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 – union with our brothers and sisters – 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 will be a reflection of the perfect wholeness of Heaven.
This distinction matters! We are being taught about miracles – those changes of mind that unite us with one another and induce the sort of action that ensures Christ’s vision will flow from mind to mind until all of us have awakened (T-1.II.1:6,T-1.II.2:4-5). Miracles are practical and helpful. They reflect a capacity for undoing all our blocks to love. With the right teacher – the Holy Spirit, our healed mind – they are transformational and radical. The beget the peace which surpasses understanding.
Lesson 158 is very much concerned with facilitating our relationship to miracles. It wants us to deepen and implies that we are ready now to deepen. And it makes perfectly clear that our facility with the miracle is yoked to our relationship with one another. We cannot end this meandering horror show alone. We are each other’s way out.
Thus, we are called by this lesson to practice – to make manifest in the world – the Vision of Christ and we do this by insisting on seeing our brothers and sisters and the experience that composes what we call living in the world as reflections as the light of a loving and living God. We refuse the separation and actively embrace the miracle of atonement.
Christ’s vision has one law. It does not look upon a body, and mistake it for the Son whom God created. It beholds a light beyond the body; an idea beyond what can be touched, a purity undimmed by errors, pitiful mistakes, and fearful thoughts of guilt from dreams of sin. 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.158.7:1-5).
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).
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 it does not offer us what we want and that it never will. There is no constellation of external people, things, places and events that will bring about eternal and unchanging peace. So long as we are holding onto the world even a little, we cannot begin to practice the vision of Christ.
This can’t be an intellectual exercise. If we are simply being logical and concluding that yes, the world does appear to be doomed and hopeless, thus 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 be defeated beyond even the memory of hope.
Yet – and I think this is where the course metaphysics can be really useful – we already are defeated. We don’t have to keep on going with the same old suffering. If we are attentive to what is going on, we can see that very clearly. 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. 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 Source in Heaven.