Today I learn to give as I receive.
Purpose: To practice seeing your brothers with Christ's vision, seeing past their bodies, their mistakes, and their fearful thoughts, to the pure, untainted holiness of their true Identity.
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
Begin, as always, by repeating the idea for the day. Its meaning can seem vague, but the lesson makes it clear. It means: "Today I learn to give my brothers a vision of Who they really are, as I receive from God the knowledge of Who I really am." The knowledge God gives you cannot be given directly; you can only give it in reflected form, by giving to others your vision of their holiness.
Then use the rest of the time as the Spirit moves you and as the Workbook has taught you to do. The main thing you have been taught to do during these longer practice periods is to quiet your mind and sink down and inward to the deep sanctuary within you, keeping your focus and drawing your mind back from wandering by repeating the idea for the day.
Today, do this with the intent of getting in touch with the knowledge of Who you are, so that you will have something to give your brothers. By dipping into this deep well within you, you will gain the awareness that we are not our bodies, and this is the awareness you are to give your brothers today.
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if circumstances do not permit).
- Repeat the idea and then (this is my recommendation) spend some time trying to see a particular brother through the eyes of Christ. Consciously try to see past his body and personality to the holy light of his true reality.
- Then thank your Father for the gifts He gave in the previous hour—perhaps gifts of seeing past a certain brother's appearance to his reality.
- Finally, ask for guidance for the coming hour. You may want to think of people whom you might meet up with, and prepare yourself for those meetings by intentionally seeing past each person's body to the holiness that shines beyond.
Frequent reminder: Whenever you encounter someone.
Remember to see each brother you meet with the Christ's vision. See him as God's Son, at one with you, not as a separate mind housed in a separate body. To motivate yourself, remember that whatever you see in him you see in yourself. If you see him with Christ's vision, then that vision will shine on you.
This lesson has a lot of profound metaphysics in it, particularly the stuff about time. If you'd like to dig into the Course's concept of time, a terrific starting place is Ken Wapnick's book A Vast Illusion: Time in 'A Course in Miracles.' I can't write a book tonight and you probably don't want to read one right now! So I'm going to skip over most of that stuff.
The practical point this lesson is trying to make is that "knowledge," which lies in the sphere of Heaven, is outside the scope of this Course. We all received knowledge when we were created; every living thing knows, inherently, that it is still connected to its Source: "a mind, in Mind and purely mind, sinless forever, wholly unafraid because you were created out of love" (1:2). It may seem to us that this is something we do not have, and that it is this we are trying to give to others and to receive for ourselves. But we can't give it because everyone already has it. It exists outside of time entirely. The point in time at which the experience of this knowledge reveals itself to us is already determined, by our own minds (2:9). When it happens, it will happen.
Within time—which is an illusion—what we can give, and receive, is forgiveness. Forgiveness is the gift that reflects true knowledge "in a way so accurate its image shares its unseen holiness" (11:2). What we can give is a vision of sinlessness, "Christ's vision." We can look past the body and see a light; look past what can be touched and see an idea; look past the mistakes and fears in our brothers and sisters, and see their inherent purity. We can greet one another and in each one, see him "as the Son of God he is, acknowledging that he is one with you in holiness" (8:4).
We are not giving knowledge. When we meet someone, we can give them our vision of themselves as sinless. In the way that we perceive them, they can find a new perception of themselves, one they have not found on their own. As they respond to our merciful vision, they will reflect that vision back to us, enabling us to perceive the Love of God within ourselves. When we forgive another, we have simultaneously forgiven our own sins, because "in your brother you but see yourself" (10:3).
We cannot know when revelation of truth, the experience of our reality, will come to us. The time is set; the drama is being played out; there is not one step we take only by chance (3:1-3). And yet, each act of forgiveness brings the day nearer. Our concern, then, is not with the final experience, but with the practice of vision, seeing with the eyes of Christ. This is something we can attain; this is something we can do something about. And we can do so today. Right now.
"This can be taught; and must be taught by all who would achieve it" (8:1). The way to learn the vision of Christ is to give it. The way to achieve the vision of ourselves as Christ sees us is to practice seeing others with His eyes. We give it to have it. This is the whole plan of the Course.