We couldn’t help but notice the ego fights we have with ourselves. It was clear that despite all our weekly meetings and studying of this material, the ego still has its nasty talons buried deep in our psyches. Despite everything, the ego still seemed to be winning. “Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you,” the Course tells us. That’s all fine and good but it’s not like any of us has the ability to lob the bastard off and leave it writhing on the side of the road. And as if to make us realize how impossible such a feat would be, we are then told, “I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed.”
Great, I can’t ditch the sucker because it’s part of me; I’m stuck.
(As always, the next line addresses the issue.)
“The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. Your other life has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate it.”
Somehow, that part is reassuring. The real me can’t be threatened or screwed up by my mistaken belief that I am something I am not – separate, unworthy, a hot mess.
This section, The Rewards of God, is about learning to ask God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit/your spirit guides for guidance rather than asking your ego. I don’t think it really matters who you are directing the question to (we are all one so take your pick – might want to pick a higher power and not your dead uncle who died of a drug overdose – maybe); just don’t ask your ego cause it has no frigging clue.
Got to love the Course. It so has my number. I was searching for clues as to how to make that bitch my submissive, and the Course is telling me it doesn’t work that way. Great!
Apparently bitch-slapping isn’t the Course’s recommended course of action for dealing with the ego.
It is really a surrender thing, accepting that we (I, anyway) have no idea what anything is for so I’m not a reliable source of information. At least my ego isn’t. The figuring out part of me isn’t. Chances are really good that whatever the answer is, it won’t, in that moment, make logical sense. I can’t see how the pieces fit (probably because I only see some of them) so how could it make sense?
We spent a lot of time on this section. Here was the part that really tripped us up. “8 As you come closer to a brother you approach me, and as you withdraw from him I become distant to you. Salvation is a collaborative venture.”
Ouch. Really? I need to include those idiots?
“I just want to go be on a mountain top and forget all my brothers,” came the objection. “This sounds like I need to love them all and take them all with me. You’re telling me I should love them all. That I don’t get to leave them all behind and bliss out all on my own. That’s what I really want to do.”
We took a poll – would it shock you to know that we all wanted to avoid the “greet your neighbor” part of Sunday service? (For years, I arrived late so I could avoid it – how the hell did I ever become a Practitioner????)
Ok, so I know that we’ve been at this awhile and “should” be past all this shit, but yeah, we weren’t. We’re not that good at the brother thing.
“Remember, Reverend Patrick always used to say, ‘Don’t should on yourself.’ ” I tell them.
“Should” is an ego trick. “Should” is a way of making ourselves feel bad for not being further along the path. “Should” is a way of getting us to go backwards instead of forwards. Ego bullshit.
Oh, and FYI – resistance is always an ego device. (Remember the 5-second rule.)
I propose the idea that instead of beating ourselves up for feeling the way we feel that maybe it’s more constructive to love ourselves where we are.
Maybe it would be easier without the ego fights.
(Remember the Course is really about learning to forgive; that includes ourselves.)
Maybe that desire to shut the world out is really that internal signal that says you need space to clear away the chatter. Just like we need sleep to recover from the day and process, and we need vacations to rejuvenate our souls, maybe that desire to shut the world out for a while isn’t so much a “I never want to see another human again” so much as a detoxing. It’s why we meditate. It’s why we sleep, fast, go on vacation – we need time and space to clear away the bullshit so we can anchor ourselves in clarity.
You wouldn’t yell at a four year-old for being cranky because he needs a nap; why are we less nice to ourselves?
God is found in the silence.
America isn’t really known for valuing recuperative time; we award badges of honor to the poor souls who run themselves ragged. (Like that’s healthy!)
Maybe when we feel properly nurtured, maybe when we aren’t sick to death of all the demands placed on us, maybe then we can find the generosity of spirit that makes it easy to see that love is increased by sharing.
7I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception He can bridge the little gap. Your gratitude to your brother is the only gift I want. I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God. If you are grateful to your brother, you are grateful to God for what He created. Through your gratitude you come to know your brother, and one moment of real recognition makes everyone your brother because each of them is of your Father.
Everything that isn’t love is a call for love. Maybe when we are filled with the awareness of God’s presence in each moment, then maybe that gratitude spills from our souls naturally. The blocks to the awareness of love’s presence are lifted.
6The 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.
I think that studying the Course is way of learning how to remove the blocks. When you finally feel how loved you are, how precious you are – so precious that God, Himself, is lonely without you, then the natural next step is to let others know that this is true for them, too. (At the risk of sounding way too Christian – to share the good news.)
Love is increased by sharing and it is really my one function here. Love created me like itself.
And that’s true of everyone else, too. Even if they are being idiots.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.