All that I give is given to myself.
Today's idea, completely alien to the ego and the thinking of the world, is crucial to the thought reversal that this course will bring about. If you believed this statement, there would be no problem in complete forgiveness, certainty of goal, and sure direction. You would understand the means by which salvation comes to you, and would not hesitate to use it now.
Let us consider what you do believe, in place of this idea. It seems to you that other people are apart from you, and able to behave in ways which have no bearing on your thoughts, nor yours on theirs. Therefore, your attitudes have no effect on them, and their appeals for help are not in any way related to your own. You further think that they can sin without affecting your perception of yourself, while you can judge their sin, and yet remain apart from condemnation and at peace.
When you "forgive" a sin, there is no gain to you directly. You give charity to one unworthy, merely to point out that you are better, on a higher plane than he whom you forgive. He has not earned your charitable tolerance, which you bestow on one unworthy of the gift, because his sins have lowered him beneath a true equality with you. He has no claim on your forgiveness. It holds out a gift to him, but hardly to yourself.
Thus is forgiveness basically unsound; a charitable whim, benevolent yet undeserved, a gift bestowed at times, at other times withheld. Unmerited, withholding it is just, nor is it fair that you should suffer when it is withheld. The sin that you forgive is not your own. Someone apart from you committed it. And if you then are gracious unto him by giving him what he does not deserve, the gift is no more yours than was his sin.
If this be true, forgiveness has no grounds on which to rest dependably and sure. It is an eccentricity, in which you sometimes choose to give indulgently an undeserved reprieve. Yet it remains your right to let the sinner not escape the justified repayment for his sin. Think you the Lord of Heaven would allow the world's salvation to depend on this? Would not His care for you be small indeed, if your salvation rested on a whim?
You do not understand forgiveness. As you see it, it is but a check upon overt attack, without requiring correction in your mind. It cannot give you peace as you perceive it. It is not a means for your release from what you see in someone other than yourself. It has no power to restore your unity with him to your awareness. It is not what God intended it to be for you.
Not having given Him the gift He asks of you, you cannot recognize His gifts, and think He has not given them to you. Yet would He ask you for a gift unless it was for you? Could He be satisfied with empty gestures, and evaluate such petty gifts as worthy of His Son? Salvation is a better gift than this. And true forgiveness, as the means by which it is attained, must heal the mind that gives, for giving is receiving. What remains as unreceived has not been given, but what has been given must have been received.
Today we try to understand the truth that giver and receiver are the same. You will need help to make this meaningful, because it is so alien to the thoughts to which you are accustomed. But the Help you need is there. Give Him your faith today, and ask Him that He share your practicing in truth today. And if you only catch a tiny glimpse of the release that lies in the idea we practice for today, this is a day of glory for the world.
Give fifteen minutes twice today to the attempt to understand today's idea. It is the thought by which forgiveness takes its proper place in your priorities. It is the thought that will release your mind from every bar to what forgiveness means, and let you realize its worth to you.
In silence, close your eyes upon the world that does not understand forgiveness, and seek sanctuary in the quiet place where thoughts are changed and false beliefs laid by. Repeat today's idea, and ask for help in understanding what it really means. Be willing to be taught. Be glad to hear the Voice of truth and healing speak to you, and you will understand the words He speaks, and recognize He speaks your words to you.
As often as you can, remind yourself you have a goal today; an aim which makes this day of special value to yourself and all your brothers. Do not let your mind forget this goal for long, but tell yourself:
All that I give is given to myself. The Help I need to learn that this is true is with me now. And I will trust in Him.
Then spend a quiet moment, opening your mind to His correction and His Love. And what you hear of Him you will believe, for what He gives will be received by you.
The Following is Forwarded from Pathwaysoflight.org
“All that I give is given to myself.”
When I asked for help in understanding at a deeper level that all I give is given to myself, I was reminded of times when I extended Love to someone. Every time I do this, I experience Love in myself. I feel uplifted, joyous and grateful. I feel peaceful and safe. As I recalled various experiences, I saw the consistency of being blessed every time. I thought I was offering Love in some way to someone else. Very clearly I was also receiving It.
