A Course in Miracles teaches us to turn our problems over to the Holy Spirit, the symbolic bridge between God and self, which exists as our right mind. The alternative is the ego – the Course’s catch-all phrase for our what we might call our wrong mind or erroneous thinking. In truth, we are not separate from God. But our experience testifies otherwise and we have grown confused. By confirming the Holy Spirit as our guide, we ensure that the direction of the curriculum will ensure our salvation.
So we have to make a choice. We have to choose the Holy Spirit. If we’re committed to this path, if we want to wake up as students of A Course in Miracles, then we have to make that decision. We see that there are two teachers available – the ego and the Holy Spirit – and that we have been working with the ego for a long time and that isn’t turning out so well for us. We aren’t asked to take the Holy Spirit on faith, in other words. We’re asked literally to evaluate how things are working out with the ego. And then decide for a new teacher accordingly.
What this section is pointing out – its gloss on the key idea of choosing the right teacher – is the importance of making the choice and sticking to it. We can’t waver. We can’t go back and forth. Or rather, we can, but it’s not going to be especially helpful. A student with two teachers – each teaching him the opposite lesson – can only produce confusion. We can hear both teachers fine – but we have to choose to listen to only one of them.
Listening to the Holy Spirit means different things to different people. For me, for example, it has to do with quiet. I appreciate a quiet space in which to pray and sink as far past the chatter of the brain as possible. What I “hear” there is intuition. Often, the intuition is clarified in writing of some kind or another. Walking in the woods is another way of “hearing.” Yours will be different perhaps. It’s the form that changes – not the content.
It is an effort, in other words, which is strange to say because communication with God through the Holy Spirit is so natural. But we have been hearkening to the ego’s call for so long that turning to the spirit is strange and unfamiliar. The more we do it, the easier and more familiar it becomes. And the ego in turn begins to sound shrill and irrational. The choice becomes easier.
But it still has to be made – and made again and made again. It’s good to pay attention to our thoughts, good to take note of which teacher we’re listening to. It’s good to be able to say, “okay – that’s a fear thought” or “okay, that’s the ego talking again.” We can just see that and take a quick moment to make another choice. Eventually it becomes a habit. Eventually, we go all the way to peace.