What is Love?

Posted by Roberta Grimes • March 18, 2023 • 86 Comments
Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love,
I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I give away all my possessions to charity,
and if I surrender my body so that I may boast,
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

“Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant.
It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit;
it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered,
it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.
It keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

– Jesus as channeled through the Apostle Paul, from 1 Corinthians 13

Coming up with a topic for our blog post each week is my Thomas’s task. He proposes our topic on the previous weekend, and then he lets me flounder with it until Friday, at which point he steps in and helps me finish and polish it. Late last Sunday afternoon he still hadn’t said anything, so as I was going through emails I said to him, “It’s time. What have you got for me?” I was opening’s daily email of articles. He said from behind my left shoulder, “Try that.”  

The top article was about the Biblical definition of love. I said, “That? That’s boring. He said, “No. Define the word ‘love’.”  And he was right. We talk about love all the time. But do we really all share one definition for the word “love”? Love as the Bible defines it is pretty much limited to Jesus’s loving us enough to die on a cross to save us from God’s judgment for our sins. Which, as we know now, is a nonsense idea. Jesus tells us right in the Gospel of John that God never judges us (JN 5:22-23). So Jesus didn’t need to die as a sacrifice to God. We have Jesus’s own thoughts about love as a Core Teaching on, and we might consult that. But what do you and I mean by the word “love” when we use it in conversation? What really is love, anyway?

I have written about love here repeatedly, and I am embarrassed now to say that I have never satisfactorily defined the word. The Merriam & Webster’s dictionary definition is also unsatisfying, since it boils down to synonyms. “Love is a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” “Love is attraction based on sexual desire; affection and tenderness felt by lovers.” “Love is affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests.” So basically, love is a positive feeling, and you and I know it when we feel it? But what really is love, anyway?

Of course, what further complicates our question is the fact that A Course in Miracles would call all the personal loves in the paragraph above just “special loves.” The loves that we have for particular individuals are all special loves, and ACIM derisively tells us that special loves are as counterproductive spiritually as are “special hates.” Well, that’s a real downer!

As a first pass, at least we can say that love is a positive feeling for someone beyond oneself. But there are so many kinds of love! I am reminded of what my Thomas has told us about his brother six thousand years ago, the sweet teenage boy who in his next incarnation was going to be born from the Godhead as Jesus. That boy was so entranced with people that even while a war was going on and his tribesmen were finishing off the losing side, he went searching for people who might be hidden away, hoping to find and save some of them before the soldiers could get to them. And when he found a terrified mother with her children, he rescued them and kept them safe until he could find a man of his own victorious tribe who would take the woman for a second wife and would adopt her children. That was Jesus in the making.

Then when Jesus was born from the Godhead four thousand years later, He had some definitive things to say about love! When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, He didn’t name any of the Biblical Ten Commandments. Instead, He was all about love. He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (MT 22:37-40). Ah, now we are getting somewhere! In shifting the base of the entire existing Hebrew religion to His new Law of Love, Jesus is telling us that love has become fundamental. Nothing is more important. Jesus has moved us from a transactional relationship with God, one in which the breaking of arbitrary rules once called for the payment of penalties in the form of pigeons or unblemished heifers, to one in which God now requires of us that we love with our whole heart, soul, and mind. In a way, this is letting us off easy. We do get to keep all our pigeons and heifers. But on the other hand, to give up your whole heart, soul, and mind to God might turn out to be an even greater burden. It all depends on what love means.

What A Course in Miracles is about fundamentally is forgiveness. An unwillingness to forgive is the ultimate barrier to being able to master perfect love. But forgiveness is much harder than it sounds! You and I are transactional by nature, just as were the ancient Hebrews. We carry around a scale in our minds. For us to be wronged and to forgive that wrong will set our mental scale out of balance, and will make our being able to freely love that much harder. In a way, a lot of what our lives on earth are about is learning to get rid of that mental scale so we can forgive easily and completely, even despite our having been wronged. This is especially true of forgiving God! I will occasionally get emails that are full of woe-is-me complaints about people’s lives, and right beneath the surface it is clear that really the senders are in a rage against God for the problems that they themselves had planned into their own lives as spiritual growth challenges. By far the greatest habit that any of us can learn is complete, automatic forgiveness of wrongs. But doing that goes against human nature, which is why ACIM is called A Course in Miracles. With a big emphasis on that last word! Personally, I have found that once I accepted the fact that I myself had designed into my life all my problems of this lifetime, and then I added the forgiveness-balls routine, automatic forgiveness became a snap.

So my mind goes back to that scrawny boy searching a battlefield for people to save. I don’t know what Jesus remembers of His final earth-lifetime before He ascended to the Godhead level. I never have presumed to ask Him that question. And Thomas recalls very little about it, but on the rare occasions when he has been willing to discuss it, he has dredged up and shared vague bits of memories that I find tantalizing for what they tell us about the titanic spirit that was Jesus in the making. Thomas has told me that some six thousand years ago in the fertile crescent there was some kind of blood-feud between two primitive walled cities, and he himself as the chieftain’s oldest son in one of them led an attack that breached the other side’s defenses. But he stresses to me that it was all primitive, mud walls and hovels, knives and spears. His younger brother should not have been there at all. In his vague memories, the princeling who would much later be born as Jesus was a sickly boy, and under orders never to leave their home city. Still, that boy snuck out to follow the army, and even while they still were fighting, he ventured into the enemy’s breached city that was littered with the dead and dying to try to rescue some woman, some child, some innocent victim from out of the carnage. But, who does something like that?

I try to put myself into that boy’s mind. All I can think is that he could not bear to sit safe at home, while knowing that there was even a chance that maybe there was someone in that city that his brother’s army was attacking that he might possibly save. He would have observed his side’s preparations after witnessing this battling between the two walled cities. First we attack them and then they attack us. Lots of yelling and throwing of stones and spears. But now he was hearing that his brother had a plan to breach the other city’s walls and obliterate it? Oh no! But what about the women and children? He had to get himself over there, so he snuck out and followed the army. The great danger to himself didn’t matter at all beside his thought that there might be someone he could save.

