“The ego is the denial of free will (T-8.II.3:3).” Over and over the Course teaches us that there is only one meaningful choice available to us: the teacher with whom we will study, which is another way of saying the lens through which we will view the world and our experience. Will we choose the ego, whose lesson is separation and death, or will we choose the Holy Spirit, whose lesson is joy and peace?
In truth, even this choice is an illusion, because the ego is not real the true sense. There is nothing there. It is a belief system in which we are heavily invested, a lie for which we have fallen fast and hard, but this does not make it real. To “choose” the ego is meaningful only in the sense that it postpones the inevitable embrace of the Holy Spirit. Thus, any inclination towards the ego is really nothing more than a delay tactic.
Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can take what you want at a given time (T-in.1:4-5).
What does freedom really mean here? Is there truly a “rationale” for choice, when the only meaningful choice is when to wake up?
We are free when we know ourselves in alignment with God’s will. We know that we are free when we are happy, because only God’s will brings us happiness that is unshakeable and lasting. This is the only metric: is what we are doing bringing us joy and peace? We can choose God at any moment, we can link up with the Holy Spirit in any moment, so long as we are able to discern our state of mind.
We cannot choose what we are because that was settled by God who created us. This flies in the face of our experience in the world. There, we can choose anything – life partners, careers, clothing, food, cars, books, movies. Endless choices! And we call that freedom because we think there are right choices and wrong choices. We are happy when we correctly select the appopriate external conditions. But that is the ego’s lie – that there is some constellation of exterior things that constitutes salvation – and we know it is a lie because it has never worked. In all our choosing, when have we ever known more than fleeting happiness? Money vexes us as much as it releases and empowers us. Food is delicious sometimes but sometimes gives us stomach aches. And on and on and on.
The Holy Spirit offers us something else: a chance to know ourselves as creations of God. But to get there, we have to let go of the world. We have to say no to the ego and yes to the Holy Spirit. This is a symbolic gesture because the ego is not there to be rejected, but so what? It is simply another way of saying that we are choosing not to wait any longer. We are ready to learn the curriculum. We are ready to be taught who we are.
There is a true ease in following the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit opposes any imprisoning of the will of a Son of God, knowing that the will of the Son is the Father’s. The Holy Spirit leads you steadily along the path of freedom, teaching you how to disregard or look beyond everything that would hold you back (T-8.II.4:4-5).
And more than ease, there is joy. That is because as we learn what we are – and as we accept what we are – we know that we are joy. We were created lovingly in order to create lovingly. That is all a child of God truly is: love. And love naturally and surely and easily extends itself. Even in the world made by the ego, we can sense this in the happiness that comes from choosing to undo what never was right now.
All we have to do is see that we are unhappy. We have to see the tenuous nature of the physical world. And we have to be ready to have a different experience, and to turn without reservation to the guide who can show it to us. The peace of God is not a complicated idea, once we realize that there is nothing that we can add to it or subtract from it.
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God (T-in.2:2-4).
Nothing more than that and nothing less.