July 2013 – “Today I learn to give as I receive.”

“What has been given you? The knowledge that you are a mind, in Mind and purely mind, sinless forever, wholly unafraid, because you were created out of love….” Workbook page 298, Lesson 158

The first paragraph of this important lesson summarises the main teachings of the Course. It continues like this: “Nor have you left your Source, remaining as you were created. This was given you as knowledge which you cannot lose. It was given as well to every living thing, for by that knowledge only does it live.” This passage makes it clear that we are minds and not bodies; that we are one with God as we have not left our Source; and that all others are our equals because, they too, are minds and have not left their Source. This is clarified further, “You have received all this. No one who walks the world but has received it…”

Lesson 158 stresses that the knowledge that we are a mind, in Mind, at one with God and all others will come as a revelation when we are ready for it. “The revelation that the Father and the Son are one will come in time to every mind. Yet is that time determined by the mind itself, not taught.” And it is explained that although we may not experience this just yet, we can learn to see with Christ’s vision. This means looking beyond physical appearances, beyond differences of any sort and seeing God’s light shining within every other human being. “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…This can be taught; and must be taught by all who would achieve it…”

At the essence of the teachings of A Course in Miracles is the idea of our oneness with God and with each other, which the passage just quoted underpins. There has been no separation from God, despite what our physical eyes show us. There are no separate individuals because there is only one of us; we remain a “mind, in Mind and purely mind…” Therefore, all the differences we perceive, such as gender, race, religion, political tendencies, social status, etc. only exist in the dream world of the ego. In the eyes of the ego we are, indeed, very different from each other.

It is interesting to read in Chapter 7 that all our conflicts stem from the fact that we do not recognise our innate equality with each other. Warning us about the insanity of the ego, Jesus says, “I said before that the ego’s friend is not part of you, because the ego perceives itself at war and therefore in need of allies. You who are not at war must look for brothers and recognize all whom you see as brothers, because only equals are at peace. Because God’s equal Sons have everything, they cannot compete. Yet if they perceive any of their brothers as anything other than their perfect equals, the idea of competitions has entered their minds. Do not underestimate your need to be vigilant against this idea, because all your conflicts come from it…” T117. If one stops to think about it, all our wars and conflicts stem from the belief that we are ‘superior’ to others in one way or another. It could be that we believe our religion is better than the religion of another nation; it could be that we feel we need the precious resources that belong to another nation; it could be that we feel the need to defend our nation because of the possibility of attack from another nation or group of people. Yet, if we all believed in our innate equality with each other and with God, we would not feel the need to attack anyone. Jesus says in Chapter 7 that in believing that conflicting interests are possible, we have accepted the impossible at true. He explains that this means that we perceive ourselves as unreal.

Right at the beginning of the Text, we come across one of the Principles of Miracles, which states, “The miracle acknowledges everyone as your brother and mine. It is a way of perceiving the universal mark of God.” T6. The belief of our brotherhood, our equality and our holiness are core concepts of A Course in Miracles. We forgive each other for two reasons. Firstly, there is nothing to forgive because we are still at home with God in heaven but dreaming that we are separate individuals living in the ego’s world. Secondly, we forgive each other because there is no other. Lesson 158 asks us to, “See no one as a body. Greet him as the Son of God he is, acknowledging that he is one with you in holiness.” W299. That is crucial! Imagine what the world would be like if every person, every group of people, every nation could do that.

“Today I learn to give as I receive.” This means sharing the knowledge of our oneness with others; it means overlooking illusions and offering the miracle of forgiveness. Jesus tells us, “This lesson is not difficult to learn, if you remember in your brother you but see yourself. If he be lost in sin, so must you be; if you see light in him, your sins have been forgiven by yourself. Each brother whom you meet today provides another chance to let Christ’s vision shine on you, and offer you the peace of God.” W299.

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