The Most Important Commandment

When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus replied,

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." [Matt22:37-40]

These, however, are not really two, but one single commandment, the spheres of operation of which are completely inseparable. He did say the second is like the first. And, if one can actually live by this commandment, all else follows. There is no need for any other law.

God can, will, and must be loved totally or not at all, for Love is total. It is not broken, partial or incomplete. If it were, it would not be Love. Love is. And in that presence there is nothing else. Any pretense to love that is not all-inclusive is but an empty idol; at best a vague shadow, at worst a plastic counterfeit of the real thing.

One comes to the recognition of this totality... And when I say recognition, I mean the direct apprehension, the total instantaneous awareness of this unspeakable, but concrete fact... via the actual recognition that one's neighbor is one's very own self--that there is no "other." This "seeing" which is, of course, completely contrary to our habitual way of looking at things, our so-called "normal" awareness, is the only way which Love may be truly felt and known. Only when there is no "I" and no "you" is there Love, is there God. "You" and "I" can only truly meet at God. Or, in the words of A Course in Miracles,

"This is the function of your holy relationship. For what one thinks, the other will experience with him. What can this mean except your minds are one? Look not with fear upon this heavy fact, and think not that it lays a heavy burden on you. For when you have accepted it with gladness, you will realize that your relationship is a reflection of the union of the Creator and His Son." [T450/483f]

Without this direct experience of joining, this different way of "seeing", there is no true compassion, no real empathy. These words mean "to feel with," more accurately "to suffer with." So, compassion and empathy begin with suffering. And as long as there is the perception of suffering anywhere, there is no Love. God, being Love, is obscured from awareness by suffering of any kind, whether that suffering be perceived as "outer" or "inner" for they are the same. One must then begin to see that there is but one suffering and that it is his. All suffering is the same. If anyone suffers, I suffer. One must become open to all of the suffering of the world. The only possible escape from suffering is not for the "me," but for the whole. Suffering must be embraced and understood, not "fixed" or hidden. Only by the actual discovery that the perception of suffering of any kind arises only from an erroneous and ignorant, self-centered view of Reality is the cycle of suffering finally broken.

Pity and conventional charity, which "help" through condescension, are enemies to Love, which keep the chain of suffering unbroken. Those who seek others to help who are "less fortunate" without recognizing them as brothers -- nay, as one's very own self -- are perpetuating the very evil they seek to put away. They attempt to assuage their own guilt or fears through this charity. It is a selfish motivation and continues the perception of separateness which is the very cause of suffering in the first place.

Without "seeing" one's neighbor as oneself, there is no Love present and healing is not possible. Without "seeing" one's neighbor as oneself, there is not the awareness of Love which is God. Without this "seeing" there is no reliable guide to appropriate action. With it, all action is accomplished effortlessly.

Seeing/Action, Seeing/Action . . . Simplicity Itself

If there, however, is a "seer" or a "doer," it is of no use whatever, totally meaningless. A separate subject operating on an external object is but the cause of more suffering.

 


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(2/27/93)