This – the first element of the Holy Spirit’s teaching plan – takes two critical ideas and links them together. The first is the equivalency of having and giving. The second is the absolute – indeed, the radical – equality of all the children of God.
In the ego’s world, we give only because we believe it’s going to benefit us somehow. We think it’s going to increase our personal having – we’re nice to someone because it scores points on the get-into-Heaven scorecard. In the ego’s world, we always give to get. Implicit in that rule is the understanding that when we give, we reduce what we have. Having and giving are opposites. And it seems reasonable, doesn’t it? If I give you two slices of the apple pie I just made, that’s two less slices for me.
The Holy Spirit reverses this law because it knows that the world is one of ideas, not things or events or separate people. In that world – that model – the only way to have is to give. And that, too, is actually reasonable. When I share with you the idea that God is love, I still have the idea. Moreover, the idea is strengthened because I have shared it. It is clarified. It gains in power.
It’s simple enough to say, but it’s very hard to apply. So long as we are identifying with the time-space world – in which there really are apple pies and hungry people and interest rates and political parties – we’re going to struggle. We have to begin to see that those things are illusions. If we are willing to question their reality, the deeper reality – Truth – will reveal itself. We will begin to perceive our experience in terms of the content God placed in it. That content – which is Love – can be held, or possessed, only through extension, or sharing.
Related to this idea of having and giving as the same gesture, is the idea that all the sons and daughters of God are equal. This is actually an extension of the first miracle principle: There is no order of difficulty in miracles (T-1.I.1:1). If there is no range running the gamut from small to large – from possible to impossible – then there can be do variation in our behavior. Judgment becomes irrelevant – a tool without a purpose. The only response – the only offering – worthy of a child of God is love.
I called this equality “radical.” I think it is very much at the heart of the belief system proposed by A Course in Miracles, as well as in the New Testament. Jesus tells the disciples, “follow me. Leave your family and follow me.” This is not a rejection of one’s biological family only – it is not a negative action – but a broader embrace of the human family. We are all each other’s family, regardless of our cultural or biological identities. If people believed this and really practiced it, there would be no war. There would be no hunger. But we go on insisting that we are separated and different, and that those differences are valuable, and thus worthy of conflict.
Thus the world. Thus the ego.
But the Holy Spirit offers a way to undo all of this. We might call it a radical and utter extension of love. We adopt the Holy Spirit’s view of our existence – that we are merely channels through which Love may be communicated – and we adopt the Holy Spirit’s view of one another – that we are equal in all ways so that what is worthy of one is worthy of all.
Learn that and we have learned peace. Learn that and we have learned the secret to eternal joy.