Tag Archives: ego self

Separate and Alone? Or in Relationship?

Impressionist-Paintings-020
“The life of the physical self became a life of suffering and strife only because the physical or personal self forgot that it exists in relationship and believed itself to be separate and alone. In its fear, it made an ego-self which, because it sprang from fear, was not consistent with the laws of Love or of creation. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 12.9)”

Affirmation: “I realize that the personal self can be a Christ Self.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego and Fear

We are in relationship to each other, and that means that we are not alone, even in this world. Of course, God is always within us; He is the All. Yet we are not meant to be alone, and being alone brings on fear. We would, I believe, not have made an ego-self if we had not been so fearful. Yet fear brings on more fear, and a deeper retreat into madness.

2 – Relationship

If we remember that we are meant to be relationship, not only with ourselves, our deepest Self, but also with one another, we will eliminate fear at its deepest. We will eliminate the need to kowtow to the ego, and the ego will gradually wither away. There is no better way to live than to recognize, day-by-day, that the ego is withering away. We turn aside from the ego at very point we recognize that we are believing ourselves to be separate and alone. We turn aside from egotistical leanings, though this is not the full meaning of the “ego.” The ego is a false sense of our personal self, a part of our belief about ourselves. And it was never true. We, on some level, recognize its falsity, and this in turn also makes us fearful. A retreat into madness is always fearful. And we would not retreat into madness.

3 – No Longer Alone

Let us turn to one another today. Let us realize that when we recognize that we are in relationship to our Christ Self within, and the God within, and in relationship to our brothers and sisters, we are certainly no longer consumed by a belief that we are alone. And this sense of being alone has given us, in large measure, the fear that dogs our steps. The ego was developed to answer to that fear, but the ego actually accentuates the fear. The ego-mind is best left behind in the mists of past days with their unhappiness. Let us walk into the sunlight with God, sure in His love and sure in our relationship to All. May we love our brothers and sisters, and bask in the certainty that, just as God is there for us, our brothers and sisters are there for us as well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would undermine the ego today by recognizing that I have never been separate and alone. I have always been relationship to You, my Self/Christ, and my brothers and sisters—not to mention the physical universe as we perceive it.

Knowing that I am not separate and alone will take away the need to assert an ego-self. I think that I need to set myself apart when I am fearful of myself and others. This attitude need not be. And I would leave it behind forever, beginning today.

Thank You for letting me know that I am never alone, and I have never been. I was a long time coming to this knowledge, but now that I have assimilated, the future looks ever brighter.

Thank You.

Amen.

The Question of Atonement

edward-willis-redfield-solebury-home-pennsylvania-impressionism-1920
“The point of the story [crucifixion and resurrection], however, was not one of sacrifice but one of gift giving. The greatest gift of all was given, the gift of redemption. The gift of redemption was the gift of an end to pain and suffering and a beginning of resurrection and new life. It was a gift meant to empty the world of the ego-self and to allow the personal self to live on as the one true self, the one true son of God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.7)”

Affirmation: “I would focus on Jesus’s gift today.”

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection

We often misunderstand the benign lesson of the Atonement, Jesus’s death on the cross, followed by his resurrection. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love is the resurrection doubted as an historical event. But there are various ways of interpreting, including the possibility that Jesus occupied his ethereal body when he was seen after the resurrection.

2 – The Cross

Jesus said in A Course in Miracles that we miss the point when we look to the cross, that he was showing that love is present when he did not defend himself, but said nothing. He says, also in ACIM, that we are to look to the resurrection for our understanding of the Atonement.

3 – Sacrifice

Certainly sacrifice was embedded into the Jewish world. Sacrifices of animals were routinely required at the temple. And so when Jesus came as the Son of God and made the supreme sacrifice, we saw a punishing God who could only be appeased by the death of his only Son. Traditional religious services today stress this idea. But is there another way to interpret what happened?

