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7.1 A major thought reversal is required now before we can go on. It has been stated and emphasized countless times before, and it will be here as well: What you give you will receive in truth. What you do not receive is a measure of what you withhold. Your heart is accustomed to giving in a way that your mind is not. Your mind would hold on to every idea for what it might bring you, and is resentful of those whose ideas do come to fruition and succeed in getting desirable things within this world. “I had that idea,” you lament when another succeeds where you have failed. “I could have been where that person is if not for the unfairness of life,” you wail. Your mind dwells in a world of its own made up largely of if onlys. Your heart, on the other hand, knows of giving and of a return not based on the world of your mind or of physical circumstance. Despite disappointments most severe, your heart knows that what you give you receive in truth.
7.2 And yet you would withhold a piece of yourself even from love, and this is what we must correct. For what you withhold you cannot receive, and you cannot receive a piece of heaven nor know a piece of God or your own Self. Your giving must be total for you to receive in truth. We will concentrate more now, however, on withholding than on giving, for you do not yet understand what you would give, for you do not recognize what you have to give. You do, however, recognize what you withhold and can begin to recognize this in every situation. As the awareness of your withholding dawns upon your heart, you will begin to realize what you do not give, and with that realization, what you have to give.
7.3 Comparison of one thing to another—a comparison that seeks out differences and magnifies them and names one thing this and one thing that—is the basis of all learning in your world. It is based on contrast and opposites and on separating into groups and species. Not only is each individual distinct and separate, but so too are groups of individuals, pieces of land, systems and organizations, the natural world and the mechanistic world, heaven and earth, divine and human.
7.4 In order to identify yourself in this world, you have had to withhold a piece of yourself and say of this piece, “This is what makes me uniquely who I am.” Without this piece of yourself that you have determined to be unique, your existence would seem to serve even less purpose than it does now. Thus that which is most separate, or that which you have determined separates you the most, is that which you value most highly.
7.5 This one thought constitutes a thought system in and of itself, for it is the primary thought by which you live your life. Your effort goes into maintaining this illusion that what you are must be protected, and that your protection rests on holding this piece of yourself separate. Like the love you set aside from this world, this thought too is one that can be used, for it recognizes that you are as apart from this world as love is. The harsh realities of the world may claim your body and your time, but this one piece of yourself that you have set aside you allow it not to claim. This piece is held within your heart, and it is this piece with which we now will work.
7.6 This is the piece that screams never to that which would beat you down. Life is seen as a constant taking away and this, you claim, will never be taken from you. For those whose lives are threatened, it is called the will to live. For those whose identity is threatened, it is called the cry of the individual. For others it is the call to create, and for still others the call to love. Some will not give up hope to cynicism. Others label it ethics, morals, values, and say this is the line I will never cross. It is the cry that says, “I will not sell my soul.”
7.7 Rejoice that there is something in this world that you will not bargain with, something you hold sacrosanct. This is your Self. Yet this Self that you hold so dear that you will never let it go is precisely what you must be willing to freely give away. This is the only Self that holds the light of who you are in truth, the Self that is joined with the Christ in you.
7.8 To this Self is this appeal put forth. Let it be heard and held within your heart. Hold it joyously alongside what already occupies your heart—the love you set aside and the piece of yourself that you won’t let go. As you learn that what you give you will receive in truth, you will see that what abides within your heart is all that is worthy of your giving and all you would receive.
7.9 Let us return now to what you would withhold, and see the effects that this withholding has upon yourself and the world that seems to hold you separate. This is, indeed, the first and most general lesson in regard to withholding: The world does not keep you separate. You keep yourself separate from the world. This is what has made the world the world it is. What you withhold allows illusion to rule and truth to be locked away in a vault so impenetrable and so long secured that you have thought it forgotten. You have not realized the vault is your own heart, or that the truth is what you have chosen to keep secure and set aside there. When you believe that this is so and that what you give away you will receive in truth, you will throw open the doors to this safe house, and all the joy you have kept from yourself will return. A great exchange will happen as a powerful wind sweeps through your heart, and all the love you have denied the world will be released. It will flow in every direction, leaving not a corner of the universe untouched. In an instant the eternal will be upon you. Death will be a dream as the wind of life reunited with itself gathers from directions that are beyond direction and breathes life back into what has so long been locked away. After this a gentle breeze will come, never again to leave you, as life breathes as one.
