[acimlessons_list] Lesson 187 - July 6
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Sun Jul 5 22:24:26 EDT 2009
LESSON 187 - JULY 6
I BLESS THE WORLD BECAUSE I BLESS MYSELF
Purpose: To bless yourself by looking upon the purity in you, and then to
bless the world with that same purity. To give the world the lilies of
forgiveness you find on the altar within you, and then to find those lilies
returned to you, thereby dispelling your belief that giving is sacrifice.
MORNING/EVENING QUIET TIME: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
This is another meditation aimed at experiencing the purity within you, like
Lessons 181 and 182. The lesson speaks of this using the imagery of a holy
altar within you, and you may want to use this imagery in your meditation.
Quiet your mind and go to find that holy altar in you. You might imagine, as
other lessons suggest, that you are traveling through thick fog, until it
clears and you reach the altar. Be unafraid to look upon it. There on the
altar, you will see the lilies of forgiveness your brother has given you and
you have given him. There before the altar, you stand united with all your
brothers. With them, repeat the Name of God, for this altar is the place in
you that is perfectly devoted to your Father. How can you possibly fear Him
when such purity abides in you? This is your true nature, which is so pure
and so blessed that looking on it will leave you enraptured. You will forget
about all earthly gifts, as the gift of your holiness becomes the only thing
REMARKS: This is how you bless yourself, by looking on this holy altar. Now
that you have received blessing, you can give it. <Now we are blessed, and
now we bless the world> (11:1). So spend the day taking the lilies of
forgiveness from your inner altar and giving them to your brothers. The
lesson expects that this will often take concrete form: giving of your time,
your abilities, and even your material means. If you fear that this is
sacrifice, you can afford to laugh at that thought, for whatever you give
you receive. Picture the outer gift you are giving as a lily of forgiveness,
and realize that this lily will then be laid on your altar, as further
testament to your purity. From there, this lily will manifest in your life
in the <form most helpful> to you (5:7).
HOURLY REMEMBRANCE: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if
circumstances do not permit).
Do a short version of the morning/evening exercise. Close by asking for
God's guidance for the coming hour and thanking Him for His gifts in the
RESPONSE TO TEMPTATION: When tempted to believe you are making a sacrifice.
Repeat the idea and then take the blessing you have been given within, and
give it to your brother. All thought of sacrifice will vanish in the face of
the receiving and giving of blessing.
We find it easy to understand that in order to give a thing, you first must
have it. That's obvious. We find it more difficult to believe that giving
actually increases what you have.
The key to understanding this, says the lesson, lies in the fact that
<things but represent the thoughts that make them> (2:3). To understand how
giving away what we have increases it, we have to begin to recognize that
<things> are not real; what is real are the thoughts behind them. This is
not necessarily saying that if I give $100 to a brother in need I will
immediately receive $200 in return from some other source. However, it is
saying that when I give $100 away knowing that money is just an idea, I will
be increasing the thought that brought money to me in the first place.
Therefore, that will eventually result in more money, or more <wealth and
abundance> in some form. The form may be identical or it may not:
Perhaps the form in which the thought seems to appear is changed in giving.
Yet it must return to him who gives. Nor can the form it takes be less
acceptable. It must be more. (2:5-8)
In other words, what is returned is always greater than what is given.
I have begun to learn this by giving away ideas directly, in my study group
and in my writing. I have indeed found it true that as I give away these
ideas, they increase in me. I get at least as much, if not more, benefit
than anyone who is <receiving> from me. I am quite aware that I am blessing
the world because I am blessing myself; I am doing this for my own benefit.
It is harder when it comes to material things. It is not so easy to make the
connection that money is just an idea, or a tape is just an idea, a book is
just an idea, a car is just an idea. I learn in little ways. I give away
newsletters that cost me money, believing that it will return to me
eventually. I give hours of my time to the study group, believing that the
return will come. I still FEEL that as basically giving it away. The return
has only just begun.
I think when I learn this lesson fully it will be no big deal to give up the
idea of ownership entirely and to share everything I possess with anyone who
needs it. But I am a long way from that as yet.
The next paragraph is very important:
Ideas must first belong to you, before you give them. If you are to save the
world, you first accept salvation for yourself. But you will not believe
that this is done until you see the miracles it brings to everyone you look
upon. Herein is the idea of giving clarified and given meaning. Now you can
perceive that by your giving is your store increased. (3:1-5)
To give salvation I must first accept it for myself. But to know I have it,
I have to give it away. That must mean that I have to start giving before I
know I have it! The gift that giving brings is knowing that I have the gift
The lesson advises us to protect what we have by giving it away. It warns,
<Yet value not its form> (4:3). In other words, you may not get it back in
the exact form you give it. If I give $100 cash, I may receive a gift in a
different form: a tape player, computer software, a burst of physical
energy, or whatever. If I give away a particular book, I may not ever
receive that particular form again, and I have to learn not to value the
form, but the thought behind the form. It is foolish to value forms. <No
form endures> (4:5).
What [the giver] seems to lose is always something he will value less than
what will surely be returned to him. (5:8)
Every gift I give is always a gift to myself. I never lose! I gain, and so
does the recipient of my gift, especially if he or she learns from me to
give again. <Who understands what giving means must laugh at the idea of
sacrifice> (6:2). Laugh, because there is no such thing as sacrifice. What I
give is given to myself; I never lose, I always gain. How can that be called
The lesson clearly applies this to all forms of <giving> and all forms of
<sacrifice,> including pain and loss, sickness, grief, poverty, starvation,
and death. When I <give up> a relationship in the form I thought I wanted,
according to this lesson I receive something I will value far more. Perhaps
I may learn to accept the gift of self-sufficiency, for instance.
I'm sure the same will be true as I make other <sacrifices.> Mistakenly I
fear the <loss> I will feel with these things absent from my life. There
will be no loss, no sacrifice. What I gain will far exceed the apparent
loss. And in reality I lose nothing except a false identification.
For instance, I think I get a certain satisfaction and comfort from eating a
nice meal. The pleasure of the taste; the pleasure of being full. I falsely
identify these feelings with the object, the food. But pleasure,
satisfaction, and comfort are just the ideas behind the food. If I were to
dissociate food from those ideas, I would not be giving up those ideas; I
would be affirming them. I retain them, and they grow. There will be
pleasure, satisfaction, and comfort in other forms, more lasting and more
generalized. I have gained the general form by giving up the specific
identification of those ideas with <food.>
In general, we will go through many iterations of apparent giving up,
apparent sacrifice, until we learn that the thing is not the idea, that no
particular form can be identified with the idea behind it. We will learn,
eventually, to hold on to no form, but to always value not the form, but the
thought behind it.
Ultimately we go beyond the idea of many different thoughts to see only one
Thought-the innocent Son of God, the Christ. We see that Thought within
ourselves, and <what we have looked upon we would extend, for we would see
it everywhere> (11:2). <To ensure this holy sight is ours, we offer it to
everything we see> (11:5).
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