The Ego Is Best Left Behind

“This is your reenactment of creation, begun each morning and completed each night. Each day is your creation held together by the thought system that gave it birth. To observe this is to see its reality. To see this reality is to see the image of God you have created in God’s likeness.” (ACOL, 8.24)

The word “ego” is not used in this quotation, but that is what I think is meant. When we live with the ego, we reenact creation, but in a skewed way, to our detriment. We have images of ourselves, other people, and God. And these images are idols. Let’s give up this foolishness now. Let’s listen to A Course of Love when it tells us, metaphorically, that the ego is dead in us. We are proceeding as Jesus encourages, leaving ego behind, developing an identity with our inner Christ Self. This Self will then direct us, just as the Holy Spirit did in the last era. We have, according to ACOL, moved out of the time of the Holy Spirit and into the time of Christ. Let’s act as though we believe this. The action will then lead to the belief.

So true reality is definitely not the ego’s frame of mind. This is something that we have known now for a long time. But, because we are mortal, and fallible, and subject to making mistakes, we forget, and we fall back into egoic ways of thinking. Then we backtrack, losing our place on the pathway to enlightenment, for there can be no compromise with the ego that leads to Christ-consciousness.

How do we leave the ego behind? The most forward-thinking action is to consciously do nothing that is egotistical. “Ego” and “egotistical” do not quite mean the same things, but there is a close relationship. The ego is the persona that we have adopted, whereas egotistical thinking and actions play out that persona in our everyday world.

We don’t have to live this way. There is a better way, outlined in ACOL. Let’s take steps along that better pathway today and every day. Let nothing dissuade you. This change of mind, and this listening that we are giving the heart, is far too important to the future of the world to let ourselves backslide.

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“Seek and Ye Shall Find” Does Not Mean that You Should Seek Blindly and Desperately for Something You Would Not Recognize.

1 – Where Can I Go for Protection?

“This is the question that must be asked: ‘Where can I go for protection?’ ‘Seek and ye shall find’ does not mean that you should seek blindly and desperately for something you would not recognize. Meaningful seeking is consciously undertaken, consciously organized and consciously directed. (T66)”

We ought not to beseech Heaven for a miracle that we would not recognize at high noon. This is a paraphrase from a favorite book of mine by Michael Drury. If we seek haphazardly, we seek amiss. And we will not find. But meaningful seeking, that is seeking that is directed by the Holy Spirit, always ends happily. We find. And we are blessed by what we find.

2 – Seek and Ye Shall Find

When I was in high school, the quotation from the New Testament given here (“Seek and ye shall find”) meant a great deal to me. With science and evolution, I was no longer a fundamentalist. And I needed something to cling to. I somehow realized that if I sought from God, He would answer.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Matthew 7:7)”

This was my lodestone, in high school and beyond.

3 – Learning

“You learn best when you believe what you are trying to learn is of value to you. However, not everything you may want to learn has lasting value. Indeed, many of the things you want to learn may be chosen because their value will not last. (M66)”

Why would we choose to learn something that is not of sting value to ourselves? This seems to be a paradox, and perhaps it is. But when we realize that we may have chosen whole careers that were not chosen for the right reasons, we may realize that the ego has been involved.

4 – Careers

But we probably had problems in those careers that were chosen for less-than-the-best reasons. More than just careers have been involved, though. Our choices in relationships may have been flawed as well. Our insanity covers a great deal of our lives.

5 – Value

We can learn best when we turn to learn those things that are of value. And those things are always lasting. Surely we can do this as we learn from A Course in Miracles to choose aright.

6 – What For?

“In all these diversionary tactics, however, the one question that is never asked by those who pursue them is, ‘What for?’ This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically. (T67)”

We need to choose aright, obviously. “What for?” can put us on the right pathway. Elsewhere ACIM says that we sometimes want to learn something because its value will not last. I think that this is a diversionary tactic by the nefarious ego, always with the intent to waylay us. The ego acts as though it were autonomous, and sometimes it does seem to be, but we remain in control. Our minds can turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance just as easily (more easily, actually) as the ego.

