All that I give is given to myself.
The fundamental idea this lesson teaches appears over and over in A Course in Miracles, because it reflects a law (giving and receiving are the same) that – once understood and brought into application – ends the separation and all the suffering that goes along with it.
If you believed this statement, there would be no problem in complete forgiveness, certainty of goal, and sure direction. You would understand the means by which salvation comes to you, and would not hesitate to use it now (W-pI.126.1:2-3).
In a nutshell, what we offer to another, we offer to our own self, because we are not actually separate from our brothers and sisters (broadly defined to include starfish, birch trees and asteroids). If we offer conditional love – which is simply fear – then that is what we get in return. If we offer love, then that is what we will recieve.
This giving and recieving does not occur at the level of the body, though it is experienced there in various forms. Giving and recieving – and the spirit in which they are brought forth – are interior and abstract, occurring at the level of thought.
Thus, the notion that to give and receive are the same is alien to the ego, for whom the body is both temple and war zone. The ego, which reflects the body’s appetites, its drive to get, sees others as mainly as competitors and sometimes as temporary allies. It is incapable of creation, and knows nothing of love.
A Course in Miracles relates this to its evolved frame of forgiveness. On the world’s view, which is the ego’s view, forgiveness is a form of “charitable tolerance” designed to prove that we are better than our brother or sister (e.g., W-pI.126.3:2, 3). We give it or we don’t – it’s up to us. And we only give it if we think there is a benefit to us.
The course reminds us that this is not how God views forgiveness, and thus it is unrelated to salvation. It is not what A ourse in Miracles teaches. Forgiveness does not rest on the whims of those who do not remember that they are united in Creation with all Life. There is a better way, which involves recognizing our inability to forgive and connecting it to our need for forgiveness.
Not having given Him the gift He asks of you, you cannot recognize His gifts, and think He has not given them to you. Yet would He ask you for a gift unless it was for you? Could He be satisfied with empty gestures, and evaluate such petty gifts as worth of His Son? Salvation is a better than this (W-pI.126.7:1-4).
And so this is the promise A Course in Miracles makes: we are alien unto love and on our own incapable of finding our way home but help is at hand in a literal way. The idea behind this lesson occurrs over and over in ACIM, but its repetition would be meaningless if it were not for the calm conviction that the specific help we need to understand and practice this idea is already given to us.
Therefore, when we are ready to learn, we will learn. And we cannot fail.
Thus, today’s lesson is an invitation to set aside our limited ideas about forgiveness and life and love and just make a space in which God’s Voice can speak to us. Yesterday we practiced making that space; today we get a better sense of what might happen in that space.
Repeat today’s idea, and ask for help in understanding what it really means. Be willing to be taught. Be glad to hear the Voice of truth and healing speak to you and you will understand the words He speaks, and recognize He speaks your words to you (W-pI.126.10:2-4).
No more than this willingness to learn is asked of us. When we give it, we give the gift of remembering our home in Creation. And having given it, we receive it.