‘God’s joy and peace are mine.’
God’s peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us. And we will try to understand these gifts increase as we receive them. They are not like the gifts the world can give, in which the giver loses as he gives the gift; the taker is the richer by his loss. Such are not gifts but bargains made with guilt. The truly given gift entails no loss. It is impossible that one can gain because another loses. This implies a limit and an insufficiency.
No gift is given thus. Such ‘gifts’ are but a bid for a more valuable return; a loan with interest to be paid in full, a temporary lending, meant to be a pledge of debt to be repaid with more than was received by him who took the gift. This strange distortion of what giving means pervades all levels of the world you see. It strips all meaning from the gifts you give, and leaves you nothing in the ones you take.
A major learning goal for this course has set is to reverse your view of giving, so you can receive. For giving has become a source of fear, and so you would avoid the only means by which you can receive. Accept God’s peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God’s gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They must increase thereby.
Today our practice periods will start a little differently. Begin today by thinking about those brothers who have been denied by you the peace and joy that are their right under the equal laws of God. Think of your ‘enemies’ a little while, and tell each one, as he occurs to you:
My brother, peace and joy I offer you.
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.
Now you are ready to accept the gift of peace and joy God has given you. Now you are ready to experience the peace and joy you have denied yourself. Now you can say, ‘God’s peace and joy are mine,’ for you have given what you would receive.
Phew! This was a tough one for me today! What amazes me constantly is how these lessons show up when I have just that issue going on in my life. I laughed out loud when I read this lesson today, because just last night I was grappling with the issue of whether it was better to contact a friend or make him suffer a little longer for breaking a promise. Should I phrase my contact in such a way as to make him feel guilty for being lax or just not make the contact at all? These were my thoughts prior to reading, ‘such are not gifts, but bargains made with guilt.’ And as I thought about losing face I read, ‘The truly given gift entails no loss. It is impossible that one can gain because another loses. This implies a limit and an insufficiency.
I realised that despite my intensive spiritual journey I still harbour thoughts of lack, of limit and insufficiency. For him to feel better I have to feel bad. Why can’t we both feel good? Because I was thinking I would have to give up something.
One other thing I’ve realised from doing this lesson today…I find it easier to give up material things – give them away as it were – than to give up emotional things. I had no idea losing face was still such a big thing for me. The layers seem never ending. Sometimes I hope to find that I’m peeling back a different onion, but NO, it is the same one I’ve been peeling back for years. The thing is I didn’t realise how big it was at the start.
Second day at the conference was heaps better than yesterday, although the first session I attended initially promised much of the same, (I walked out on the basis that I didn’t have too many hours of my life to waste listening to poorly presented and irrelevant words) I went instead to check out the book stall and bought two books. Caribbean Erotic and Dog-Heart. (see pics) The situation was totally reversed in the afternoon and ended on a real high. (See separate blog on the event).
Unfortunately my camera battery went dead and I couldn’t get any photos from the day. I hope the clips I filmed of the story telling and music performance by ABELA on my phone is usable.