A Course In Miracles Lesson 108
A Course In Miracles lesson 108 states: To give and receive are one in truth.
When we read the first sentence of today’s lesson in the original publication of A Course In Miracles, it seems like the author has changed the subject right away. The lesson title speaks about giving and receiving but the first sentence of the text speaks about vision. What does vision have to do with giving and receiving? Let’s have a look.
First, we want to remember that when A Course In Miracles uses the word “vision” it does not mean the activity that occurs with the eyes. We are not speaking about the light from light bulbs in this context. The word vision in the ACIM context is speaking of an inner sight, a knowing sense of clarity. To see clearly is to have vision.
Lesson 108 first teaches us about the nature of giving and receiving and then it dives deeper into this event by explaining that vision (the ability to know truth) depends on the ability to give and receive. From earlier lessons in the course we learned that:
Miracles are seen in light.
The light has come.
Light and joy and peace are within me.
So we have spent a bit of time contemplating what light is and how light connects with vision. Now we learn that light and vision (truth and clarity) occur in the process of giving and receiving. Specifically, we want to understand that when we give we are receiving what we give at the exact same time. What we give is what we receive, instantly because giving and receiving are one in truth. When I give, it is received. When I receive it has been given. The event of giving and receiving is a simultaneous action. One does not come first. There is no linear order of operations in the act of giving and receiving.
I instantly get what you are giving me. I can choose to turn away from what I have been given. But I can not choose to not have received it. If it is given, my receiving it is instantaneous. This means I know what I’ve received and I choose to either let it into my life or I choose to shut it out and not relate to it.
Why is this concept important? It is this idea that guides us best toward changing our perception of opposites. A Course In Miracles wants us to see fewer and fewer opposites in this world so that we see connections rather than divisions. Giving is not the opposite of receiving. Giving and receiving are one and the same. When I give, I am given to. I get what I give. I am not left with less. When you receive, you have not taken anything away from me. Restructuring how we understand the energy physics of giving and receiving will guide our minds into a deeper state of clarity about the nature of reality.
How does this lesson translate when we are dealing with food, land, or limited resources? It is challenging to accept the lofty notion of giving gives to me when I clearly see how, in the physical world, when I give, I have fewer of the things I’ve given. It is not practical to give my money away with the belief that more money will come to me.
And yet… the spirit of generosity is deeply powerful, mysterious, and also much more enjoyable to experience than living in a fear of lack. We are not being asked to suffer or give away the things we ourselves need in order to receive more of what we give. That mindset is an overt agenda seeking calculated gain. It suggests there is an unspoken contract that says you will be owed back if you give to others. This is not the spirit of giving and receiving. For vision to emerge, giving must feel like a pleasure, not a negotiation. If you are giving with the expectation of receiving, it is time to realize that what you are actually giving is a negative perception and a stressful arrangement between you and another. At such times, we will want to remember again that what we give is what we receive- energetically. If, energetically, I give with an expectation of getting a return, I will receive that same expectation back.
No one owes us anything. We do not owe anyone anything. The exchanges that arise between us are gifts. We can not guarantee we can give what we gave before. We can only acknowledge what is true and available now. Our understanding, when aligned with the truth of the nature of giving and receiving, will become a light force awareness that will be given to others, and received by them at once. When we gain clarity, clarity is shared. Once received by others, that same light logic is then returned back to us because we get what we give. And the whole event of clarity and joy grows. And now there is more joy than there was moments before. Miracles occur in the act of giving and receiving.
The ability to sort out the confusion about giving and receiving will lead us to a truly generous spirit which leads to a more enjoyable life. We need not fear we will be short-changed if we give from a place of connection with a higher source. When we give, we do not lose. We gain the experience of inner generosity. We gain a state of fearlessness that believes with certainty that we have what we need when we need it. We live with fewer opposites in our way of thinking and this brings peace of mind.
If my heart feels love towards you and I let that love be known, I make you and me happy. Even if you do not feel love back for me, even if my love frightens you, it can not help but also give you some sense of wellness, for that is the nature of love. You experience my love for you even if you do not reciprocate it. I give that, and so I get that same love quality for myself by letting myself love you without a need for you to love me back. I enjoy loving you. I do not enjoy hiding the truth from myself or you to protect and hide what can not be hidden. If I give my love to you in the hope that you will give me the same love back, I am not feeling real love for you. I am experiencing a desire to control. If I withhold my feelings of love from you or from myself, I am living a lie and I suffer.
The event between us is as it is. Love is between us. I let it in and in doing so, I make it available for you to also let it in. Withholding love from someone is withholding love from yourself. Even if you never tell the person how you feel, you can still feel safe telling yourself about that love within. You can let yourself love without needing to get love back. When you do that, you WILL get that love back, from your own heart. You can give, and then receive what you give because: To give and to receive are one in truth. You can also know that if the other person is not receptive and is giving you resistance, they are giving themselves the same resistance, living in the pain they give. What we give is what we receive.
There is no need to concern ourselves with what someone else is giving us. Focus only on what you give to them. Know that what they give you is what they get from themselves. And what you give them is what you get from yourself.
There is a very practical usefulness in today’s lesson because once you try it out, you will immediately start feeling instant positive results. This positive reinforcement will begin to build your trust in the logic of these lessons in a stronger way. The light that is created from the giving and receiving never fails. The miracle occurs in every situation it is tried in. This is very motivating to our studies and to our efforts to correct our misperceptions.
Today we are asked to offer peace to everyone and then to notice how quickly peace returns to us. What we give others is what we give to ourselves. What I give is what I receive. I will receive what I give now. I will give peace in order to gain peace.
Take 5 minutes at the top of every hour to put down what you are doing and ask yourself what you are trying to withhold from another as a way of somehow avenging or punishing them for not giving you what you want. In your practice sessions today, make note of people you withhold your sense of humor from or your patience, or your respect.
Be sure to begin the day and end the day by contemplating this lesson. Wake up, lie in bed, and bring it to mind. As you fall asleep, let it be the last idea you ponder. Think of the people you withhold from and say to all of them:
I give laughter
I give patience
I give respect
I give calm
I give encouragement
Expect to receive what you give. What you give will come to you in the amount that you give it. What you ask for will be given to you in exact measure of your willingness to receive it.
It may be helpful to think of a specific person you want to give all these qualities to. This can inspire your heart. And then remember that giving to this one inspiring person is the same as giving to every person. There are no distinctions made in the giving of light. The sun shines on everyone who stands in it. The sun does not discern who will get light and who won’t. Step into light and it will be given no matter who you are or what you think you may have done. Give light to yourself and light will be given to you, instantly.
From this day on, our learning will come to us much faster because we are learning how to receive the teachings with a greater willingness. As often as you can, call to mind today’s teaching. Set an alarm each hour, and also let your mind remember the lesson naturally whenever it can.
What I give is what I receive. Seeing clearly in this world is determined by the willingness in me to give generously and to receive generously. I will give love, patience, kindness, humor, acceptance, and joy. These I will receive in equal measure back in the moment I give them. This willingness is what guides my mind to true vision.