Tag Archives: Ego

Spirit

“Rather, it was more like a mathematical concept.  It was the idea of space, in which extension could occur.  There were not yet planets and suns.  There was not yet a single atom or molecule of matter.  There was pure thought, pure Love, pure being, beginning to entertain, and I emphasize that word for a certain reason, the idea of pure space, pure extension—unlimited, unbounded, forever.  There was pure Spirit.  That is what you are, now and forever.  Spirit does not change.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” WOM, Chapter 16, Page 189)

Spirit is an energy that pervades the whole. In the beginning (if we can say that), there was nothing but Spirit. Then God moved, and His energy–or Thought–slowed down a bit, and lo and behold, matter came into being. Matter has been most of what we have known. And unfortunately, in our separation from God–something that we, in error, imagined we wanted–we developed a false self, an ego, that felt all alone and lonely without our Creator, God Himself.

Now things are changing for us. We know that egotism is not the way of the Christ-Mind. And we are tired and burned out from the suffering that our ego has laid upon us. We now have a new choice before us–choosing God, again, this time to stay with Him. Our ego diminishes into nothingness, and we have true joy in our newfound communion with our Creator.

We are pure Spirit, and despite our foray into egotism, our essence has not changed.

Now we choose again, this time in Love. And Love, with a capital “L,” is God Himself.

Our Essence

“You are God Itself.  Now, that is the first time that we have been quite so bold.  It is the first time that we have described you as that which is God.  This can only mean that what you are in your essence, in your essential being, is God Himself.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 16, Page 188)

What this quotation is saying is that the All, everything, is composed of “God-stuff.”  There is no energy that exists except the essence of God, and He created children from that Essence that are differentiated out of His very being.  We are those children.

There are differences, of course, starting with the fact that we are finite and lack full knowledge.  We could not live if we knew it all, because our mind would act like a computer drive that has had too much data stored in it (an analogy from A Course of Love).  We have also “fallen,” in that we made an ego that has separated us from God—or so we thought.  We could not actually separate from Him, for we are part of Him, part of His essence.

When we return to God, to know it, we will be in a position to partake more of His very essence.  Our benefits will be great, for love and loving will be the way we live.  Love is God, as we know.  But God is not an emotion, and so by this statement we mean something grander than the emotion of love.  We draw sustenance from Love (something that remains a mystery), for when we forgive completely, we know that we are safe in His arms (we know this from A Course in Miracles, which stresses forgiveness as our great need).

And when we have walked the whole way back to God, we will then know that there is really nothing to forgive.  The dream is over, the reality is in full sway now.

Love is the way we walk in peace.

Jesus: “Awe of Mystery”

“I began to discern what brought me true joy.  Not just a moment of pleasure, or satisfaction, or sense of security, but which elicited true joy.  I discovered that what always brought joy was when I was willing to surrender into the awe of mystery. . . .”  (“The Way of Transformation,” WOM, Chapter 14, Page 175)

We too can experience true joy when we let our mind and heart rise upward to the true mystery of God.  Jesus is here laying out a pathway for us to follow, too.

We need to be aware when we are feeling joy as opposed to simply the earthly happiness.  Joy is on a higher plane, more akin to heaven on earth than our usual egoic world.  We have flights of happiness when the ego rules, but we don’t experience true joy—joy that lasts and warms our heart constantly.

Ask today to experience this true joy.  Lift our mind and heart to the mysteries of God.  Experience awe in His presence.

We will have a day like no other.

Heaven Is Where We Are Living Now

“Within your self is a place where you can read God’s purpose for you.  There, in the sacred precinct of your holy will, resides truth, love, and Heaven.  It is where we are living now.”  Choose Only Love bk.3, 7:III

We often wonder what we are here for.  This quotation tells us that we simply must look within to find the answer.  Of course, we can still get ourselves all tangled up with superficial answers that are coming from either the ego or (later) the patterns of the ego.  We can still confuse ourselves.

The way to be certain that we are reading our purpose correctly is, in my opinion, to look back over our life and see what we have been doing that seemed “right.”  When we have really been on the beam, we have known it.  Our joy has been full, for joy is an indication that all is well.  God intends us to be joyous, even in the midst of living in a difficult world.  God’s joy is an indication that we are in our purpose.

I think we have an overall purpose, all of us, to heal ourselves, and our brothers and sisters.  This purpose obviously takes many forms, and it is these many forms that we need to focus upon—to know what is the particular form that healing takes in our lives.  A Course in Miracles has a good affirmation, “I am here only to be truly helpful.”  And in the healing that we will do, we will be truly helpful.  We don’t impose on another our own will, though.  We let healing occur through our connection with God.

Heaven resides in this inner place that we are accessing today.  As the quotation says, “It is where we are living now.”

Enjoy heaven today.

Communion

“[T]rue communication is communion, the union of two souls and with them, all souls in union with the totality of self.”  Choose Only Love bk.3, 7:III

The Self is another way of speaking of God.  Our Christ-Self, which we try to access as we progress, is one with this Self.  This is the “totality” of which Choose Only Love speaks (as does A Course of Love).  We are one with God, though we are too encased in ego sometimes to see this.  As we progress, we relinquish the ego and are left only with the patterns of the ego—something that can still trip us up.

Communion with our God is the sweetest thing we can ever do.  When we truly reach inward to Him, we know a peace that envelops all of our life.  We feel truly at home, for in this we are touching heaven.  Likewise, when we commune with our brothers and sisters in this world, we are soothed beyond belief.  We truly communicate, and when we truly communicate—understand and are understood—we are blessed beyond description.

We start with our brother or sister, our way home as described in A Course in Miracles.  Our holy relationships show us God.  And we go home to heaven holding the hand of our brother or sister.

Allow our communion with other people and with our God inform our day.  There is no better way to have a good day.

Love = True Function

“Your function is not to be anything, but to be what you are, which is love.”  Choose Only Love bk.3, 4:I

We don’t have to fulfill a self-described image of what we want to be, a self-image.  Images are often ego-originating, and false to the core.  Instead, we simply need to focus on what we know of love, to fulfill a vision of someone who loves.

This cannot be hard, though our real Self has been covered over by egoic notions for a long time.  Yet, even in the midst of folly, all of us have known love, from someone or something.  We first receive love from God, and this first receipt from Him enables us to be able to give.  If we had not first received, we would simply be unable to heal the separation, something that God Himself longs to see.

Simplify life today.  Know that when all is said and done, we don’t want more honors, more promotions, more achievements. When life is ending for us, we will never say that we wish we had spent more time at the office.  We will say that we wish we had loved better.

Begin today to rectify gaps in our experience of love.  Pray to be brought closer to true reality, which at base is nothing if it is not love.

Being Who We Really Are

“The wind does what is natural to wind.  The purpose of existence is to be its true nature.  That is why, we have spent so much time reminding you of who you really are.

“Being aware of who you really are allows you to live as who you truly are.”  Choose Only Love bk.3, 4:I

Often we try to live up to an ideal that is only in our mind.  “Being who we are” is something more substantial than just an appeal to ideals.  Knowing who we are takes some deep thought, some mystical insight, and a connection to God Himself Who will guide us to blossom as He intended.

We are individuals who best live in love, not fear, and especially not egoic fear.  We know that we are really One with all our brothers and sisters, with whom, if things are good, we live in holy relationship.  We unite with the depth of ourselves, the Christ-Self.  As the Christ-Self learns over time, we see a bloom come to all we encounter, for projection makes perception.  What we are inwardly, we see as external to ourselves.  We are projecting “reality” as we view it.

God wants us to enjoy ourselves in this lifetime.  Often we don’t, because we know pain, sorrow, even suffering.  But these things can disappear more often than not when we are keen to follow guidance as we know it.  God means us well.  He does not visit bad things upon us.  Usually our free will has brought the more unfortunate parts of our lives to us.

Ask today, deep in contemplation and prayer, for an understanding of the personality that has been given us.  We do have some say in the matter, of course.  Some of life is meant to be play.  When we develop the best that is in us, we know a joy that cannot be known by anybody who is simply playing a part.  We know a joy because our innermost essence is divine, and when we touch the divine, we sense God’s love in everything about us.

Christ

“Beloved, accept now that you are Christ.  Begin to walk on Earth as gods, loving everything, always in love.”  Choose Only Love bk.2, 21:II

When we walk the world loving everything, always in love, then indeed we are Christ.  And there is something further: “Begin to walk on Earth as gods.”

This is heady stuff.  But we will be misinterpreting if we let these words be an appeal to our ego.  These words are not meant in such a fashion.  Our little personalities often misconstrue. 

When we are living in love, everything looks different—and this includes us.  We truly are being a Christ when we walk in love upon the face of this earth.

To do so will make such a difference.  We won’t be so much changed as just living more fully.  Our minds will have slowed down, and cleared, and we will be happier.  Yet Christ-consciousness is not so much a matter of a changed mind as it is of a changed outlook, though Jesus says elsewhere (in The Way of Mastery) that if our scientists knew what to look for in the brain, they would have found it.

