For two days I have been reading and contemplating Lesson 194- ‘It can be but my gratitude I earn’ from A Course In Miracles. Reading this lesson, my own sporadic participating in a daily gratitude Facebook page and my nightly gratitude journal, has inspired me to write about the connection between love and gratitude and why we fear and even hate, God.
It starts with me.
I realize that when I do things for people or give things, sometimes I expect some form of ‘payment.’ When there is this expectation, I know my ego is in control of the giving and wants something in return.
How do I know? Because when extending any part of myself, what I have to give, be it kind words, love, money, food, whatever, coming from a place of love, I require nothing in return. I am grateful to be able to give. I am grateful because I have something to share, be it my love, my abilities, material stuff, whatever.
When I give from the ego I give because the ego wants something in return, gratitude from another, perhaps even indebtedness. There are strings attached to egoic giving. Why? Because the ego needs to be in control. It needs to be acknowledged, even revered for what it does. There are always strings attached.
The ego becomes triggered when it feels angered or hurt because it thinks its gifts have not been acknowledged or appreciated. The ego doesn’t know that this gratitude and appreciation it expects from others should come from the self. The ego will always expect love, gratitude and appreciation from others because it is incapable of giving it to itself.
A personal example: There are loved ones in my life that I try to help in various ways, giving money, food, time, advice, whatever. Occasionally, I become upset when I feel that what I have given is not appreciated. It is at this point that I need to look at why I gave in the first place, yes to help, but more importantly, was it because I wanted something from that person? What do I want from them, the one I am attempting to help? When I peel all the layers away, at the deepest level, I want their love.
What the ego doesn’t realize is that love is not a form of payment, love is given freely. The ego does not realize that people are incapable of loving the way the ego wants to be loved. That doesn’t meant that we aren’t loved by the other person, it means that we aren’t loved the way the ego thinks it should be loved. This is our ego’s problem not the problem of the other person.
What does this have to do with God? The human ego, which we all have, sees everything in its own likeness and compares everything to itself. On some level the ego knows that it gives with the intention of getting something in return, gratitude, indebtedness and even love. What it does, it expects others do, too. Even God. The ego believes that God wants something in return, too.
We hate others and God for what we see in ourselves. We are all familiar with mirror imaging and projectionism. Our inability to give freely is because we live egoically based. The ego distrusts others and constantly questions the motives of others because it knows its motives in giving are not altruistic and come with strings. When we allow our ego to do our thinking, it thinks that God does the same. If God acts the way our egos do, how could we trust God’s motives and gifts? This egoic perception gives us a reason to hate God.
What the ego fails to recognize is that God is not human. God has no ego. God is love. God extends to us from a place of only love. All that is given, is given freely with no strings attached. We can never loose what is given, be that, abilities, talents, skills, experiences, love, abundance in any form, unless the ego chooses to deny them.
God extends to that part of us that which is already connected to God. Call it what you will, Soul, Spirit, Higher Consciousness, Higher Self or, Inner Truth. It is all the same, it is God created. And, that part of us knows the difference, accepts and gives freely.
When we acknowledge the gifts of abundance that have been bestowed upon us we begin to live with a sense of gratitude. We become more and more appreciative and grateful for the things that we have in our lives. We see through loving, grateful, eyes. I call this perception, seeing through my ‘heart eyes’.
When we see through our heart eyes, we become capable of giving from the same, loving and grateful space in which all is given, to us. As we extend and share our gratitude, we receive it, for all that is given is received. And, accordingly to Lesson 197- I earn my own gratitude by sharing it. It is the same with love. I earn my own love, self-love, only by giving it.
Until we learn to live from a place of gratitude and love, we will continue to hate ourselves for living an egoic, fear based and distrustful life. Until we learn to live with gratitude and love we will be unable to accept God, as love. Thereby, denying ourselves the greatest gift of all, that which we already have: God’s unconditional love.
Featured Image-Lawrencetown Beach Provincial ParkLawrencetown, Nova Scotia
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©Judi Risser We Are All Awakening