4 – Circumstances of Jesus’s Day

Jesus says that there is, for he does not see his Father as punishing in any way. He sees God as wholly benign and loving. The choice to go to the cross is Jesus’s own, in my opinion, born of the circumstances of his day. That it may have been divinely ordained, though, I do not doubt. And the fact that for generations there has been a story in the sacrificial lamb means that Jesus read us well. He knew what we thought that we needed to be reconciled to God.

5 – “I Was Not Punished because You Were Bad”

Now he is giving us a new story, a new Atonement story. We are not to see God as punishing him in any way. “I was not punished because you were bad,” Jesus says in the opening pages of the Text of A Course in Miracles. And so we don’t have to feel guilty, and guilt is what has made us mad.

6 – A New Life

So let us see another way of viewing the Atonement. It was the lesson that we are reconciled to God through the example that Jesus gave of not resisting evil. He rose to a new life, as can we all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for what I read years ago about Jesus’s observation, in all likelihood, of the sacrifices of his day in the temple. All of this shaped his mission. But God did not require his death, of this I am sure. It was a plan that worked, though. And I thank You for that.

Help me to look beyond the crucifixion to the resurrection, and may my intellectual doubts not becloud the issue. May I contemplate the likelihood that it is Jesus’s ethereal body that was seen after his resurrection.

Amen.

What Would Mary Do?

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“I repeat, and will do so again and again, that the ego self is gone from you. Whether you fully realize this or not matters not. This A Course of Love has accomplished. Now the choice is before you to do one of two things. . .to proceed toward love or fear. If you proceed with fear you will assemble a new ego-self, an ego-self that perhaps will seem superior to the old, but which will nonetheless still be an ego-self. If you proceed with love, you will come to know your Christ-self. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 4.8)”

Affirmation: “I would leave fear behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear

Fear is our great enemy, but if we dwell on this fact too long and deeply, we will scare ourselves, making the ego strong. And the ego is strong when one is fearful. Let us leave behind this state of affairs today.

2 – When Baited

Let us proceed toward love. This means that we need to make a decision about how we will react when we are baited by those closest to us. We must determine what we will say and do, ahead of time, or we are likely to attack or otherwise react with anger.

3 – Personal Experience

I have found that the easiest way to handle a difficult conversation is to say a reminder, just the word “gentle,” followed by the question, “What would Mary do?” By “Mary,” I mean the mother of Jesus, a woman given great importance in A Course of Love (though not in A Course in Miracles). This immediately puts me in a conciliatory state of mind. I tried the phrase, “quiet control,” but I found that it tended to put me in an uptight attitude, just the reverse of what I wanted.

4 – Communion with God

You will find other words, or perhaps none, just a communion with God. Many of us do need words that help us in times of difficulty.

5 – Proceed toward Love

I would proceed toward love always with those closest to me. And this movement will take me into the Christ/Self, sooner rather than later. We need to move toward the Christ Self, because if the ego is gone, which Jesus says it is, we need to have a replacement in mind to whom we can turn.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for giving me the words, “What would Mary do?,” when I am stressed, in a difficult conversation, when I am being baited. There is no reason that I can’t keep my cool, except a lack of discipline. And You would have me be gentle with all those with whom I come in contact.

I would proceed toward love today, away from fear. I have tried this many times, but perhaps not strongly enough, because anxiety dogs my steps from time to time. I would make a determination today to slow down and relax, to meditate when I can.

I never get angry unless I am stressed. May I remember this today.

Amen.

Tiny, Mad Idea

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“It is impossible for you to imagine this holiness [of the Self] with the concepts of the thought system you heretofore have relied upon. This thought system has allowed only the acceptance of a reality within certain parameters, for it has not allowed you to imagine being able to take steps ‘back’ to the God you believe you left in defiance, or the self you believe you abandoned there. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.11)”

Affirmation: “I can believe that to separate from God was a ‘tiny, mad’ idea.”

Reflections:

1 – Madness

Earlier I suggested some “reasons” for a presumed separation from God, “reasons” set forth by individuals other than Jesus. Elsewhere, near this passage, Jesus indicates that we don’t have to look for a reason, though we have done so for eons. And maybe there was no reason other than madness. The “tiny, mad” idea is set forth early in the Text of A Course in Miracles, and this ACIM passage goes on to say that we “forgot to laugh.” And so the mad idea became possible of effects, without a cause. If this reasoning is sound, then we need look no further for reasons for a fall of humankind. There is no reason except madness.