7 – Egotistical

Turn from the egotistical. Don’t let such notions occupy our holy minds a moment longer. The “egotistical” is not all that the ego means, but it is a start. The ego is our false persona, the one that strives for triumph at our brother’s expense, the one that longs to achieve when cooperation works best in our world, the one that puts the self in a very self-centered light. Don’t follow these dictates any longer. They will not get us what we want. Oh, they may seem to do so. But after the short-lived joy of getting something we want, we are once more in despair because our wants have not been satisfied. When we place our faith in the intangibles of God, the peace, hope, joy, harmony, music of the spheres, we are led along a rose-strewn pathway that always leads to what we truly want.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May we choose only those things that have lasting value. May we turn aside from those things that do not have lasting value. May we not be tempted to learn those non-lasting things because they do not have value.

I know that the ego is involved when I reach for something that cannot be sustained. Help me always to choose aright, and this means that it is time to leave the ego behind.

Amen.

Have You Felt a Call about A Course of Love?

water-lilies - monet
“[W]hile I have said that no one is called to leadership and while I have surely meant this and do not call for leaders to amass followers, I do not mean to dissuade any of you who feel a call to represent this course and the teachings of this course with your lives and work. Those who feel this call are surely needed. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.2)”

Affirmation: “I would answer the call today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

Have you felt a call about A Course of Love? I did so, and though it took me a few years to fully respond, I did eventually do so, and I hope I did so in an egoless state of mind. ACOL has not met with the same enthusiasm that A Course of Miracles enjoys, yet I find the material to be a logical sequel and fully helpful. The first, ACIM, sought to dislodge the ego, but many stayed stuck in that dilemma: Had the ego been dislodged? And, if so, what comes next? Do we just patiently wait for Awakening? Is that enough?

2 – Dilemma

I think that Jesus saw the dilemma of students/teachers of A Course in Miracles, and so sought to expand upon his teaching in A Course of Love. And, yes, there are other works that are believed to be channeled by Jesus. I do not make a judgment about those other works. I focus on A Course of Love, because this trilogy speaks to me as the next step in assimilating Jesus’s message of the Christ Self and the elevated Self of form, the next step when we have ultimately relinquished the ego, once and for all.

3 – Relinquishment

This is not easy to do. Jesus makes remarks in ACOL about our egos being gone, but those of us who are still rereading ACOL may find times when the ego is very much still with us. I do not think that we ought to dwell on such times, nor should we chastise ourselves that we are not perfect in relinquishment. It is enough to start the day over, a technique detailed in ACIM. And relinquish the ego again.

4 – The Egotistical

It is helpful to be sure that nothing we attempt to do is done for egotistical reasons, though the term “egotistical” is not all that is meant by the ego. It may be enough for now to refrain from doing those things that appear egotistical. And always commune with our Maker for the ways best to relinquish, to see the ego wither away. When we stay close to God, many things in our daily lives have a way of smoothing out.

5 – Not Perfect

We do not have to be perfect in relinquishment to answer a call to spread the word about A Course of Love. If we were required to be perfect in this work, none would be available to teach. We just have to be careful (and I tell this to myself) that we don’t claim more than is truly ours. I acknowledge to myself that I may be mistaken in an interpretation. I acknowledge fallibility.

6 – Try Again

And then I pick myself up and try again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for a good day, not a perfect day, but a good day. Many of us have a multitude of blessings that we never acknowledge until a problem arises that causes the loss of something that we have failed to hold in gratitude. May we remember gratitude this day. May we never fail to remember gratitude.

Be with my brothers and sisters in this world. May we communicate well, in tolerant ways that bespeak nothing of the ego that we would disown. May every day see some part of the ego lose its hold on us.

Thank You for your help.

Amen.

The Christ in You Knows Not of Difficulty

monet - lake with trees“Realize that when you think that this total reversal of thought concerning your self and your world will be difficult you are listening to the your ego. The Christ in you knows not of difficulty. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 11.10)”

Affirmation: “This change for salvation is effortless.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego

We all too often make things that are actually easy, hard for us to do. This is the ego talking. The Self/Christ knows not of difficulty. When we know difficulty, we need to reslant our thoughts. And the heart can come to our rescue. The heart knows things that the mind can never know, and the heart knows these things without reasoning and intellectual doubt. What a blessing the heart really is! But we must join the mind to the heart if we are to be wholehearted, as A Course of Love recommends.

2 – Jesus

The Christ is in us. We often shy away from thinking of this, for we think (still) that Jesus had something that we don’t have, something to which we do not have access. This is untrue, because even he, 2,000 years ago, indicated to this disciples that there was nothing he had that they too could not have. We think that we are being egotistical when we claim the Christ in us. And perhaps if we simply say the “Self,” we will be relieved of this anxiety and uncertainty.

