III. The Investment in Reality 1-15
- I once asked you to sell all you have and give to the poor and follow me. This is what I meant: if you have no investment in anything in this world, you can teach the poor where their treasure is. The poor are merely those who have invested wrongly, and they are poor indeed! Because they are in need it is given you to help them, since you are among them. Consider how perfectly your lesson would be learned if you were unwilling to share their poverty. For poverty is lack, and there is but one lack since there is but one need.
- Suppose a brother insists on having you do something you think you do not want to do. His very insistence should tell you that he believes Salvation lies in it. If you insist on refusing and experience a quick response of opposition, you are believing that your salvation lies in not doing it. You, then, are making the same mistake he is, and are making his error real to both of you. Insistence means investment, and what you invest in is always related to your notion of salvation. The question is always two-fold; First, what is to be saved? And second, how can it be saved?
- Whenever you become angry with a brother, for whatever reason, you are believing that the ego is to be saved, and to be saved by attack. If he attacks, you are agreeing with this belief; and if you attack, you are reinforcing it. Remember that those who attack are poor. Their poverty asks for gifts, not for further impoverishment. You who could help them are surely acting destructively if you accept their poverty as yours. If you had not invested as they had, it would never occur to you to overlook their need.
- Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something “outrageous,” do it because it does not matter. Refuse, and your opposition establishes that it does matter to you. It is only you, therefore, who have made the request outrageous, and every request of a brother is for you. Why would you insist on denying him? For to do so is to deny yourself and impoverish both. He is asking for salvation, as you are. Poverty is of the ego, and never of God. No “outrageous” requests can be made of one who recognizes what is valuable and wants to accept nothing else.
- Salvation is for the mind, and it is attained through peace. This is the only thing that can be saved and the only way to save it. Any response other than love arises from a confusion about the “what” and the “how” of salvation, and this is the only answer. Never lose sight of this, and never allow yourself to believe, even for an instant, that there is another answer. For you will surely place yourself among the poor, who do not understand that they dwell in abundance and that salvation is come.
Today we start section III of the Holy Spirit’s Curriculum and we will cover the first five paragraphs finishing the last five paragraphs in the next blog post. The corresponding lesson from the Workbook is 135: “If I defend myself I am attacked.”
Jesus tells us today that during His life on earth in the flesh, he asked us to sell all we have and give to the poor and follow Him and now today we learn what exactly He means by this. Does Jesus really want us to quit our jobs, sell our homes, our cars, our jewels, wardrobes, and devote ourselves to teaching, healing, and performing miracles while we sleep on our friends’ couch and live off of charitable donations?
In paragraph one Jesus tells us that we are to have no investment in anything of the world for those who have investment in the world are the poor – because their investment is in that which does not last. All of us come to this conclusion sooner or later – however it is very difficult for a man who has nothing in the material world to convince a man who seems to have everything money can buy that this is so! We are to help each other understand that investing in the world will never advance us in God’s Kingdom, while advancing in love and peace and joy enriches us with eternal abundance of all that we really want.
In paragraph two we find a very radical approach to our salvation for Jesus tells us to give to our brothers what they ask of us, what they compel us to do as if nothing here in this world matters. If my brother insists on taking something that belongs to me, I do not let him steal it, I give it to him – because I know that it does not matter. I trust in God to give me what I need. If my brother compels me to go with him someplace where I have absolutely no interest in going, I go with him because if I refuse I will teach him that I am afraid that if I go to that bar, that church, that prison, that party – I will lose my salvation thus making the same mistake that he is by insisting that we go. If I oppose my brother for the things he enjoys, where he finds his pleasure, what he holds out to me as a gift because I am afraid I will lose my salvation if I agree with his choices, Jesus says that I am failing to understand salvation. In order to invest in reality we must carefully consider this two-fold question: “What is to be saved, and how can it be saved?”
