Fail not in your function of loving in a loveless place, made out of darkness and deceit, for thus are darkness and deception UNdone.
This is something I think we've all struggled with. It seems the world is cruel, vicious, hateful, dangerous, murderous, and at times evil. It is filled with horros and torment and suffering and death. How can you love such a place?
It seems that when the world is being evil, you can't love it. More likely you will despise it, hate it, fear it, judge it as wrong, or consider it broken. How can you feel love in the face of atrocities and attack, or when you are witnessing war and destruction?
It then seems even insane to suggest that while the world is being evil, you can love it. Because this implies that somehow you love evil. If the evil is really happening, and it seems real to you, you logically HAVE to despise it. To love evil is itself unthinkable, and seems insane.
What occurred to me today, is that approaching the "how to love it" from this angle, is really looking at a special relationship. We're talking in terms of what the world is causing in us, how we are reacting to it, and how we are affected by it. What IT is doing to us and others, and whether or not IT is CAUSING US to love it. ie we JUDGE it to be lovable.
In specialness, we believe that something outside of us affects us. It can affect us positively or negatively. We believe it causes us and has power over us. We then seem to PREFER that it treat us well, and if it does, we will love it. And if it turns on us, we will hate it.
It's within that framework that we are stuck, when asking how we can love a cruel world. And it seems we can never love the world, because it is always messing up. If the world remains cruel, it is not going to inspire love. More likely it will inspire revoltion and bitterness.
If I allow my relationship with the world to be based on what the world "does to me", and if I'm waiting for the world to be RESPONSIBLE for causing me to love it, then chances are that how I feel about the world will waver by the minute.
Sometimes the world might seem loving, perhaps a lovely sunset or a pleasant smell. We then say that we love it, and become enamored with it. Then we see a car crash and are horrified, just as the smell of death wafts into our noses.
When we are worshipping idols, we are looking for those aspects of the world which "we like" or approve of, or prefer. We may even become obsessed with them, collectors or them, trying to gather them up to surround and immerse ourselves in them. The foods we like, our favorite color, the music we like, our favorite shows, toys and games we like to play with, etc. So long as we avoid the rest and pretend it's not there.
In this mindset we can only sporadically, conditionally, love the world. We love it when it seems to CAUSE us to love it. When it does something TO us that we prefer, we clap our hands. When it seems to meet our rules and does FOR us what we have assigned it responsibility to do.
Responsibility, however, also ties into the cause of sin. If we assign responsibility to the world, and it does not do what we want it to do, we consider it in violation of its duties. And now it has failed to act responsibly, or do what we wanted it to do, and it has now acted against our will, sinning against us.
We can't love the world like this. We can't love it on a basis of what it does to us or for us. In fact we can't love it on a basis of it doing anything at all. It can't be what the world IS that makes us love it. Nor can it be because of what it DOES, whether things we like or not. It can't be some effects we prefer, while despising others. Our love can't be based on the world being RESPONSIBLE for whether we love it or not.
What I'm learning is that a feeling of love or happiness is not supposed to be a REACTION to the world, or something the world causes in me. I shouldn't be feeling love for the world on the basis of what I GET from it or what IT is like. Love based on the world's CONDITIONS is conditional love - special love.
Love actually is supposed to be an outward expression FROM WITHIN, extended from the unconditionality and permanence of God. It is something I GIVE TO what is out there. And this giving should not happen as a reaction, or on the basis of adjusting to external conditions. Nor should I be doing it ONLY when the world lines up with my wishes. Expectation is not love.
The world should be loved, ONLY because YOU are loving, and not because OF the world. We're not loving it for its lovely scenery. We're not loving it's cute animals. And we're not loving it for the things it does for us. These are all special relationships.
We don't want to be getting lost in a state of idol worship or external dependency or only being happy based on worldly conditions. If we jump up and down when the world is in a certain configuration, or cower in fear and hate when it is in another, we are merely on a rollercoaster ride of fake happiness and despair.
The world, itself, is going to keep on being intermittently cruel and vicious and hateful and warring and decaying and deadly. It is going to continue operating within the laws which established it as a weapon against God.
It will try to delight you some of the time, and try to take away your peace at others. It will inspire guilt and fear and continue to attack itself in all its ways. You can't place your happiness or love on such unsure footing, or give the world the POWER to take it away from you when it wishes.
An inner love arises as you forgive yourself and love yourself, applying love at all times. This inner love has permanent qualities. It is unconditional. It is not a REACTION of love. It is not a love you only feel IF or WHEN certain conditions are met. It's a love you just feel, hopefully all the time, for "no seeming reason". "Happiness is a constant state."
It comes FROM WITHIN, and expresses outward. It shines ONTO the world. It is something you GIVE to the world. You PROJECT love onto it. And you then SEE the love you put there, mixed in with the world's cruelty. You enjoy it ONLY because you EN-JOY it, which means to GIVE IT JOY. Love is its own reward.
"Peace is impossible to those who look on war. Peace is inevitable to those who ***offer peace***. How easily, then, is your judgment of the world escaped. It is not the world which makes peace seem impossible. It is the world you see that is impossible."
The world IS a world of impossibilities. It cannot represent love or freedom. It cannot be real. It cannot be true. It is its nature to attack and destroy. That was what it was made to do. But to see only this is to judge it and hold it against itself. Only by GIVING peace and love TO it can you FEEL peace and love in relationship with it.