I also recalled times when I offered forgiveness for something I thought was wrong. When I truly got that no harm had really happened, that there truly was nothing to forgive, I felt free. I felt lighter, as if a dark cloud had been lifted. I relaxed. There was less tension in my body. I felt less limited. I could meet the person with a sense of joy in my heart instead of trying to avoid meeting them or trying to say as little as possible. In offering true forgiveness, I not only released the other from my judgment, but I freed myself.
Today’s lesson is not about form. It is not about giving things. It is about giving Love and removing the barriers to Love’s extension. Sometimes these may be symbolized as physical objects given, but it is the content of the giving that gives meaning. The gift of forgiveness is a gift I give myself, whether it appears to start with offering it to a brother or seems to be myself I am forgiving. Because my brother and I are one, I cannot help but receive what I give. If I don’t receive it, I haven’t really given it.
If I don’t feel peace and freedom when I offer forgiveness, then I am not really offering forgiveness. Somehow I am still holding on to my attachment to separation. If that is the case, I simply need to ask for help again to reach the point of true release. Help is always available to me because it is in my mind. Today I ask the Holy Spirit to help me lay down barriers to Love’s extension so that I may more deeply experience the blessing of extending Love to all.
When I asked for greater insight into today’s lesson, I received the idea that Love is all there is, and so all that can be given is Love and all that can be received is Love. Love is the Idea of extending all of itself to all. What is given is received, and therefore the act of giving all Love to all is synonymous with receiving all Love from all. Within God’s Love, all Love is given and received at the same time. It is one action; the simultaneous extending and accepting of Love is what Love is and what Love does. Because Love is all inclusive, Love excludes nothing that is real because all that is real is Love. Giving and receiving are the same. This is reality.
I then saw a little bubble of thought that was trying to be different from Love. The whole physical universe lies within that bubble. Because all that is real is Love, it is an illusionary thought. In this illusionary bubble, all Love is not extended to All universally. The thought here is to get and keep a little love for oneself alone. The idea here is to have multiple separate, individual minds that are born and then die. Everything is in a constant state of change and flux in this bubble.
Competition for attention and exclusion are the means of maintaining this false little world reflecting the thought of separation. Here, giving Love universally or acknowledging that Love is universal is avoided at all costs. In order to maintain the bubble, the truth must be denied. Recognizing Love’s Oneness must be denied. Recognizing the truth that all is Love must be denied.
So in this bubble, individual lives come and go in the attempt to keep a little love for oneself alone. It is a sad and depressing world, reflecting the sad and depressing thought of separation that tries to deny reality. This little bubble never was in truth. It maintains its hallucinations only in illusions of separation that appear to be real only to the perceiver that wants it to be true.
I was then shown that letting go of this little bubble of thought was the only rational and helpful thing to do. Love is all that is real. Stories of separate bodies with separate minds competing for a little love and attention are not true. All these stories reflect false thinking and can be undone by letting all thoughts that reflect separation be undone by the one Self that knows what is real and what is not real. It takes a surrender and a willingness to let go of these ideas. The separate images fall away as the thought of separation falls away. This whole universe of separation is seen as unreal and not reflecting the truth.
“All that I give is given to myself” reflects the unity of God. It reflects the truth of All Love being Itself by giving all of Itself to all, and simultaneously receiving all of Itself from all of Itself. Giving and receiving are the same in God’s Oneness. This is Reality. This is God’s Love. Nothing else is real. Aligning all our thoughts with this truth is where we find joy. Here is peace. Here is Heaven.
This is one of those lessons that I have a real hard time with. It's also one of those that is repeated over and over again, which means that it is crucial to the thought reversal, as the lessons states.
It is easy for me to apply this thought to people that I love or to situations that are comfortable for me, but I have a hard time applying it to people that have hurt me or situations where I feel insecure or intimidated. And, like the lessons states, many times my forgiveness is "basically unsound, a charitable whim"; I attempt to forgive because I feel it's what God would want me to do, not so much because I feel it in my heart or because I know that ultimately it would be giving to myself. And thank God that the world's salvation doesn't depend on these charitable whims, like the lessons states.
Even though I don't understand this idea yet, the teachings of the Course and my dedication to it will get me there; I know it. Holy Spirit, Jesus, my master teacher, help me to have the willingness to open my mind to this thought, to trust you to teach me how to forgive. Thank you. Amen.
©2003, Pathways of Light, Inc. http://pathwaysoflight.org You may freely share copies of this page with your friends, provided all copies include this notice.