How often do we pitch this tantrum: I want it thus and God thinks otherwise! Desire always comes up against some limit – of the body, of other bodies, of time, of circumstances. Sooner or later, our happiness sours. We can line up the external world just so for a long time – maybe a really long time – but it always ends. God always thinks otherwise. When will we see it and, seeing it, accept it?
The course teaches us that “the memory of God comes to a quiet mind (T-23.I.1:1). What does this mean? I don’t think it means that we are supposed to meditate a lot, although there is nothing especially wrong with that. I think that our minds grow still and quiet when we let go of all the static that fills it. We have all these ideas and opinions and judgments and very little of it practical or necessary. It’s noisy up there!
When we lift our thoughts up into the light of understanding – what we might think of as looking at our minds with the Holy Spirit – we see that so much of what is going on is illusory. I am often amazed at how flimsy thought is – how quick it arises and disappears, how the slightest movement of love and will can cause it to just float away. Mind often strikes me as a giant field in which a million strands of milkweed dander and spider filaments glitter and drift. We can get awfully hung up on all that activity – it can be attractive – but eventually we have to see how inconsequential it is.
Tara Singh used to say that life takes care. We don’t have to do anything. This amazes me from time to time. I will sit near the garden – the tomato plants dragging at the stakes, the Monarch butterflies fluttering here and there in the marigolds, the bees humming near the Zinnias which are just starting to grow dull now the nights are getting cooler and longer. All that life and I don’t have to do a thing about it. It just is. Not always, but sometimes I am able to slip into it myself – just feel the pull of life, how it does take care. All the energy and ambition and ideation I engage in . . . it’s useless. It’s empty. It’s like the wind howling in an empty wine bottle.
The ego always marches to defeat, because it thinks that triumph over you is possible. And God thinks otherwise. This is no war; only the mad belief the will of God can be attacked and overthrown (T-23.1.2:6-8).
Yet still, there is a sort of cart-before-the-horse problem here, too. I mean that we recognize the futility of the egoic self, the egoic mind, and implicitly assume it’s enough. We decide at a very subtle level that we’re done. We’ve got it, whatever “it” is. But we don’t reach God merely by noticing what obscures God. God does not block God. Something else is in the way.
I think it is easy to get stuck in this place because it can be so nice! It is very sweet and calm to just spend an hour admiring the sunlight and not really paying any attention to your thoughts. But the assumption we make in this case is very dangerous because it can waste a lot of time: we assume that we know God. But that is really just the ego making an end run back to its old primacy. We can’t know what we don’t know – if we don’t know God, then anything we say is God is coming from what we know and is a projection and is unreal. So it’s nice to be peaceful and calm – there is some benefit to it, as I said – but there’s another step. And we don’t take it.
I guess what I am trying to say is that God thinks otherwise and I don’t always want to accept that. I’ve cleared a lot of ground, I’ve got a lot more of a grip on my mind, I am no longer scared of the ego and so on and so forth but that’s still not it. It’s okay but it’s not it. And if I get casual then I’m going to slip back into the old state. Somewhere I am thinking I have beaten the ego – I’ve got the upper hand. But I have to be careful. I have to remain vigilant.
We want to be enlightened – we crave it! Awakening, the Kingdom of Heaven. But God thinks otherwise. And we don’t know what God thinks. We don’t have that experience. Not yet. I wouldn’t be writing here if I did. I really don’t think I would. So one thing we can do when we reach that place – a deeper peace than we have ever known, a clarity that is almost electric – is just treat it the way we treat any other phenomenon in the world. Another illusion to be shared with the Holy Spirit. Another step on the road home. We have to remember that God thinks otherwise – it’s a good reminder – and then just keep working to open the space until – it will happen – we think otherwise, too.