April 2014 – “All that I give is given to myself.”

“Today’s idea, completely alien to the ego and the thinking of the world, is crucial to the thought reversal that this course will bring about. If you believed this statement, there would be no problems 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.” Workbook page 227, Lesson 126

Jesus starts off this lesson by telling us that the ego cannot understand this lesson because it is the complete reverse of its thought system. In our world, when we give something to someone, it appears that we have less of it. For instance, if I give money to someone, then it means I have less money in my purse. Similarly, for intangible things such as blame, for example, if I blame someone for a misdeed, it means that I am not the guilty person.

Jesus uses the example of forgiveness and he says, “When you ‘forgive’ a sin, there is no gain to you directly. You give charity to one unworthy, merely to point out that you are better, on a higher plane than he whom you forgive…The sin that you forgive is not your own. Someone apart from you committed it…” W227. But we have got things the wrong way round. “You do not understand forgiveness. As you see it, it is but a check upon overt attack, without requiring correction in your mind. It cannot give you peace as you perceive it.”

But A Course in Miracles tells us that there is only one of us and there is only God; it is a non-dualistic thought system, which is based on our oneness with God and on the oneness of mankind. It follows, therefore, that if there is only one of us, if I give something to another person, I am really giving it to myself. We have to learn to consider every single human being as being aspects of ourselves. We forgive others for things they have not done wrong, because this world is just a mental projection. In forgiving others, we are also forgiving ourselves.

The problem with the ego is that it believes in the separation and, therefore, it believes that all the billions of people on this planet are really different from each other. It cannot understand the concept of non-duality because this would make the separation unreal. Without the separation, there would be no ego. We would remain as we were when God created us. In reality, there is no ego, but because we believe it exists, we have to overcome it. Furthermore, all the people we come into contact with are simply projections from our own minds. This is because ideas cannot leave their source, which is a key concept in ACIM.  Ideas start in the mind and that is where they remain—they are simply mental projections.

Forgiveness, according to ACIM, is the means to salvation or liberation or healing of the mind because it means letting go of the illusions of the ego and recognising that there are no separate people out there. There is only one of us. “Salvation is a better gift than this. And true forgiveness, as the means by which it is attained, must heal the mind that gives, for giving is receiving…”  Jesus realises that it is not at all easy for us to understand that there is only one of us. That’s why he says, “Today we try to understand the truth that giver and receiver are the same. You will need help to make this meaningful, because it is so alien to the thoughts to which you are accustomed. But the Help you need is there…” W228. The Help is the Holy Spirit Who resides in our ‘right minds’. He is the Voice for God who will guide us Home, if we stop and listen to Him.

Giving, mentioned in this lesson, does not refer to tangible things. It is talking about giving love and forgiveness. In forgiving others, I am forgiving myself. When I extend love to others, I receive love.

It is important to understand the link between healing, Atonement and forgiveness. When ACIM speaks about healing, it always has to do with healing the mind. Remember our minds split at the time of the separation into ‘right mind’, where the Holy Spirit was placed by God and ‘wrong mind,’ which is the egoic portion. When we accept the Atonement, which is recognition that the separation did not take place, our minds become healed. So we read in the Manuel for Teachers, Healing and Atonement are not related; they are identical…Accept Atonement and you are Healed. Atonement is the Word of God. Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible?”  And then forgiveness is connected to both healing and Atonement, because forgiveness is the tool of Atonement and healing. Since we recognise that this world is just a dream, we forgive everyone and everything that happens in it, because we know nothing is real in a dream world. Thus in giving others the gift of forgiveness, we awaken ourselves from the dream and so we can see the truth in the statement, “All that I give is given to myself.” We have given ourselves the ultimate gift—awakening.

Since all minds are joined and, in reality, there is only one of us, when we offer forgiveness to others and heal our own minds, we are actually healing other minds too. This is explained in Lesson 137: “And as you let yourself be healed, you see all those around you, or who cross your mind, or whom you touch or those who seem to have no contact with you, healed along with you. Perhaps you will not recognize them all, nor realize how great your offering to all the world, when you let healing come to you. But you are never healed alone. And legions upon legions will receive the gift that you receive when you are healed.” W262. This shows that when we heal our minds, in other words, when we give healing to ourselves by accepting the Atonement, others are healed too. Thus it is also true to say that all I give myself is given to others, when it comes to healing, forgiveness and awakening from the dream.

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