ACIM Daily Lesson 187 I bless the world because I bless myself.
I bless the world because I bless myself.
I bless the world because I bless myself.
1. No one can give unless he has. ²In fact, giving is proof of having. ³We have made this point before. ⁴What seems to make it hard to credit is not this. ⁵No one can doubt that you must first possess what you would give. ⁶It is the second phase on which the world and true perception differ. ⁷Having had and given, then the world asserts that you have lost what you possessed. ⁸The truth maintains that giving will increase what you possess.
2. How is this possible? ²For it is sure that if you give a finite thing away, your body’s eyes will not perceive it yours. ³Yet we have learned that things but represent the thoughts that make them. ⁴And you do not lack for proof that when you give ideas away, you strengthen them in your own mind. ⁵Perhaps the form in which the thought seems to appear is changed in giving. ⁶Yet it must return to him who gives. ⁷Nor can the form it takes be less acceptable. ⁸It must be more.
Things Are Ideas
I understand and accept that when we share an idea, or we give love or kindness, it increases. It increases outwardly as more of the Sonship now has this and thus can pass it on, and inwardly as it becomes stronger in my mind. Here, Jesus tells us that even things increase as we give them. This is because they are ideas before they are things. I have an idea of what I want and that idea is projected into the world. I give that thing away but the idea is still in my mind because thoughts don’t leave their source. And the idea is stronger now for having been given away.
For instance, a friend of mine admired and really longed for something I owned, so I gave it to her. That thing did not return to me, but many other things have. What I gave seemed to be a material object, but in this case, it represented an act of loving kindness, and my life is filled with acts of loving kindness toward me. Giving it represented the belief in abundance and though I cannot have that particular representation, my life is filled with an abundance of love and that is far more valuable. Because I give generously without expectations, I receive in the same way and my needs are generously met.
The Miracles Giving Brings
3. Ideas must first belong to you, before you give them. ²If you are to save the world, you first accept salvation for yourself. ³But you will not believe that this is done until you see the miracles it brings to everyone you look upon. ⁴Herein is the idea of giving clarified and given meaning. ⁵Now you can perceive that by your giving is your store increased.
Giving salvation is our responsibility and my honor, but first, we must accept salvation ourselves. I can tell when I have accepted salvation by the miracles it brings to others. The clearer my mind becomes, the more loving I am and the more peaceful. I see this reflected in family members and friends and I become aware that something amazing is happening to me.
A Peaceful Presence
Or I find myself in a difficult situation and instead of lashing out, I feel empathy for everyone involved and I am able to stay peaceful. The situation is relieved and everyone involved relaxes and I realize that my peaceful presence is helping others to accept their salvation so I must be saved. And I don’t have to be saved all the time for me to be helpful.
I can have moments of upset in which I add nothing helpful to the situation and in those times, I am not a savior. But the more I do this work, the more often I am that peaceful presence, or that I have the words needed to calm the situation. Seeing how important it is, I am highly motivated to continue to accept the healing of my mind.
Protect What You Value By Giving It Away
4. Protect all things you value by the act of giving them away, and you are sure that you will never lose them. ²What you thought you did not have is thereby proven yours. ³Yet value not its form. ⁴For this will change and grow unrecognizable in time, however much you try to keep it safe. ⁵No form endures. ⁶It is the thought behind the form of things that lives unchangeable.
Jesus has explained how it is possible that you can give and yet not lose. Yes, if I give someone my favorite blouse, that blouse is gone, but the thought behind “favorite blouse” is not gone and it is that thought that is strengthened in my mind through the giving of it. That sounds strange to me. Why would I want the thought of a favorite blouse to endure?
What does the Thought Represent?
If I look beneath that thought, I see what it represents. I feel happy when I wear my favorite blouse, so it represents happiness for me. It is happiness that I am reinforcing. Everything here is a symbol of a belief. A bird singing outside my window, the quiet of the early morning, a deeper than usual meditation, my granddaughter’s smile, and yes, a favorite shirt, all are symbols of happiness.