Thomas is looking over my shoulder at this point. He has a vague memory of receiving a report that his brother had been spotted in the ravaged city, so he had to assign soldiers to protect him while there still were enemy soldiers alive. But the boy kept slipping away from them. Brat. And how is this helping us to define love?

Jesus’s teaching that we must love our neighbors as ourselves might perhaps be one key. It is clear that Jesus saw things quite differently from His contemporaries, and surely the boy that He had been in His previouus earthly incarnation also had a unique perspective on things. All of us together are parts of a single consciousness; and amazingly, that means all nearly eight billion of us now. Even in this more sophisticated twenty-first century, that fact can feel difficult to get our minds around. And it is flat incredible that two thousand years ago, clearly Jesus already understood this concept! Love your neighbor as yourself. Because your neighbor is yourself. And even four thousand years before that, a sickly teenage princeling in the fertile crescent at the dawn of civilization seems also to have had some clue that the separations that are apparent between people are illusory. I can think of no other explanation for his behavior.  

But can it really be so simple? Ultimately, love is a recognition that we are all one being? Some forty or fifty years ago there was a major famine in Africa, and a photographer was sent to document it for National Geographic. I recall this story only vaguely now, but I can never get this man and his photograph entirely out of my mind. The story was that he was allowed inside the famine zone to take pictures, but he must not intervene. Which was a rule that likely made sense to the authorities running the relief effort, since with a mass feeding program underway they could not have random do-gooders running around and getting in their way. So this fellow took an award-winning photograph of a toddler crawling alone across a gigantic African plain, while within the frame there were vultures waiting nearby. He did his job and took his photographs and won his award. But he never was able to learn the fate of that one particular child, and he gradually became inconsolable. He quit his photography job. Then he killed himself.

There is nowhere else that we can go but this: love is the recognition that all of us are one being. Love your neighbor as yourself because your neighbor is yourself. Jesus uses the analogy of the good shepherd who leaves his flock and searches until he finds the one he has lost. Humankind is unique among living creatures for the fact that we are all eternal aspects of the one consciousness which is all that exists, and which at its highest is the High God, and therefore we all are encompassed in the singular love that Jesus taught. The special loves and hates don’t matter. And learning to completely forgive is just a necessary step along the way toward achieving this fundamental realization. All those other details are just side-issues.

Love is the recognition that we are all one in God. All almost eight billion of us. And that is the true and eternal love that Jesus taught. It is steadfast, fundamental, and eternal, and whatever else is going on, it underlies and unites us all. It is the love that motivated Martin Luther King, Jr. and so very many others who could not turn away from evil, but in fighting that evil they loved the perpetrators as well as the victims. But how do we form this into a definition for the word? “Love is the irresistible certainty that I am eternally one with every human being on the face of the earth.” Perhaps for now that might do as a definition for the word. It is more complex than Jesus’s “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But for now, perhaps it is enough.

“Love never fails. But if there are gifts of prophecy, they will fail.
If there are tongues, they will cease. If there is knowledge, it will be done away with.
For now we know in part and prophesy in part;
but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away with.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I gave up all childish things.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;
now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known.
But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love. “
– Jesus, as channeled through the Apostle Paul, from 1 Corinthians 13

Roberta Grimes
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86 thoughts on “What is Love?

  1. “Love your neighbor as yourself. ”
    Through the years, I have many neighbors and living in
    apts., I can honestly say they drove me nuts!
    Now I’ve a tiny cabin in my guy’s huge backyard.
    The need to be alone is solved and I have my own remote!

    On April 1st I got a liver transplant, 2018 I
    named him Shay, ‘ a gift from God
    I revisited, Love your neighbor as yourself ‘

    Shay was my neighbor! Shay is me. Jesus gave me a new
    life and new neighbor. I love Shay as myself.

    1. Oh my dear Erica, you make me smile! And yes, sometimes it is harder to love people who are living crammed close to us in nearby apartments. It is difficult even in neighborhoods, where people’s dogs next door are barking and their children’s balls keep landing in our gardens! But that is kind of the point of life on earth, isn’t? Learning to love, even when people are not always perfectly lovable?

  2. I’m self-described ‘curmudgeon mac’ railing when he hears: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost COMMANDMENT.” The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

    So am I being told I MUST DO those things rather than being encouraged to aspire and work towards them? I understand a commandment to be a rule that must be obeyed, especially a commandment handed down by God.

    Words matter.

    1. Hi Mac,

      “Words Matter”…
      Taking word out of context matters more.

      Jesus was asked for his greatest commandment and responded based on that question.

      You also didn’t mention the part where we will not be judged. How can you be commanded to “MUST DO” something yet won’t be judged if you don’t do it?

      It doesn’t make sense to me to pick apart what is being said. Do it or don’t do it. Jesus is trying to lay out a system to help us attain our ultimate goal. The very reason for being here and living through this negativity. If you don’t believe in it then that is ok.

      Do what you think is best for yourself. Personally, I feel better following his teachings (commandment) so I’ll continue with it. I feel more empathy for those of us that do bad things to others. Instead of condemning them, I hope they are able to find peace and forgive themselves. I hope we all can when it’s our time. I like where I’m heading and it’s all because of Jesus’ teachings.

      At the end of the day, we have a short life span, on this earth, so you can either get the most out of it or quibble about word usage. 😉

      1. Words matter! They carry a deep meaning and vibration and ‘commandment’ does not lead us to greater understanding or experience of love. That word leads us a different direction. It is misleading. Perhaps originally a different word was used. We really shouldn’t have to get in our heads and figure out they must not mean commandment since they say we won’t be judged. No. The feeling and true vibration should be contained in the word. I personally doubt Jesus used that word, regardless of other’s misunderstandings.

        1. Hi Azzy,

          “Jesus, what is the greatest commandment?”
          Well, the greatest commandment is…

          “Jesus, what is the greatest rule to follow?”
          Well, the greatest rule is…

          “Jesus, what is the best advice to follow?”
          Well, the best advice is…

          I say this out of nothing but love, but when people focus on words and not context then they are doing what a smarter man than I calls “Word Think”.