"Yet has God's Judgment on this distorted world redeemed it and made it fit to welcome peace. And peace descends on it in joyous answer. Peace now belongs here, because a Thought of God has entered. What else but a Thought of God turns hell to Heaven merely by being what it is?"
This projected love changes the framing of the world, and what it means. It shows you that the world's cruelty is not true or real. That it is just an illusion of sickness and suffering. That its images of death are not really death, because they are fake, and powerless to change you.
And at the same time, you look upon love IN SPITE OF the world, thus PUTTING LOVE THERE to see. This is the projection of the "real world", with which you OVERRIDE hell with heaven. And what you project you will perceive.
You OVERRIDE the world with your extension of happiness. You remain happy NO MATTER WHAT is happening, not because of some kind of "acceptance of it" but because of your REFUSAL to allow the world to come INTO you from the outside. You have power OVER it and dominate it with what you radiate. You are master of it. And you experience love because you chose to.
You really cannot love the world from the perspective of expecting the world to BE LOVABLE. The world is NOT lovable. No-one can make murder and death real and love it. That would be insane, to be in love with evil.
The only way to love is to recognize the evil is NOT REAL. It is not compatible with love. The world makes love IMPOSSIBLE. The only way TO love is to love it in spite of itself. And as such, you can love unconditionally precisely because you love IN SPITE OF the world being cruel. This also grants you the miraculous power to override its cruelty.
I find myself now, more often, smiling upon the world - upon subtle things, small objects, textures, colors. Feeling an inner sense of projected beauty. A sort of gentle happiness that bestows love, which shines upon, the world. And this is not because of what the world IS or what it DOES. It is because of what I am GIVING to it. Because I am staying IN MY LIGHT and shining it ONTO what I see, even if faced with a twisted hell.
It is more like an inner choice. A choice to love, regardless of what something is. To love something, even if it is a picture of brokenness or damage or malfunction. Not because IT is lovable, in its form or nature, but because I can CHOOSE to love, and will not ALLOW the thing to interfere with whether I am loving or not.
This means a love which is not DEPENDENT upon the world, triggered BY the world, or an EFFECT OF the world. It is not a love I GET FROM the world, and reciprocate, in some kind of bargain.
It is a love which is given outward TO the world, regardless of whether it seems to deserve it. Because *I* deserve it. Because if I stop being love, then I stop experiencing love. If I let my love switch on and off depending on externals, then I am a victim of the world, allowing it to affect me both positively and negatively.
Real love, or let's say, a holy relationship with the world, can only take place by IGNORING what the world suggests, and REPLACING IT with love. Giving it love even when IT hates, recognizing IT as calling for love.
We're told in ACIM that the cruel world is NOT the world God could love. And this makes perfect sense. But it also tells us that God loves the REAL world. God DOES love HIS PROJECTION OF LOVE. He gives peace, and sees peace. He feels love, and so is loving "toward" the world REGARDLESS of what the world is like. He doesn't love it BECAUSE OF what it is. He loves it IN SPITE of what it is. In spite of its evil ways.
If you think about this, it ties in properly with forgiveness. Unconditional love overlooks and ignores what something claims about itself, and sees past its illusion, and sees love instead. And only because it GIVES love and innocence.
Not because the thing is "being innocent". The world cannot be sinless or guiltless. "To see a sinless body is impossible." But we can choose to not believe in sin and guilt, and to thus project forgiveness and light UPON a sinful world. And we then see the reflection of our light, or of God, IN it. Because we PUT it there.
No one can love the world we made, on the basis of it being lovable, or on the basis of it acting lovingly. It is not that, and it cannot be that. It will always be a world of separation and death for as long as it appears to exist.
But we can love ... while the world seems to be there... in spite of what IT says or does, even WHILE it is being cruel, because the choice to love does not DEPEND on the world, or come from it. We can love in the FACE OF cruelty, in spite of the cruelty, which will render the cruelty seen with loving eyes. But this will not JUSTIFY the cruelty, because the love is not BASED ON the cruelty.
This is the only way to "love hell". No one can love hell, on the basis of what hell does to or offers them. The world in fact holds NOTHING that you want, and has NOTHING to give you. It effectively has NO redeeming qualities. Because it is nothing.
"The world can ADD nothing to the power and the glory of God and His Holy Sons"
But you can "love hell" - which does not mean BEING IN SPECIAL LOVE WITH hell, on the basis of what you OFFER TO IT. You be loving, even when surrounded with evil people. You can love unconditionally regardless of whether the world was made from love. It wasn't made of love, and never will be. But this must not stop us from loving. Otherwise we cannot feel happy.
Our challenge is to stay strong IN OUR LIGHT, even when confronted with evil. To remain IN THE TRUTH, even when faced with lies and deception. To remain IN POWER, even when the world pretends to take power away. And to NOT ADJUST to the world in any way, or allow it to cause us to waver or change our decision to love. This is the only way God is able to love the world. To love it, because he can do nothing BUT love, REGARDLESS of whether the world "is lovable" or not.
"The world you see cannot be the world God loves, and yet His Word assures us that He loves the world. God's Word has promised us that peace is possible here, and what He promises can hardly be impossible. But it is true that the world must be looked at differently, if His promises are to be accepted. What the world is, is but a fact. You cannot choose what this should be. But you can choose how you would see it. Indeed, you must choose this."