To give and to receive are one in truth

This post was written by DoctorJay on February 16, 2010
Posted Under: A Course In Miracles - workbook,peace,teaching story,unconditional love,Zen

The way I do these exercises and posts is to start by typing the headline and then think about the associations it produces. I write about those and then read the full workbook exercise and start doing them and write appropriate comments.

So today’s thought for the day becomes a riddle:

“What is it that to give and receive are one in truth?”

The answer is obvious:


Love (and associated things like compassion, kindness, peace, truth) is the one thing that increases the more you give.

I have a habit of showing appreciation to public servants.  When I see a policeman, sheriff, firefighter, teacher, librarian, soldier and so on, I make sure I thank the person. I think deep down all of us thank these professions but typically we see them only in emergencies and do not thank them.

About a year ago I was getting dressed ion the gym and I saw a man getting dressed in some kind of uniform. I went to see what uniform it was and I noticed he was a firefighter. I thanked him for the service he performs explaining that I think people don’t thank them enough since we see the firefighters when we are anxious (something is burning or someone need paramedics). It was interesting, as I thanked him he had a great smile on his face and I felt so happy.

The point is that I did not thank him expecting that I should feel good but I felt so fantastic as I saw how his face lit up. I still get a wonderful warm feeling in my tummy even a year later just remembering the effect of this appreciation…


From ACIM workbook for today:

Vision depends upon today’s idea. The light is in it, for it reconciles all seeming opposites. And what is light except the resolution, born of peace, of all your conflicts and mistaken thoughts into one concept which is wholly true? Even that one will disappear, because the Thought behind it will appear instead to take its place. And now you are at peace forever, for the dream is over then…

One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought. This is the same as saying one correction will suffice for all correction, or that to forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring salvation to all minds. For these are but some special cases of one law which holds for every kind of learning, if it be directed by the One Who knows the truth.

To learn that giving and receiving are the same has special usefulness, because it can be tried so easily and seen as true. And when this special case has proved it always works, in every circumstance where it is tried, the thought behind it can be generalized to other areas of doubt and double vision. And from there it will extend, and finally arrive at the one Thought which underlies them all.

Today we practice with the special case of giving and receiving. We will use this simple lesson in the obvious because it has results we cannot miss. To give is to receive. Today we will attempt to offer peace to everyone, and see how quickly peace returns to us. Light is tranquility, and in that peace is vision given us, and we can see.

So we begin the practice periods with the instruction for today, and say:

To give and to receive are one in truth.
I will receive what I am giving now.

Then close your eyes, and for five minutes think of what you would hold out to everyone, to have it yours. You might, for instance, say:

To everyone I offer quietness.
To everyone I offer peace of mind.
To everyone I offer gentleness.

Say each one slowly and then pause a while, expecting to receive the gift you gave. And it will come to you in the amount in which you gave it. You will find you have exact return, for that is what you asked. It might be helpful, too, to think of one to whom to give your gifts. He represents the others, and through him you give to all.

Our very simple lesson for today will teach you much. Effect and cause will be far better understood from this time on, and we will make much faster progress now. Think of the exercises for today as quick advances in your learning, made still faster and more sure each time you say, “To give and to receive are one in truth.”

Of course the above statement is true of the opposite of love, compassion, beauty and so on. When you give hatred, doubt,  vengeance and so on, you receive the same too. A Zen master once said that holding grudges is like drinking poison and expecting the other to suffer.

The universe is a mirror and give back what we send out. In psychology we say, “Perception is projection.”

I tell this teaching story in my seminars:

A man arrives at the gate of a village and asks the old man sitting there, “What type of village is this?”
The old man in turn asks him a question, “What is your village like?”
The man replies, “It is awful – full of thieves, gossipers, and backstabbers.”
The old man says, “Well, this village is the same as you village.”
Half an hour later another man asks the same question and this time to the old man’s question he replies: “I come from a most wonderful village – the people are friendly and loving. We help each other and together we are prosperous even though we may not have a huge amount of goods as we have each other.”
The old man smiles and says, “You are most welcome in our village as it is exactly the same as your own.”

Interesting day – there were two great opportunities to give love in return to unkindness. At first on each occasion I started to get annoyed.  I was thinking that here I am sending out (giving) love and receiving the opposite. Then I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to practice acceptance of what is and send out love to people no matter what.

I remembered the poem by my compatriot Omar Khayyam who complains at organized religion for describing heaven as a reward for being good. The idea is that if you get a reward for being good where is God’s mercy and forgiveness. In the same way if you send love only to people who deserve it then what type of a Spirit or Self are you. Anyone can love his/her neighbor. Loving your enemies is a tad harder.

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