          Concentrating on specific words and not the entire message isn’t going to help anyone. Especially you.

          You’re welcome to cross examine each word and critique it. It’s your time to waste. I will use my time in a better way.

        2. Dear Azzy, please remember that, in addition to the fact that Jesus was responding to a question about the Ten Commandments, He was speaking to Iron Age primitives. I think that indeed He did use a word that could be translated as “Commandment.” His listeners of the day would have expected that.

        3. We all know how words – and what was meant – can quickly become distorted when they are relayed from person to person. There’s no knowing exactly what words were originally used so maybe we need to use our own judgement?

      2. Beautifully said, my dear Thomas. It is important, as you say, to remember that Jesus was responding to a question – “What is the greatest Commandment?” So He didn’t name one of the Ten Commandments. Instead, He replaced all ten with God’s law of love. Wow, what a big advancement that was at the time!

      3. quote: “Words Matter”… Taking word out of context matters more. ” perhaps. Context does indeed matter but I hadn’t ignored the overall context when I wrote what I did.

        quote: “Jesus was asked for his greatest commandment and responded based on that question.” OK

        quote: “You also didn’t mention the part where we will not be judged. How can you be commanded to “MUST DO” something yet won’t be judged if you don’t do it?” I could have raised many other points but the blog format isn’t a suitable medium for so doing – a discussion forum is the best. I would counter your point, though, by asking YOU why such a loving guide would need to command anyone to do the things I questioned – rather than gently, kindly encouraging them to work towards it.

        quote: “It doesn’t make sense to me to pick apart what is being said. Do it or don’t do it.” quite so – It doesn’t make sense to you but it does to me – so I do it but I don’t require anyone else to join in – I leave that to individual’s choice. To repeat myself, words matter. In this physical dimension they are the PRIMARY way of expressing our thoughts. It’s the basis of this blog and the basis of books, online material et cetera.

        quote: “Jesus is trying to lay out a system to help us attain our ultimate goal. The very reason for being here and living through this negativity. If you don’t believe in it then that is ok.” Spirit teachers and guides have done similar and continue to do so. Each does his best. I don’t need to believe any of this because I know it to be fact.

        quote: “Do what you think is best for yourself. Personally, I feel better following his teachings (commandment) so I’ll continue with it. ” absolutely! You should follow the exact same advice you gave me – do what you think is best for yourself. I’m happy for both of us to do exactly that.

        blessings 🙂

        quote: “I feel more empathy for those of us that do bad things to others. Instead of condemning them, I hope they are able to find peace and forgive themselves. I hope we all can when it’s our time. I like where I’m heading and it’s all because of Jesus’ teachings.” I reached a very similar place to the one you’ve described here but I reached it using a different pathway. We each are free to walk one that’s most suited to ourselves.

        quote: “At the end of the day, we have a short life span, on this earth, so you can either get the most out of it or quibble about word usage. 😉” How long or short a lifetime may appear it does not impact our ability to discuss what we find important. I wasn’t quibbling about word usage. I was simply making points I personally find important . 😉

    2. Well, my dear Mac, as Thomas so nicely summarizes for us here, Jesus gave us these commandments in response to a question about which was the greatest commandment. He didn’t name any of the Ten Commandments, but instead He replaced all ten with God’s new law of love.

      But, yup, you will learn to love your fellow man sooner or later. Whether it is in this lifetime, the next, or ten thousand lifetimes from now. Or so says A Course in Miracles. I don’t make these rules, dear. And nor do I enforce them.

      1. I was never questioning context – only the words used.

        More importantly to me, as I understand the world from which we came – the same world/dimension to which we’ll soon return – there ARE no rules to say we’ll learn to love our fellow beings and consequently nobody to enforce rules that don’t exist. No matter what ACIM or any other course of learning has to say on this matter.

        We will learn whatever it is that we do learn – be that unconditional love or whatever – not because of rules but because of principles that have applied eternally.

        We should all remember the old saying: nothing new under the sun.

  3. You wrote at the end: ” But how do we form this into a definition for the word? “Love is the irresistible certainty that I am eternally one with every human being on the face of the earth.” Perhaps for now that might do as a definition for the word. It is more complex than Jesus’s “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But for now, perhaps it is enough.”

    Is love the same then as merely acknowledging and recognizing that we are all one? Isn’t something missing here? Love has to be more than certainty. To me it has to be the totally selfless, ego-less reaction and action that follows from that certainty and conscious awareness in the form of service to others, kindness, giving, instant forgiveness, all on an unconditional, non-judgmental level. But whereby giving and receiving all become part of the same activity.

    1. My dear Adrian, all of that is true, I think, and it seems to follow naturally from the truth. Once you really get what love is, you fall pretty quickly into living by it. Once you see the truth, it dazzles you; very soon, you cannot look away.

  4. Dear Adrian (and Roberta),

    Well described:
    ” Is love the same then as merely acknowledging and recognizing that we are all one? Isn’t something missing here? Love has to be more than certainty. To me it has to be the totally selfless, ego-less reaction and action that follows from that certainty and conscious awareness in the form of service to others, kindness, giving, instant forgiveness, all on an unconditional, non-judgmental level. But whereby giving and receiving all become part of the same activity. ”

    Words tag ideas, and ideas own a varitety of natures, e.g., denotation of entities and possible connotations associated with them, emotions and their absense, relationships (such as North of and below, or together and apart). Dennotative tags may represent a conglomerate of ideas, such as Napolean’s name (what do you think of when his name comes up? Emperor of France, young military genious; failure at Waterloo…).

    Ideas may have tags that are primatives in that no other tag would suffice, such as rose-fragrance– that is a primitive and its true meaning may not be communicated by any other tags, and in fact the tag for rose- fragrance is meaningless if the receiver has never had that pleasure.

