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.

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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.