The blouse is a perfect example of form that will not endure. If I keep it, I will still lose it. It will fade and tear and wear thin. I will stop liking it as fashions change. But the thought of happiness just gets stronger as I share it in whatever form it happens to take at the moment. I was thinking about my Al-Anon group.
I Get Something, They Receive Something
I went there to get something and in the process I give. They receive, I receive and there is this perfect cycle that is going on. They give me their acceptance and their support. I give them my gratitude and love. And all of it just grows and grows.
5. Give gladly. ²You can only gain thereby. ³The thought remains, and grows in strength as it is reinforced by giving. ⁴Thoughts extend as they are shared, for they can not be lost. ⁵There is no giver and receiver in the sense the world conceives of them. ⁶There is a giver who retains; another who will give as well. ⁷And both must gain in this exchange, for each will have the thought in form most helpful to him. ⁸What he seems to lose is always something he will value less than what will surely be returned to him.
For me to be aware of this happy exchange, I must understand that form is not important, that it changes, but that it is the thought behind the form that matters. My brother and sister-in-law did something very kind for me. They went far out of their way to do me this favor and they expressed their love for me in words as well.
My Heart Opened Wide
Something about this incident opened my heart in a way that has been permanent. Some defensive walls came tumbling down and love took their place. The favor they did for me and even the kind words are not repeated, but the love behind them is what matters and what is given and received over and over and has spread farther than can be seen. This is just as true as it pertains to things.
Every “thing” is just a symbol of a thought. It is the out-picturing of a thought. So, when I give some “thing” I cannot lose because the thing is renewable through the thought. The act of freely giving reinforces my belief in that thought. For instance, what if someone needs my money and I feel afraid to give it to them? It can only be that I think I am limited in how much money I can have. I constrict the idea that money is plentiful and so constrict the flow of money in my life.
I Generously and Fearlessly Give
If I give freely then I am expanding the idea that money is abundant and easily replaced. As I generously and fearlessly give money, I am really giving the belief of abundance. When I fearfully hold onto what I have, I am giving the belief of lack and loss. What I give, I receive because, in giving, I give to myself.
Since I give always to myself there is no such thing as sacrifice. I give money to someone on the street and it seems to leave my hand and go into his and he walks away. There goes my money. But that is only an illusion. There goes the thought of abundance, shared and thus increased. That is the truth. And abundance will return to me, multiplied and increased, if not in the form of money, in a form that is most useful at the time it is received. I love to give and equally, I love to receive. It’s all the same.
I Laugh at the Idea of Sacrifice
6. Never forget you give but to yourself. ²Who understands what giving means must laugh at the idea of sacrifice. ³Nor can he fail to recognize the many forms which sacrifice may take. ⁴He laughs as well at pain and loss, at sickness and at grief, at poverty, starvation and at death. ⁵He recognizes sacrifice remains the one idea that stands behind them all, and in his gentle laughter are they healed.
Here is something that happened one day. I had a really busy weekend and was tired and ready to relax. I had just settled down to watch a favorite tv show when I got a call from a friend who needed to talk things out. She wanted to know if this was a good time. I felt a pang of disappointment but then laughed at it because I’ve learned that what I give is given to myself. We sat there and talked for good while and I felt better and better as we did so. I think she did, too.
There Is No Sacrifice in Giving
For just a moment at the beginning of the conversation, I thought that a sacrifice was being asked of me, that I would give my time and thus lose my time, give up my plans and so feel the loss of them. But that is the way I used to think when I believed in sacrifice and loss. I knew it wasn’t true because I have put it to the test many times. Little things like this have taught me that I cannot sacrifice in giving. I won’t say that I laugh at all the forms that the idea of sacrifice takes, but I am moving in that direction.