    So, what is “love?” It takes on it potential meaning only by context and then so only if its meanings have been shared by the communicator with the receiver. It is a variable complex of ideas or meanings; no single denotative reference or relationship suffices to capture its possibilities. A full motal lifetime of education is possible to adequately acquire its richness of meanings, but when our body is gone, its full meaning is restored to our spiritual existence.

    While in the flesh we live as separate beings, as Roberta says so often and well, ultimately the body fails, but our spirit attached to it remains, so that its true existence as a part of God’s consciousness is revealed. Our love for God is manifest as is His love of His children– but this is not any static affair as we all move along on our eternal journey. God is forever creative, and we all share the ride.

    1. My dear Jack, Thomas and I are haggling now over whether we need to write more about love. He says not. He says that once you get it, once you make the connection and you understand that we truly are one being, all almost eight billion of us, then you begin to live and think and love within that frame. But he hasn’t lived on earth for a century, at least. I think that maybe it needs a bit more.

      1. Hi Roberta,

        In my opinion, once we really learn the truth and how we are connected, the love part sorts itself out.

        I was in a store a couple months ago and I couldn’t help but smile seeing how everyone was doing their thing. I just kept thinking we are all having this experience together and it made me feel connected to them.

        I don’t believe I would have ever felt that way if it wasn’t for knowing the truth.

        Though, I had to be careful, a man smiling at “strangers” could get me arrested. lol

        1. My dear Thomas, how very true! It was years ago now, but when I first really got what love is, I recall once coming home from a speaking trip, and my husband picked me up at the airport, and there he was, having been alone all week, and I loved him so much that I spontaneously told him that if he found a lady friend to spend time with when I was away, I wouldn’t mind. He just looked at me funny.

      2. I forgot to mention, I do think many of our problems arise from our natural instincts for survival.

        As we talked before, we really don’t realize who is truly running the ship as they say.

        I wonder if we could delve deeper into that. I do know it’s been a huge help for me once I started seeing why I may have reacted in certain ways in certain situations.

        You can’t override something if you are not aware of it.

        1. quote: “I forgot to mention, I do think many of our problems arise from our natural instincts for survival. ”

          We humans are ‘hard-wired’ to do many things that were it otherwise this physical dimension might not function the way it does. The problems our hard-wiring leads to are myriad and most may be hard, if not impossible, to override. And yes we’re mostly unaware who’s “running-the-ship” but even if we were aware we might still be little the wiser for it.

          1. Mac, I wasn’t able to live what most would consider a normal life.

            I suffer from depression and it really messed me up for a long time.

            I ended up having to leave my career because the nature of that career wasn’t healthy for a person like me.

            The thing is, I didn’t know I had depression until my 30’s.

            Even after learning about it, it took me quite awhile to figure out how to control it. When I say control it, I mean without drugs.

            I finally figured it out. I ended up building a system around combating my depression.

            If I feel this strong urge to eat chocolate, I know a depression episode is coming. So that means I need to work out.

            To avoid letting a episode creep up on me, I got into the habit of working out regularly. Not to mention just being more active. As a programmer, I needed to balance sitting in front of a computer and being active. Working out was great, but I needed physical hobbies. Things like cutting grass, woodworking or remodeling helped tremendously.

            I didn’t realize how bad my depression was until I took the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. Even though I wasn’t in the high risk group, my mom wanted to take it so I went through it with her. That second dose got me good. I forgot how bad depression was until it hit me after that second dose. It reminded me of what I lived with on a regular basis. I feel gratitude that I was able to build a system to avoid feeling like that.

            If I didn’t figure out what my issue was, I’d be dead right now. No doubt about it.

            The reason I say this is because I do believe we can override our “hard-wired” tendencies. A average guy like me has done it. Only if we realize why something is happening and developing a system to replace that behavior.

          2. Ah yes, my dear Thomas and Mac, so very true! We do operate for much of the time on automatic pilot. But oh, my dear ones, more and more of us nowadays do so very much wish that we could be better than that! At least I think now that we begin to be able to recognize the difference, at least now and of late. For most of human history – you’re right – we couldn’t even go that far.

      3. There is a context in which Thomas is right, and a context in which the education about love follows a long and winding road. I need to reference my theory about human behavior to explain.

        The material body is motivated to survive (medullary functions) and also to seek pleasure as driven by its Id and regulated by its Ego. But attached to the body/brain is our soul which has its history as an eternal spirit who knows God and the grace of pure love.

        Ordinarilly, most lives are led by the Id and Ego, with the soul in the background (showing up in lucid dreaming and Out of Body Experiences). When a person rarely achieves reliance on their soul as their main driver in life, then Thomas is exactly right. But for most of us mortals, we live our dreary lives driven by the Id and Ego — despite our soul which knows of pure love.

        1. Yes, my dear Jack. There is a kind of plodding everydayness to most people’s lives that does kind of take them over, isn’t there?

        2. Thomas B – this response to your posting a little higher up the page is somewhat separated from it – sorry, I couldn’t change that.

          I hear you and I get what you’re saying. I’m working with someone right now who’s severely depressed after a bereavement many years ago. I’ve seen how it can be life wrecking. 🙁

          I hear what you’re saying and get what depression does to you even though – thank God – I haven’t experienced it long term. When I spoke about “hard-wiring” it didn’t relate to depression, that awful depression that’s dominated – it appears – your life. Continuing the theme I’d characterize depression more as mis-wiring.

          I’m glad for you and admire how you’ve found some answers to your own depression, work-arounds to deal with circuit glitches. The chocolate aspect I found interesting.

          I get what you’ve said about the Covid booster – my wife was badly affected after the boosters we both had in fall. We’re now at home in the UK instead of sunning ourselves in AZ because of what it did to her blood pressure. The vaccine is powerful and appear to be a significant trigger-risk for some individuals’ underlying health conditions. Next time we’ll be expecting it could happen again, no doubt the way you likely fear that situation about yourself.

          I am glad you’re on top of your condition or at least as much as you’re able to be. blessings 🙂

          1. Thanks Brother, appreciate you and hope Mrs Mac feels better.

            Loved AZ in the winter. Absolutely awesome.

