A Course In Miracles Lesson 126
*Please Note: If this is your first time visiting this blog, and you think you’d like to begin the Course, please start the daily practice with Lesson 1 and proceed each day with the next lesson. While it is possible to begin the curriculum in the middle, This spiritual teaching is best followed in a consecutive manner. Each lesson builds upon the next.
At first glance, this lesson can seem to suggest we develop an unhealthy and irrational amount of generosity towards others. It seems to suggest that if I treat you with respect, you will treat me with respect. Which, we have all discovered, is simply not the case. There is no way to give to someone what we want back from them and guarantee they will reciprocate. Trying to give something to someone (affection, kindness, interest) for the purpose of getting it back from them is actually manipulation. And what this lesson wants us to see is that- what we give is what we experience. If I manipulate, that is how I will feel, manipulated and manipulative. Life will feel cold and gamified, leaving me feeling lonely.
When we remember that A Course In Miracles places the highest importance on prioritizing energy over physical matter, we can begin to grasp this subtle teaching and be more aware of the hidden dysfunctional motives we ourselves may be operating from in an effort to “obtain” something in this world we think we need. A Course In Miracles is guiding us towards understanding that we do not need anything from this world. And the way this world works can never give us what we really want.
The external world is governed by Newtonian physics. When we give a physical object to another person, they gain the object and we lose it. But on an energetic level, when we give something to someone from a genuine place of love, we do not lose the love, we gain it. Likewise, if we give in an effort to get something from another, we experience that longing, rather than true generosity.
Today’s lesson teaches us that we experience for ourselves that which we give, so taking a deep, truthful look at the energy we are giving to others will guide us rightly.
This lesson is a law of the Universe. And it is excellent news because it means that it does not matter if what we give is received by the other person. What we receive is governed by what we give. Give love, receive love. Give anger, receive anger. If we let ourselves experience what we give, our behavior will be governed by kindness because kindness is always how we wish to treat ourselves.
It does not matter that I gave love and received rudeness from the other person. I gave love because doing so feels good to me. And even if they continue to be rude, I may remove myself from their company, but still honor within me the joy I once felt for them. Once a love connection is made, it can not be destroyed. It can be buried or forgotten, but never fully lost. It is between you both, a seed of light, shared. I can choose to preserve the light that was lit between us because it feels good to do so, even if they do not join me.
This law of the universe is not just true for giving love. If I give hate, I have no choice but to experience that hatred within myself. When we observe the physics of energy dynamics between people, giving energy qualities does not take away. It makes more of that energy. If we think we will feel better by getting rid of our anger by venting it and getting it out of us, we discover that we stay angry and feel worse because what we gave is given back to us.
The ego logic that runs this world has convinced us that by withholding kindness from someone when we do not like their behavior will somehow instruct them and produce a positive change in them. But if we give coldness, we get coldness back, both from them and ourselves. The other person may or may not respond with coldness because perhaps they have taken today’s lesson to heart and do not wish to suffer coldness in themselves, but we will suffer it if that is what we give out. I receive what I give others.
It does not matter how someone decides to respond to what you have given them. Their response does not dictate your next response. Compulsive defensiveness is entirely in your power to avoid. How you decide to respond to someone else’s anger builds the world you and you alone will experience. How you respond to this moment determines what is possible for you to experience in the next moment. Anger must be overcome now to have peace arrive. Waiting for the other person to grow calm is the primary dilemma we are all in. When given anger, do not respond to a provocation. You do so at the expense of your own well-being.
People are not separate from us. They appear to be in separate physical bodies but our awareness of each other is unified. I feel your energy and you feel mine, even across town. We do not have details of the contents of each other’s thoughts, but we know when someone is angry or feeling loving. And they know the same about us. We are connected and we all see each other clearly if we do not deny our knowing.
Because we are connected, the way I behave towards you does have an effect on how you are able to respond to me. You can not be expected to generate feelings of love and patience if I have given you screams and reprimands. But if I scream and reprimand back at you because you provoke it in me, I am giving you what I do not want. I am taking from you what I do not want. Seeing this law of energy physics is important in being able to create the space of witnessing awareness that will save us from being pulled into the emotional cycle of pain and revenge.
