentment and shame. No other person can make you happy. If you believe this and act on this, you give your power away.

Ashley believed that she really loved Joshua and Joshua believed that he really loved Ashley but then Josh became concerned that Ashley might also like, if not love, Bradley. Josh asked Ashley about this, more like he accused her, and she denied it and the more Josh pressured with 20 questions the more angry and resentful Ashley got and started to believe that maybe Josh really didn't love her, he was only possessive and jealous. 

Ashley finally broke up with Josh because she couldn't deal with his jealousy, possessiveness, and accusations which made her doubt herself and her lovability. Ashley's therapist said that Josh seemed insecure and Ashley certainly agreed but it did not make her feel more secure and loving in the relationship with Josh. Both Ashley and Josh broke up bitter, demoralized, and depressed each blaming the other for the failure of their relationship.

What went wrong? The mistake was the romantic belief that the job of the other was to make him/her happy. When the other person seemed to fail in that expectation, there was no further purpose of the relationship other than to learn an important life lesson: that no other person can make you happy. He/she can't make him/herself happy. How could (s)he possibly take on the responsibility to make another person happy?

Jesus tells us that we should love God first in Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Could it be that Josh was jealous that Ashley loved God first rather than him and he, unconsciously, became enraged. Could it be that Ashley was not willing to alter her priorities in life and put Josh first?

"Special relationships" are the path to hell unless we turn them over to our Higher Power. The disciples ask Jesus about people who have two or more spouses on earth which will be your partner in heaven and Jesus answers in Matthew 22:30 "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."

And so we are back, once again, to the distinction between conditional and unconditional love. As we grow and develop and mature we are called increasingly to unconditional love which is how our Higher Power, the Spirit of Life loves us. We are called to increasingly accept and encourage one other without the give to get dynamic of special relationships.

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