Illusion Recognized Must Disappear
7. Illusion recognized must disappear. ²Accept not suffering, and you remove the thought of suffering. ³Your blessing lies on everyone who suffers, when you choose to see all suffering as what it is. ⁴The thought of sacrifice gives rise to all the forms that suffering appears to take. ⁵And sacrifice is an idea so mad that sanity dismisses it at once.
When someone is talking to me about their present sacrifice, something happening in their life that they think shouldn’t be happening, my mind goes past that belief to the lesson that it holds for them. If they are interested in what I see, I share it with them and if they accept it, I am enriched by the giving. This is one of the ways that I am learning to laugh at the idea of sacrifice in my own life. As over and over again, I am laughing with others at the idea of sacrifice that belief becomes stronger in my own mind.
Events Are Neutral
The fact is that all events are neutral until we impose our thoughts on them and thus give them meaning. Nothing that happens here is innately sacrificial and seems so only because we insist upon it. I am not saying that it is easy to see the neutrality of certain events, but how we choose to see it does not in any way change the facts. And the good news is that if we decide upon suffering, we can also use that same power to change our minds about it.
Your Blessing Will Correct It
8. Never believe that you can sacrifice. ²There is no place for sacrifice in what has any value. ³If the thought occurs, its very presence proves that error has arisen and correction must be made. ⁴Your blessing will correct it. ⁵Given first to you, it now is yours to give as well. ⁶No form of sacrifice and suffering can long endure before the face of one who has forgiven and has blessed himself.
So what is sacrifice? It is only the belief that I can lose, and obviously, I cannot lose. If I do not care for the effects of my thoughts I can change my thoughts. But always the mind responds most generously to my thoughts, and the more I give those thoughts, the stronger my belief in them, and the more I receive what I have given. If the form in which I receive is different, it is because this different form is more useful.
Jesus tells us this. ⁶No form of sacrifice and suffering can long endure before the face of one who has forgiven and has blessed himself. What makes this idea hard to accept is the narrative we tell ourselves. This narrative comes from the ego and the ego always wants fear and guilt. It always wants drama. It is uninterested in peace so it is not going to give us a narrative that will lead to peace. We have to learn to discern the ego thoughts and to reject them if we want to be at peace and if we want to stop suffering.
We can do this in a couple of ways. The first thing we have to do is become aware of when the ego thoughts of sacrifice enter our minds so that we can do something with them. What I did was to take these thoughts and their effects (the feelings and emotions) to the Holy Spirit. I would let the feelings come up, the fear and guilt, the rage, the hatred, the blame, all of it. I would feel it completely, recognize that I was sick of it and ready to be free and then I would give it to the Holy Spirit.
I also learned to shift my attention. We know how to do this. We do it all the time. I am interested in getting some work done in my house and then I get the thought that I could go to the store and suddenly I have no interest in housework. I shifted my attention from housework to shopping.I might start thinking about how there is nothing to fear. A good fifteen seconds of focus on that thought lifts me to a higher level.
At the same time, it begins to rewire my brain which is good news as my brain has a bad habit of falling into fear. An additional benefit of this process is that it helps me to identify with the Self rather than the self. The Self is calm and peaceful. It is curious and accepting of whatever arises. On the other hand, the self is frantically judging and trying to control and this is suffering.
A Quicker Surer Way to Forgiveness
I have discovered that there is a shortcut to this higher state. I practice watching my thoughts without judgment. I do this by being aware of a thought but not thinking about it. When I am simply aware, I am in my right mind, that is, in the Holy Spirit and that means I am looking at the thought or the feeling with Him. Thus it is forgiven and disappears.
If I think about the thought, I am in the ego and the ego judges and has opinions. Now I am suffering. It takes a bit of practice to break the habit of thinking about thoughts but it is worth it. Here is an example. I became aware of the thought that I should have some important papers arriving at my home and I am not there to take care of them now. If I notice the thought and let it pass, it will do so without disturbing me.