Our attitudes affect everyone around us. If everyone had awareness of the fact that they matter and their energy has an effect on others, there would be a larger sense of responsibility and motivation to strive for wellness. We do not desire to hurt other people. Often we hurt them because we do not believe how we feel even matters. We disassociate from our environment and think that what is going on in us is only happening to us. But it is happing to all of us. Your unrest is my unrest. What you give, I have no choice but to receive. But I do have a choice to decide what I give back. If you give me anger, I do not have to give anger back. I am not saying I have to summon an unfounded love for you. I am saying I simply do not have to avenge how you hurt me. I can be hurt and leave it at that, stepping out of the cycle and gaining a small space of peace that will grow every time I practice giving what I wish to receive from myself and others.
Let go of the indignation that another person is treating you badly, not because it will give you the moral high ground. It won’t. That person may be justified in being angry with you. Let go of indignation so that you do not have to feel the cycle of anger and revenge round and round. It is like a rash that grows more itchy the more you scratch it. Soothe the whole situation with non-action.
It is not necessary to beat yourself up because you can not find it in your heart to be kind to someone who has been hurtful. A Course in Miracles is not asking you to like everyone. You need only recognize that when you give hurtfulness back you keep the experience of pain going for yourself. You break your own heart when you attempt to break another person’s heart. Retaliation never feels good.
How someone feels is out of our control. How we feel is directly determined by what we decide to give to others. This is not to say that if you treat someone kindly you are manipulating them into treating you kindly. They may completely ignore your kindness. But by treating them kindly, you have treated yourself kindly and can rest in the peace of your own reliable company.
The ego will twist this lesson to cause you pain by telling you that you are failing in some way if you feel angry. The ego will put pressure on you to “forgive” which it understands as “let them off the hook for no reason.” But letting someone off the hook actually lets you get off that same hook. Anger keeps you both hooked.
If we let ourselves stop being angry at someone for their behavior, we are not letting them “get away with” that behavior. It is not in our power to even hold them to such an illusion of punishment. Our being angry with them may not have any effect on them whatsoever. This is especially true if they are no longer alive! We can go about guiding ourselves out of anger with another person by accepting that whatever they did, they DID get away with it. But at the same time, today’s lesson can be a comfort. What they gave you, they gave to themselves. They get away with nothing. They suffered what you suffered. Let that part of you in need of vengeance be at peace in knowing that it is built into the nature of the interaction. No one gets away with anything. You may not be there to see them suffer. They would likely never let it show. But it is a law of the cosmos:
What I give to others is what I receive.
Everyone who has behaved in a violent way (which is everyone) deserves forgiveness. Punishment will not restore the peace broken by their error. How long does the punishment need to be inflicted? Who decides how many lashes will correct and avenge the misconduct? 100 lashes? 1000? Will we need another lifetime to keep holding them to a sentence of guilt for what they did?
Our conduct is the only relationship we can ever truly depend on. When we let ourselves down, it is time to release harsh judgment and restore friendship with kindness to ourselves. Our conduct does not need to be determined by other people’s conduct. How they act does not compel my actions. I do not have to be lit on fire just because you are.
If you find it difficult to locate gentle behavior in a situation, remember that releasing anger is not something we “do.” It is something we allow to be lifted from us. Who lifts it? The higher power that is the voice in your quiet mind and the narrator of A Course In Miracles. It is not in our power to resolve conflicts. Conflicts are too complex for us to know how to resolve them. It is our task to locate peace and space within to allow a resolution to flow in by a Grace larger than us.
Today is a lesson to help us learn how to respond to conflict without the cutting edge of anger and revenge. In a confrontation, what you give is what you experience. You suffer the same consequences you seek to dole out to another. You rid yourself of nothing except a sense of peace when you vent.
We are asked to contemplate today’s lesson twice today for fifteen minutes. The ability to release the impulse to retaliate needs to become our top priority in life. Cultivating a personality governed by the laws of peace will expand our lives into Grace and miracles beyond our wildest imagination.
Sit with your eyes closed in a quiet place and ask to be taught about how anger is released. Recognize that you do not know how to release anger. It is a condition beyond your skill to resolve. Become a willing student able to be taught what true power is and what true power really wants.
Remind yourself every hour that what you give others is what you give to yourself. Set alarms to disrupt your activities and make today’s lesson a top priority in your effort to shift your way of thinking from pain to peace.