Do we have to have walked the whole pathway back to God in order to be considered a Christ?  No, because being a Christ is our inheritance, what we are meant to step into.  We don’t have to be perfect in order to reach this place.  It is our joint certainty that all is well.  It is our renewed hope for a better life.

And the only way that we can have a better life is to turn ever more completely to expressions of love in everyday life.

Jesus: “You Are a Joy to Me”

“Let nothing disturb your heart.  Let nothing have you believe that anything within you is wrong.  You are a joy to me.”  Choose Only Love bk.2, 21:I

We have so much trouble accepting ourselves.  Accepting ourselves just as we are.  Always trying to improve, we get ourselves all tangled up for the trying.

But we are OK as we are.  We must let nothing disturb our heart.  If Jesus tells us, here, that we are a joy to him, then why can we not accept ourselves, just as we are?

Our ego is to blame.  And even if we have abandoned our ego, we have patterns of the ego that linger and disturb our peace.  The ego was always telling us we weren’t good enough, that if we only tried harder, we would find ourselves in a better position, sure of ourselves, sure of our value as human beings.

This idea from the ego is a mirage.  Just as an individual lost in a desert, seeing water ahead, aims to reach that water and then finds nothing there.  We have always held out to ourselves that we could be better than we are.  Of course, in some sense, this idea is true, but it is not the bottom line.  God accepts and loves us just as we are.  He wants us to be sane, though, and the insanity is what has made us dissatisfied with ourselves.  When we allow the insanity to fall away, we will know that God’s love is for the genuine Self who we are.  And we will be much more accepting of the truth that we are alright just as we are.

Keep in mind that Jesus says we are a joy to him.  He has the most sanity of anyone, and so I am inclined to believe that he sees something that we do not.

Ask to be accepting of our foibles as remnants of insanity that just need to fall away.  Accept our Self, know that all is well, and we are loved—just as we are.  We need to take this truth unto ourselves, and, yes, love ourselves, too.  We can’t love others well until we love ourselves, too. 

We need to realize that our lives will smooth out when we engulf ourselves with the Love that only God can give.  And He is giving this Love constantly.

Guidance

“Abandon the compulsion of the thinking mind.  I am asking you to stop looking for meaning in things.”  COL bk.2, 20:II

We analyze everything!  And here, in a message attributed to Mary, we are asked just to stop this, the compulsion of the thinking mind.  A Course of Love, received from Jesus, asks us to listen to our heart, which is actually the center of our being. 

When we look for meaning in everything, analyzing, we are often in the egoic mind.  How much sense do you think the ego is really making?  None!  We analyze wrongly, but then we act on what we “receive” from our mind, and we think that we are so right!  We are misinformed.  We cannot know much that we think we have figured out.

I used to analyze just all the time.  It earned me good marks on the analytical part of the Graduate Record Examination, but it was a poor way to navigate in life.  We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit (A Course in Miracles) or the Christ-Mind (A Course of Love).  The Way of Mastery echoes a similar theme, that the mind is meant to be a very “stupid servant.”  And we so prize our good intelligence!

There is an easier way to live.  And these received writings all point in the same direction.  Give up trying to make our own decisions about where to go, what to do, what to say.  Refer those decisions to a Higher Power.

And watch life ease out, never to give us many of the same problems again.  Now we are truly being “intelligent,” referring questions to a higher authority.

Walk into Love, Away from Fear

“Given the energetic state of fear, the soul begins to grapple with it, just as the body does with a toxin.  It is a natural reaction.  Fear is so foreign and unnatural that the soul always seeks to eliminate it.  Fear is soul poison.”  COL bk.2, 19:II

These blunt words about fear will make us want to banish it forever from our mind and heart.   We can do so, though it takes patience and special dispensation from God.  If we love enough, we won’t have fear, because love always displaces fear.  But here, in this world, this degree of love is unusual.  Often we have to take tiny steps to displace fear, seeking calm, seeking peace, seeking tranquility.  Love, true love, comes later, because the vast majority of our love-seeking behavior has been bent on finding special loves that never become holy.  When our special loves transform into holy, then, yes, we are making progress.

Meditation and contemplation, prayer and communion with God, can hasten the arrival of true love in our heart.  These things mitigate against fear, makes us immune to its shrill beckoning.  If we really want to make progress in our walk back to God, we need to invite love into our every moment.  Fear comes from the ego, which we would give up.  Patterns of fear and patterns of the ego will haunt us, though, for a time even after Christ-consciousness has arrived.  We are just that stuck from eons of fear-ridden living.

Be patient.  The end is certain.  We will walk away from fear when that is our intention. 

And this soul poison will haunt us no longer.

Becoming More Aware of Our True Self

This essential matter of being aware of your true self is what will make fear disappear forever from your sight, reduced to the memory of an unpleasant nightmare.”  COL bk.2, 19:I

What does it mean, to be “aware of your true self”?  I think this message in Choose Only Love means that we are to drop egotistical leanings, just resting in God’s grace as we approach each day.  Our true self is our Christ-Self, and this Self has been hidden in our depths for a very long time.  The ego did this to us.

But now we would walk a different way.  We would drop the ego from our experience.  When we rest in God’s grace, we approach life with a soft focus.  We don’t drop into analytical nightmares, trying to make sense of our world from a stressed and difficult attitude of mind.  We rest easy.

What a promise we have when we become aware of our true self!  Fear will disappear, becoming only an unpleasant nightmare.  We may not see how this is possible, but this word from Jesus does indicate that fear will not be a factor for us any longer.

Let us take Jesus at his word.  If we feel the need for help, let’s simply ask him to hold our hand as we walk along.  A Course in Miracles says that doing so will be no “idle fantasy.”

Serenity Will Heal

“The impulse to struggle and defend is the impulse that moves the egoic world because the ego is only concerned with its survival.”  COL bk.2, 18:II

Perhaps we can read in this quotation from Choose Only Love the implication that to struggle and defend are false issues for us.  Certainly struggle is not God’s way with us.  His way of speaking to us is all peace.  And defending our little territory of mind and heart in this world is not the way, either.  Yes, struggling in vain and defending our way as the only way are both signs of an egoic leaning.

The ego would like to continue to lead us around.  But its days are numbered.  In A Course of Love, as we read through it meditatively, we discover that the ego has left us.  If we latch onto a new way of living, we will not build a new ego on the ashes of the first one.  And we would not choose to do that, for such a futile choice would take away all our gains.

When tempted to struggle with an issue, go within and get quiet.  In the silence, God will speak to us.  He knows that serenity is one of our greatest blessings.  And He will bring serenity to our personal issues in life.  Serenity irons out the difficulties, and we will walk a smooth pathway as we go along.

Defenses do what they would defend, as A Course in Miracles tells us.  So a defensive attitude in life is not the way either.  Drop our defenses today.  We will be the better for it.

Give up the ego and egotistical leanings as bad choices.  Let the subconscious mind be cleansed as we pray for help. 

This in itself will go a long way toward saying good-bye to the ego.

Jesus: “Certainly Everything Will Be Fine”

“Certainly everything will be fine.  Do not doubt this.  God and you, your being and my love, are always the universal winners, not in the sense of triumph of the egoic thought system, but in truth.”  COL bk.2, 17:II

We do need this reassurance now!  It is attributed to Jesus, in the new series of books, Choose Only Love, and the words were channeled within just a year or two ago.  We need to hear, “everything will be fine.”  And we are not to doubt!

We are not talking about an egoic victory, but something much, much grander—the peace that the end of separation from God actually gives.  We are heading into Awakening, Christ-consciousness, enlightenment—all of us.  And when we have traversed the barriers of fear and judgment, we will have that which we desire, a peace that passeth understanding virtually all the time.

For reasons that we don’t understand, it is easier to reach Christ-consciousness now.  We have grown through our travails, and now we are ready.  Devote time to contemplation and meditation, prayer, and simply loving our brothers and sisters.  We will find our walk in life will go much easier when we have done these simple things.

We need to cooperate with God as He seeks to bring us home to Him.  He would have us turn from the insanity that is egotism.  When we do this, we will have that which we most long to have, and for many of us it is peace and joy.

May the peace and joy of God’s blessings reach us, wherever we are, today.

Clear Mind and Warm Heart

“Brother, sister . . . let me tell you that you are ready to heal fully.”  COL bk.2, 9:IV

The context of this quotation is that we have let the ego go and that we are merging with our Christ-Self.  If we have taken steps to eliminate fear and judgment, the two forbidden aspects of our thoughts that keep us back, then we are ready to heal—and to heal fully.  Healing is what is happening when we reach Christ-consciousness.  And healing is what happens when we have let neuroses go.

What a blessing this statement really is!  If we can be neurosis-free, then our minds will have learned from our hearts, and we will be walking a flower-strewn pathway.