Don’t Think About the Thought
If, on the other hand, I think about it, I start to worry. What if I don’t get there in time and there are legal consequences? This is supposed to be my last obligation in this situation, but what if I am wrong about that. What if there is more paperwork? Now, I have lost my peace and so I suffer. Not thinking about a thought allows it to be forgiven and undone and leads to peace. Thinking about it leads to judgment and suffering. Allowing awareness without thought is not a sacrifice though the ego thinks it is.
The thing is, we cannot actually sacrifice. Sacrifice is a lie. The only place we can sacrifice is in the ego-mind. It is a decision we make and then quickly decide to forget we made. We pretend that life is the problem, the cause of the suffering and that we are helpless before our suffering. Without those thoughts, the idea of suffering would not exist because it doesn’t, in reality, exist. What is in my mind is also in the mind of the sleeping Son, the mind we all share. I don’t want to do anything to reinforce sacrifice and suffering. This is not what I want to receive, so I must not give it.
Lillies Laid Upon the Altar
9. The lilies that your brother offers you are laid upon your altar, with the ones you offer him beside them. ²Who could fear to look upon such lovely holiness? ³The great illusion of the fear of God diminishes to nothingness before the purity that you will look on here. ⁴Be not afraid to look. ⁵The blessedness you will behold will take away all thought of form, and leave instead the perfect gift forever there, forever to increase, forever yours, forever given away.
Lilies in the Course, represent forgiveness. Sometimes when I am working with someone, together we forgive an idea, and that forgiveness is the lovely lily that, together, we place on the altar. Sometimes, I will have a misunderstanding with someone, and making amends, we forgive it and a lily is placed on the altar. The ego-mind is not interested in forgiveness and is afraid to look upon the altar. It is always encouraging grievances to keep us focused on the world instead. But it is safe to look because we will see our purity when we do and the fear of God diminishes to nothing.
What Is Given Is Returned
Sometimes the form can be generosity of spirit, peaceful and loving reactions, or certainty in the face of doubt. All thoughts are returned in their likeness, not in the same form necessarily, but in their essence.
I had an interesting example of this a few years ago while I was still learning to see things differently. I had someone call me to express anger at something he assumed I had done. He was very angry and expressed his rage loudly and long. I was in a very good place when this happened and although I felt the initial ego reaction of defense, I was also very aware of the Holy Spirit in my mind.
Willing to See it Differently
I listened quietly while he went on and on venting his rage until he had played it out. Instead of defending myself, I asked him what I could do to fix the problem. After the call ended, I allowed myself to feel the disquiet this call caused me, and I asked the Holy Spirit to be with me while I did so.
It was a temptation to see it as an unfair attack on myself, but I was willing to see differently. I began to realize how fearful he must be to react in this way. I have acted out of fear before and often regretted it as I was sure he would when he calmed down. I empathized with him because I know how this feels, but I was also certain that I was not seeing his true Self in this angry fearful version. He would come to himself in time, and in the meantime, we both had a real opportunity for forgiveness here, and I was grateful for that.
An Instance of Sanity
In a bit, he called back and apologized for his behavior. He explained some of the pressure he had been under and then we discussed what we could do to fix the problem. I have many examples in my life of having given what I did not want and have seen clearly what that creates. But this was a beautiful example of giving love instead, and I will never forget it. It is the model I look to when I am sane enough to choose a better teacher. I remember this instance of sanity and I know what to do.
Even if he had not come to his senses and had chosen to justify his anger by continuing to see me wrong, I would still have given and received as I gave, because I would have taught myself that love is the only sane choice. Giving love would have reinforced in myself love. Giving love would have ensured that I received in kind, and love would take the form most needed at the moment.
This is a message I received when I talked to Jesus about this experience.
Me: Jesus, that instance was such a beautiful example of seeing a call for love rather than attack. Why can’t I always do this?
Jesus: Myron, you can always do this; you simply choose not to do so at times. Do not feel guilty for this but do notice when it happens. If you want me to, I will remind you that your brother deserves only your love. Just take a moment to step back and ask.