2 – Guilty?

In today’s passage, we are almost seen as feeling guilty for this lapse, this separation. So we don’t look further for its cure. But there is a reason to look for the cure. And in that reason we move from the ego-self, to the personal self (also a persona) that is informed by the Self/Christ from within.

3 – God Is Not Angry with Us

If we can believe that we did not leave God in defiance, and especially if we can believe all that ACIM and ACOL have told us about God, we know that He is not “angry” with us. He has never condemned us, and so He also has no need to forgive us. What a glorious promise this is! We are redeemed, when we have walked the pathway back. The “journey without distance” (from ACIM) is as though we stand at the end of the pathway, looking back, and the carpet rolls up in retrospect.

4 – We Relive the Past

Jesus indicates that we do indeed stand at the end of the journey, that all that we experience now is in the past. We simply look back, reliving, a journey in which we are retracing our steps. The “tiny, mad” idea met with a Solution (the Holy Spirit) at the very point of the inception of the mad idea.

5 – Leave the Ego Behind

So let us decide today that we are through with all this egoic madness. We are, in fact, through with it, if we believe Jesus’s assertion that we are reliving the past. And so today is just as good as any day to take ourselves lightly as we retrace our steps.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would leave behind this tiny, mad idea of separation today. I did not leave God out of defiance, though I may have believed this for a very long time. And now is the time to return. I am ready, from a personal standpoint. But good intentions are not enough. I need You. Be with me as I make this transition into sanity.

Thank You.

Amen.

You Have a Persona

Le-Repos-2 - manet“While the personal self is the subject of the next treatise, this is my invitation to you, specifically, to enter into a holy and personal relationship with me, specifically. While you are here, you have a persona. While this persona is no longer an ego self but a Christ self, it is still a persona. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 13.3)”

Affirmation: “May my persona mean only good today.”

Reflections:

1 – Relationship with Jesus

Just before the passage for today, Jesus calls upon us to form a personal relationship to him. He is more exacting in A Course of Love than he had been in A Course in Miracles. He indicates further on in ACOL that he IS the way, and we need to realize this. It is indeed true that if we have come this far, he is the way that we ourselves have chosen. In A Course in Miracles, though, he indicated only that we could gain much more if we took him as a personal friend, but he could still help us even if we did not choose to develop a personal relationship.

2 – Jesus as Our Guide

We don’t have to discount the many people of this world who choose another pathway. We do know that there are many teachers (an assertion from the Manual of ACIM), and that each teach a different form of the universal curriculum. But at this point in A Course of Love, Jesus would have us make a deliberate choice for him as our guide. Much later on in the Dialogues, he resigns as our teacher and sees himself as an equal to ourselves.

3 – Bad Example

We do have a persona here, and it behooves us to make that persona attractive to this world. What can we do as individuals on a spiritual pathway if we are constantly having run-ins with the people we encounter? We present a bad example of what our spiritual readings are teaching us. And none of us would have it so.

4 – No Idle Fantasy

So let us choose that personal relationship with Jesus today. We do not have to maintain that close a tie, if we do not gain anything from such a choice. But give him a chance. And see if you are not surprised, when you imagine walking along in this world, holding the hand of Jesus. He said in ACIM that this would be no idle fantasy.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose Jesus as my guide today, once and for all. He does not want to dictate to me what to do, but he does want me in close touch with God. He will help bring about a better day for me. And for other people. We all benefit from listening to his guidance.

I would set a good example today. This may be easier said than done. Help me to walk the fine line between being coerced in my daily activities and choosing a compliant attitude that allows me to get along well with others. None of us needs to have interpersonal difficulties in daily life when we stay close to You.

