Undoing Ego Through Attention

It is important to remember that the ego is something we made – it is our project, our construct – and so we are enabled to bring it to an end as well. This makes no sense at all from an ego perspective (forever bent on its own preservation), which is why we need the help of A Course in Miracles in seeing what the ego is and how it can be undone. Ego, it turns out, can be undone through attention.

Help is simply the action of asking for help. Help is the insight that our own resources are futile and cannot be truly helpful, and so on that basis are set aside in favor of the possibility that there is – as Bill Thetford so fruitfully remarked a good half century ago – another way.

Help is not of us. It is really nothing more than seeing and accepting that simple fact. As soon as we truly relinquish our stranglehold on doing and acting and directing, then help – very useful help, very powerful help – is there. It is already given, a simple fact that all our activity and busy-ness obscures.

The ego opposes what it perceives as helplessness and surrender. It resists fiercely any movement on our part to to give ourselves to God. Its resistance can seem very logical and reassuring; that is why there is often a sense of risk involved in the spiritual life, a sense of danger.

We have to be willing to leap off a cliff in order to learn we cannot fall – nor journey in any meaningful way – because we already are what we seek, and what we are is one. There is nothing to go to and nothing to leave.

Don’t be afraid of the ego’s apparent tenacity and seeming ingenuity! It is just a product of your mind and reflects nothing more than a misguided application of that mind’s power.

Rather, simply give attention to the ego’s machinations, to how it works, and give attention as well to the flickers of holy light beyond it. When we do this gently and without judgment, we naturally begin to perceive the wholeness of which we in truth composed.

It is a wonderful thing to find oneself in contact both with the frantic activity of the ego and the deep well of the mind out of which the ego was made. The ego insists we can choose between these two seeming options and argues ferociously in its own favor. But the love inherent in our mind is not up for a vote, and our allegiance to it is beyond question save for when we are “thinking insanely” (T-7.VI.9:2).

What you are is not established by your perception, and is not influenced by it at all. Perceived problems in identification at any level are not problems of fact. They are problems of understanding, since their presence implies a belief that what you are is up to you to decide (T-7.VI.9:3-5).

The ego is wrong – just wrong – and there is nothing to understand in it, nothing to correct in it, and nothing to share in it. Let it go and it is gone.

Thus, I walk in the forest morning after morning – I read and study and write during the day – I cook for my family at night – and in all of that I ask over and over to be shown my helplessness in order that I might at last say yes to the self I share with you in Creation, that together we might settle into a shared gift of attention, the sure promise of which is remembrance of God.

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