Much of this philosophy of this post comes from A Course of Love, a received writing that came around the turn of this century.  We need to let our hearts, which have never doubted God, have full ascendancy over our minds, which are characterized by The Way of Mastery, as being “very stupid servants.”  While we may not agree that our minds are stupid, we certainly can know that we haven’t ever doubted God so much in our hearts.  It is only our minds that have given us problems, intellectual problems, about a God we cannot see.

But we can intuit God, and that is what I am asking you to do today.  Listen to the heart.  Know that it does not lie.  And the heart does not need the proofs of God’s existence that the mind seems to throw up while we are in the throes of the ego.

Be ready to heal fully, clear mind and warm heart, and accept this promise of full healing as our birthright.

Ego Ideal

            If, as for most of us, the ego is debased before meeting a special “other,” another dyn\amic comes into play.  The weakened ego is likely to see in the other her “ego ideal.”  Only if this very special one can love me, will I be perceived in my own (ego) eyes as “worthy.”  All of the other’s special qualities then become fodder for falling in “love.”

            Such “love” always proceeds on part knowledge, and even this part, the Course would have us see, is not knowledge, but faulty perception.  There seem to be many secrets in an egoistic love, though in the words of the A Course in Miracles, “God has no secrets.  He does not lead you through a world of misery, waiting to tell you, at the journey’s end, why He did this to you.” (T-22.I.3:10-11)

            In the unholy love, we are primarily aware of the differences between self and the other.  But this can only be ego, because only the ego knows of differences.  Under the skin, we are all the same.  Only the “lonely and alone, who see their brothers different from themselves” (T- 22.intro.2:2) have need of sin.  When we truly join with another, we know that we are just as capable of his mistakes as he is, as well as just as capable of the love that springs forth from him.  Only when we call an error “sin” does it appear separate and apart from ourselves.

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Ask the Holy Spirit for Escape from Fear

The way we view our brother is actually the way that we view ourselves.  If we attribute dark motives to him, it is sure that we are projecting those motives from within ourselves. And mild annoyance can be just as debilitating as more aggressive forms of hostility.  We are never angry at something that is “really there”; what we see is always a projection from our own false image of self, our ego.  To believe otherwise is to construct a room without exits in this illusory and sad world of ours.

            We can see the dynamic of blame played out with our brother.  First, for whatever reason, we unconsciously feel fear; this fear floats about looking for a place to alight, and just a word, of whatever nature, from our brother is enough to create anger.  The whole encounter revolves around fear, but we will more likely correctly identify what transpires if we allow ourselves to

experience the fear as stress.  We can then more easily bring ourselves around to a better slant of mind, without torturing ourselves by looking for the source of fear.  Ease up, and ask for respite from the Holy Spirit.  It is our little mind, the ego, that has gotten us into this fix, but it is our Higher Mind that can get us out.  If we dwell a moment upon our brother’s sterling qualities, the sword of guilt above our heads will no longer descend to touch our heart.

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Be Aware

“Therefore, look upon that which resides within your awareness, within your consciousness. What are the things that you know that you know? What are the things that you would avoid? What are the feelings that you have not explored? What are the objects, the people, the places, the values that you strive for, that seem to thrill even the cells of the body? (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 8, Page 94)

Jesus is here asking us to have self-awareness, and surely self-awareness helps us to live good lives. If we know our inner being, we come a long way toward functioning well in the world. And in a better world that we will create, as A Course of Love says.

What are we sure we know? There may actually be very little of which we are very sure. Our egoic worlds have been turned upside down with our new reading, the new channelings of Jesus. And we may take some time to settle down. Let’s ask for Jesus’ blessing to eliminate our confusion, if it is confusion. We need to realize that the old egoic nonsense is truly gone, that we are living in the Christ-Self Who will function in a new way in a new world.

What would we avoid? Top on our list of what to avoid is surely a return to the ego. Pray that the egoic patterns will cease to enthrall us. Pray that we not return to the pit of egoic despair that we used to know.

What are our feelings? These feelings are highly important as we seek to create a new world. Let intuition rule our lives. Test out the insights, and I am sure that you will find that intuition is the very best way to live. It is the panacea to all ills.

What thrills us? That which speaks to our very core with happiness/joy is what we ought to pursue, for God placed in our minds and hearts the best ways, to be determined by the joy that we feel. Don’t forget to thank Him as we encounter joy on our everyday rounds.

Live today in the thrill of knowing that we will not return to our old ways of the ego.

We are walking ahead to a new day, a new day in a new world.

Conflict in the Workplace

“For when you know that you are holiness itself, how could you ever look upon your brother or sister and believe that they have wronged you? How could you ever want to do anything but love them? That is, let the Love of Christ flow through you so deeply and so profoundly that they get that you do not believe their illusion.” (WOM, Lesson 7, Page 86)

I once had a difficult relationship with a co-worker. She denounced my work, and indeed myself, in a peer review that was very disheartening. And I cast a deciding peer vote that she would not get the managerial position that she sought.

We were really doing it to each other. Or were we? We were actually doing it to ourselves, creating our own reality. Using each other as pawns. As foils one to the other.

We are all holiness itself, not as finite creatures who make mistakes, but as children of God. She did not “wrong” me, though I believed this for years. I sought to forgive her, but the words seemed stuck in my throat. And what, I wonder, was she thinking all those years?

What was going on here, but that we were both getting an unforgiveness “cooked”? We were healing something else that was buried deep within our subconscious. We needed to realize that we were lost in ego, both of us. And when she criticized my work, my ego cried out for redress. When I stopped her advancement, I was hurting her ego.

Yes, the ego is constantly being undone.

We really did each other a great service. We were even in our misguided efforts to hurt another.

We know better now. The ego has fallen away, the holiness that we both embody has cleansed us of past deeds and past thoughts to hurt.

Illusions actually hurt nobody. It is all just like a mirage. Holiness trumps illusion every time.

A Course in Miracles Sets the Stage

“The further teachings of the original Course were designed to turn fear into love. When you think you can go only so far and no further in your acceptance of the teachings of the course and the truth of your Self as God created you, you are abdicating love to fear.” (ACOL, P11)

Many come to A Course of Love from A Course in Miracles. And Jesus has made clear that A Course of Love is a continuation of A Course in Miracles. Here we find the continuity that Jesus wanted. Here he expresses this continuity in terms of love and fear.

We are told, in no uncertain terms, that when we feel that we cannot fully accept A Course in Miracles (and, by implication, A Course of Love), we are “abdicating love to fear.” (ACOL, P11) We think we don’t know how to live a life fully in love; we don’t dare let go of fear.

What is this but the ego talking to us? It is nothing but: It is pure ego.
We have such a problem in letting go of the fear-ridden ego in favor of the heart-felt place of our love. We think, wrongly, that the ego has protected us from unnamed disasters—when it is actually just the reverse. We are abject cowards in the fact of the loud voice of the ego that we hear shouting to us to be careful.

We think that if we don’t heed these shrieking sounds, we will be lost. But it is actually the reverse. We will be lost in a hell of our making by refusing to listen to the still small voice that whispers of Love.

So let us take a look at what we are really meant to be, the person that Jesus sees in us. The person who chooses love over fear, consistently.

Wanting Aright

“Then as you drive home and a Mercedes pulls up alongside you, you cannot help but turn and say, ‘God, I wish I could afford one of those.’ Then you think, ‘Oh, God! I can’t have that thought, so I’ll just drive my old Volkswagen down the road. But I’m being a very good spiritual person.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 4, Page 48)

Jesus is saying here that we try hard to be spiritual, trying to purify our own thoughts even as we walk through out days. But do we succeed in such a personally driven desire? Aren’t we leaving something out?

Leaving something out will lead to resentment, surely the least lovable of characteristics. If we want the Mercedes, we don’t have to decide that such a wish needs to be squashed because it is “unspiritual.” Maybe we need to be honest about all of our secret wishes, even the ones that seem “unspiritual.” Then we are truly getting somewhere.

It is not the Mercedes, or our desire for it, that is bad. It is a false, egoic-driven way to be “better” in spiritual matters than we are. This leads to spiritual pride, self-righteousness, and, of course, resentment.
Acknowledge the desire. That is all that is needed. Acknowledge the desire, and then ask God if it is a legitimate desire borne of good will. If not, then is the time to alter our wishes.

Egoic “Devil” Is a Mirage

One point in the deluded sufferer’s mind of attack needs to be addressed. Not only will we have trouble believing in the essential innocence of our brother, but we will believe that A Course in Miracles is deluding us as the tool of the “devil” as well. The Holy Spirit will therefore not be seen as God’s emissary, but as the voice of evil, cloaked in “good.” This is the essential aspect of the Course that Jesus says will cause us trouble; we will believe that he is misleading us. But is he really? Isn’t it our own projections that are the culprit here? We think the “sin” within is actually perpetrated by following an external demon, when in truth the demons are all within–products of our deluded mind. This is all that we are really dealing with. The devil is a myth, a projection from within of the “evil” we have seen there. And it was all a mirage–nothing more. A mirage that we can discard as invalid as soon as we accept the truth that we are dreaming in chaos, living with a diseased mind that in truth wants fervently to be sane again.

