Today I learn to give as I receive.
A Course in Miracles teaches us that revelation – direct union with God – is beyond the scope of what can be taught (T-1.II.2:1-3). Vision, on the other hand – recognizing our own self in our brothers and sisters and thus joining with them – is very much a skill that we can learn. And it is this to which the course directs it efforts. When we have accepted Christ’s vision, then our experience of being bodies in a world will be a happy dream that reflects – that symbolizes – the perfect wholeness of Heaven.
This distinction matters! The course teaches us a new way of thinking about miracles – shifts in thought That unite us with one another by teaching us that we have shared – not separate – interests. The more miracle-minded we become, the more our experience of living includes the free flow of Christ’s vision gently bringing all of us back to our home in the Mind of God (T-1.II.1:6,T-1.II.2:4-5). Miracles are practical and helpful. They undo each and every block to our awareness of Love, no matter how seemingly large or intractable. Given to serving the Voice for God – the Holy Spirit, our healed mind – miracles become radically transformational. They literally induce a peace which surpasses understanding.
Lesson 158 is very much concerned with facilitating our relationship to miracles. It wants us to deepen our miracle-mindedness and implies that we are ready to do so. It makes perfectly clear that our facility with miracles is intimately – is divinely – yoked to our relationship with our brothers and sisters. We do not end this meandering horror show alone. We are each the other’s way out. We are each other other’s savior.
Thus, we are called by this lesson to practice – to make manifest in the world – the Vision of Christ. We do this by insisting on seeing each one of our brothers and sisters as “another chance to let Christ’s vision shine on [us], and offer [us] the peace of God” (W-pI.158.10:5). Our experience of this love perceives only “an idea beyond what can be touched, a purity undimmed by errors, pitiful mistakes, and fearfult thoughts of guilt from dreams of sin” (W-pI.158.7:3). We refuse the separation and actively embrace the atonement.
Christ’s vision has one law. It does not look upon a body, and mistake it for the Son whom God created . . . It sees no separation. And it looks on everyone, on every circumstance, all happenings and all events, without the slightest fading of the light it sees (W-pI.158.7:1-2, 4-5).
We accomplish this – we make it possible – by recognizing that “the world can not give anything that faintly can compare with this in value” (W-pI.158.8:2). We want to be saved; we want only to be saved.
So we have to be clear about what is working and what is not when it comes to ourselves and our lives in this world. We have to be clear that the world does not offer us the peace and happiness for which we long. It never has and it never will. There is no constellation of external people, things, places and events that will bring about true joy. So long as we are holding onto the world even a little, we cannot begin to practice the vision of Christ. We have to empty our hearts entirely.
This letting go cannot be an intellectual exercise. If we are simply being logical and concluding that yes, the world does appear to be doomed so a spiritual alternative makes good sense, then it won’t be effective. It has to come from a sense of pervasive despair. Our helplessness has to be total and our sense of desolation utter and complete. It has to be felt in a deep way. Most of us don’t surrender willingly. We really have to go all the way down in defeat.
Yet – and this is where ACIM metaphysics can be really useful – we already are defeated. We don’t have to go on with the same old suffering. If we are attentive to our living – within the world, within these bodies – then we can see clearly the futility of our efforts, our own will. We’ve already been here and we’ve already done it. This surrender – this willingness to recognize that the world offers us literally nothing that we want – has already been accomplished. If we see this, then we can move on to seeing one another not as bodies but as light itself.
Thus do you learn to give as you receive. And thus Christ’s vision looks on you as well. This lesson is not difficult to learn, if you remember in you brother you but see yourself (W-pI.158.10:1-3).
Don’t wait on this! Look honestly at your life in the world and ask what it has gained you. Be clear about the peace that you want, and the happiness you want to have in order to share. Search out the love that you dimly remember. And come to this practice of kindness: this willingness to look on the world with Christ’s eyes – a vision that forgives, that embraces all it rests upon with love and joy. It is not easy because it is unfamiliar. But the doing breeds remembrance – this loving inclusiveness is what we are in truth. Give it and we receive it. And receiving it, we are brought back to our Creator in Heaven.