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What value most expresses Mind’s stance of Being in opposition to no-being? In opposition to no-life, no-mind? What value anchored in the philosophy of Jesus most accounts for its unprecedented influence on Western thought, personal behavior, relationships, and religious practices? What value lies at the heart of “Life,” that gives it its psychic force and purpose both in the telling of the Story of Mind and the Story of its Child, in Consciousness and unconsciousness? It’s Love.

“Worth” is all of Love’s expressions put together, all of its constituent values: the beauty of purity and innocence, family, community, freedom, health, self-worth, purpose, learning and growth, abundance, protection, empowerment, and hope. There are no values that do not express their root value of Love. “Worth” is the sum and integration of all values. It is the ultimate consideration in all things.

When we say our purpose is the Creation and reciprocation of worth, we simply mean our purpose is to Love and be Loved: to Love ourselves, our Parents, and our Creations. To “Love our enemies” is simply to overlook the unreality of who they are in our state of unconsciousness – guilt -- and to Love their Reality in Consciousness – our Innocent Self.

No statement of our purpose in Life, in Being, is complete that does not begin and end with Love. What motive that accounts for the feeling, the force behind Creation, behind Life, can arise without Love? What force could possibly arise in Reality and Truth in response to the awful implications of nothingness, to its implied power to rule the state of opposites, if not the power of Love?

What is the cause of Being if not Love? What is our cause if not Love? This is what “the Creation and reciprocation of Worth” – our purpose – means. These are not arid speculations about academic abstractions, distinctions in search of relevance, “pure” research with no discernible application. How can they be if the Logic of Mind holds that every thought is driven by feeling and every feeling in Reality is guided by thought?

Without feeling thoughts which are causes can have no effects. There are many ways to understand Energy, the force of Logic that gives the thoughts of Mind their power to connect, to make Real, to give Life, to Create, that gives Mind and its extension, the Child, its authority to enforce the Logic of Mind with order and discipline. But beyond its eternal restlessness the most important way is to understand that Energy expresses and applies the power of feeling. Feeling that no less than any other gift, any other value, can be perverted by the Child’s mind in its unconscious state to serve its opposite. And this is where we find ourselves, coping in our confusion with the very thing that Being does not stand for: fear, guilt, and hatred.

What brings Love, feeling, and Energy or force into the Story of Mind now? They were present at the “Beginning” when they as much as Mind-Consciousness and Logic pierced the darkness with light when Consciousness was switched on. They and Mind are joined at the hip, all of one piece, equal partners in Being and Creation. They come into the story now because they are the working end of Consciousness, the dynamic that sets Mind in motion toward its purpose of Creation once we establish what it is. Now we are into the fun part -- the joyous, open-ended adventure into the unknown that gives the free spirits of Inquiry and Love their meaning, their outlet, their voice.

Without Love thoughts are just thoughts of no consequence. “Being” is just a word without Love. Why? Because Love is their purpose. Our purpose in Creating and reciprocating worth through Creation is to bring Love into Creation, to use and apply it, express and connect with it, in everything we think and do. The great thought systems of human history, our philosophies and theologies, are striving through trial and error to reconstruct the Child’s obliterated Consciousness, to find his way – our way – back to Love. Our purpose in validating Mind’s stance, Being, to stand for Life against the possibility of no-life, is to Love Mind, to Love the Consciousness, the Oneness, the seed of Creation and Innocence that gave birth to us and gave us our role, our purpose in Creation – our Source, our Parents Father Mind and Mother Love.

Love isn’t an afterthought when Mind-Consciousness switched on and took its place. It’s what Mind-Being is all about. It’s what we’re all about: gratitude that consummates the gift of Love, of Worth – all the values that Love represents. Thankfulness for our Reality and for the opportunity to learn and grow in knowledge and freedom, so that we can all awaken and return to Reality. To our Source: Love.

His god is a lie that does not exist
That hangs over no man’s land like a flare in the night

That casts the dream in the shadows of its evil
Willing us to kill, willing us to die.

I rush across no man’s land to meet his god
Who wishes me dead, there in his trench

The enemy who begs to be killed with a hug
And I pray to my god who wishes him dead

Let me do this
Let us go.

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Explanation

Students of the modern Gnostic version of Christianity taught by Jesus in A Course in Miracles learn that our minds are corrupted by irrational beliefs that place us in a hellish world where we project our guilt onto others to regain our lost innocence. It is within this no man’s land of condemnation and endless deadly conflict, that’s depicted in this poem, that the Christian message of forgiveness – “love thine enemy” – must be absorbed and put to use.

We can undo the deception in principle by reasoning, with ACIM, that we did not sin in Reality when we lost conscious connection with our Source. Reinforcing this message is the point of my forthcoming book. But in this world of separate bodies meant to absorb and inflict punishment, reason doesn’t stand much chance against the passions of fear and hatred.