Jesus explains this dilemma in two succinct sentences. Referring to the Holy Spirit, he says, “What could He be to them except a devil, dressed to deceive within an angel’s cloak. And what escape has He for them except a door to hell that seems to look like Heaven’s gate?” (T-25.VIII.7:3-4) Words like these are the reason that the early portion of the Course must be carefully studied, because without this preparation, the ego will react with such fear that the experience will be more traumatic than beatific.” (T-1.VII.5:8) Trauma we can leave behind if we only trust Jesus and the Course a little longer. Suspend egoistic judgment of the parts that frighten, and patiently study the whole.

Jesus and the Holy Spirit will bring us out of the tunnel into the light, and into a world of Reality that sparkles and shines unlike anything seen since we fell asleep. And the Awakening will be gentle, once all the steps on the ladder have been retraced. Before the steps have been taken, there indeed may be a revelation of some startling proportions, a revelation revealing the end. But to get there the means are needed, and Jesus in the Course carefully explains those means. (T-1.VII.5:11)

God Enthralls Us

I believe that this moment of coming into our own can be likened to God taking the last steps into our Reunion with Him all by Himself. There is nothing that we can “do” to merit it, and if we had continued to struggle in our chaos, it might have seemed to be endless. And by retracing our karmic steps, we will regain Heaven, and the ladder leading us in the direction of the egoistic world can be withdrawn so that never again will we be tempted to dive into illusory worlds.

We have had enough pain to realize that the egotistical way is not appropriate. We will love God too much, appreciate the joys of Heaven too much, ever to be tempted to feel that following His Will is somehow a contrast to our own. We will see others as the equals that they are, and we will not be tempted to ask God to give us special favor. The desire for “special favor” is, in fact, what A Course in Miracles sees as the reason for our present predicament. And that defines the ego in two tiny words. We wait for God to take the final step in freeing us as individuals. Yet the Course looks to the individual first; in that sense, it does not preach a “social gospel.”

The Course would see most of our efforts in the world as doomed from the start unless we are right with God in the beginning. Jesus knows that we cannot give what we have not received. If we are not first healed, we have no healing to share with others. If we try still, we are “unhealed healers,” and Jesus is particularly negative about this. (T-9.V.3:3)

All that Is Asked of Us Is to Make Room for Truth

The ego is dazed by much of our reasoning, which accounts for the Heaven vs. hell dichotomies that our religions have set up. I once heard a ministerial student proclaim that [blank] religion could not be right, because it asserted that there was only Good and “there cannot be good without evil.” Jung had a similar problem, symbolized by a seminal childhood dream, which led him to feel that God Himself might be both good and evil. This was nothing less than an imperfect way to improve on Milton’s concept of Satan and God at war. Ego, all, A Course in Miracles would have us understand. We can’t make sense of it because the ideas are filled to the brim with the chaotic “reality” of insanity.

Any person who has experienced psychosis understands the troubled way in which he tries to “make sense” of the images that arise from the subconscious. Meaning can be seen only in part, because the person is having a nocturnal dream in the daylight hours. And there are virtually always huge chunks of our nocturnal dreams that remain incomprehensible to us as we seek to analyze them. It is this dynamic that is played out when we live with the ego as our guide. Our cues for inference (T-21.I.1:5) are wrong, the Course says, so we cannot see our way clearly. The daily dream that is our life is chaotic because its source (the ego) is insane.

We do not have to accept this view of Reality wholly if it would be dishonest to try to believe something that on the surface of it doesn’t make sense. The Course says only, “All that is asked of you is to make room for truth.” (T-21.II.7:6) Entertain the concept that our ego may be distracting us in our search for meaning. We need only open our minds to the possibility that in the past we may have formed a worldview wrongly. Suspend judgment for a time, drop resistance, and in the Course’s beautiful language, do as it bids: “Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see.” (T-21.II.8:1)

The Ego as Satan

A Course in Miracles says, “Sin is not error, for it goes beyond correction to impossibility. Yet the belief that it is real has made some errors seem forever past the hope of healing, and the lasting grounds for hell.” (T-26.VII.7:1-2) This passage points to the old idea of a duel between God and the fallen angel Lucifer (Satan), in which the two battle it out for control of men’s and women’s minds.

We must realize that this myth is a projection of the ego, which is the “Satan” in all of us. But as part of God, as an extension of God, our Will and His have not truly been out of sync. It is only in our mad and unnatural way to operate independently of God that the trouble began–the trouble that is an illusion of reality, but an illusion in which, nevertheless, we still believe.

God does not attack our ego (our “Satan”), knowing that it is only a dream and without substance at all. He waits for us to understand that the way of the ego does not work; He waits for our reestablishment of communing with the Holy Spirit, the only natural way to live. As finite minds, we cannot succeed if we try to live separately from our Source.

So we must give up our inferior judgments to the Holy Spirit, who sees the whole picture. This is natural; this is the way life should be experienced, and we learn this as our bad dreams turn to happy ones under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit.

Errors vs. Sin

A Course in Miracles affirms, “The ego’s whole continuance depends on its belief you cannot learn this course.” (T-22.III.2:1) Of course! The heart of the assertion is the distinction between “errors” and “sin.” Errors are made for correction, which we will learn to do by learning this Course. Sin can, in Christian theology, only be forgiven and, perhaps, imperfectly, as we humans are prone to do. The Course asserts that it is doubly hard to forgive sin that has been in our minds made “real.” The better way is not to focus on the “sin,” or mistake, from the beginning, but to overlook it as the illusion that it is.

Sin is likened to solid granite (T-22.III.3:4), which, when observed, is seen as an impenetrable barrier. But this is what only the body’s eyes see a form that is not reality at all. It takes the application of reason to truly see, to have vision. The body’s eyes, physically and metaphorically, can never see past illusory form.

It is necessary for us to realize that the ego is a false, illusory self, made by ourselves in insanity, and offering nothing that in our right minds we would really want. God had to protect His universe, and so He allowed our miscreations to live on in illusion only–not in reality. Only in reality can we share the Mind that is His, and thus know reality as it is really meant to be.

Love or a Call for Love

What a depressing idea is the ego! This false idea believes that guilt can never be escaped, that sin will forever hold us bound. We find misery on the one side, misery of the ego; we join, on the other side, the Holy Spirit. Which will we choose? The Course’s particular understanding of the world must be addressed in this context.

Traditional Christian belief holds that sin is real, but that through the grace of God we can be led to forgive any evil, however black. But this part of belief has always been a particular stumbling block, because the effects of sin (pain, suffering) are first made real (by belief) and then a superhuman effort must be made to forgive.
The Course’s cosmology is different. Believing that this world is an illusory one based on madness, it does not make something real before one is asked to forgive. One forgives because everything that happens is either an expression of love or a call for love. One does not dwell on the mistake (“sin”), but quickly overlooks it, thereby not making it “real” in one’s consciousness.

A call for love begs answering, and if one in madness has done wrong, both the realization that one actually needs love, and the realization that one is mad, inspire the other to rush to her side with help and love.

Giving Up Attack Thoughts

For many years, the most important passages for me to read in all of A Course in Miracles have been the ones that discuss attack and the reasons why this choice is never justified. It is a hard lesson for me to learn, as I have been mired deep into egotistical thinking and also have made simultaneously an attempt to be “good.” Ultimately, though, the lessons that Jesus teaches in the Course prick the conscience and allow all of us to realize when we are being too egotistical and perhaps not as spiritual as we might want to consider ourselves. Only within the last half dozen years of my almost 20 years of studying the Course [Note: This reflection was written in 2002] have I found the truth of the words of Jesus self-evident. My perceptions have changed, and my world as I have perceived it has altered to a happier place. How did this miracle happen? Let’s follow the development of the passages that decry attack and false innocence to see what I have been led to find out.

One of the most obvious statements about the dynamic of attack vs. innocence in all of the Course is the reassurance, “Being wholly without attack, it [love] could not be afraid.” (T-19.IV.A.10:7; the antecedent, “love,” is added) I started using this sentence as a refrain when I realized that my anxiety was not necessary and could be erased with the right frame of mind. Indeed, eventually, many of my anxieties smoothed out as increasingly I attempted to put the words of the Course into practice; I stopped attacking in my mind and in my actions. The results have been, to me, is the clearest possible personal evidence that attacking others (or the wish to do so) is the real cause of fear in any form. The Course also states this idea specifically, “When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.” (W-p1.68.6:9)

“Safe” suggests a peaceful sense of well-being, and what are grievances but attack?

Death of the Ego

We have said that this world is one of illusion. God had to offer a correction to our madness that would protect the whole from self-destruction. So we can play our war games in illusion, and they do not affect the Spirit at all. The idea of a great fight between good and evil is a product of an ego-oriented mind that merely wants to see light. That mind is still far from Home.