Sometimes you reverse the attack and make yourself wrong. Instead of feeling angry at the other person, you choose to feel guilty for your own behavior. In either case, you are giving a gift you do not want for yourself. Reconsider the consequences of your choice. Do you want to teach yourself attack or guilt? You can always choose again.
It is never too late to do this. Long after the incident appeared to happen, the memory of it may surface in your mind. Choose again at that time. Forgiveness knows no boundaries, not of time nor space. I am always with you. Just ask me to join you in forgiveness and I will.
Thank you, Brother.
The Name of God Is on Our Lips
10. Now are we one in thought, for fear has gone. ²And here, before the altar to one God, one Father, one Creator and one Thought, we stand together as one Son of God. ³Not separate from Him Who is our Source; not distant from one brother who is part of our one Self Whose innocence has joined us all as one, we stand in blessedness, and give as we receive. ⁴The Name of God is on our lips. ⁵And as we look within, we see the purity of Heaven shine in our reflection of our Father’s Love.
The emphasis in this paragraph is oneness. We are instructing our minds to focus on oneness instead of separation. What if I accidentally hurt someone’s feelings. The ego argues that it is their fault for being so sensitive and insists that just need to get over it. But that attitude is not something I want to foster in my mind because it doesn’t bring us together. It separates us. So, instead, I apologize and together we look at the source of our disagreement and let love heal it.
From Separation to Onenes
Before, we were in competition to who was right and so separate. Now we are in agreement as to what it is that is really important and what it is we really want. Now we are not separate. As we experience the release of the need to be right and to win, we learn that it isn’t a sacrifice, and in fact, it is our happiness We are motivated to go further with it and to always seek oneness over separation. These moments of joining with each other help us to remember our one Self and to release the fear of our oneness with our Creator.
Now Are We Blessed
11. Now are we blessed, and now we bless the world. ²What we have looked upon we would extend, for we would see it everywhere. ³We would behold it shining with the grace of God in everyone. ⁴We would not have it be withheld from anything we look upon. ⁵And to ensure this holy sight is ours, we offer it to everything we see. ⁶For where we see it, it will be returned to us in form of lilies we can lay upon our altar, making it a home for Innocence Itself, Who dwells in us and offers us His Holiness as ours.
I notice that the happier I am, the more I want everyone to experience this. I do whatever I can to help anyone interested in forgiveness to experience this, too.
A Tip from Regina Dawn Akers.
I am reminded of something I once heard. “Be enlightened now.” I think it was Byron Katie that said this, but I can’t be sure. The idea behind the statement was this: Stop waiting to be enlightened someday. Be enlightened now.
How do you do that? Let me give you a few examples:
- Someone says something to you that feels like a strong insult. Be enlightened now. Don’t be defensive. Relax. Be present. Be still. Be open. Watch the energies inside of you, but don’t become involved with them.
- You find out that a friend has been taking money and other things from you, a little at a time, so that you hadn’t noticed. Be enlightened now. Instead of seeing your friend as guilty or betraying you, notice that you are unharmed.
- You go with a friend to her elderly mother’s house to help clean the house. While dusting some collectables, one slips from your hand and breaks into dozens of pieces. Be enlightened now. Watch the energies that may arise inside you, but don’t become involved with them. Apologize to your friend and her mother. If they seem upset, turn to intuition for guidance.
- A friend feels he needs some money. You’ve had lack thoughts lately too. Be enlightened now. Help your friend by giving him some money, and realize you are always taken care of.
More ways to Be Enlightened Now
I could go on forever.
- Your computer breaks down. Be enlightened now.
- You lose your wedding ring. Be enlightened now.
- Your spouse has an affair. Be enlightened now.
- Someone tells an unflattering lie about you in Facebook. Be enlightened now.
Being enlightened now has nothing to do with pretending you are awake. It has everything to do with being consciously tuned in to spiritual intuition. It has everything to do with asking, “What am I to do now? How am I to see this? How shall I respond?” Etc.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 187 click here.
If you found this content helpful, please share on social media so more people can read and learn.