giving is proof of having. We have made
this point before. What seems to make it hard
to credit is not this. No-one can doubt
that you must first possess what you would give.
It is the second phase on which the world
and true perception differ. Having had
and given, then the world asserts that you
have lost what you possessed. The truth maintains
that giving will increase what you possess.
How is this possible? For it is sure
that if you give a finite thing away
your body's eyes will not perceive it yours.
Yet we have learned that things but represent
the thoughts which make them. And we do not lack
for proof that when we give ideas away,
we strengthen them in our own minds. 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.
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.
Protect all things you value by the act
of giving them away, and you are sure
that you will never lose them. What you thought
you did not have is thereby proven yours.
Yet value not its form. For this will change
and grow unrecognizable in time
however much you try to keep it safe.
No form endures. *To value form is but
to worship death.* It is the thought behind
the form of things that lives unchangeable.
Give gladly. You can only gain thereby.
The thought remains and grows in strength as it
is reinforced by giving. Thoughts extend
as they are shared, for they can not be lost.
There is no giver and receiver in
the sense the world conceives of them. There is
a giver who retains; another who
will give as well. And both must gain in this
exchange, for each will have the thought in form
most helpful to him. What he seems to lose
is always something he will value less
than what will surely be returned to him.
Never forget you give but to yourself.
Who understands what giving means must laugh
at the idea of sacrifice. Nor can
he fail to recognize the many forms
that sacrifice may take. He laughs as well
at pain and loss, at sickness and at grief,
at poverty, starvation and at death.
He recognizes sacrifice remains
the one idea that stands behind them all,
and in his gentle laughter are they healed.
Illusion recognized must disappear.
Accept not suffering, and you remove
the thought of suffering. Your blessing lies
on everyone who suffers when you choose
to see all suffering as what it is.
The thought of sacrifice gives rise to all
the forms that suffering appears to take,
and sacrifice is an idea so mad
that sanity dismisses it at once.
Never believe that you can sacrifice.
There is no place for sacrifice in what
has any value. If the thought occurs,
its very presence proves that error has
arisen, and correction must be made.
Your blessing will correct it. Given first
to you, it now is yours to give as well.
No form of sacrifice and suffering
can long endure before the face of one
who has forgiven and has blessed himself.
The lilies that your brother offers you
are laid upon your altar, with the ones
you offer him beside them. Who could fear
to look upon such lovely holiness?
The great illusion of the fear of God
diminishes to nothingness before
the purity that you can look on here.
Be not afraid to look. The blessedness
you will behold will take away all thought
of form, and leave instead the perfect gift
forever there, forever to increase,
forever yours, forever given away.
Now are we one in thought. For fear has gone.
And here, before the altar to One God,
One Father, One Creator and One Thought,
we stand together as one Son of God.
Not separate from Him Who is our Source;
not distant from one brother who is part
of our One Self Whose innocence has joined
us all as one, we stand in blessedness
and give as we received. The Name of God
is on our lips, and as we look within
we see the purity of Heaven shine
in our reflection of our Father's Love.
Now are we blessed, and now we bless the world.
What we have looked upon we would extend,
for we would see it everywhere. We would
behold it shining with the grace of God
in everyone. We would not have it be
withheld from anything we look upon.
And to ensure this holy sight is ours,
we offer it to everything we see.
For where we see it, it will be returned
to us in form of lilies we can lay
upon our altar, making it a home
for Innocence Itself, Who dwells in us
and offers us His holiness as ours.