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Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now

Lesson 108 To Give and Receive Are One in Truth.

  1. Vision depends upon today’s idea. The light is in it, for it reconciles all seeming opposites.  And what is light except the resolution, born of peace, of all your conflicts and mistaken thoughts except which is wholly true? Even that one will disappear, because the Thought behind it will appear instead to take its place. And now you are at peace forever, for the dream is over then.
  2. True light that makes true vision possible is not the light the body’s eyes behold. It is a state of mind that has become so unified that darkness cannot be perceived at all. And thus what is the same is seen as one, while what is not the same remains unnoticed, for it is not there.
  3. This is the light that shows no opposites, and vision, being healed, has power to heal. This is the light that brings your peace of mind to other minds, to share it and be glad that they are one with you and with themselves. This is the light that heals because it brings single perception, based upon one frame of reference, from which one meaning comes.
  4. Here are both giving and receiving seen as different aspects of one Thought whose truth does not depend on which is seen as first, nor which appears to be in second place. Here it is understood that both occur together, that the thought remained complete. And in this understanding is the base on which all opposites are reconciled, because they are perceived from the same frame of reference which unifies this Thought.
  5. One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought. This is the same as saying one correction will suffice for all correction, or that to forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring Salvation to all minds. These are but some special cases of one law which holds for every kind of learning, if it be directed by the One Who knows the truth.
  6. To learn that giving and receiving are the same has special usefulness, because it can be tried so easily and seen as true. And when the special case has proved it always works, in every circumstance where it is tried, the thought behind it can be generalized to other areas of doubt and double vision. And from there it will extend, and finally arrive at the one Thought which underlies them all.
  7. Today we practice with the special case of giving and receiving. We will use this simple lesson in the obvious because it has results we cannot miss. To give is to receive. Today we will attempt to offer peace to everyone and see how quickly peace returns to us. Light is tranquility, and in that peace is vision given us, and we can see.
  8. So we begin the practice periods with the instructions for today and say: To give and to receive are one in truth. I will receive what I am giving now. Then close your eyes, and for five minutes think of what you would hold out to everyone, to have it yours. You might, for instance, say: To everyone I offer quietness. To everyone I offer peace of mind. To everyone I offer gentleness.
  9. Say each one slowly and then pause a while, expecting to receive the gift you gave. And it will come to you in the amount of which you gave it. You will find you have exact return, for that is what you asked. It might be helpful, too, to think of one to whom to give your gifts.  He represents the others, and through him you give to all.
  10. Our very simple lesson for today will teach you much. Effect and cause will be far better understood from this time on, and we will make much faster progress now. Think of the exercises for today as quick advances in your learning, made still faster and more sure each time you say, “To give and to receive are one in truth.”[1]
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Notes and Personal Application:  Not until I came to understand Oneness and Unity with God did I learn that giving and receiving are one in truth.  If you have been reading my blog, you will know that I am not big on “giving.”  Blessed with early experiences of how spendthrifts are all too happy to satisfy their wants on my nickel and then conveniently begrudge repayment or reciprocation, I take a firm and non-apologetic stand on neither lending nor borrowing.  If I can’t afford something, I save up my money and buy it when I can, go without, or consider buying something more affordable in its place. And quite frankly, everyone would be a lot better off if they took on the same habit.  And no matter how little I make or how much, I never spend it all – I take at least 10-15% and put it aside for retirement, for savings, a little nest egg for a rainy day.

As a mother, grandmother, relative, and friend when I say “no,” to a proposed loan, people are often taken aback.  When I do not extend credit to others, they think I am a meanie.  A few years ago, when our hens were laying dozens of extra eggs a week, I began selling their pretty, brown, free-range eggs to people at church and at work.  For two dollars a dozen, people were getting a good deal.  The money I made for the eggs I put back into their feed.  Although it seemed to be more than a fair exchange, occasionally I would have people who would “buy” my eggs, and then tell me that they would pay me the two bucks on pay day.  What I found so astonishing about these particular people was how easy it was for them to forget they owed me a few dollars and how hurt they seemed when I either reminded them about it or did not offer them any more credit until they paid me for the ones that they had already taken.  Imagine how strange it would feel to be sitting at my desk, eating the tuna salad sandwich I brought from home and seeing these same people ordering food in, slurping down expensive energy drinks, and posting pictures of all the fun they were having at the local pub after work each night.  And yet claim poverty over the few dollars they owed me for a dozen eggs!

Earlier in my life, I had had a friend who had promised to pay me for the car I was selling when her tax refund came.  She asked if I would sign the car over before she paid me for it, so that her husband could get a head start on new wheels and other jazzy features. Foolishly I agreed to do this.  She never repaid me.  No matter how many times I brought it up, she always had some reason why she wasn’t able to give me the money.  I was particularly hurt by her thievery because she knew as a single mother, I was in no position to give cars away.  The fact that she could so blatantly do what she did put her outside the category of friend, and thankfully I had the good sense never to have such dealings with her again.   

When I expressed my frustration about this to God, Holy Spirit showed me that while I had every right to expect people to pay for what they owed, I did not have a right to judge them or condemn them.  I could offer them forgiveness, I could offer them joy and peace, but it would only be asking for more of the same if I continued to put myself in a position to be taken advantage of again.  Letting someone take advantage of us is not a sign of spirituality.  It is not a sign of love.  It is a sign of being afraid to take a stand for what is right.  We are not teaching giving and receiving are one when we allow someone to take something that does not belong to them.  Rather we are teaching them that it is okay to take and not give again.  This must be very clear in our minds because as Christians we are often expected to be the stooge, the easy mark, the one who cares so little about our earthly possessions that we give them to anybody who asks. 

In our Course, Jesus makes it perfectly clear that there are two levels of being.  In God’s Kingdom, giving and receiving are one.  It is a win-win situation.  What you give to me, not only enriches me but enriches you and everything, because we are One.  What we give to one another are the intangible, spiritual gifts of God.  

It is a different story on the second level.  In this realm, giving and receiving are not one.  When you take from me, I am the poorer and you are the richer.  If I give you my cloak, I don’t have one!  Jesus does not give anybody a license to steal from people who follow Him.  He does not tell us to let other people take advantage of us or cheat us out of our due.  You are not going to have a happy dream if you think otherwise, and you will not teach truth to those you are meant to show the way.  Thievery is wrong – we offer forgiveness, peace, and joy, but we do not continue to allow others to practice fraud in the name of virtue. 

In our lesson today, Jesus tells us to practice giving and receiving as one.  We are to begin our meditations with this:   To give and receive are one in truth.  I will receive what I am giving now.  Jesus instructs us to close our eyes, and for five minutes think of what we would hold out to everyone, to have for ourselves.  Notice that His suggestions are intangible, spiritual gifts such as quietness, peace of mind, and gentleness.  Nowhere does He indicate that we are to give cash, cars, or our credit card numbers!  Nowhere does He suggest that we give our houses, jewelry, or canned goods.  This simple lesson teaches us all we need to know about giving and receiving.

When we give love, peace, and joy we have an immediate return of the same.  We can feel a sense of well-being in our minds, science tells us that even our mortal brains are affected by the way we think about ourselves and others.  This sense of well-being is meant to be shared and can never be wasted.  I extend kindness to you and I feel even more kindness.  This forms an inner wellspring of kindness until I stop being kind.   

This is a perfect representation of the truth of God’s gifts.  In truth, to give and receive are one; in untruth, giving and receiving are not the same.  In the spirit, to give and receive are one; in the flesh, giving and receiving are not the same.     


[1] A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 108 To give and to receive…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). pp. 195-196.