“The ego is afraid of the spirit’s joy, because once you have experienced it you will withdraw all protection from the ego, and become totally without investment in fear. (T55)”
1 – A Comparison to the Ego
We have all experienced the spirit’s joy, because we are not totally insane. The ego is only a part of our belief about ourselves. The more we can coax the spirit’s joy to come forth, the more progress we will make. How do we do this? It can only come from turning inward asking for assistance. God always responds, even when we don’t readily see His response. Be on the lookout for the next meaningful comment, be it an interior word from the Holy Spirit, a sentence in a book, or a comment made by a brother. God comes to us in all these ways, and more.
2 – Withdraw Protection from the Ego
Perhaps it seems fearful to withdraw protection from the ego. Our world has put much store in developing a strong ego, one that is meant to protect us in an often hostile world. But a strong ego is not the way of the Course. The ego, in fact, is always being undone, and we will know humiliation and much fear as long as we try to depend upon it. It may not always be easy to relinquish the ego, but to do so is our way home.
3 – Still on the Pathway
Perhaps all of our days will not be filled with joy, for we are still on the pathway home. But the more that we adjust our attitude to Jesus’s recommendations, the better days we will have. If we are hurt, we will know that we are experiencing an egoistic attack, for actually we, our Self, cannot be hurt. Only the ego can experience hurt, and if we relinquish our investment in the ego’s way of looking at the world, we will be the wiser for it. If we come in anger, whether acknowledged or under the surface, we are strengthening the ego. We do not want o strengthen the ego. We want to open our hearts to the spirit’s joy, the innermost part of ourselves that has never been either hurt or angry. We need to return home to God. We may not know how to do this now, but if we learn of the spiritual truths that confront, we will know more, and, not incidentally, have more faith that God is in His Heaven, and all is right with the world (Robert Browning, though he wrote this in a poem that was satirical; we do not want to see it as satirical).
4 – Joy of the Spirit / Fear of the Ego
When we recognize that joy is of the spirit, and fear of the ego, we will not lack for motivation. Jesus is teaching us to equate joy with the spirit. Once we have done this a few times, we will doubt no longer.
May I experience the spirit’s joy, and thereby be led to withdraw all protection from the ego. The ego was always insane, and when I followed it, I was following blindly down a dark alley.
It is great news that when experiencing the spirit’s joy, I will want to withdraw all protection from the ego. May this happen now and always.