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Lesson 105: Lessons in Giving and Receiving: God’s Peace and Joy are Mine

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From last year’s writing: God’s peace and joy are mine.

Giving and Receiving

Giving and Receiving

Apparently today, I need to further my understanding of giving and receiving.  In a way, this doesn’t surprise me.  I have been working on the theme of sufficiency for a while now and although I am doing much better financially than I have done in years, there is a weird juxtaposition in my life: the tension between having plenty and being generous without fear of consequences. It is part of the human condition, I think, this balancing trust and faith within the practical realm of form where limitation is a thing. On the surface, it would seem as if none of that had anything to do with today’s A Course in Miracles lesson, God’s peace and joy are mine; yet truthfully, I think it has everything to do with it.

“A major learning goal this course has set is to reverse your view of giving, so you can receive, “ this lesson says.  Even though my ego likes to tell me I know a lot of the material in these lessons (not unlike the arrogant hare in the fable of the tortoise and the hare – it tells me I’ve got this in the bag so I don’t have to try too hard), it’s a lie.  Every lesson has a gift for me.  If I think I already know, then I will likely miss it.

Be careful of what you think you already know!  When your cup is already full of what you think you know, you can’t learn anything.  (Which is why I’m always going back to “I do not know what anything is for.”  It returns me to beginner’s mind.)

As I work on this lesson, I realize that, yes indeed; my ideas of giving are intertwined with fear.  In our Tuesday night group, we are always looking for ways to fuse the seemingly idealistic goals of the Course with living in the world of form.  This lesson is an attempt to transform our ideas around giving.  To teach us, To have, give all to all.   It is a major learning.

Today’s lesson:

Lesson 105

God’s peace and joy are mine.

God’s peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us. And we will try to understand these gifts increase as we receive them. They are not like to the gifts the world can give, in which the giver loses as he gives the gift; the taker is the richer by his loss. Such are not gifts, but bargains made with guilt. The truly given gift entails no loss. It is impossible that one can gain because another loses. This implies a limit and an insufficiency.

No gift is given thus. Such “gifts” are but a bid for a more valuable return; a loan with interest to be paid in full; a temporary lending, meant to be a pledge of debt to be repaid with more than was received by him who took the gift. This strange distortion of what giving means pervades all levels of the world you see. It strips all meaning from the gifts you give, and leaves you nothing in the ones you take.

A major learning goal this course has set is to reverse your view of giving, so you can receive. For giving has become a source of fear, and so you would avoid the only means by which you can receive. Accept God’s peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God’s gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby.

As Heaven’s peace and joy intensify when you accept them as God’s gift to you, so does the joy of your Creator grow when you accept His joy and peace as yours. True giving is creation. It extends the limitless to the unlimited, eternity to timelessness, and love unto itself. It adds to all that is complete already, not in simple terms of adding more, for that implies that it was less before. It adds by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, securing it forever for itself.

Today accept God’s peace and joy as yours. Let Him complete Himself as He defines completion. You will understand that what completes Him must complete His Son as well. He cannot give through loss. No more can you. Receive His gift of joy and peace today, and He will thank you for your gift to Him.

Today our practice periods will start a little differently. Begin today by thinking of those brothers who have been denied by you the peace and joy that are their right under the equal laws of God. Here you denied them to yourself. And here you must return to claim them as your own.

Think of your “enemies” a little while, and tell each one, as he occurs to you:

My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.

Thus you prepare yourself to recognize God’s gifts to you, and let your mind be free of all that would prevent success today. Now are you ready to accept the gift of peace and joy that God has given you. Now are you ready to experience the joy and peace you have denied yourself. Now you can say, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” for you have given what you would receive.

You must succeed today, if you prepare your mind as we suggest. For you have let all bars to peace and joy be lifted up, and what is yours can come to you at last. So tell yourself, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” and close your eyes a while, and let His Voice assure you that the words you speak are true.

