We all retain deep memory of what it is to be one with God. Here in this world of separate bodies we seek ways to reinforce that memory. Bonding with the opposite sex in a loving relationship is a most common way. They result in children, family, and kinship, one of the strongest bonds in human society. As “Johnny” declared in the final scene in Moonstruck, “To the family.” They help us to remember the oneness we share as God’s one Son. Family bonds give us a strong hint of that forgotten love.
Nevertheless, like all human groups, families are dualistic. On the one hand they alleviate the separation. But within them all sorts of egocentric conflicts arise. Additionally, separation is heightened between families by seeing outsiders as enemies. Long running feuds like the one between the Hatfields and McCoys happen all over the world.
We join all sorts of groups to be close to and co-operate with other humans. Armies are a very harsh example. Men (mostly that gender throughout history) join armies and become close to one another through forced co-operation. Here is how Shakespeare in his play King Henry the Fifth had Henry inspire his soldiers before the battle of Agincourt.
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered, ——
We few, we happy few: we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother … *
Then Henry’s soldiers go into battle and slaughter their French opponents.. War was then close, ghastly and personal. Men became brothers because they bled together, and death the result.
I’ve heard many men say that the years they spent in the military were the best part of their life. The comradeship and organized activity with a clear goal gave them a sense of purpose they valued even though it led to killing. That is ferocious duality: brotherhood causing violent death.
Music groups, sports, clubs, church, and other social groups are a few examples of less violent groups. Some are more positive than others. The least dualistic are singing groups, especially large choruses and choirs.
Singing together requires people to inhale the breath of life together. They then direct it up through their vocal chords, larynx and by their tongues and lips to form intoned words. It is a very close, personal, shared physical endeavor. A common sound is “created” that is dedicated to musical art that moves listeners to react to the composer’s intentions. Choirs come closest to non-dualism by this offering. Church Choirs set a tone of love which many sermons lack, which are sometimes judgmental and call on fear.
The following passage is one of the most helpful ones from ACIM which reduces our feeling of the separation. It uses a song for its content.
Text Chapter 21, Reason and Perception
Part I The Forgotten Song, paragraphs 6-10
Listen,–perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered. Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember, from just this little part, how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you.
The notes are nothing. Yet you have kept them with you, not for themselves, but as a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you. You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would lose the world you learned since then. And yet you know that nothing in the world you learned is half so dear as this. Listen, and see if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago and held more dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.
Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not.
This is the vision of the Son of God, whom you know well. Here is the sight of him who knows his Father. Here is the memory of what you are; a part of this, with all of it within, and joined to all as surely as all is joined in you. Accept the vision that can show you this, and not the body. You know the ancient song, and know it well. Nothing will ever be as dear to you as is this ancient hymn of love the Son of God sings to his Father still.
And now the blind can see, for that same song they sing in honor of their Creator gives praise to them as well. The blindness that they made will not withstand the memory of this song. And they will look upon the vision of the Son of God, remembering who he is they sing of. What is a miracle but this remembering? And who is there in whom this memory lies not? The light in one awakens it in all. And when you see it in your brother, you [are] remembering for everyone.
This is one of my favorite passages from A Course in Miracles. I’ve included most of the section because this part, at least, is needed to understand it.
I invite you to read the whole section for daily help. Do remember though: it not about the world. It’s a profound allegory about Heaven. It helps us to remember the loving reality God shares with us there.
* King Henry V, Act 3, Shakespeare Complete works, Shakespeare Head Press, Oxford. 308]