            I can only blame my soul for wiring me up this way since everything is pre-planned. That is why I affectionately refer to my soul as “knucklehead”. haha

  5. Mac, words are simply words. What they mean is up to you.
    My first response is resistance. Behind my stubbornness
    is a need to know more.Jesus knows our. minds crave Truth
    Our hearts want Love. He is kind and caring. He won’t hurt
    you.He opens the Door for you..You can choose to go in or
    stand in the doorway. Take your time. He loves and cares
    about you. You are wonderful right now.
    But there’s so much more to learn to be whole.
    Hang around awhile! Jesus is your new friend!

    1. quote: Mac, words are simply words. What they mean is up to you.” oh dear – Would that it were so simple my dear Erica… 🙁

      quote: “My first response is resistance. Behind my stubbornness
      is a need to know more.Jesus knows our. minds crave Truth
      Our hearts want Love. He is kind and caring. He won’t hurt
      you.H……….re to learn to be whole.
      Hang around awhile! Jesus is your new friend!” It’s sad that so few – anyone? – understand that ‘me and Jesus’ are already good friends. 😉

      There are many paths we can walk and I’ve been walking mine longer than perhaps most contributors here understand. But that doesn’t matter – blessings 🙂

    2. in response to Thom B

      I’m glad to hear you love AZ too – how we have missed our tiny second home there this winter albeit the weather has been a La Nina one – cool, cloudy, wet.

      I don’t agree, though, that your soul is necessarily the agent of your ‘wonky wiring’. Your soul MIGHT have chosen it as a spiritual challenge but not necessarily – things can go wrong in lives in this physical dimension; I am confident not everything is pre-planned and orchestrated but I would happily concede I’m wrong if I see evidence of it. 😉

      The key is in how you play the hand you’ve been dealt, how you go about managing your difficulties. Seems to me you’re doing just great. 🙂

      And thank you, yes, me and Mrs mac are doing OK – ish. 😉

      1. I agree about things going wrong in the physical dimension. I have misophonia (yes, it’s a real problem that has only started getting attention in recent years ….) and problems with low blood sugar, both of which make me EXTREMELY crabby at times. If it weren’t for those two issues, I’d be an absolute angel! (Lol)
        Anyhow, I doubt my soul arranged for those things and here’s why (roundabout explanation forthcoming). I lost someone VERY close to me 4 months ago and I beat myself up now for times I wasn’t patient with him (mostly because he wasn’t following the doctor’s directions for his serious health issues, congestive heart failure (wouldn’t wear oxygen all the time, that’s actually what killed him, and I was with him when it happened) and kidney failure (I helped him with his daily dialysis treatments). This loss has devastated me and I walk around with a heavy weight pressing on my chest 24 hours a day, and don’t know how to be truly free from it since I miss him so much. I loved this person more than I love anyone in this world, and I struggle with guilt thinking of the times I snapped at him, yelled at him in frustration, etc. So no, I don’t believe for one instant that my soul planned for me to have these health conditions that cause me to be a [not-nice-person] when that’s the last thing I want to do, ever, to anyone, least of all this person I love[d] so much. Life is hard enough as it is.
        Sorry if this veered off topic but I think it is at least somewhat related.

        1. Hi Jennifer,

          These bodies have a tendency to make us go crazy at times.

          It’s not just you. That is why we need to learn how to forgive, not only others, but ourselves.

          It’s going to be harder for us to forgive ourselves. No one will judge us like we judge ourselves.

          For me, knowing we are going through similar experiences makes it easier for me to forgive. It may feel like we are separate, but in reality we are connected.

          When I lose someone, I just vision them in the most beautiful of places. Just relaxing with no worries. Enjoying what can’t be enjoyed here. To be honest, I get a little jealous of them.

          It makes it easier for me to come to terms with the loss even if it still hurts. It takes time to adapt to a new reality. We are so used to certain people being in our lives that is becomes routine to see them everyday. Once they are gone, that routine is gone with it and upsets our reality. That is why I think they say Time heals all wounds.

          I would bet a gazillion dollars that our loved ones have long forgiven us before we forgive ourselves. How can you feel bad towards anything if you’re in paradise?

          I still talk to my lost friends and family. I swear, my father woke me up the other day. I heard his voice yell THOMMM. I’m thinking, thanks dad, appreciate the wake up call. I did go to be late ya know. 🙂

          We are all in the same boat. We all need to forgive ourselves for something we’ve done. You’re not alone in that. You deserve it and it’s time to let that heavy weight go.

          1. Thank you so much, I don’t think you realize how much your kind words mean to me.

            I still talk to him too, as if he can hear. I hope he can, because it’s mostly me telling him how loved he is, how much I miss him, and that I hope he is doing something fun or learning new things, etc.

            Thank you again. You made me feel understood and that I’m not a monster. I tried so very hard to never be impatient with him, but depending on how I was feeling physically it wasn’t always possible. 🙁 Importantly, I always told him how much I loved him, and I always apologized if I had a blow-up or said things in irritation.

            Much love to you,


        2. Dear Jennifer. What a lovely soul you seem to be to me. Sorry to post here (before Thom), but there was no space below your last post. It seems we pre-plan the big things in our lives; not each little detail. I tend to have mini life reviews. I used to see this as a problem. Now I see it as a chance to forgive myself here and now.

          1. Thank you Ray! 🙂
            Wow you described the same thing that I go through often, these mini life reviews. Thought I was the only one who did that, Lol. Sometimes we have to feel that pain when we know we hurt someone, we are acutely aware of how our actions affected them. Then – hopefully – we can move on after forgiving ourselves (that’s where I struggle). In other words, going through life reviews all throughout life – so that the one after we die isn’t terrible because we’ve gone through it for the most part down here. Is that kind of how you look at it?
            I first became ‘aware’ of how my actions affect other people when I was 3 years old. My older sister had received a beach ball for her birthday, and I asked her if I could play with it. She said ‘no.’ I was upset that she wouldn’t let me play with it. So later in the day, when she was playing outside, I noticed the beach ball in our bedroom closet. I purposely took a pin out of the sewing drawer and popped her beach ball, and then forgot about it. Later in the day, I heard a howl coming from the bedroom, as my sister found the deflated beach ball that I had popped earlier in the day. My heart literally sank and I felt such sorrow and heaviness inside! She was bawling her eyes out, and I had caused her that pain! That was my awakening. I try my best to never hurt others, but it’s impossible to get through life without doing so, even if it’s not intentional.
            Much love to you Ray!