Amen

From Ego Self to Christ Self

degas - dancer2“The alternative is replacing belief in an ego self with belief in a Christ self. Total replacement. As long as you hang on to both identities the world will not change and you will not know who you are. You may think you know, and you may waste much time in perceived battles, valiantly fighting for good to win out over evil. But this is not the new way and the lack of value from this type of effort can surely now be seen. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 11.16)”

Affirmation: “I will contemplate my Christ self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Move Away from the Ego Self

We need to move away from the ego self into allowing (and that is the salient word) the Christ self. We don’t have to worry that we are not ready. We are ready as soon as we start our contemplation. While we may not know Awakening now (and maybe not for a long time), we can–in all likelihood–catch glimpses of this new self. And we will be the better for it. We will drop our conflicts and our complexes. We will drop our anger and our attack. And we will see peace where conflict, complexes, anger, and attack had been.

2 – Pipe Dream?

We cannot live in two different worlds simultaneously. We need to realize that we would not hold on to the ego self any longer. While this may seem a pipe dream, it is anything but. It is the way of the New, and the Treatise on the New (previously considered–see the About page, above) spells this out for us.

3 – Real World

We drop the egoic world by becoming more mindful of the real world (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love). Mindfulness is recommended in ACOL, though not in ACIM. We are living in the time of Christ as we study ACOL, and that time means that mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and affirmations are all ways that we can draw closer to God. Jesus gets very specific with us in his helps.

4 – Drop Battles

We do not need to worry about whether or not good will win out over evil. It will. We do not need to engage in various battles in our own minds or in our world about the relative validity of truth or falsity as a way of life. Or of good over evil. These battles are false ways of engaging with our world. And false ways of engaging with ourselves.

5 – Guidance

The best way to live in this world is to know God through guidance, and this guidance comes most of the time through our heart. We know, without knowing how we know. And when we act on that guidance, that advice, our world becomes smoother out and all is well. We are home, even while on earth, in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I choose today to walk a smooth pathway. I choose to invite glimpses of the Christ Self who is within all of us, and I choose to invite that presence into my life today. I would not say that this can’t happen, because I know that it can. I will prove my invitation by trusting in God, living a serene and tranquil day.

Be with me as I seek You. I would not presume more than I feel, but I would not have my ego say that these dreams of mine are pipe dreams.

Take me home for a little while today.

Amen

Gently Led to Christ-Consciousness

renoir-the-swing“Now you must fully recognize the distinction between the ego-self that previously was the self of learning and experience, and the Christ Self that is now the Self of learning and experience. You must take on the mantle of your new identity, your new Self. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 3.4)”

Affirmation: “I would seek to be my Christ Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Gently Led

We need to be careful to say too early that we have lost the ego and that we are living the Christ Self. At first, we have glimpses of the Christ Self, and we live in this state a little of the time. If we remain true to the pathway, this time of living the Christ Self increases in duration. We do not have to fear this increase. We have been gently led.

2 – Awakening

We especially have to be careful of asserting that we have Awakened, that we have reached enlightenment. While this is where we are all headed, very few of even the most diligent students have reached this degree of salvation yet. And others will note if we claim something that is not ours yet, or at least ours on a continual basis. We need not to mislead. If the ego has even a toehold in us, the ego will take advantage of our hope for Awakening, and we will allow ourselves to be beguiled.

3 – Vainglory

Let us pray to be protected from vainglory. We do not make any decision about Awakening. It is God who, metaphorically, reaches down and lifts us up (from A Course in Miracles). We need to be careful that we don’t try to lift ourselves up. Lifting up by the bootstraps never worked for any reason, including egoistic ones. And it certainly won’t work for Awakening.

4 – Patience

As much as we all hope for Awakening sooner rather than later, we must rest in patience. The time will be right for fulfillment, but none of us knows the time. If it seems long off, know that every day spent in love of God and others and Self will bring that blessing nearer. We are on the pathway.

And the end is certain (from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the assurance that all of us–all, everyone–is on the pathway back to You. Even when I am not sure, sometimes. Even when my ego beguiles me.

I would walk gently and carefully where and how You lead. Be with me today as I seek to keep the highest ethical standards to my thinking and my actions.

Amen.