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7.1 We have talked much in this Course of your desire to be independent without looking at the condition of dependency that you consider its opposite. To be independent, you feel as if you must rely only on yourself. Thus the connotation of reliance on others, or dependence, has taken on a negative meaning specifically in contrast to your desire to be independent. One of your greatest fears is thus of a condition that causes you to be dependent or to rely on others.
7.2 Others are the great unknown of living in the world. Others are those who are beyond your control, those who can influence the course of your day or your life in ways you would not choose. Others represent the accidents waiting to happen, love that is not returned, the withholding of things you deem important. This fear that you feel in relation to others is as true of those you hold most dear to you as it is of those you would call strangers. It is the very independence of others that makes your own independence seem so important to you. Dependency is not consistent with your notions of a healthy self. What, then, is the alternative?
7.3 The alternative is believing in giving and receiving as one.
7.4 First let us replace your idea of “others” with the idea of “relationship” that has been so often defined and repeated within this Course. In order to believe in giving and receiving as one, you must believe in relationship rather than in others.
7.5 Those you would view as others are separate from you. Those you would view as being in relationship with you are not separate from you. The relationship is the source of your unity. That you exist in relationship with all is a belief that you must now incorporate into living. Further, you must remember that relationship is based on trust. If you are dependent, or supported by others with whom you share a trusting relationship, where is the negativity? Where is the cause for fear? What is the hidden source of your feelings of lack or deprivation? What is the hidden source of your desire to control?
7.6 This source is the ego. Even now, the ego will take every opportunity that arises to prove to you that independence is a far better state than that of dependence. It will work diligently to convince you that any course that tries to take away your independence should be resisted. As long as you continue to listen to your ego you will not understand giving and receiving as one and will not believe in it.
7.7 This is the most difficult belief of all to integrate into the living of your life. Each time another thwarts you, you will be tempted to believe that giving and receiving as one is not taking place. Your previous pattern of behavior will be quick to assert itself and you will feel resentment and claim that the situation is unfair. You will be tempted to withhold as others withhold from you.
7.8 Is it not clear how important it is to living in peace that this pattern be broken? Will you live in peace only until some “other” breaks your peace? Only until some circumstance beyond your control brings an unexpected conflict your way?
7.9 There is no function for control in unity. There is no need for it. Relationship is the only means through which interaction is real, the only source of your ability to change that which you would change.
7.10 Here is an idea not heretofore given much attention, the idea of the desire for change. Certainly there will continue to be things within your life that are in need of change. As was stated in the beginning of this Treatise, this Course has not called you to a static state of sameness, an acceptance of who you are that does not allow for change. But once you have become happier with who you are, you will, if left un-schooled, turn your attention to others and to situations you would have be different than they are. You will want to be a change-agent. You will want to move into the world and be an active force within it. These are aims consistent with the teachings of this Course, but what will prevent you from following the patterns of old as you go out into the world with your desire to effect change?
7.11 The only thing that will prevent this is your ability to go out into the world and remain who you are. This relates to giving and receiving being one in truth in a very concrete way. For to go out into the world with the desire to give, either expecting to receive in certain measure or to receive not at all, is to follow the old pattern, a pattern that has been proven to not have any ability to change the world.
7.12 To proceed into each relationship as who you truly are is to bring everlasting change to each and every relationship, and thus to all.
7.13 Again I return you to the early teachings of A Course of Love, teachings concerning your desire to be good and to do good. This is not about doing good works. This is about being who you are and seeing the truth rather than the illusion that surrounds you. You cannot, in other words, be a good person in a bad world. You cannot effect change without, without having effected change within. You cannot be independent and still be of service. For as long as you believe in your independence you will not accept your dependence. You will not accept giving and receiving as one if you feel able only to give or as if “others” have nothing you would receive.
7.14 This new attitude, then, includes accepting that you have needs. That you are a being who exists in relationship is the same as saying you are a being who needs relationship. The only thing that keeps you, in this new pattern, from being needy and dependent in an unhealthy way, is that you believe in giving and receiving as one. You believe, in other words, that your needs will be provided for, thus ceasing to be needs. To deny that you are a being with needs is not the aim of this Course. To come to believe that your needs are provided for by a Creator and a creation that includes all “others” is to believe in giving and receiving being one in truth.
7.15 Giving is not only about choosing what good and helpful parts of yourself you will share with the world. It is also about giving the world the opportunity to give back. It is about recognizing the constant and ongoing exchange that allows needs to be met. It is trusting that if you have a need for money or time or honesty or love, it will be provided.
7.16 Trusting is not a condition or state of being that you have heretofore seen as being an active one. Your attitude toward trust is one of waiting, as if an active stance toward trust would be distrustful. You thus will often say that you trust when what you are doing is hoping for a specific outcome. Real trust is not a trust that waits and hopes but a trust that acts from who you truly are. Real trust requires the discipline of being who you are in every circumstance and in every relationship. Real trust begins with your Self.
7.17 How often have you hidden thoughts and feelings because you question whether they are legitimate thoughts and feelings? For some of you this answer has changed greatly over time. But for many of you, you have become less, rather than more forthcoming about your thoughts and feelings since taking this Course. You have done so out of a desire to be truthful, a desire to not express thoughts and feelings unworthy of your real Self. You may have increasingly denied thoughts and feelings you would judge as negative or bad. Or you may have, in your desire not to judge others, kept yourself from speaking up in instances where you previously would have stated an opinion. While these modes of behavior, in themselves, are learning aids that prepare you for acting with the certainty you seek, they again are not to be confused with the true aims of this course of study.
7.18 Who you are cannot be denied in favor of who you “will be.” Needs cannot be denied as a means of having them cease to be. You who are beginning to realize that you have much to give, realize that you have as much to receive and that receiving does not imply that you are lacking!
7.19 The discipline required to be who you are is a discipline that requires trust in Self and honesty in relationships. Does this mean that you are required to express every thought and feeling that comes your way? No, but this does mean that you bring the thoughts and feelings that arise to the place within your heart that has been prepared for them. You do not deny them. You bring them first to your Self, to the Self joined in unity at the place of your heart. From this place you learn to discriminate, to separate the false from the true, for your ego thoughts cannot long abide in the holy place of your heart. Then, with truth and illusion separated, you develop the discipline to express your true Self, as you are now. This is the only way the Self you are now has to grow and change. This is the only means the Self you are now has of giving and receiving as one. This is the only means available to you to replace the old pattern with the new.
7.20 The recognition that giving and receiving occur as one is a precondition for your recognition of the state of unity. As with the recognition of your accomplishment, the acceptance of the belief that giving and receiving are one in truth changes the function of time as you know it. There is not a period of waiting or a period of time between giving and receiving. There is not a time-lapse between the recognition of needs and the meeting of needs. It is accepted that giving and receiving occur in unison, thus further collapsing the need for time.
7.21 While as stated previously, this belief will at times seem difficult to put into practice, and while your recognition of receiving and of needs being met may seem to still take time, this belief builds on the belief of the already accomplished through experience. As you experience giving and receiving being one in truth, your belief will become true conviction. Your ability to recognize giving and receiving as one becomes simply an aspect of your identity and accepted as the nature of who you are in truth.
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