In the Course, Jesus presents a worldview that bypasses all the complicated theories about ultimate Reality that we have made up and have yet ultimately found to be unsatisfactory. The Course presents a unified worldview, to be believed in its entirety or not at all. Still it is a happy fiction, which Jesus identifies salvation to be. (C-3.2:1) We have come so far into madness that we have very nearly lost our way. The Course highlights the death of our ego as the way to get us out. That is all. But that is enough.

Resolving Conflict

Are we ever really in conflict? The Course would say not. The true Self is above such pettiness. When conflict rules, we have let our egoistic images of ourselves collide with simply a different egoistic image, also of ourselves.

This conflict happens all the time to those of us still on this side of the bridge, and this includes most of us—we who are still not consistently living in the “real world.” We do not, however, have to continue in conflict. We can refer all questions to our Counselor, the Holy Spirit.

I have found that the gesture of turning the conflict over to the Holy Spirit may be answered immediately, or we may be so involved with turmoil that a quieter mind, one that could hear guidance, has not yet come to us. If the latter is our situation, we need to suspend our thoughts, refusing to mull over the unresolved issue, and quiet our minds.

Whatever method one uses can be right—meditation (the Course makes use of some of this quietness, though the word “meditation” is never used in the FIP edition); prayer; or simple distraction from the conflict to thoughts of something else. One must be aware, however, that distraction can allow the conflict to light upon something else later on. Whatever method one uses, we must trust not in one’s self, but in the Holy Spirit, the Bearer of better thought, to give a way out of the impasse. One helpful thought when battling conflict is to remember that one always battles illusions, for Reality does not battle at all. This recognition may in itself may be enough to calm the heat of passion.

In my own case, I used to have a neurotic tendency to find something, anything, about which to worry. It is as if the “worry” part of me were comfortable only if I had something to fret over. So it is that the ego thrives on conflict, justifying its continuance by conflict. There is a well-worn groove that most of us reserve for worry. When all is said and done, we may find that we were simply in the grip of a bad habit. But by so retaining this bad habit, the Course would say that we make the conditions that we dread, because we choose our own reality. There is a solemn warning in realizing our power to choose our futures that should not be minimized.

Picture instead a resolution, as yet unknown, to be worked out by the Holy Spirit. Abide with this thought awhile, and see if a calmer mind will not welcome, in a moment of revelry perhaps, the answer previously sought so frantically. Once we set aside the conflict-ridden emotional state, the Holy Spirit is free to act.

Specialness Is of the Ego

It is quite likely that the basis for neurosis is specialness. Many of us see in others, perhaps more than ourselves, oscillations of personality that appear to twist and turn in the wind. Alternating between sweetness and hostility, these others can make our lives miserable if they have any power over us. If manifesting in a friend, these conflicting behaviors are puzzling in the least, personally damaging, even though illusory, in the most. Yet is the specialness, the neurosis of these others, all “out there”? The truth is that we all think we are special to one degree or another.

It is just to the degree that we ascribe to specialness that we are vulnerable to the ego’s assaults, whether as assaults emanating from another or from our own inner demons. It is then that we appear vulnerable to the world’s onslaughts. We are engaged in a dance, one to another, interlocking our complexes to fit, however unpleasant the dance may become. Sometimes we see our pride pricked at the point of greatest vulnerability; this is the ego’s greatest trial, a time of great opportunity if we can only see it thus. We are being shown what needs to be remedied in ourselves, how the ego needs to be undone. If we listen, we will find a great gift in the ashes of our former “triumphs.” We will let the ego wither away at this point of neurosis.

And so it goes with all points of neurosis. As they are shown to us, we must let them slip away. Jesus is able to heal a neurotic if she is cooperating with him. One way to cooperate is to take the intellectual framework of the Course and marry that to our relationship to our brother, our love, if you will. Then the mental and emotional meld as one, and we are on our way to full recovery as Sons and Daughters of God.

Letting Go of the Ego

The Course says at one pivotal point, “This is a crucial period in this course, for here the separation of you and the ego must be made complete.” (T-22.II.6:1)

It is easier to let conflict die if one realizes that it is an emotion always of the ego. At base, the ego is fighting against God, flailing about in desperation because the world it has created in illusion is not good enough for it. And never could it be. Built on chaos, only chaos can ensue. But the ego cannot find its way out, because the only way for us to make our way to peace is to disown this hated part of ourselves, this insatiable ego–never satisfied, never content.

This is when the real “I” must come into play. We cannot fight the ego and win, because it grows stronger in strife. But we can quietly withdraw strength from the ego by failing to reinforce it in every situation that cries out “me first.” We can, over time, with care, see the ego just wither away. Jesus promises that though this feels like a death (because we are so closely identified with the goals of success, wealth, and materialism), we will actually find peace for the first time. We will know calm in the midst of any earthly storm in which we find ourselves.

The ego is not ourselves–that is the simple truth that in our ignorance we find so hard to accept. The quiet Self at the center of our being waits patiently for us to tire of our childish games, and tire we will once we see that never do they bring us what in our deepest heart of hearts we really want. In that deep place God dwells, and He would not be overthrown by a will ‘o wisp of insanity. The ego is pitted in a struggle that it can never win. The Course says, “Do you not realize a war against yourself would be a war on God? Is victory conceivable? And if it were, is this a victory that you would want?” (T-23.I.2:1-3)

If you have read this far, you are not so hostile to God that you blame Him for all the evil and suffering in your world and on the earth in general. We have only ourselves to blame for creating a drama that doesn’t work because the mind that created it is in a merciless war against itself. We must lay down our arms, and realize in the depths of our Being that there must be another way to look at our world, another way to live.

Ego Dilemmas

It has been hard for me to let go of egotistical striving. I was reared, as I am sure many of us were, to equate “success” with ego games–to equate the “good life” with having achieved. Part of me has always believed that actually “dropping out” was the way to go, and at various points in my life I have done just that, but never for very long. I enjoyed these respites, but ultimately I rejoined the success trap and sought in my everyday life and profession (especially profession) to achieve success because I knew that this had gotten me kudos as a child. Getting good grades was always highly regarded, and as a first and only child, this type of commendation was taken to heart in a big way.

When I discovered A Course in Miracles, I began to realize, as I read, that the egotistical striving that I was doing to “deserve” love, and my belief that only if I were successful would I have God’s stamp of approval, were just myths. Yet a part of me still wanted to strive, because, I told myself, what if I would come to regret a slowdown in the future? In my own case, library administration was my bugaboo. This is where the money is in librarianship, my profession, but more importantly, this also signals “success” in the eyes of my colleagues in my chosen field. What if I did not pursue this, and later felt sorry? The fact that I had not sufficient intrinsic interest in the responsibility that this would entail, or in the antagonism that I would likely incur from my subordinates (whom I would be evaluating) did not dissuade me, at least for a long time.

This period of indecision lasted fully 15 years. Once in a workshop that was boring, I wrote out five or six pages of reasons (pro and con) that I was considering for my next direction. Later, I destroyed the pages in an attempt not to be sucked back into this quagmire.

As the years were passing, I dropped big hints to my supervisors that I did not want to be considered administrative material. I said “no” before I might be asked. The fact that I was not asked (until later on) seemed only a minor point; in my egotism, I felt that I would be if I expressed interest. And I did not want to be faced with something that I might have trouble declining. I see the wiliness of the ego even in my indecision.

Later on I was asked. And it was largely a disaster that lasted scarcely two months, ending with me in a frazzle, resigning because my temperament rebelled. So, all along, my real self had been trying to get through to say that this particular pathway was not for me. I am a slow learner; it took trying it out to realize that my doubts (conscious and subconscious) knew best all along.

Let the ego battles go. Our inner Self knows the way we ought to go.

Save a Thousand Years

A difficult concept in the Course is the idea that we made the world; God created us, but we made (not “created”) the world. The metaphysical explanation is that we are projecting an illusion, and no one doubts very strongly that she “projects” nocturnal dreams. Seen in this light, it is a small step forward to consider that we do the same in our waking hours. Only the form of the dream changes. Even granted that we accept this, though, most of us, on some level, still think that we can derive knowledge of how to act in life from this projected dream. If it is the ego’s projected dream, such a conclusion is patently false. If it is the Holy Spirit’s dream, then we have a better basis on which to learn. The Course says that following the Holy Spirit is the “way out of hell” (M-29.3:11) for us.

Most of us, however, still do spend much time under the influence of our egos. This attitude, though, ensures that we are looking at projections from within. To take the projections of the ego as truth is to make an idol, to make a god, of something we made. Is this really very different from melting down our gold and fashioning a sculpture of Baal, while our better way is being written for us on the mountaintop? If we look to our idol–this world– to tell us how to act and what to do next, we are looking to a man-made god to save us. Most of us would admit that nothing in this world has ever “saved” us for long.