7.10 Your withholding takes on many forms that nonetheless are merely effects of the selfsame cause that keeps truth separate from illusion. Where truth has come illusion is no more. Truth has no need of your protection, for truth brought to illusion shines its light into the darkness, causing it to be no more.
7.11 There are but two forms of withholding: what you withhold of yourself from the world and what you withhold for yourself from the world. A grievance is something you have chosen for yourself, a piece of a relationship separated off and held in contempt and righteousness. You are unaware that you choose this form of withholding, sometimes dozens or even hundreds of times a day. An unreturned phone call, a bit of traffic, a harsh word spoken, an unremembered errand—all can be resentments you hold to yourself and refuse to let go. By the time you begin your day you may hold several of these in your mind, and there you build them into reasons for even further withholding. Now you have an excuse—or several excuses—for a bad day. Why should you give anything to anyone when your day has already treated you so badly? You withhold even a smile, because you have chosen grievances over love.
7.12 You might choose to tell those you encounter of your bad day, and if they are properly sympathetic you may feel that you have gotten something in exchange for the resentments you carry, and if the exchange is determined to be of equal value you might let them go. A response of less than sympathetic proportions, however, is simply added to your list of grievances until the burden of what you hang onto becomes more than you can bear. Now you look for one upon whom you can unload your burdens, hoping you can pass your grievances en masse to someone else. If you succeed through anger, spite, or meanness, you simply take on guilt and withdraw still further into your own misery.
7.13 What you do not realize is that every situation is a relationship—even those as simple as unreturned phone calls and snarled traffic. You relate to someone or something in every situation you encounter, and what you hold against them you withhold from them. You have taken a piece of them and hold it unkindly to yourself, not in joining but in separation. Totally unaware, you too are subject to these whims of your brothers and sisters, and find at times pieces of yourself scattered hither and yon, knowing they are lost to you but not knowing how this loss came about or where to retrieve these missing pieces, not knowing that you can prevent the loss entirely by being one. What is joined cannot be parceled out and scattered, but must remain in wholeness. What is joined resides in peace and knows no grievance. What is joined resides in love inviolate.
7.14 There is another way in which you withhold pieces of relationships for yourself. This withholding is not of the form of grievances but of the form of specialness. You withhold in order to make yourself special, always at another’s expense. All your efforts to best your brothers and sisters are thus: all competition, all envy, all greed. These all relate to your image of yourself and your efforts to reinforce it. This is your desire not to be intelligent, but to be more intelligent than your colleague. This is your desire not to be generous, but to be more generous than your relative. This is your desire for wealth that is greater than your neighbors, attractiveness greater than that of your friends, success greater than that of the average man or woman. You pit yourself not only against individuals but groups and nations, teams and organizations, religions and neighbors and family members. This is the desire to be right, or in control, or to have more or be more. This is life based on comparison of illusion to illusion.
7.15 You do not see this as withholding, but what you claim for yourself at another’s expense is indeed withholding, and in your world you know not how to claim anything for yourself without withholding it from someone else. You have now set yourself up in a position to withhold your intelligence from others lest they profit from it. You want your intelligence known and recognized, but you want it known and recognized as yours. If someone wants the intelligence you have to offer, something must be given in return. What you demand can range from admiration to money, but it is all the same and the demand is always there. It is the ransom that you insist be paid, the homage you claim is due, that without which you will withhold what you have. And you are thankful for these things with which you can demand ransom of the world, for without them you would be the one called upon to pay.
