Do we really choose, on some level, what we experience? The Course is uncompromising in its insistence that we do. “Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him [i.e., the Holy Spirit] Who must decide for God for you.” (T-21.II.3:5-6)
If this concept is helpful, it is because we see the light at the end of the tunnel. If it makes us feel guilty, we are misusing the words on behalf of the ego’s insanity. All of us are still at least partially insane, ruled by the ego. It is not practical to think, under these circumstances, that we always and consistently follow the Holy Spirit. The little self that occupies this world is still imperfect. Be gentle with that self, even as your Self would be, and perhaps say quietly (if it is helpful), “There is another way of looking at the world.” (W-pI.33.h)
When I fall from Grace into karma, I think, “I have done this thing to somebody else, sometime, somewhere.” I allow myself to feel the pain, but I try not to wallow in it. It is sometimes helpful, if the “sin” (in illusion) seems to be perpetrated by another, to remember, “you always attack yourself first,” (T-10.II.4:5) substituting the offender’s name for the “you.” Then I feel compassion for this fellow traveler, my brother sent to me by God, for we will find the way out together or not at all.
One thought on “Be Gentle with the Self”
I hope we make it out together!
Compassion…is a tricky word for me. But I think you brought the reason for this by mentioning the ego; that we are, too often, subject to viewing how we each individually have learned to survive in life…as we see it.
Any aspect of ourselves may elevated to exalted expression I think. As for ego and its self focus for survival, in me, he may be allowed to extend himself to include others…as far as his influence may reach.
Through empathy, we gain greater compassion…for self…and everyone.
Blessing. I very much enjoyed being inspired here in the spirit you represent.