Spend your five minutes thus with Him each time you can today, but do not think that less is worthless when you cannot give Him more. At least remember hourly to say the words which call to Him to give you what He wills to give, and wills you to receive. Determine not to interfere today with what He wills. And if a brother seems to tempt you to deny God’s gift to him, see it as but another chance to let yourself receive the gifts of God as yours. Then bless your brother thankfully, and say:

My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.

 

© Foundation for Inner Peace • PO Box 598 • Mill Valley, CA  94942-0598

My opinion, for whatever it may or may not be worth, is that by practicing in the realm of the unlimited that I detonate my experience around “giving” and in the process come to understand what giving really means.  I am guilty (and guilt is always of the ego) of seeing “giving” as the world sees it: “They are not like to the gifts the world can give, in which the giver loses as he gives the gift; the taker is the richer by his loss. Such are not gifts, but bargains made with guilt. The truly given gift entails no loss. It is impossible that one can gain because another loses. This implies a limit and an insufficiency.”

Even when I have freely given a gift for which I truly wanted nothing in return, a hint of guilt goes with it.  I find myself wondering if there really are no strings attached.  I don’t like gifts that feel as if accepting them will require repayment in some way, shape or form.  (“No gift is given thus. Such ‘gifts’ are but a bid for a more valuable return; a loan with interest to be paid in full; a temporary lending, meant to be a pledge of debt to be repaid with more than was received by him who took the gift.” ) When giving or receiving a gift in the world of form, I make a diligent effort to neither attach strings nor perceive any as being attached when someone gives me something (even if the other person was attaching them – there is only a debt if I accept one).  I subscribe to the “pay it forward” school of thought, which feels much better to me than keeping score.

I think learning how to escape the world’s giving system begins with learning to accept God’s peace and joy as mine and then sharing it.  I have had plenty of opportunities to do this.  I have had plenty of instances where someone did not treat me equitably (my perception anyway) and I found within myself the impulse to then withhold love.  My ego wants retribution.  My ego wants to be able to look at the situations and see that if I couldn’t come out ahead, I could at least feel as if I didn’t “lose” something in the exchange.  So, I love the exercise here:

My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.

This goes back to forgiveness.  My failure to forgive someone does not hurt them (most of the time they are oblivious to my ill feelings or if they are aware, chances are good that they don’t “get” what it is about).  Anyway, failure to forgive hurts the person holding the grudge.

And from a Course perceptive, forgiveness is really the recognition that nothing ever happened. This is tied up with the concept of time, which doesn’t really exist.  The past is gone.  Really there is only the eternal NOW, so the question becomes, why would any of us want to make up a hurtful story about what we think happened?  How does it serve me?  My thoughts about what I think you did to me are a story of being a victim.  They are an attempt to extract payment of some sort.  When I shift this to offering peace and love, I give myself that gift in the process.

How does all of this tie into the world of form and giving????

One of my favorite lines from the Course is, “Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation.”  This statement returns the responsibility to me.  It destroys the whole victim mentality and asks me’ “What do you want?”  Is my goal love?  Is my goal peace?  Or am I trying to assign guilt?  By recognizing what my purpose is, I have the opportunity to witness miracles.  Not that I am consciously trying to control them in any way, but miracles are the natural expression of love (“3 Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.”) When my goal is love, it shifts the energy present into a miracle petri dish.  6 Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.”  They return me to myself.

When I know who I am, when I accept myself as the Son of God, as the Divine expressing, without ego involvement, without fear entering into the equation to block the awareness of love’s presence, then and only then am I in a position to have faith.  I trust in God.  I know I am taken care of and so I don’t need to worry about “how” and thus, the seemingly limited world of form gets blown out of the water.

There is no order of difficulty in miracles.

The thing that fucks us (or me anyway) up is fear.  Ego wants to control it all.  Ego wants to be able to predict how things can possibly happen.

If you want to be a miracle worker, you can’t worry about that shit.  It’s not your realm, it’s God’s.  My part is to listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit (to being willing to take direction) so I know what God would have me do.

We start with learning how to give and receive.  We start by practicing; God’s peace and joy are mine.”

Feels like I might be making some progress here.

Namaste, my friends, Namaste.

 

 

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