3 – Inner Christ

But the larger Self (inner Self) is the Christ that we have not consistently lived. Awakening will bring the Christ to us on a consistent basis. In the meantime, we must await the greatest blessing. We must realize that our experience of the Christ may be intermittent and uncertain, for a time.

4 – Enlightenment

Experiencing the Christ will not always be intermittent and uncertain. When we remain faithful to Jesus and his message, we are well on the way to where we want to go: home. And that home is the enlightenment of ordinary individuals such as ourselves.

5 – Change

This change will come effortlessly, though our study may seem quite effortful. It is not really, and when we think of effort, we are delving into the ways of the ego. Avoid the egotistical, turn Your mind to guidance only, and the ways that Jesus points out will become clearer and more attainable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am seeking to avoid thinking in an egotistical fashion when I hear the good news that the Christ/Self is within me. I do choose to let the ego just wither away. And for this to happen, I need to avoid egotistical ways.

Be with me today as I seek to find Your way in harmony and peace. Be with me today as I seek to catch glimpses of enlightenment. This blessing will come only when I am ready, and to be ready, I need to be thinking in a calm, rational way. The “way out” ways of thinking are not called for, and they will mislead. The ego knows not of what we seek, but it would try its hardest to keep the Self from us. May I leave this foolishness behind today and always.

Amen

Starve the Ego-Mind Out of Existence

pissarro - landscape“What is food for the ego-mind is fear and the removal of these final fears will quite literally starve the ego-mind out of existence. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 9.15)”

Affirmation: “I would remove fear from my mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Identical Questions

How do we rid ourselves of fear? How do we put the ego-mind out of existence? These two questions are actually identical, for with the one comes the other.

2 – Quiet Inner State

I have found that a quiet inner state steals the thunder from fear. I get fearful, angry, and anxious, only when I am stressed. And when this overwrought state is removed by contemplation, quietness, and sometimes meditation, then I see that the conflict-ridden ego just drops away.

3 – Timeout

But when I am overwrought, God cannot get through to me immediately, when I ask for His presence. My ego-mind has risen, and I must turn aside from this ego-mind if I am to have peace. Mostly I need to stop and take a timeout. While this is not always possible, it is possible to turn inwardly, through affirmations, to still the mind. Stilling the mind reduces the anger and the desire for attack, and soon all is well.

4 – Marianne Williamson

We tend to want to keep an aroused state going. We run on adrenaline. And this is not way to run a life. Marianne Williamson says that we are addicted to adrenaline. And she is right. We think that we would lose our edge in this sometimes competitive world if we became too laid back. But a Type B personality would do just that–take it easy and stop the frantic chase after success. For what is success anyway but a question of the ego?

5 – Keep a List

We need to starve the ego out of existence. And to do so we need to keep lists of things to do when we are fearful. Turning to our personal list will calm the mind. Sometimes we need to write out this list, for when we are too overwrought to think clearly. Other times we don’t have to resort to paper and pencil, but will call to mind what we need when we need it. And all will be well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be calm and peaceful today, easy to live with, easy to live with for others as well as myself. I would thereby quite literally starve the ego-mind out of existence. I would feel fear no more, and it is fear that feeds the ego. I would cease any and all competition, choosing cooperation as the better means to get things done. And my goals should be met just as well from cooperation as from competition–in fact, the meeting of goals from cooperation with others actualy works far better.

Help me to have a good day. Help my brothers and sisters to have a good day. We need You, and when Your are present, so that we sense You, then the day smooths out and all is well. Thank You.

Amen

Definition of Creations

“If the urge to create is strong, certainly let it serve you.  But do not seek for praise or monet - sailboats2acknowledgement of your creations at this time.  You will soon realize that creation is not of, or for, the personal self.  (A Course of Love, 25.20)”

Affirmation:  “May what we create be without praise-seeking.”

Reflections:

1 – Creating Is What We Are Doing Now

Creating is what we are now doing all the time, if we have taken the precepts of A Course of Love to heart.  We are no longer just “making” a world.

2 – Creation of the Self/Christ

But creation is of the Self/Christ, not of the little self, the personal self.  This personal self was too ego-inspired.  For that reason, we may be asked of God to keep our creations private, lest we be led astray, by the ego, because we get praise for those creations.