  6. I can’t accept that our “special loves” mean nothing. Such an abstraction denies the way we are born without memories of our eternal life and learn to love by being loved and cared for by parents, families, and our communities. We grow and learn the bigger, broader, eternal aspects of love and forgiveness by internalizing and practicing the giving and selflessness we see and experience. It is those worthless “special loves” that give meaning and growth opportunities to us in this physical realm. It is those experiences that connect us to others in a spiritual and transforming way… leading us (when we seek truth and pay attention to it) to awareness of our greater and more encompassing connection to God and our fellow beings.

    1. Oh dear sweet Betina, I understand how you feel. I thought at first that the ACIM attitude toward special loves was cruel, and it isn’t that these loves mean nothing precisely, but they are fickle. They are a beginner’s kind of love. As you say, they are a learner’s love, and they give life meaning, but they can come to an end. You can love, and then later on you can stop loving as a lover, or even as a parent or a brother or a child. We cannot depend on special loves! But the love that we can depend on is the love that is not special. It is based in our our spiritual nature alone.

      1. Dear Roberta, I understand and appreciate the “beginners love” aspect of what we often call love. And it is so true that such personalized loves can be fickle and even destructive when they become obsessive or fall prey to other psychological drives. I so like your idea of “beginner loves” and I think I have experienced the evolution of them into a greater, truer form of love. C.S. Lewis wrote of the “four loves”… I just never put them in order of growth and experience. This has been a learning experience for me. Thanks so much for your kind and enlightening reply.

      2. How true this is. Nothing is more fickle than a “special” kind of love. I don’t think it’s even possible to have an all encompassing love while we are in a physical body i.e. it’s hard to love anyone who deliberately inflicts pain and suffering on others

        1. So true, my dear Lola. I think that everyone but the youngest child soon learns to be guarded and self-protective in the way we love.

  7. Dear Roberta. A few days ago I was about to get up and was feeling a need to embrace the whole world, to imagine (try to) every seemingly separate human story going on, 8 billion or so, not to mention past and future lives, and all the guides, angels, etc that are accompnying each person, animals, plants, etc, etc, etc, each seemingly separate one really me in a way, a different story being experienced by the same mind. Only that greater mind can really experience that, but it’s nice to try. Maybe as we evolve we get closer and closer to that level. At that level is love an emotion or just a state of consciousness – unity consciousness – or somehow both? Is this earthly life meaningless and foolish, or is every being in existence really a special love in a way, every experience just as precious? We can appreciate it all but maintain a certan detachment at the same time. We are all just as loved, because it is all the same unmanifest “I Am” becomming “I Am That.” Is that what Paul was brilliantly channeling when he wrote about seeing clearly in a mirror? Are we all just mirrors for God? Otherwise, how does God know itself without experiencing itself in all these seemingly separate stories? It gets a bit mind boggling, but at the same time seems paradoxically simple. What Jesus was describing in his “commandment” seems more like describing a law of physics, the most fundamental law, or as my guides said later that day, “The highest power is love,” or another time a few years ago, “Love is the highest law.” Maybe the “peace that passeth all understanding” is us getting closer to just being the “I Am,” resting for a while in that (w)holy oneness, free of the illusion of separation, freedom to just BE. (It seems like that is what you’ve been experiencing lately.) Then we have courage, we are fearless, and we have the eyes to truly SEE. (the single eye of the heart)

    1. Hey Scott, I think you are onto something. I see things in a similar way:

      The peace that passes all understanding is the union with the “I Am.” The freedom to just “BE” seems to be the joy of the ever shining present state of being. The oneness awareness finds fulfillment in the immersion into the Divine Being, and it quenches the restless need to go somewhere or do something; Or to carry the burden of separation from the Whole.

      Maybe love is the “joy-truth-being-oneness-freedom” state of entering the core of all things; Love then, is the heart of God. And heartfelt gratitude actualizes it.

      I can’t adequately describe this deep experience in words, but the only thing I can say here is: Love is the essence of everything and everyone.

      The essence is beyond the grasp of the human conscious mind, I reckon.

    2. Oh my goodness, my dear Scott, how beautifully, almost inexpressibly said! God is attempting to live Godself in all of us, and that remarkable and inexpressible state of being is what we also struggle to feel, to be a part of as well. I know that feeling. That great “I Am” is really “Us All.”

  8. You guys
    are letting your egos blab, blab,blab

    it is that simple—it’s called love,Love

    You guys -Thomas I have never seen you so ticked off. If some have not adopted Jesus’s Path, hey man, in their own
    And I an exceedingly bright. I have chosen Love. You all are choosing Intelect. Both will get us there. Chill out, I like all of
    you.I choose Faith which encompasses the whole shibang.
    I admit I have miles to go but we will all get There whether
    we want to or not.

        1. Jack, I may need to change my name to ThomB in order to avoid confusion.

          Especially when Roberta fires up Thomas. I just want to sit back and watch the show.

          1. My poor dear beloved Thomas. He was indeed Mr. Jefferson in that one incarnation, but he is emphatically his own man now, as he was his own man before he ever was Mr. Jefferson, and he emphatically does not like to have his identity confused with that one lifetime. This whole multiple incarnations thing kind of frosts him!

        2. Oh, poor Mr. Jefferson! What brought him into this, when he was just minding his own business??

          1. haha We only mention your Thomas because we love him.

            Tell him thanks again for all of his help.

    1. Dear sweet Erica, we all indeed will get there. And then, oh my dear, the party we will have on my grandfather’s farm! I’ll take you all for carriage rides in a surrey, and we’ll laugh about all of this. You’ll see!