When we are under the influence of the ego, we are under the influence of an insane idea. It may coalesce our personalities, but we have given away all our real power. We should not give away our power under any circumstances. It is only the power of our real minds, informed by the Holy Spirit, which can offer us any hope. This is the promise held out by A Course in Miracles. It is only one pathway, but its pathway has the power to get us out of all bad dreams. It is one way, among thousands in this world, by which we can awaken. And Jesus promises that this way will save time for us. (T-2.II.3:8) We are promised, each of us, to save a thousand years (as the world calculates time). (W-pI.97.3:2) And that represents many years for the millions of people still trapped by ego-tainted nightmares of pain.

–from Out of the Maze, by Celia.

Gladden Ourselves–for Jesus Is with Us

“I offer far more than partial guidance, although you do not ask for more. The uneven quality of your skill in both asking and following my direction is due to the alternations you experience between ego- and miracle-oriented perception. This is a strain, but fortunately one which can be overcome along with the rest. There will never be a time when I do not will to try again. You might be gladdened by remembering that.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.IX.10:1-5)

Jesus is once again speaking just to Helen (and maybe Bill) in this reassurance that he offers continual guidance. But if we ask, he will do the same for us. In these early words, he has not yet solidified the Holy Spirit in A Course in Miracles. Soon he will ask that all of us turn immediately to the Holy Spirit when confronted with a dilemma. The Holy Spirit connects us to God, but not in a threatened way. At this point in our progress, we are still too fearful of God to approach Him directly.

Jesus points out the strain that we under. He seems particularly aware of this strain, as we seek to mediate between hell and heaven, the ego and love. Heaven and love are the only things that we truly can want, once we have let the magnitude of our mistakes sink in. Our attempt to create unlike God, something that is actually “making” rather than “creating,” has produced all of the chaos in which we live. We need to get beyond this. We need to recognize that our attempt to create something beyond God has just failed miserably. There IS nothing beyond Him except illusion.

Jesus constantly looks for reasons that we might gladden ourselves, for he knows that we are usually morose when caught in the vines of the ego. We need just to kick those vines away from ourselves, away from our feet (as Pat Rodeway’s Emmanuel says), and be on about our business. Jesus will untangle any egoic vines that won’t automatically disengage from our toes.

Misery with the Ego / Joy with the Spirit

“I am conditioning you to associate misery with the ego and joy with your spirit. You have conditioned yourself the other way around. But a far greater reward will break through any conditioning if that reward is repeatedly offered when the old habit is broken. You are still free to choose. But can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.23:1-5)

The ego has never brought real joy; at best, we have had flights of fancy that were high enough in tone that we felt an exhilaration. Then, invariably, we were dashed downward to a sense of depression—mild or severe. These dramas were endless, and so unnecessary now that our knowing has expanded.

Jesus speaks of conditioning in this complete edition of A Course in Miracles, from the Circle of Atonement. The use of the word “conditioning” would make eminent sense to Helen and Bill. And we have enough general knowledge of psychology from everyday life to comprehend as well. What does Jesus mean by this conditioning?

We thought that the dramatic highs that the ego gave us were all that we could expect on earth. We were mistaken. A joyous spirit offers far more. This joy does not become inverted, to dash us downward into depression. This joy extends, more and more, as we are receptive to it.

This joy is often calm, and in the mild manner of it, we may not recognize what we have. Calm is sometimes a factor in depression, and we may even think that, when we are calm, we are depressed. We have much to discover. We are meant, according to A Course in Miracles, to remain “perfectly calm and quiet.” This new demeanor may not even seem desirable. We will see its value as we do quieten ourselves down and invite the Holy Spirit to inform our minds. We will see value when we let ourselves see value.

“Joy with the spirit”! Yes! Our new lives will mean much to us when we have given joy a welcome in our hearts. The ego will fall away, and, if we are careful and do nothing to reinforce it, the ego will never rear its ugly head again. It is not the same ego that Freud championed, a persona that we needed to live adult life. In Jesus’ use of the term ego, he means a false persona.

Let us ask for joy with the spirit today—and every day!

A Choice Bringing Peace and Joy

“You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of to your ego for guidance. The results will convince you increasingly that your choice in turning to me is the only sane one you can make. No one who has learned from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs much conditioning.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.10:1-3)

In the beginning chapters of A Course in Miracles, where we are now, Jesus counsels turning to him; he has not yet focused on turning to the Holy Spirit in ACIM, and it is not until much later, in A Course of Love, that he will counsel that the time of the Holy Spirit is past, and that in this time of Christ, we ought to turn to our inner Christ-Self, the mind that is one with God, found deep within us.

If we turn to Jesus, we will turn away from the ego, the ego as defined as a false persona (not in the Freudian sense of a persona that we need to develop to live well). And turning to Jesus will give both peace and joy, two aspects of what we want with all our heart. Turning to the ego is the choice for insanity, and insane thinking, because it is so convoluted, is the choice for chaos and disaster. We know this way well; we have lived it for eons. Now is the time for something better; now we are ready to leave all this chaos behind.
When Jesus senses that we are becoming too dependent upon him, he will withdraw, letting us make our own decisions, but decisions made without the ego in ascendancy. When we make our own decisions, we will look inward, where both the Holy Spirit and the Christ-Self dwell.

We can still have the peace and joy, for guidance from within does guide us truly. Our days of being insane, mad, are drawing to a close. We know better now; we know to let inner guidance wipe our minds clean of conflict.

Gently we come to know what to do. When we have faith that this is so, we certainly do discover that it IS so.

Reframe the Psyche for Sanity

“Consider how much vigilance you have been willing to exert to protect your ego, and how little you have been willing to expend to protect your higher mind! Who but the insane would undertake to believe in what is not true and then protect this belief at the cost of truth?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.17:3-4)

Perhaps, in reading A Course in Miracles, you have balked at accepting Jesus’ assertion that in our usual frame of mind, we have been mad, insane. This may be because we think that we don’t do the insane things that people who are certifiably mad have actually done. Of course, there is a difference, but I think we will see, when Awakening dawns, that our psyche has been skewed. The ego is easily recognized, then, as a form of insanity.

We have to use our imagination to project what life would really be like without the ego. We have to lay aside the definition of the ego that Freud gave, in that the ego was seen as necessary for an adult to function, that the ego would form the persona, and then we would live independent lives when grown. Jesus’ defines the ego differently, in that he sees it as a false concept, a concept to be overcome, and a concept not at all needed for responsible living as an adult. Our persona will thrive when we awaken and do not seek any longer to cling to our egoic ways. We will also realize that independent living is not the panacea we had thought, that we are meant to be interdependent, living in cooperation with our brothers and sisters.

Let the ego wither away by failing to reinforce the egotistical ideas that so call to us. Let humility lead the way. After all, Jesus said that the meek would inherit the earth. While he did not mean by “meek” any form of subservient behavior, we can, in the word, glimpse a little of what he meant many years ago when he walked the earth.

We want to follow the truth. And when the tenets of A Course in Miracles take hold, we will find ourselves triumphantly following that truth.

Being Home-Free

“The question is not how you respond toward your ego, but only what you believe you are. Belief is an ego function, and as long as your origin is open to belief at all, you are regarding it from an ego viewpoint. That is why the Bible quotes me as saying, ‘Ye believe in God, believe also in me.’ Belief does apply to me, because I am the teacher of the ego. When teaching is no longer necessary, you will merely know God. Belief that there is another way is the loftiest idea of which ego thinking is capable. This is because it contains a hint of recognition that the ego is not the self.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.III.7:1-7)

The ego is wily, but the day will come when Jesus resigns as our teacher because the ego in us is no longer. Jesus announces this alteration in his interaction with us in the final pages of the sequel to A Course in Miracles, the heartwarming book called A Course of Love. Belief is no longer necessary then, because we “know.” This knowing gives us great relief, for we are no longer straining to know what seems just beyond us. Our knowing is very immediate.

Jesus has been striving to rid us of the ego throughout both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love (and The Way of Mastery). He rests in the knowledge that he will succeed in his effort, and so he does not have to struggle at all. We all will know eventually that there is another way, a better way. ACIM attempted to dislodge the ego, and ACOL seeks to give us a new identity around which the Christ-Self coalesces. It is my thought that ACOL was needed because we didn’t have anything concrete to hold onto after the ego was dislodged; we needed a new identity, and this new identity, the Christ-Self, is spelled out in ACOL.

Beliefs are transient and ego-driven. We cling to belief when we are actually uncertain. As Jesus teaches the ego, we learn to slowly let it pass away from us.

We are then home-free.