We are to see every need not as a means to attack but as a means to give what they truly need. Our brothers do not need us to preach at them and tell them how much better off they would be if they were special like us, they need us to join with them and give them what they ask of us.
As we learn to put our complete trust in God without fear, without reservation, without doubt there is no excuse to distance ourselves from anybody – even those who would distance themselves from us. The only way to invest in reality is to keep offering love in the face of any opposition, offense, or estrangement. We do not have to be physically present to keep offering love, to say the kind word, to send the loving thoughts to those who would oppose us. We do not waste our time floundering about, trying to analyze and strategize, trying to figure out who is to blame and what was said and what was said in reply and try to dig for answers in the past. We put our trust implicitly in the Hands of Holy Spirit. We do not offer the gifts of poverty which are material and therefore corruptible; we offer the gifts that are everlasting and true. We do not hound or harass people and force ourselves upon them for this is the work of the ego. We do not cry to God and ask Him to make them like us, follow us, and admire us. We trust in God fully for this is the investment in reality that Jesus is teaching us today. We deny ourselves the worries and frets of the poverty-stricken ego.
When our government determines what we owe them in taxes, we pay it. We are the ones who make it outrageous if we moan and groan and decry governmental programs that we do not agree are necessary. When we get involved in the things of this world, we impoverish ourselves. When we withhold what the world demands from us, we have lost sight of what is truly valuable. Just give it to them, Jesus tells us. What others wants from us in this realm is truly worthless and to refuse them what they want is to believe otherwise.
As you can see this is a very radical teaching and we could destroy our lives very quickly if we took this literally. If we had sex with everybody who demanded it of us soon our reputations would be ruined, our family life would be destroyed, and our lovers would have little to no trust or respect for us. If we gave our paychecks away to everybody who demanded it of us, soon there would be no money for bills, for food, for mortgage or for countless other things our families need to sustain their lives on this planet. If we stopped everything and answered every call we would have no time, energy, or money for the ones who depend upon us to supply their needs and be there for them on a consistent basis. This would be foolish, and we are not use the words of Jesus as permission or instruction in doing that which is harmful and unwise.
In paragraph five Jesus clarifies for us that our salvation is not for the ego or for bodies, it is for our minds and it is attained through peace. Our minds are the only thing that can be saved – not our bodies, not our egos, not our material possessions on earth. We get to take nothing with us but our minds. You may balk at this and tell yourself it is not your mind but your heart and soul that is saved but try not to take offense at the word mind, for Jesus is not referring to our human brain, He is referring to our Mind. which is the Son of God, the mind of Christ which is Spirit and is the only real thing about us.
When we have the mind of Christ, we may or may not be rich in the things of the world, but we are rich in the things of God. We do not have to cater to egos who get jealous of what we have and demand that we give it to them. We give to them the things of God. We do not attack them for their jealousy, for their greed, for their drinking or their other “sins” and harmful behavior. We overlook all that for it simply does not matter. We invest in the Kingdom of God within our brothers and that alone. This is what we offer them – always. We can give our unemployed brother money to pay for his bills but what are we going to do next month and the month after that and the month after that? If we continue to pay his bills we will not have enough to pay for our bills. But instead of scolding him, instead of talking trash about him to others, instead of denying him our love and fellowship and goodwill, we invest in his reality.
If we respond to our brothers without love, we are confused about salvation. We do not know what is saved and how it is saved. Love is the response to all forms of attack, all requests and all demands from our brothers. If our brother shows up at our house in the middle of the night, drunk and loud and wanting to pick a fight – how do we respond to him in love, you may ask. I believe that as long as we are willing to respond in love, Holy Spirit will show us what to do and what to say in every given circumstance. The main takeaway from the first five verses in this section is that we understand that investment in this world leads to poverty for the spiritually asleep are truly impoverished while to recognize that reality is the love, joy, and peace of God is that which enriches us forever.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 12 The Holy Spirit’s curriculum. III. The investment in reality 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com