Every day – every moment of every day – we make decisions. And each decision is an answer to this fundamental ACIM question: whose kingdom is the world for you today? We make our decisions with the ego or the Holy Spirit – they are our guides. Our only choice is between them. When we choose the ego as our decision-making partner, we are binding ourselves to scarcity and loss. When we choose the Holy Spirit (or Jesus), we are stepping closer to our identity in God.
We can’t – and even if it were possible, it wouldn’t be practical or advisable – to stop before every decision and enlist the Holy Spirit. Our goal on the atonement path needs to be getting in the habit of bringing our perspective in alignment with the Holy Spirit’s – when we do it habitually, we are well on the road of forgiveness.
I think the problem boils down to this. I’ll use a personal example. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted land – lots of it. Five acres, fifty acres, five hundred acres. And I want it in New England. I also want a big house on that property, and preferably a nice barn, too. That’s my idea of success and safety.
I don’t have that – I have something short of it. And I think about that – the shortcomings of what I do have and the glorious majesty of what I want. I flip through real estate guides, bike around town green with envy at all the big houses and their spacious fields and pastures.
A Course in Miracles makes clear that my problem is not the house or the land – not at all. They are just proxies for the separation – the symbols I use to ensure that I stay in the world in a state of dissatisfaction and greed and disappointment and blame and anger and all that good stuff. I project my power, my love, my grace, all that, into this house and land that I don’t have – then I can experience myself as lacking. And I can see fulfillment out there in the world. And so I quest after it – full of longing, full of plans, full of possessive energy.
And it never works and I’m never happy.
I am separated from God. I don’t want to be reminded that’s an illusion. I like the separation. I want it. We have to accept that about ourselves.
I decide that what would make me happy – what would be healing and empowering and glorifying – would be a farmhouse on lots of land.
And now God is blocked because I’ve decided that the question is how to satisfy my lack and the only right answer is a bountiful farm.
I should ask instead for help in letting go of this decision. As Rules for Decision suggests, remind yourself that what you’ve decided isn’t making you happy. You don’t like the way you feel and so there must be a better way. What can we lose by asking the Holy Spirit for another way to see this?
The real decision, then, is the decision to side with the Holy Spirit. We want to bring our wants and needs to his attention, let him look them over and heal them. That’s forgiveness – giving the problem to the Holy Spirit (which is our right mind).
That’s not to say that it’s wrong to have desires. It’s not that wanting to live in New England on a farm is a problem – after all, we have to live somewhere. But it is to say that when we’ve become so attached to that living situation that we can’t accept anything else – don’t even want to give it over to the Holy Spirit – that we’re probably living in the realm of the ego and it’s time to make some changes.
Tony Robbins used to say that it’s not the money (or house or perfect partner) that we want – it’s the feelings that we think that money will bring us. I used to think that was pretty wise. Maybe it is. But A Course in Miracles dismantles it. Everything in the world that we look to as a solution will hurt us and disappoint us. That’s why it’s there. That’s why we want it. The answer is to turn inward. The answer is to recall our connection, our fundamental identity in God.
Is it hard to do? Yes. Undoubtedly. But we don’t have to do it perfectly – or even wholeheartedly. We just have to be willing. If we can crack that part of our mind open just a little, then the light will eventually come streaming out of it.
So when you’re in a fix – or, like me sometimes, you’re tangled up in knots because you’re not getting your answer to your question – bring it back to the basics. Give it over to the Holy Spirit. Remember that all it takes is a little willingness. Big things are going to be undone for you!