Making Clear the Better Way

Even though the text of A Course in Miracles offers us a fairly elaborate mythology around the creation of the ego and the origins of our separation from God, it also acknowledges that we can’t really understand the ego – and thus begin to undo it – in terms of the past.

There is, however, no point in giving an answer in terms of the past because the past does not matter, and history would not exist if the same errors were not being repeated in the present . . . Your own state of mind is a good example of how the ego was made (T-4.II.1:3, 3:1).

If we want to know the ego – how it comes into being, how it operates, what its effects are – we simply need to pay attention to our present state of mind.

We perceive ourselves as centers from which the universe radiates. The body is our home and its senses are the means by which we acquire information: hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling. Our minds respond to what our bodies tell it: we are happy when circumstances are good, sad when they’re not.

A Course in Miracles, however, suggests that this “center” is artificial – it is something that we make to replace God, and then deny having made, and then frantically protect against any suggestion it’s not real or not intelligent or not helpful.

You react to your ego much as God does to His creations, – with love, protection and charity. Your reactions to the self you made are not surprising. In fact, they resemble in many ways how you will one day react to your real creations, which are as timeless as you are (T-4.II.4:4-6).

If we are attentive to this mode of perception – this center – then we will learn a few things. We will learn, for example, that the center is not really there. We can’t really find the core of it – the true self – whatever we choose to call it. And we will also begin to see that even though this center seems to be very effective at judging and organizing and directing, it’s actually not. We spend a lot of time in sorrow and pain and confusion.

That is the place that A Course in Miracles directs us: simply to become aware – to become clear about – the futility of the thought system we are currently living under. Once we make contact with how broken and ineffective it is, then change becomes possible. We naturally incline towards the possibility of something better. We say what Bill Thetford said to Helen Schucman, effectively inaugurating the scribal process: “there must be another way.”

Belief that there is another way of perceiving is the loftiest idea of which ego thinking is capable. That is because it contains a hint of recognition that the ego is not the Self (T-4.II.4:10-11).

And so. The separation is not a past event but a present one: it is happening right now. We believe it right now. Thus, the atonement – and the miracle that is its means – are also available- are believable – right now.

The psalmist taught us to “be still, and know that I am God.” The fiftieth lesson of the ACIM workbook says we are “sustained by the Love of God.”

Only the Love of God will protect you in all circumstances. It will lift you out of every trial, and raise you high above all the perceived dangers of this world into a climate of perfect peace and safety (W-pI.50.3:1-2).

We can choose to believe this as readily as we choose to believe its opposite. We can change our mind. We can elect to no longer invest in the egoic infrastructure but turn instead to the Author of all Life, the Author of Love.

We probably won’t do that today. And maybe not tomorrow either. That’s okay. Right now our focus is on seeing the ego, seeing its machinations, and honestly assessing its usefulness. That’s all we have to do.

In time, we will let the ego slip away as simply a bad idea to which we were temporarily addicted. That result is inevitable if we devote ourselves now to its attainment.

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