When I was in my thirties, I returned to college and got my degree through an independent study program. During my first semester, I delved into women’s studies and in the course of those studies, I read Clarissa Pinkola Este’s Women Who Run with the Wolves. The one story that I remember above all others was that of Bluebeard, where this rich guy charms this young naïve girl into marrying him and even though there is something “off” about him, she allows herself to be seduced rather than listen to her intuition. I think of the story each time I suddenly notice that my intuition has been screaming at me but I have allowed ego/pride to seduce me with its promises of something better. (For an in-depth look into the details of the story, check out Jessica Davidson’s Surviving Bluebeard: How to Deal with the Predator.) My intuition has been screaming at me for weeks, months even, but rather than pay attention to it, I have allowed ego (the predator) to pull me into its circle of logic. Truth be told, it was pride, or perhaps just avoiding shame. Truth be told, it was the reluctance to ask for help because of a fear of seeming incompetent.
Pride goeth before the fall, I hear my intuition tell me. I am being asked to recognize that I can’t do this – solve my “problems” — alone. There may be some irony in the fact that the Course says that we only have one problem and that is that we think we are separate – from God, from each other. (Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.)
We are not. But when we (I) think that I am, I don’t listen to my intuition. Thinking this has a tendency to make me spiral into fear. Except the next Course lesson is: Let me recognize my problems have been solved. I am not separate, or alone. I move and breathe and have my being in God. And so does everyone else.
I have been trying to handle things myself, relying on my own puny strength. Oh sure, I have been awake enough to see that I need help and so I have prayed a lot, but I have also ignored my intuition, even though it has been hitting me over the head, screaming at me about what I need to pay attention to. I haven’t wanted to ask for help. Ironically, it is exactly this that has the appearance of being my latest upset – rather than ask for help, a friend of mine, in her shame, skulked off in the middle of the night, turned her back on the house I helped her to get and in the process put the investor I persuaded to help her in the position of losing thousands of dollars. Why she didn’t just ask me to list the house to recoup the loss is beyond me.
I want to blame her, but then I notice how I, too, have been wallowing in shame, unwilling to look the predator in the eye. It is what A Course in Miracles refers to as the ego’s maxim, “Seek but do not find.” It’s how I pretend that I can still play the victim. (“See, it’s not my fault.”)
Last night, in our Tuesday night ACIM group, we continued Chapter 29, The Awakening, beginning with the section called Forgiveness and the End of Time, which begins with the question, “How willing are you to forgive your brother?”
I try to fold these lessons into my heart. Intellectually, I know that I cannot eschew responsibility. In ignoring my intuition, I have played into ego’s evil plot. Last night’s reading admonished me, “Seek not outside yourself.”
There was a lot of discussion about idols and how anytime we think the answer is “out there,” we have placed ourselves in a double bind, looking for solutions in illusions.
“All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you, and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within, and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes His place. Look not to idols. Do not seek outside yourself.”
The Course refers to idols as the “Anti-Christ.” Somehow, it is connected to greed, to the insatiable appetite for “more.” In thinking that I (small self, the ego, the “idol” I made to replace God’s creation) can add to everything – you know, separate from God and then show Him how special I am by giving it a little something extra – I have entered hell. I am lost in illusions thinking that there is something better than “Reality.” Something more than everything.
Each worshipper of idols harbors hope his special deities will give him more than other men possess. It must be more. It does not really matter more of what; more beauty, more intelligence, more wealth, or even more affliction and more pain. But more of something is an idol for. And when one fails another takes its place, with hope of finding more of something else. Be not deceived by forms the “something” takes. An idol is a means for getting more. And it is this that is against God’s Will.
God gives us everything. God is everything. The “something” that we (I) seek that is beyond that is illusion. It is an idol. It is the desire for specialness. It is ego.
Sometimes, when I feel frustrated or upset or angry, I call on God and then wrestle with my confusion, which should be my first clue that ego has entered the building. God cannot be confused. The truth is that when I ignore my intuition, when I refuse to look in the locked room where all the heads of Bluebeard’s former wives lay rotting, it is always because I am afraid I won’t get what I want. I don’t trust God to deliver the goods. I am seeking where the answer cannot be, somehow believing that the answer I can concoct on my own which trump God’s response.
The ridiculous part is that I walk around fairly miserable because I am trapped in fear of my own making, stuck in my pride and my reluctance to ask for help. I am asking God for help and then not listening to the answer. It’s never a great strategy to stray far from my spiritual practice. It should alarm me when I go so longer without writing.
I do not know what anything is for. As soon as I think I do, I have entered idol-ville.
All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you, and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within, and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes His place. Look not to idols. Do not seek outside yourself.
I honestly don’t know why I insist on doing something. Actually, I do know. It’s pride. It’s arrogance. It’s lack of trust. Perhaps all of this is merely to strengthen my trust in God. It really feels so much better to rest in His Love than it does to try to handle it all myself.
All it takes is willingness. Sometimes we (I) need to be at the place where I can’t figure it out to be willing to fall to my knees and surrender.
I praise the Living Spirit in everything, which is a way of letting go of illusion and connecting with Truth. The Course says, “The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is. He has no ego with which to accept such praise, and no perception with which to judge it. But unless you take your part in the creation, His joy is not complete because yours is incomplete. And this He does know. He knows it in His Own Being and its experience of His Son’s experience. The constant going out of His Love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him.”
This means listening to intuition. It is the Holy Spirit speaking to me. It is the answers I have been seeking. But it take courage – courage to look at what frightens me; courage to admit I cannot do this alone. Courage to let go of idols. As soon as I think I know, I don’t. But Spirit in me does and when I can hear that, I am, at last, on the right path. I’ve quit blocking the Love that never stopped surrounding me.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.