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The Ego Is Thrashing Like A Landed Trout

There are times when what is going on in my life in the world overwhelm me and so I don’t post. In part I don’t post because I don’t like venting online (I am aware of the risk of wanting to appear more spiritually sound than I actually am). But also in part, I am sometimes simply at a loss for words (he says at the beginning of a four hundred word post).

One of my goals here is to talk honestly about my experience of studying and teaching A Course in Miracles and, more generally I guess, my experience of being a follower of Jesus.

That has been very difficult lately. I am in a space where the ego is thrashing like a landed trout. The Course suggests – if it doesn’t outright state (I’m not in the mood to go hunting for quotes) – that the closer to Peace we grow, the more resistant the ego becomes. It’s fighting for its life and if necessary will give up any pretense that we’re friends.

I have been alternately sad and angry lately. And confused. The sadness is simply about a goodbye that I am saying. The anger is at the sadness, that I cannot fix the situation that makes the farewell necessary.

And the confusion is this: I understand there is nothing I can do but simply allow these feelings their space, accept the belief system (separate bodies in the world) that underlies them for what it is, and then trust Jesus (or the Holy Spirit, if you prefer more syllables) to take care of the rest.

There are a few things in the world that I want – literally more than I can put into words – to be different than they are. And I want them different yesterday. And I seem to have crossed some sort of ACIM rubicon where I can no longer pretend that a fix in the world is as good as a fix in the mind.

I am practicing doing nothing and – forgive the melodrama – it feels like being crucified.

I am mindful of that part of the text which talks about (I paraphrase) seeing our pain clearly so that we can associate it with the ego and then make another choice (for Jesus). We don’t give up the ego because we’re wise. We give it up because we can’t stand the agony and the anguish any longer.

Well, I am learning about my capacity – which is quite vast, apparently – for suffering.

Anyway, thank you for being here and for reading. I hope you’re well. Me, I’m going to work on turning my frown upside down.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • April October 23, 2011, 5:33 pm


    That place you are in right now can seem all encompassing. As students of the Course we’ve all been there, and will no doubt pass that way again. Somehow I get the feeling that is part of the earth school curriculum. When those circumstances come up in my own life I’m fond of saying that the ego has brought out the heavy artillery and it feels as if the pain, sadness, loss, whatever the situation, is beyond my capacity to deal with other than what my emotions are dictating to me. When the ego’s heavy artillery has been engaged, I have literally been on my knees asking the Holy Spirit for help. Many times I found all I could do was to walk and walk and literally count the sidewalk squares (I lived where there were sidewalks at that time) as an effective way of stopping the ego from chewing on the hurt over and over again and replaying it in my mind. I had to give the ego a little task to keep it occupied. Was that denial? I don’t think so because I took what the Course had to say about mind wandering seriously and wasn’t going to give that pesky ego a chance to dwell in a place that was very destructive for me. That was all I was capable of doing . . .1 square, 2 squares . . . 377 squares, etc. It kept me present. During those painful times I read very little from the Course but it was a fertile time nevertheless. I did try to extend that gentleness that the runs throughout the Course to myself and all the turmoil I was feeling. That was all I could do right then and it helped.

    You wrote in one of your blogs, “What is the point of having a practice if the cat can’t die right in the middle of it?” Good words. At some point one makes a committment to the practice and that is the little willingness that is required. So many times of great connection and peace when we are living the Course in Miracles and times of despair when the cosmic battery cables seem corroded. Nevertheless, the practice is still going on, but more subtle and passive. Maybe that’s another meaning for “I need do nothing”.

    As a reader of your blog and a student of the Course, I so appreciate your honesty and strength in not hiding or trying to portray yourself as having a handle on the messy stuff that comes up. Sometimes its easy to access what we need for healing, and other times it feels like fishing without bait. You know of course, that regardless of what the circumstances are in your life that give you pain, I/we continue to see your perfection as it is right now and always will be — the Perfect Son of God.


    • Sean October 25, 2011, 3:04 am

      Thank you, April. That was helpful and brilliant. “Fishing without bait,” this idea of the cosmic battery cables being broken. I read that thinking, yes! That’s it! And it brought a smile, which is always good.

      I was on a boat yesterday for a memorial service and couldn’t help thinking about drifting. There is something going on right now that has to do with letting go and to be honest I am just scared of what’s on the other side of it. I keep reminding myself the Course isn’t about sacrifice, not about giving up joy but it’s confusing. Or scary. I do feel like there’s no going back and that, oddly, is a comfort.

      I love this idea of the practice going on even when it feels like all we can do is count sidewalk squares or put one foot in front of the other so the dog gets her walk or whatever.

      Anyway, thank you again. I feel very honored that you take the time to read and comment. It’s a real blessing of writing that we meet and make friends through the words. Thank you!

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