“The perceived attack will have entered at the place where you have placed your highest value and are thus most vulnerable. In the past your response would have been to protect and use that which you have most valued. Now your response will have been changing. You will not see so much to value in what has called your ego into action and will turn away from it.” (ACOL, T1:9.15)
I can identify with this passage. Years ago I received a very negative peer review after my first year in a new job, from someone whom I had considered a friend. Despite the fact that I had become a committed Course in Miracles student, the ego was still very strong in me. I had always wanted to think that I did good work, and so when this peer review challenged that self-image, I was devastated. The egoic persona had been bruised.
Years later, I can see what was going on. Now my ego has been loosened, and I cannot fully comprehend why one peer’s opinion became so important to me. I would like to think that I can’t comprehend because I am thinking differently. Egoic ideals don’t call to me as much.
Now, if something similar were to happen, I think that I would be more prone to realize that one person’s opinion is just that—opinion. And my own persona isn’t fully egoic any longer; I don’t have to succeed to be loved. In my egoic persona, being loved was attached, conditionally, to being declared a success in the eyes of other people.
This is not a good interpretation for any of us to make, however strong the ego, but I think that it is a common reaction. In describing what happened, I can see the highs and lows of drama, and I know now that the highs and lows of drama are ego. We do better when we keep steady and on an even keel. We are much more likely to actually be a success in more than just our eyes or the eyes of our peers. We are accessing the Self Who can create through us.
We don’t take credit for what the Self creates through us. This would be to invite an egoic interpretation again. But we can enjoy the newfound joys of truly working in a way that we never did when we believed in the worth of the ego’s evaluations. And we can objectively see that our work has wings that we did not mastermind; Something More is at work.
I would not go back to egoic reactions. I would stay on the straight and narrow, respond with Zen-like calm to the events of my life. I would learn how to return love for attack, however subtle the attack. And to do so, I need to keep stress under control. I never get angry unless I am stressed.
You know all these things about me. And You support me in my goal to be on an even keel, 24/7. You would have me reject the urge to make drama out of the events of my life. And I would go along with this desire on Your part as my best new direction.
Be with me today as I seek to lower stress, to return even the mildest form of attack with love. I would approach life by the smooth handle.