VII. Creating versus the Self-Image, P 5
5 The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful, and this belief is the “devil.” It is powerful, active, destructive and clearly in opposition to God, because it literally denies His Fatherhood. Look at your life and see what the devil has made. But realize that this making will surely dissolve in the light of truth, because its foundation is a lie. Your creation by God is the only Foundation that cannot be shaken, because the light is in it. Your starting point is truth, and you must return to your Beginning. Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened. Your Self is still in peace, even though your mind is in conflict. You have not yet gone back far enough, and that is why you become so fearful. As you approach the Beginning, you feel the fear of the destruction of your thought system upon you as if it were the fear of death. There is no death, but there is a belief in death.
What have I made through the ego thought system? Conflict. Conflict everywhere I look. Conflict within my own mind and extending to my immediate family; conflict projected as illness, addictions, and a brother in prison. Conflict extending to friends appearing as grief and many of the same forms as are in my family. Conflict extending over all the world, appearing as death and destruction from natural disasters and from war and strife, hunger and disease.
“Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened.” I could cry with relief. This horror show is an illusion. Nothing has happened. Every sad, every violent, every emotionally wrenching story is just a projection of the belief in separation, an experience that appears real because I believe in it. The stories will cease when I choose to return to the Beginning.
This is what I am doing right now. It is what all of us studying and practicing the Course are doing. We are backing out of our stories, backing out of our belief in separation. Every time one of us becomes aware that we are speaking angry words and we acknowledge those words are not the truth, we back out of the illusion a bit. Each time we realize we don’t want our righteous anger and that we would rather have healing, we back out a bit. Each time we accept the Atonement instead, we back us all out of the illusion a bit more.
I used to be fully convinced that I was a victim of the world. I tried to get smarter and wiser so that I could fight back. I tried to defend myself against the world by learning to manipulate the system. I thought I was clever as I learned how to make more money, how to get people to do things my way. I tried all sorts of things to feel safe and yet, nothing really worked. I was afraid of everything and I was drowning in guilt. Thinking back on my early life I don’t know how I endured it.
Through A Course in Miracles, I slowly learned to accept that I but do this to myself. I learned that I am not a victim of the world, but the maker of the world. I learned that wisdom is not learning how to defend myself, but rather it is learning that in my defenselessness my safety lies. I began to recognize that no matter how hard I try, there is no way I can make plans on my own and have any confidence the plans will bring the results I hoped for. So I learned to surrender my plan to One Who knows.
I used to be painfully lonely and now I see how impossible that is. I am one with All That Is. I have learned that alone is not the same thing as lonely. If I begin to feel lonely, I ask for comfort, I ask to feel the unity of One Self. Learning to let go of the burden of judgment has been such a relief. Now, instead of trying to judge for myself, I ask what a thing means.
I am learning to let go of the tight grip I have had on control, understanding that being in control was the greatest illusion of them all. I surrender control to Love and let it take care of me. Instead of fighting against life, I forgive. I forgive and forgive and forgive. At first, I forgave grudgingly, suspicious of the process, expecting loss. Now I do it not in a sense of giving up, but forgiving for the joy of it.
I continue with these practices, and now I am becoming vigilant for the exceptions I make, the places in my life where I try to hold back something, believing that these places have some value and hold some meaning. Sometimes it feels like a big deal. Sometimes it feels small and inconsequential.
What I am learning is that they are all the same. Anytime I want to decide for myself, make plans on my own, feel righteous in my judgment, fail to love, anytime, I am blind to the Christ in my brother, or feel separate from others I am placing value where there is none, and I am defending against God. Each of these things, even though they feel different to me, is all the same. They are symbols of my opposition to God.
It is true that the closer I come to the Beginning, the harder the ego-self fights for its life. It places obstacles to the truth in my path. It tries to distract and discourage. It uses fear and guilt to move me from my path. Sometimes it feels like a battle is raging in my mind, but it is only my self that I fight.
Yes, the ego fights against waking up, but I have so much help now. I am not alone in this. I sometimes feel like I don’t know how to find my way out of an ego storm, but now I never believe that I will fail. I call for support, for comfort, for clarity, and for help in whatever way would be most helpful, and I am answered.