Egoic Swings in Mind

“The best concrete example you could have of how the mind could have made the ego is a person who has a great propensity for revelation but can suddenly swing to its complete opposite. Such a person does have real knowledge at times, but when she throws it away it is as if she never had it. This willfulness is so apparent that you need only perceive it to see that it does happen. If it can occur that way in the present, why should you be surprised that it occurred that way in the past? All psychology rests on the principle of continuity of behavior. Surprise is a reasonable response to the unfamiliar, but hardly to something that occurs with such persistence.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.III.3:1-6)

Jesus is probably talking to Helen, because in the era of the sixties, the pronoun “he” was used for both male and female, and here he deliberately (we might think) uses the pronoun “she.” Helen was a woman of many moods, as we might be. Her oscillations required that Jesus support her often as the scribing unfolded. He was right there for her.

Helen had a propensity for revelation. All of us do (though some are more ready for it than others). Revelation gives us real knowledge, as opposed to simple perception. Our perceptions are often ego-related, but not our knowledge. Our knowledge comes from God, and it can come, reliably, only when we have placed ego either to one side, or eliminated it altogether.

We may be surprised by truth. But is this warranted? The truth is always right here with us, just often unrecognized. If we pray to be open to the truth, we are more likely to experience it in everyday occurrences. These are miracles. These are examples of God welling up from within to shower us with love.

Living in God’s Shadow

“The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise. Do not try to make this impoverished house stand. It weakness is your strength. Only God could make a home that was worthy of His creation, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession. But His home will stand forever, and is ready for you when you choose to enter. Of this you can be wholly certain. God is as incapable of creating the perishable as your ego is of making the eternal.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.21:1-7)

We made the ego, and we made this persona badly. “A shabby and unsheltering home.” Of course. What else could madness make but something that sheltered us in a fragile structure? We have been vulnerable to the insanity of the ego for eons. Isn’t it time we tried something else?

That “something else” is living in God’s shadow, letting His Holy Spirit direct our steps back to the straight pathway toward Awakening. God is ready, has been ready, for us to return home. Now, at last, it seems that we are listening to Him.

I hope He is glad, if human emotions ever touch His splendor. We have journeyed far into the night, and we are just now beginning to see the first rays of light on a new morrow. We will be Awakening soon, the light having roused us through closed eyelids. When we open our eyes to the sunlight, our new persona is assured.

And this persona is the Christ-Self.

We Are Ideas in the Mind of God

“ ‘God created man in His Own image and likeness’ is correct in meaning, but the words are open to considerable misinterpretation. This is avoided, however, if ‘image’ is understood to mean ‘thought,’ and ‘likeness’ is taken as ‘of a like quality.’ God did create the Son in His Own thought and of a quality like to His Own. There is nothing else.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.VII.11:4-7)

We are ideas in the Mind of God, another word, “ideas,” substituted for “thought.” This interpretation reveals George Berkeley’s Idealism, from the Nineteenth Century, an interpretation that resonated with me years ago in my first class in philosophy.

There is nothing in the universes at any vibration that is not “God-stuff.” God created us out of Himself, and even now lives through us, occupying our mind, heart, body to live in the world. Our mind, though, is finite, though it can draw on the Higher Power that possesses us, and thereby reach beyond ourselves to find answers to our problems, answers that are guidance in the highest degree.

“There is nothing else.” No, there is not. When we realize that we too are “God-stuff,” then we realize that we have the potential to be very holy. Holiness is born of the innocence that is our birthright. Our mistakes are wiped away when we understand the forgiveness is a type of love that has effected this.

Let us forgive ourselves today for what we only imagine are great wrongs. Let us forgive others who are in our shadow. Everyone does the best that he/she can, given his/her degree of understanding. And we have simply been mad, made mad by the ego. As we give up the ego, our false persona, we will walk into a new and glorious land, creating this world anew.

Ego

“The ego is as frail as Freud perceived it. The later theorists have tried to introduce a less pessimistic view, but they have looked in the wrong direction for their hope. Any attempt to endow the ego with the attributes of the spirit is merely confused thinking. Freud was more clear-sighted about this, because he knew a bad thing when he perceived it. But he failed to recognize that a bad thing cannot exist. It is therefore wholly unnecessary to try to get out of it. As I have said before, the thing to do with a desert is to leave.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.VI.10:1-7)

The ego does not really exist, though it seems mighty real to us most of our lives. The ego is part of the illusory world that we have made. We don’t need to struggle to get out of it. We just turn aside without giving it any emotion. If we resist the ego, we may find ourselves trapped by our own wrong notions. As Jesus says, “the thing to do with a desert is to leave.” So if we leave the ego, we do so without a fight on our hands. We just leave it. It withers away from disinterest.

The ego is a bad thing, and Freud knew this. But he didn’t know any way out. He thought that an ego was necessary as part of the persona of the developing child, the child growing into an adult. Many people still believe this. But ego, as defined by Jesus in his channeled writings, is a false notion of what we are; it is not a necessary part of who we are, even when we are maturing into grown-ups.
Most of us don’t make the decision to leave the ego behind until quite advanced in spiritual matters. Then we realize that egoic and egotistical attitudes get us into competition with each other. Many in our societies think that competition is a good thing. But it pits one person against another, one group of people against another. It is hardly harmless. If cut-throat, it is damaging in the extreme.

What about sports? We must realize that a game is a game, not a life-and-death matter. We can thrill to the excitement of the moment, and then we can go our own way when the game is over. We are not meant to have ego involvement as fans. The participants likely lack the wherewithal to keep ego out of their competition. But as time passes, they too will realize that this all happened a long time ago. They lose their ego involvement as well.

Egoless people are very ordinary people, viewed as such in our culture. They don’t try to impress, and so they are often overlooked. But egoless people don’t care about the opinions of other people. They are marching to the beat of a different drummer.

Seeing Truly

“But this vision can be perceived only by the truly innocent. Because their hearts are pure, they defend true perception, instead of defending themselves against it. Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the will to attack, and therefore they see truly. This is what the Bible means when it says, ‘And when He shall appear (or be perceived) we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.III.10:1-4)

Without the will to attack, we will indeed see truly. Our innocence will be something in which we believe, unlike now, when we want to believe we are innocent, but often feel, internally, a sense that we are very guilty indeed.
We are not guilty. Would God turn against a child who has simply made mistakes? Making mistakes is inevitable in this confused and confusing world, in which our companions, brothers and sisters alike, and ourselves, are lost in egoic intention. How could we choose rightly in every instance, when we are quite literally lost in madness, insanity?

When we start to lose the madness, we will be ripe to entertain the idea that we really have only made mistakes in our choices, that these are entirely forgivable, even by ourselves. We are our own judge, and we are a harsh judge at that.

Rest in God’s Love, and know that anything done wrong is gloriously forgiven in a universe that knows that we have simply strayed from the path.

Way Out of Fear

“Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate; that is, you have not allowed me to guide it. It is pointless to believe that controlling the outcome of misthought can result in real healing. When you are fearful, you have willed wrongly. This is why you feel you are responsible for it. You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of will. You do not need guidance except at the mind level. Correction belongs only at the level where causation is possible. The term does not really mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.IX.4:1-8)

Jesus knows that we have not given up fear, that we still have misthought, and we feel the results, in pain often. He emphasizes that a change of mind is far more important, and pivotal, than a change in behavior. A change in behavior will happen when we have changed our mind, then and only then.

He wants us to correct our thinking, and then we will see an improvement in our behavior. It seems that he is not so much concerned with the outcome of misthought as he is with the problem of the mind itself. He wants us to think aright.

A Course of Love, channeled later, emphasizes that we change our mind when we listen to our heart—a heart that has always known what to think, say, and do. Our heart does not need any teaching, but our mind, so long egoic, has still patterns of the ego lingering. And so we need a sounder basis for making decisions, and that sounder basis is our heart.

Everyone knows what the heart means without a tedious telling. Our heart will inform our mind, which will inform our behavior. Then we will really be healed.

Insanity / Madness

“You would not tolerate insane behavior on your part, and would hardly advance the excuse that you could not help it. Why should you tolerate insane thinking? There is a fallacy here you would do well to look at clearly. You believe that you are responsible for what you do but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. You cannot separate the two by giving autonomy to your behavior. Behavior is controlled by me automatically as soon as you place what you think under my guidance.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.IX.3:1-8)

In a number of places in A Course in Miracles, our thoughts in the egoic state are seen as “insanity” or “madness.” Here Jesus determines that our mind slant is just as important, and maybe even more important (sometimes), than our behavior. We don’t condone insane behavior, but our thinking is insane when it derives from the ego. We have to work our way out of this insane thinking, slowly and over a long period, until the grace-filled moment when God Himself lifts us up to Awakening. Our ego is banished, our good sense returned to us, for remembrance is complete. ACIM is preparing us for this change, dislodging the ego. Then A Course of Love will enable us to form a new identity.

Here, once again, we see that Jesus is assuming a central place in our thought processes, before he brings in the Holy Spirit as our guidance. He will guide us, but the Holy Spirit is the arbiter of what is accurate for many of us. (Not everybody allows the Holy Spirit to so rein in their lives.)