  9. No need to apologize Erica.

    Maybe it is my writing style when addressing what I consider “Word Think”.

    I believe these teachings are important.

    Otherwise, I wouldn’t push back on what I believe is taking away focus from them.

    Even if they are doing it out of love.

    I can see why it may look like I was mad. Believe me, my ego wanted to respond some more. haha

  10. Thanks Thomas

    I have been depressed most of my life.
    Right now my medications work- it took 3 years to
    find the winning combo.
    What an experience to wake up hopeful!

    1. I agree Erica, life is a lot easier when you can get out of bed in the morning without feeling dread.

      I’m really glad you found something that is working for you.

  11. “Love is the irresistible certainly that I am eternally one with every human being on the face of the earth.”
    – Roberta Grimes (above)

    Amazing definition!
    This really is a collective human thing, isn’t it my dear? I guess we are becoming one with the Divine – together. It’s not just about me coming Home, but about all of us coming Home.

    When we really, deeply understand that we are one with every human being, does love start to spread across us all? Will love then, have the capacity to grow in an exponential way?

    It makes me wonder, Roberta. 🙏🏼❣️🌅

  12. Hi All,

    I am sorry but too me forgiveness is a PROCESS! You need to process the hurt and sometimes need to distance yourself in order to really forgive!

    I as some people I know used to think “forgiveness” meant to put up with abuse and keep forgiving. “Turn the Other Cheek” and Keep Forgiving as I prepressed so many emotions I was sick!

    Everyone on of us has Childhood wounds and how we were raised!

    Well, that is just my opinion!

    1. I agree Litsa, it’s a process.

      Change is scary and the very thought can make us feel uncomfortable.

      Its in our nature to avoid pain, but pain can be the catalyst to make changes to better ourselves.

      No doubt this is part of the process laid out for us before we come here.

      1. Hi Thomas,

        For me it wasn’t the pain I was avoiding…

        The people that often hurt someone who really do not want to take account for their they do, well, I would FORGIVE and try to have a relationship, but, guess what? They would do more then next time and worst!

        I tend to go by what Mikey Morgan said with regards to forgiveness and that is if you can not reason in Love with that person, best to walk away! We are not door mats!

        I have had to do this with some of my friends and family members who were very abusive!

        I only when I processed the pain of what was done and kept distance from them was I able to let go and love them from a distance!

    2. Oh my dear Litsa, but some of us have no childhood wounds at all. Or rather, my childhood wound is that I was conceived out of wedlock and my parents had to get married and they then spent my childhood teaching me that I was the most special person on the face of the earth and would grow up to be the first woman president of the United States – to compensate, I think, for their feeling guilty for my being a “seven-month baby.” I had to overachieve like mad in an attempt to be what I had been taught that I was… until I figured out in college that I was probably not all of that, after all. Still, I was born between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in that same summer, and I did feel a twinge of guilt about not becoming the first woman president when the two of them were elected… much as the very thought of being a president horrified me!

      1. Hi Roberta,

        As I expressed to Mac, according to Carl Jung (phycologist) everyone of us has childhood wounds by the way we were raised.

        When I react out of anger I can usually see it was from my childhood. We all have that baggage! Sometimes I feel that is original sin. Some have it worst!

        At least I start to see each one of us has some type of wound which makes me able to forgive more.

        But some people I can forgive but can not be around them because they take NO responsibility for their action and continue to do it again again.

        I forgive them then move on and have less contact with them.


        1. Oh my dear Litsa, I am really not so sure about Jung, I first encountered him in college, and I am suspicious of Jung’s theories in general. Anyone who uses the terms “always” and “never” gets my hackles up. I do, though, agree that forgiving and then withdrawing is the right approach with these difficult folks!

          1. Ah, Roberta!

            I agree with you too regarding Jung!!! After all those were just theories not proven! Maybe if one gets to hung up about it they won’t make spiritual progress, so I am glad you noted this!!!

            Thank you on the making me feel better about “forgiving then withdrawing” is the right approach for people who like to abuse others!!!

            At least I am know I am on the right path! I would want to know if I hurt someone and then do my best to not do it again!!!

            This forgiviness blog is very informative and there is a lot of great post!

    3. quote, Litsa: “Everyone on of us has Childhood wounds and how we were raised! Well, that is just my opinion!”

      I don’t doubt that’s how it might appear to you but extrapolating that situation to all others just doesn’t work. I can’t provide statistics but I’m sure there will be others far worse off than you were and others – like me – who did not experience such treatment.

      Beyond that simple statement the notion of forgiveness is very likely to be viewed differently from person to person. Their upbringing, the way they were raised, may very much impact how they view forgiveness. Or what they think unconditional love means.

      1. Hi Mac,

        The reason why I stated childhood wounds is I listened to a lot of Carl Jung. Who states we all act out our inner child who was hurt as a child. Like a parent shaming a child or guilting, etc.

        That affects later on on how we treat others or why we even get angry at others or why we hang out with abusive people who mistreat us.

        Yes, forgiveness is different for everyone! Its not easy, but, we must learn it!

  13. Thomas Quote: I can only blame my soul for wiring me up this way since everything is pre-planned. That is why I affectionately refer to my soul as “knucklehead”. haha

    I like this Thomas! This is what gets me through Asperger’s/Dyslexia/OCD!
    I took the college courses when coming down…HA!!!

    BTW I love the way you express yourself!

    1. Litsa, you’ve gone straight into the PHD program.

      Now you’re just making me look bad.

      And probably giving “Knucklehead” some more ideas on how he can torture me. haha

  14. Hi Efrem. I would agree that this experience is way beyond the thinking mind. The heart gets closer, as a metaphor, but it is something ineffable, the small mind experiencing the greater mind. Unfortunately, I cannot speak from personal experience, but from what I’ve read, mystics the world over describe very similar experiences, but almost always seem to have to resort to poetry or something of that nature to try and describe it, and attempt to bring us into that more intuitive, unitive side of consciousness along with them. The Sufi mystics were especially good at this. A very concise description that I like is from the medium and spiritual teacher Suzanne Gieseman, which is, “Love is lack of separation.” To quote William James, something more poetic, “We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” This whole question is what I believe to be the subject of a poem I channeled a few years back and shared here one other time. I literally heard a deep male voice speak it in my mind as I was about to get up one day:

    How do you get to the fire that will never cease,

    Breathing an island rooted in peace?