3 – Personal Experience

Nobody is my hometown knows of my blog, for I have not told them, for a very personal reason.  Now I know that the real reason is that I might receive some sense of praise that would mislead me by activating my ego, still not dead in me.

4 – Definition of Creations

The same motive might attend your creations of whatever nature.  A Course in Miracles spoke of our “creations,” but did not define them.  Now here in A Course of Love Jesus does define creations, and it is a very simple definition of what we create of whatever nature.

5 – Diminish the Ego

We must do what we can to diminish the ego, and if keeping our creations a secret, then that is what we ought to do.  We need to recognize that we are weak until God has made us strong, and our weakness needs protection against temptations that may overcome us.  We ought not to step out seeking praise from anyone about anything, for surely this craving for adulation is egoic.  And we would leave the egotistical behind.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I create in Your will today, a will that is also my own (for that is the way things are)..  When I follow Your will, I find that it is what I want as well.  The plan is perfect.

Be with me as I see the ego diminish, or as I hope that I see the ego diminish.  Let me not get cocky, or for surely this is of the ego.  May I turn to the Self that is within me, and may I listen to You, also within me.  

Be with me for a good day.

Amen.

Yes, We Are Safe

“There is no difference in his state at different times and different places, because they are all one to God.  This is his safety.  And he has no need for more than this.  (M-16.7)”

Affirmation:  “I am safe.”

Reflections:

1 – Inaccurate Definitions of the Ego

God is with us, closer than our breath, because we are part of God.  We have made a separate part that believes (inaccurately) that this tiny part has actually separated from God, but this would be an impossibility, because God is the All.  This part that we only “think” separated is the ego, and we do not need this particular definition of the ego to maneuver our way about our world.  This definition of the ego comes close to Freud’s, but is not equal to it.  This ego is a part of our belief about ourselves (a Text tenet), and believing in its viability makes a lot of turmoil for us.  We are better to live egoism out of the picture.  This definition is also not exactly “egotistical.”  Certainly the egotistical come into play, but this ACIM definition of the ego is more basic.  We do not have to afraid of it, but this seemingly separated part of ourselves is  mightily afraid of our real Self, knowing that we will withdraw all allegiance to it when we have experienced the joy of God as a sustainable state of mind and heart.

2 – No Egoistic Attractions

We are safe when we do not attract egoistic things into our lives.  We can even enjoy the material without feeling guilty, as long as we knowingly give God His place in our lives.  We do not even have to be religious in the usual sense.  Teachers of God (a Manual tenet) come from all religions, and from no religion.

3 – God with Us

God is here for us when we need Him.  He is also here for us when we don’t recognize that need.  But what joy when we do recognize and acknowledge His place in our lives.  There is no better way to live.

4 – Foxhole Religion

Safety is a big concern to many of us, particularly if we have been physically or emotionally vulnerable at some point in our lives.  If we have hit bottom, so to speak, we may have become quite open to religion.  But this religion of the desperate is not the best that we can hope to have.  The foxhole religion falls away when out of the foxhole.  It is far better to live a quiet life, even one as busy as we desire, but one that acknowledges that we can’t do everything on our own.  We actually know this, whether or not we have acknowledged God’s place in our lives or not.  There is no way for has not seen that life could be lived a better way.

5 – ACIM and ACOL

A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love come to us to show us a better way.  There are thousands of other courses (a Manual tenet), but ACIM (and, perhaps, ACOL) are our way.  So why should we seek further?  There will always be apparent reason for more seeking, because we are so used to doing it.  But A Course of Love says that there comes an end of seeking and an end of learning.  Let us be glad that we know enough to welcome God into our lives.  And may we know His joy in everyday life.  This is a quite attainable goal.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that I do know, in the depths of my being, that I am safe today.  I know it for I feel Your Presence, in my better moments.

Help me to intuit the real meaning of the ego, as described in A Course in Miracles.  I know that it is part of myself, but I do not have a handle on how to describe this, except in terms of what it is not.  Help us all today to reflect a bit on the ego and to have the certainty that, even though we can’t pin it down, we do know what Jesus is talking about.  And we would let that part of our belief about ourselves just wither away.  We would not struggle to end the ego, for resistance makes the ego strong.  We would just turn aside from the ego and all that it means.  And, in so doing, we are turning our hell into Heaven.

May I study and derive a great deal from my reading.  And may I commune with You on an almost constant basis.  That is truly the way home.

Amen