Ask to be rid of madness today. It is perhaps new to believe that virtually all of us have lived part of our lives on earth as insane. We have thought that only a tiny percentage of our populace would merit that characterization. But anybody who willingly allows the ego full rein in their thoughts is actually thinking amiss.

Ask today. You have nothing to lose but a part of ourselves—the ego—that does not mean us well.

Hellfire

“Remember that I came to fulfill the law by reinterpreting it. The law itself, if properly understood, offers only protection. It is those who have not yet ‘changed their minds’ who have entered the ‘hellfire’ concept into it.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.42.5:6-8)

The ego is responsible for the good vs. evil world in which we live, with many of us having judgmental attitudes about those things in our world that seem to us to be wrong. We are out in left field when we judge at all; judging will keep us from Awakening. We don’t condone those things that we think are wrong, however; we simply turn aside from them, offering forgiveness and love to the people involved. As hard as it may be to believe, everybody is doing the best that he/she can at any given time, given the level of understanding that that person has.

The idea of hellfire is an egoic idea. And it comes from egoic concepts. In this, we turn aside from New Testament understandings. Jesus is giving us in A Course in Miracles a deeper concept to understand and to follow.

Jesus could not have taught about the ego prior to Freud. The ACIM scholar Ken Wapnick made this point in his lectures and books.

Our idea that there to be good, there must be evil, is also a flawed concept. Opposites are not the way of heaven. We think in contrasting ways, but our Father does not think that way. We need a new comprehension, one that will come to us as we step nearer Awakening.

Our glimpses, which have come to all of us on the pathway back to God, those who have “changed their minds,” will show us a heaven on earth that leaves no room for the illusion of evil. When we are living in the ego, we are living in illusion. True reality is something else entirely, and it is to true reality, brought to us by the Atonement, that we are heading.

Jesus: “The Ego Is Gone”

“The ego but seemed to be who you were for a time. Now that you know who you are in truth, the ego does not remain, a separate entity with a life of its own. No. The ego is gone. Because it was a lie its exposure to the truth dissolved it.” (ACOL, D:5.8)

This heartening word comes early in the Dialogues, and Jesus here refers to all who have read this far. He once said that we would not have continued reading unless. . . .and this is one of those “unless” happenings. The ego is gone! We can and really ought to rejoice. We probably don’t even realize how great a handicap the ego has been—and for long eons. We thought that we were alone, isolated, and separate from our Maker, and this could not help but bring terror to our heart. If we had embodied form without imagining that we were actually separate from each other and from God, a split in our own mind and heart, we would not have encountered such trauma.

Our traumas have been very real—to us. In actuality, all of our trauma has been illusion. Nothing about us has been hurt, though it certainly felt like that to us, inside our fragile bodies. We have been projecting illusion and seeing what has appeared to be an imperfect world. We see tragedy, and rather than classify it as unreal, we take it seriously, and while this can be a component of compassion, more often it is simply a reason for fears or judgment. One of the worst things that happens in our New Age world is that we think that we brought bad things upon ourselves because we haven’t been thinking “right.” And then we blame the victim of these bad things as though it were something that could allow the placing of blame. Jesus says categorically in A Course of Love that no individual is responsible for the tragedy that may engulf them; all of us are due compassion when things go sour. Yet we do create our own reality, and so this idea of Jesus, and this idea of New Age thought, seem to be on a collision course. It is not really thus. When we enjoy unity again, we will see much that is paradoxical in our world, but paradoxical aspects of reality can be loved into greater true being. Jesus calls us all to that unity today, now, immediately. We can’t “understand” the truly real until we are joined as one with ourselves (heart and mind), our brothers and sisters, and God Himself.

With the ego gone, the only warning that I would issue is the one that Jesus gave in ACOL: that we are free to assemble a new ego. This gesture would take us back to the old, and he has given us many clues as to how to bring the new into being. Jesus wants us to create a new world, and his channeled messages are attempts to influence society to change its course. A Course in Miracles has changed the course of how our culture is going. Now, I believe, it is the new identity that A Course of Love leads us to that will alter the destiny of humankind.

This is a daunting task. But in another of those paradoxes, it is easy and effortless when we listen to our united mind and heart. Let’s create a new reality while showing compassion for those who are not ready to join us. They are as holy as all of us. But with millions not listening, our task becomes clear. Not to proselytize, but gently to guide others to a better world through the love that we are ever more free to offer, no questions asked.

Prayer

Thank you for the joy that I feel today. You have granted me joy several specific times in recent days, and it is a blessing that I love and greatly appreciate.

Thank You for guiding my thought processes, keeping them relaxed so that I can write effortlessly. Thank You for this way of sharing Your good news.

Amen.

From Self-less and Ego-less to Christ-Self

“These anti-ego tendencies are a real danger in this time. You are not called to selflessness but to Self!

“This is the transition you have felt yourself to be in. The ego is gone but the true Self has not been allowed as yet to dwell within the personal self, thus elevating the personal self. You have thus been self-less for a time and the personal self has floundered from this lack of identity. A person could literally die during this time from lack of identity, lack of cause. To die to the personal self is not what is required any longer as we work instead to elevate the personal self. This elevation occurs through the acceptance of your true identity, not through being identity-less. The reign of the ego began during just such a time of identity-less-ness. You cannot go on in such a way.” (ACOL, D:1.9 – 1.10)

I would suggest that this is the juncture that many of us occupied when we were at the conclusion of much study of A Course in Miracles. This floundering, without the ego but not knowing where else to turn, occupied many of us before Jesus channeled A Course of Love. He says definitely here that we can’t long survive ego-less, without a replacement, and he says that this replacement is the Self, the true Self who has been called the Christ, and who has dwelt deep within us for eons. Our personal, or “little,” self hindered the emergence of the Christ-Self.

Now we know better. We really do have to let the Self out to play. Effortlessly assuming our role in the new world, being created even as we speak.

This Self is the part of God Who dwells within every living thing. This is the Self who will save us now. It is about time.

Many of us have become frustrated with the promise of Awakening or Christ-consciousness, but no transformation seems on the horizon. Jesus would counsel us that there are things that we can do to make a difference, to allow Love in, to remove the blocks to Love. The Self knows how to counsel us as well, and as we retrieve broken parts of the subconscious, our way ahead brightens. All that is hindering is lodged in the subconscious mind. Let the heart inform that mind, and see what a difference it makes.

We need to recognize that just turning from the ego, without the replacement by the Christ-Self, is a dangerous place for us to occupy. Jesus even says that some, so disheartened, have died at such a point. He would not have us destroy ourselves out of frustration. He would have us walk into the fullness of our being. And we can do so today.

Prayer

I would, today, do all without my power to accept Jesus’s promise of a Christ-Self who will rule my personality. I will follow Your way, insofar as I can, but with Your help, all day long. The day will unfold gently as I realize that I am following in the way that You are pointing out.

Be with me today. May this be a good day, a stupendous day. May my limited awareness be opened up to all that You would hold out for me. This day holds much promise. Grant me the patience to see it unfold in Your good time.

Amen.

Good News: The Ego-Self Is Gone Now

“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.” (ACOL, T3:4.8)

In this mid-way point in A Course of Love, we are ALL told that the ego-self is gone from us. But how can we be sure? The bottom line is that we would not have read this far, assimilated this much, if egoic notions were still dominant in our minds. Egoic notions have previously dominated our minds, but never our hearts. And we are listening to our heart now. Nothing will ever be the same again.

We want to proceed toward love, and we do know how (though in our low moments, we may think that this is beyond what we do know). If we allow fear to be predominate in our lives, we will assemble a new self (personal self) that will be a replacement for the old self, but it will still be an egoic self.

We don’t want a new ego-self. We want these ways of thinking to be left in the dust under our feet, left there as we move along our new path.

How do we make sure? We love, and love, and then love some more. We forgive, and in the forgiveness, we realize that love is everything that we want. We ought to keep in mind that we are not forgiving real happenings, that the bad deeds that hurt us so were done in illusion. All of us are innocent, including those who hurt us. Everyone does the best that he/she can at any given moment, given his/her level of understanding. This way of thinking will offer the intellect something to hold to when we remember the hurts that we have sustained.

But remember that to understand all, is to forgive all. But also, forgive and then you will come to understand. These ideas are not from ACIM or ACOL, but do seem relevant now, as we seek to forgive and forget. And most of all, to love.

Join with ACIM and ACOL in seeking a new persona that will not be another ego-self, but a personal self who will reflect the inner Christ-Self. Let us seek to do this today.

Prayer

I hope that I am right in believing that the ego doesn’t jerk me around any longer. I hope that Jesus is right in saying to all of us that the ego is gone. If we have read this far, and if we have assimilated what we have read, taken it to heart, then Jesus has a good point. And I would always like to believe what he says.

Be with me today so that I might have a good day. I ask this so often, and it is so real to me. Be with me; help me to be there for others; and may the ending of the day come with peace and comfort.

Thank You.

Amen.