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Measuring Smiles

A Course in Miracles teaches that there are only two voices speaking to us at any given time. We can listen to the Voice for God, whose word is written on everyone’s heart (M-26.1:2), or the ego, which is a dream of what we really are (C-2.1:5). One voice speaks for truth and the other always lies.

Each moment of each day we are literally choosing between those two voices. Nothing else is happening. Nothing else matters. Our freedom of will forever distills to this one choice: to whom do we listen?

This is why I often write about the importance of attention: of making some space in which we can determine which voice we are hearing most clearly, how we are responding, and what the results are. Attention yields clarity and in the space of clarity it is easier to make informed and heartfelt decisions.

If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen. That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior. (T-4.IV.1:1-2).

So the attention that we pay can track three related threads: our attitude, our feelings and our behavior.

Are we negative and doubtful? Are we dispirited? Are we generous?

If we are honesty with ourselves, we know what love looks like: we know how it manifests. Are we there or not? Our answer matters only in the sense that it directs our next step.

It’s good to know that we’re not in the space of love – in attitude, feeling and behavior. I think a lot of students resist seeing this because they think it means they’re failing somehow. But really, if we are serious and devoted in our practice, then sooner or later we inevitably make contact with the fact that not only do we listen exclusively to our ego, we are doing so deliberately.

[t]his is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep. Your mind is filled with schemes to save the face of your ego, and you do not seek the face of Christ (T-4.IV.1:3-5).

It is only when we see and accept this fact that we can begin to realistically assess it. Are we happy with the results we are getting? Someone asked me a while how A Course in Miracles changed me. My first thought was that I act like less of a spiritual know-it-all.

The second was that I smile more. It’s worth asking: are we smiling more?

If we’re not, it’s because we’re not listening to the Voice for God. We’re listening to the ego. When we see that – when we recognize the ego’s voice (bent on comparison, bent on getting, bent on judgment) – then we can practice not listening to it. And little by little, our smiles will widen and grow lighter.

The miracle is a sign that the mind has chosen to be led by me in Christ’s service. The abundance of Christ is the natural result of choosing to follow Him (T-1.VI.6:1-2).

That abundance is not measured in the square footage of your house, the bottom line in your bank account or any other thing that can be measured according to the world. It is outside both time and space: the closest analogy is light: and its presence is the very beating heart of Truth.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Claudia July 4, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Sean, this met me exactly where I am today. Yesterday I listened to the ego at a critical time, and it was a disaster. Attitude, feelings and behavior were deliberately in the wrong place, and I paid the price. I like being called out on the deliberateness of it. I had a moment when I could have pulled up, not attacked, slowed down and taken inventory of what I was doing. But I plowed on. Not proud of it, but glad to see this post today. I will choose differently next time, I hope. This is helpful pondering. Thanks.

    • Sean Reagan July 5, 2013, 6:36 am

      You’re welcome Claudia. I’m glad it was helpful. It does suck when we listen to the ego – especially when we’re aware that we’re doing it and we do it anyway. On the other hand, I think seeing that is really helpful because from the ego’s perspective, it would rather be able to act that way without our even noticing – just be all self-righteous and so forth. But we’re past that now. The ego can’t get that far with us – we see it and even though we’re not ready to let it go, we are loosening our grip on it. So that is a good thing – a thing to be celebrated.

      Thanks for reading & sharing.


  • Janet Acquilano July 5, 2013, 7:53 pm

    Yesterday was a tough one, but we learn and grow a lot from those days and moments. Nice Post : )

    • Sean Reagan July 5, 2013, 9:10 pm

      Got to “keep on keeping on,” as Bob Dylan put it!

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