Though it’s unreal, our no man’s land is a place “where the unreal has been made real.” It is within this hellish environment that overwhelms our sensibilities, our pitiful attempts at reasoning, with its ear-splitting clamor for deception and passion, that I have tried to imagine the only way to put a stop to it. Instead of savaging my “enemy” in his trench, I need only to give him a loving hug. “The hug” would then represent the precise moment when the deception is undone, and its illusory vision of hell is removed from my mind.

It will do this not by my killing the person but by killing what makes the person in my mind my “enemy.” My enemy begs to be “killed” with a hug because only then, with a gesture of Love, will innocence be restored to the image of him that exists within my mind. Only then can the innocent person that he really is be spared from the projection of my own imagined guilt, from my condemnation, and my savage attack.

What the poem tries to convey is an honest humility, if not total despair, in the presence of a simple request that asks the impossible, that I love my “enemy” at precisely the point when my external circumstances and the passions they invoke overwhelm my humanity. I acknowledge its impossibility because I have no pretensions, at this stage of my training, of being a role model for forgiveness under any such circumstances.

Should I ever encounter my enemy in his trench, for real, of this I am certain: giving him a hug instead of making him pay for his infuriating offenses, his inflammatory provocations, will have to be a pure act of Grace. It will occur because another Mind – the Child’s right mind – has gently moved my corrupted mind out of the way. And only then if I have truly asked for it. It will do this if it has finally trained my corrupted mind to reject the deception of guilt and to affirm the Truth of Innocence. Otherwise, my clear expectation is that I would kill the bastard.

Praying to the darkness – to “my god who wishes him dead.” – to allow the hug to happen. is an admission that my mind is not ruled by reason in this world. It’s ruled by madness or I would not be so desperate for help that it would occur to me to ask an executioner practiced in cruelty -- the god of war -- for help with an act of compassion.

But “The Hug” is not the hopeless capitulation that it may seem. My training continues. The Holy Spirit speaks for the Truth, and, in time, the deception will lose its force. “Where the Trouble Lies” notes that energy, the force that keeps the illusion of material reality in place, is dying out. The illusion is in a state of entropy, coming apart. Our bodies will find a better use, and our passions, too.

What put my “enemy” there was hating him in the first place, before he committed any offense. What put him there was fear and hatred in my own mind that needs to revert back to its natural state of Love – back to Reality. The restoration of Reality, with our Free Will doing its part, is inevitable. Reason will prevail. The innocent Child that we really are will prevail. I am sure of it. My “enemy” will get his hug.

There is yet another meaning to the poem that’s implied by its military setting: conflict between opposing armies whose combatants have surrendered their individual sovereignty, and thus free choice, to a group, presumably to their respective countries. The “barriers to an awareness of Love’s presence” ACIM speaks of are many, and this is one of them: signing onto groups – employers, professions, organized causes, faiths, etc. -- that then superimpose their imperatives for survival onto our freely-chosen personal morality.

The “Sophie’s Choice” that The Hug presents is between loyalty to the ethics of individual free choice or to the amoral dictates of our group masters. In praying to the god of war – to Caesar – for permission to hug my “enemy,” I am asking, in effect, for manumission: for release from subservience to his army so that I may exercise free will and reclaim my integrity, my spirituality. I seek freedom from the curse of humanity: serving two masters, doing what’s right while “following orders” – an impossibility. We don't often have the option of separating from organizations that feed us, that trap us in situations where our only choice is some form of death no matter what we decide. If there remains a tone of discouragement, of hopelessness to "The Hug," this would account for it.

Dearly Beloved: liberating free spirit, trusted friend, validating and empowering guide, bountiful and playful creator in heaven. We love you; we will always love you; we will never leave you. Thank you for all your gifts and blessings and all our relationships. Today and every day, may we be touched by your Love and receive your continuing help, guidance, and gentle loving kindness:

In our quest for Mind: for knowledge, wisdom, and truth. For reason, enlightenment, and sanity. For faith, purpose, and hope. For health, healing, and miracles. For freedom from the tyranny of guilt and blame. For ability, learning, and just causes. For growth – personal, spiritual, and character. For achievement, self-respect, and worthiness.

In our quest for Love: for freedom of thought, choice, and expression. For order and discipline. For family and intimacy, extended family and community. For worth, gifts, talents, and recognition. For abundance, food, clothing, and shelter.

In our quest for Spirit: for beauty, purity, and essence. For Innocence. For home and sanctuary. For protection, peace, trust, and harmony. For joyfulness and spontaneity, happiness, playfulness, and laughter. For freedom from confinement and addiction. For empowerment, control, strength, and energy.

Help us to share you with one another, to see us as you see us. Help us to get out of the way, that we may choose eternal life instead of death, Love instead of fear, Innocence instead of guilt, healing instead of separation. That we may reclaim our innocence through one another, awaken, and return home to be with you.

With thanks for our guides, trainers, and escorts. So be it. Amen

Dave Harrison
Excerpted from annual Christmas letter
December 2019