I have written before that our separation from God – which is the only real problem that we have, the only one that really needs solving – boils down to one key idea: that we are capable of self-creation and that the direction of our creation is up to us (T-2.I.1:12). The separation is a condition, a belief – the belief that we have broken from God and are on our own. Thus – deprived of that which is all – we dissolve into needs. We try to meet those needs on our own. It doesn’t work. We feel guilty from having denied God and fearful of retaliation. Really, the separation is a vicious circle set in motion by the lie that we are equal creators with God. Settle that conflict and you’ve settled the only conflict there is.
The voice of the separation is the ego – it is the belief that the separation is real and it is the questioning aspect of the mind ever bent on “proving” that we are no longer one with God. The ego lives by comparison – it compares us with other miracle workers, other writers, other lovers, other cooks, other speakers. It doesn’t care if we find ourselves wanting or not. It’s the comparison – the idea of right and wrong, better or worse, good or bad – that it needs. So long as we’ll indulge that duality, the ego is cool.
The Holy Spirit is the voice for God. When we perceived the separation – when we accepted the belief that it was possible to split from God and that we had, in fact, accomplished that split – we instantly lost our potential for unhindered communication. Before that moment, all was one. There were no voices. There were no choices. After the “tiny mad idea” crept it – and we heeded it – the ego arose. Consciousness arose – that which provides a) something to do the observing and b) something that is observed. Deprived of direct communication, God delivered into our minds the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit remembers God. It is not confused by the separation. It doesn’t see our experience in the world as real or metaphorical. It knows that experience is false and illusory and so it doesn’t see it all. It speaks for God and for us simultaneously, ever calling – notice how often the word “call” appears in this section – us back to that condition of oneness, of wholeness.
At all times – even in this illusory world – we are capable of hearing two voices. The first is the ego’s. It is familiar and loud. It is sly and cunning. It never satisfies but temporarily. It perceives the separated self amongst other separated selves and it seeks only witnesses that will attest to that separation. It’s just an idea – a bad one – but we’ve identified with it for so long that we’ve fallen prey to the belief that we and it are one. I am you, the ego whispers. This identification is more fragile than smoke in a hard wind but so long as we’re inclined to indulge it – and we all are, and we all do – then it’s not going anywhere.
Contrast that with the voice for the Holy Spirit. It is quiet. It is in – and is – our right mind which, as it is perfected by our increasing association with it, is gently led to Heaven by God. Hearing this voice is what converted Jesus from just another itinerant preacher to a real savior (one of many). Indeed, as he professes in this section, if he is anything he is a model for our capacity to choose to listen to this voice. It’s not easy but the rewards are profound.
It is possible even in this world to hear only that voice and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn (T-5.II.3:9-10).
Effort and great willingness . . . we shouldn’t gloss over that phrase. I write sometimes about the joys of being a course student, and I say outright or imply that it’s a speedy path to waking up, but all of that should be taken in the light of the work involved. It is a commitment and a process. We are not without help and guidance, but we are also not undertaking a mere walk in the park, back by noon. The ego isn’t going to go quietly.
Thus, we have to work to hear the Holy Spirit. We should do this in complete faith that we will be heard. That’s really the whole point of having Jesus on hand. He’s sort of the cheerleader who keeps shouting “go! Go! You can do it!”
And, indeed, that voice is there and we do begin to sense it and then perceive it outright. What strengthens our capacity to hear it – and finally our saving identification with it – is our willingness and effort to hear only it. Thus, our desire to hear the Holy Spirit is also a rejection of the ego – not in the active sense of “get thee behind me Satan” but simply in the sense that we are withdrawing our investment from it. I don’t have time or energy for egoic chatter because I am so attentive to the soul, to the sweet directives of the Holy Spirit. Like that.
Hearing that voice and responding to it means that we get to reap its benefits: the end of fear and guilt. Peace and love. A natural and enduring sense of abundance. Calm thoughts. Gratitude. Lovingkindness. The light comes and the shadows are gently undone. It’s simultaneously no big thing and everything all at once.
Thus, we begin to associate the Holy Spirit with meaningful gain and the ego with loss and strife and anguish. And once we’ve made that connection, then we can evaluate the two voices fairly. Who wants the ego’s pitiful whining and begging when we can attend to the Holy Spirit’s soulful tones?
This inclination to hear the Holy Spirit and to refine our hearing of him is the motivation for Christ-like thinking and Christ-like behavior. In the early versions of the text, the author talked about how psychotherapists focused on behavior often at the expense of motivation, or thoughts. As we bring our thoughts into harmony with the Holy Spirit’s assessment of who and what we truly are – perfect children of God unaffected by the nightmare of separation – we will experience the same peace and power that Jesus experienced. Our mind is repaired (not healed) to its original Christlike state.