7.16 These are examples of what you withhold from the world for yourself. But what of that which you withhold from the world of yourself? Both these things are much the same in truth, for what you hold away from all the rest, what you hold for ransom and do not freely give, you do not have the use of for yourself. Those ideas that you save up, that creativity that only you would benefit from, that wealth you would amass—these things are as useless to you when saved for yourself alone as they would be if they did not exist. They bring you not to truth or happiness, nor can they buy you love or the success you seek. What you withhold from the world you withhold from yourself, for you are not separate from the world. In every situation what you would keep is what you will not have, because you keep it only from yourself.
7.17 We must return now to relationship and correct as quickly as possible any erroneous ideas you have, especially those that might make of this a trivial point or one that is specific and not generalizable. All relationship exists in wholeness. The small examples used earlier were meant to help you recognize relationship itself, relationship as something different from the objects, persons, or situations related to. Now we must expand on this idea.
7.18 Broadening your view from the specific to the general is one of the most difficult tasks of the curriculum. It is easy to see why this is so when you recognize how bound your thinking is to specifics. Again, this is why we call on love and the hidden knowledge of your heart. Your heart already sees in a manner much more whole than the perception of your split mind. Even your language and images reflect this truth, this difference between the wisdom of your heart and that of your mind. Your heart may be said to break, but the image that these words call forth is of a heart cracked open, not of a heart in separate pieces. Your brain, on the other hand, is separated into right and left hemispheres. One side has one function, one side another. While your brain and your mind are not the same, your image of your mind and what it does and does not do is linked with your image of your brain. Let this image go and concentrate on the wholeness of your heart, no matter how you view its current condition. Be it wounded, bleeding, broken or full, it rests in wholeness within you at the center of who you are.
7.19 It is from this center that truth will light your way.
7.20 It is from this center that you will come to understand that relationship exists in wholeness. We have begun to dislodge your idea that you stand separate and alone, a being broken off from all the rest. Your forgiveness of all that has led to this misperception is not yet complete, nor will it be until your understanding is greater than it is now. For you cannot give up the only reality you know without believing in and having at least some elementary understanding of what the truth of your reality actually is.
7.21 If you cannot be alone you must be continuously in relationship. Thus, relationship must not depend on interaction as you understand understand it. It is easy to see the relationship between a pencil and your hand, your body and another, the actions that you do and the effects they seem to cause. All of these relationships are based on what your senses tell you, the evidence you have relied upon to make sense of your world. Those who have developed reliance on ways of knowing not governed by the acceptable senses are seen as suspect. And yet you accept many causes for your feelings, from variations in the weather to unseen and unverifiable diseases. You have given others, whom you see as having more authority than you, license to provide you with their version of the truth, and for consistency’s sake you choose to believe in the version of the truth most predominate in your society. Thus the truth is different in one place than it is in another and it even appears to be in conflict. You cling to known truths, even though you are aware of their instability in time as well as place, and so you live with constant denial that even what is known to you is not known at all. You thus cling to the one sure thing that permeates your existence: the knowledge that death will claim you and all of those you love.
7.22 Realize that when you are asked to give this up, you are asked to give up an existence so morbid that anyone with any sanity would gladly toss it to the wind and ask for an alternative. An alternative exists. Not in dreams of fantasy but in truth. Not in changing form and circumstance but in eternal consistency.
7.23 Accept a new authority, even if only for the little while that it will take you to read these words. Start with this idea: You will allow for the possibility of a new truth to be revealed to your waiting heart. Hold in your heart the idea that as you read these words—and when you finish reading these words—their truth will be revealed to you. Let your heart be open to a new kind of evidence of what constitutes the truth. Think of no other outcomes than your happiness, and when happiness comes deny it not, nor its source. Remind yourself that when love comes to fill your heart, you will deny it not, nor its source. You do not need to believe that this will happen, but only to allow for the possibility of it happening. Do not turn your back on the hope offered here, and when new life flows in to release the old, forget not from where it came.
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