    That fire, that light, is within. It is this consciousness that is the greater Mind of all of us, that we yearn to reconnect with at some level. As we walk around this material world that is being breathed in and out of existence moment by moment, if you follow the Eastern model, and that I believe Roberta has speculated on in previous posts as well, we feel like islands, but we are all connected and rooted in that unitive ground of being, the great unmanifest of pure consciousness, the peace that passes all understanding. It is such a paradox, but the closer one gets to grocking it, the more the teachings of Jesus make sense, and we have eyes to see and ears to hear, and the easier it gets to live those teachings in the face of a world that seemingly contradicts it at every step. I think this is the true meaning of gnosis. It gives us the fearlessness and freedom to act from and be in the heart, where that Fire that never will cease, like Moses’s unconsumed burning bush of the “I Am,” resides. When most people are doing that, is that the Kingdom of Heaven spreading upon the Earth, a return to the garden, or reaching the promissed land? Jesus was like the greater Moses. Moses turned water to blood and gave us legalistic commandments. Jesus turned water to wine, and gave us his teachings on the true meaning of Love, the true promised land.

    1. Magnificently said Scott. I find your metaphors and references really quite inspiring. The deep knowing, the gnosis, is beyond all human-based understanding and the water-into-wine image of transformation resonates; He who transforms us really does love us perennially.

      These days I just tend to “let go and let God” do it.

      And is there not a sense of Divine poetic poignancy, in finding Oneness amid an absurd human world that keeps devising new ways to enforce belief in division and separation?

      Truly, our journey through life is an epic one. 🙏🏼🌅

  15. Love is the lack of separation Thanks Scott

    I began TM at 19 and flew to Europe 4 times to “round’
    We tmed up to 8x day and came back down l continued to meditate 38 years and menopause hit me hard. I had no idea it could so bad
    I retired in. 2013
    I did nothing for years but the separation hurt too much

    I discovered Roberta in Walmart. Dying is fun. Yeah, right
    But I found Roberta ‘s Blog I am not separated anymore.

    1. Hi Erica. You discovered Roberta in Walmart? Wow, she’s hit the big time! 38 years of meditation must have had an effect, especially during your trips to Europe when you were doing it 8x per day. Did you find it helpful, or did it have an effect on you? My meditation isn’t TM style, but I do find it very helpful to connect with guidance, stay centered, and to slowly wash away the illusion of separation, slowly polishing that very smudged up “mirror” of mine, as Paul described it. You learn that you are never really separated, whatever the external circumstances. It certainly has changed me. I’m getting older myself. That part isn’t so much fun, but based on what I’ve learned from Roberta and others, I expect the actual homecoming, when the day comes, will be.

  16. This simple explanation about loving others from Rupert Spira really resonates with me:

    “We are not required to like everybody, but we are called to love everybody. We are called to recognise that their being is our being, that we share our being, and to act and relate with them in a manner that is consistent with this understanding.”

    Personally, I found this to be a great relief because, while there are people with whom I will never see eye-to-eye, I can always recognise, respect and love the Divinity/God that exists in them and, indeed, in all beings.

  17. Oh Scott, TM. lets you drop down and you feel the cocoon
    Pure Consciousness. Then you come up and the dogs are barking and you are thinking about dinner!
    l want to get back to it soon. I got a liver transplant and
    have to take meds for my health. Oh also I was nauseated for 3 years, but a new anti-depressant stopped the
    nausea overnight. I felt like Job !

    Faith does not include All Understanding Remember the leap.

    Your discussion went to my mind and bing, I understood.
    Now I understand my years being Job. And why I should put my cart back!
    And that I am never unhitched to golden cord!”Love is a
    lack of separation “. And every good thought or action adds
    to the communal pool of Love Being good is a huge responsibility, but I am up for it if it helps me be included
    in Love.

  18. Hi Roberta & Friends!

    I wonder if my spirit guides sent this message! While Roberta’ message along with all of your replies have helped me lots! This came up on my news feed on my cell phone! I thought i would share!

    HATE NO ONE: No matter how much they’ve wronged you

    LIVE HUMBLY: No matter how wealthy you become

    THINK POSITIVELY: No matter how hard life is

    FORIVE ALL: Especially yourself and NEVER stop PRAYING for the BEST
    for EVERYONE

  19. quote Litsa: “Yes, forgiveness is different for everyone! Its not easy, but, we must learn it!”

    You know what often happens when you declare something must be learned? Persuasion is more effective, is longer lasting than being forced….

    1. Quote Mac: You know what often happens when you declare something must be learned? Persuasion is more effective, is longer lasting than being forced….

      I have never thought about it like that. But I think you are correct in away…Forcing doesn’t feeling good and it sometimes rushes the process….That is why I am thinking it being a process mite be better…Process means you take your time and process the hurt then let go when you are ready!

  20. Jennifer, March 21st: Sorry for the delayed response and this blog format is such a clunky medium.

    I would much prefer to offer you my thoughts over on Roberta’s first-born website, where we discuss issues such as those causing you distress in a spiritual and afterlife context.

    In brief, those you love will not be hurt by what you are feeling to be your intolerance, lack of empathy etc. And having him in your thoughts will show how much you do love him. Please do keep speaking to him out loud! 🙂

    You won’t hear ‘mac’ declaring your soul must have chosen the medical trials you are undergoing. It MIGHT have done (that’s moot) but equally it might be that your animating spirit simply could not overcome all the ‘stuff’ that was going wrong in your body.


    1. Dear Mac,

      Thank you – I will check out that forum. And thank you for your kind and encouraging words!

      With love,

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