Chapter 5: Work On Yourself First
You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey of Self-Awareness, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros.
You will know when you act with unconditional love because when you do, you will experience peace. Peace is the result of unconditional love. Unconditional love is its own reward.
We all make attempts at kindness and forgiveness. At times, we have also been surprised at what little gratitude and outward praise we receive when we offer kindness and forgiveness. Sometimes, we might even become angry or sad at the lack of response to our gift or action. But is anger or sadness really the way we should react to such a beautiful offering? How do you feel when reacting in such a manner? I’ve already mentioned that there are two ways you can respond: one is with your ego-self, and the other is through your Godself. One has been taught to you by society, and one has been birthed in you by God. One has to be learned, and the other simply needs be remembered. One feels wrong and makes you feel heavy, sad and upset. The other feels right and makes you feel joyful and peaceful.
The ego’s goal is to separate you from your brother and sister. Regardless of the manifestation of the situation, if separation is its final outcome, the ego has reached its goal through you. As an example, in the act of giving, the ego has different levels of illusion that it uses in order to achieve its goal. All illusions, regardless of their manifestation, have as a final result separation and loss of peace. The ego will sell you one illusion after another in order to keep achieving its purpose through you. You see the ego’s illusions as different manifestations with separate outcomes. Yet there is one outcome to truth, and one outcome to illusion. In any situation, it is the outcome that you value most that you will experience.
If illusions are by definition nothing, then different illusions can only be encountered through our attempts to separate nothingness into parts. Only the delusional mind can see different levels of nothingness as separate and real. We can stack up our hundreds of thousands of personal levels of illusions and still not come close to the height of an atom. Only a delusional mind can believe that it needs to fight through different levels of nothingness, with different levels of answers, to obtain peace. The ego supports the efforts of a delusional mind, for the ego is the father and creator of the delusional mind. And a creator will support his creations. Although there are countless levels of illusions that the ego supports, there are four main illusionary barriers that the average delusional mind passes through in order to find the truth about the subject of giving. I offer these four, not only because they are the ones I personally had to pass through, but also because I have seen many of my friends and family members experience them.
- If you give, you lose.
- If you give, you must get something of equal or greater physical value in return.
- If you give, you must at least get something of mental value in return.
- If you give, all situations must be judged as separate and given separate consideration with regard to getting something or anything in return.
Let’s discuss these points one by one. First, at the height of its control, the ego would have us believe that to give is to lose. It tries to convince us that if we give, we will also lose something and there is no way to get it back. If we lose something, then we become less than we were before, or we will have less than we had before. We have fewer things, thus we are lesser people. The world teaches that when we give something away, we lose it, and if we don’t get anything in return, we are less complete, less whole. The world also teaches that, when we lose something, we must become upset. So it is not a stretch to say that the world teaches us that becoming upset is a normal and proper reaction to giving something away and not getting anything in return. Yet, we know that being upset is not the natural reaction of a child of God, because a natural reaction of the child of God is to be at peace. Therefore, there must be another way of looking at the beautiful offering of giving.
Second, if the ego can no longer make us believe that to give is to lose, it tries to make us view the giving of anything as a trade. If we still choose to give, the ego will let us know that we must, at the very least, get something of equal value in return. Therefore, in the ego’s calculation, although we have lost something, we have also gained something and we come out equal. Of course, the ego will then make us analyze whether we came out on top or not in the trade. If we come out ahead, the ego will congratulate us and allow us to do it again, as long as we always come out on top. If, in the ego’s estimation, we come out on the bottom of the trade, it tells us “told you so” and that we should have never given in the first place. It encourages us not to make the same mistake again. However, if we continue to play the trade game, it will have us make sure we come out on top in our next trade. Here, the ego makes a mental list of who we can “beat” in such tradeoffs. We continue to play with those we can beat. Those we can’t beat are either erased from our list or put at the very bottom.
Third, the ego understands that eventually we will no longer believe that to give is to lose. It also understands that we will not see giving as a physical tradeoff. So it allows us to give without the tradeoff, meaning we don’t really need to get anything physical in return. But it makes sure that at least we get a thank you from the receiver. If we don’t get a thank you, it makes us upset at the receiver’s inconsideration. Out of our beautiful offering, what we get in return is anger at our brother’s inconsideration. The ego laughs when we get offended, for it knows that it still has control over us. It still has control because, in the end, it made something ugly out of something beautiful, and it separated us from our brother or sister. In the end, it wins by separating us from our brother or sister.
Fourth, the ego understands that, for the most part, it cannot control our thoughts, actions, or reactions. But this does not stop it from attacking on all three levels on a case-by-case basis, looking for weaknesses in our thought systems. The individual at this stage knows that giving is its own reward. The individual gets satisfaction in the thought and act of giving and does not need anything physical or mental in return from the receiver. At this stage, the individual receives as he gives, and need not ever hear from the receiver to be gladdened, because he understands that all receivers, regardless of outward manifestations of gratitude, are grateful for the intention and action.
Would God not be thankful for any offering, regardless of how small it is? Would God not be thankful and proud of one of His children offering a gift, or even a kind word to another of His children? Would He not acknowledge the purity of our thoughts, the kindness of our actions? So what does it matter if another person outwardly thinks of our gift as worthy, or does not even acknowledge it? For the truth is, and this I believe with all my heart, that in the receiver’s mind there is a part of him or her that joins with God in thanking us. There is a part in our brother or sister that joins with God in saluting our actions. There is a part in every single person, regardless of how hard they’ve tried to hide or forget it, where God resides, and this part blesses every gift we offer.
Every gift we offer a brother or sister is given and received by God. Thus, what we give away, we keep. And in the end, only what we give away do we ever truly keep. No gift is ever lost; no gift is ever left thankless. And know that I thank you, because every gift you offer to your brother or sister, you offer to me.
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