I. Right Teaching and Right Learning, P 11
11 The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise. Do not try to make this impoverished house stand. Its weakness is your strength. Only God could make a home that is worthy of His creations, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession. Yet His home will stand forever, and is ready for you when you choose to enter it. Of this you can be wholly certain. God is as incapable of creating the perishable as the ego is of making the eternal.
There was a time that I was tempted to believe the ego’s home was salvageable. This was even after I discovered I had another choice, that there was something besides the body and the world and the idea of separation. I tried to make my ego bolder and braver, stronger and more attractive. I tried to make it smarter and wiser. I even tried to make it more spiritual.
The ego goes on with this program, like an abandoned clock that has not run down yet, but I can’t see any purpose in it, myself. Every so often, I see the frantic thoughts in my mind urging me to join a worthy cause to improve the world, or warning me that I must live up to expectations or I will be judged. Sometimes I fall into these traps and play that game for awhile, but I know too much to go back, and pretty quickly remember to ask for the Atonement.
Jesus has taught me through contrast that I want to leave this shabby home and now when I spend time believing in the ego plan for salvation the discomfort of being there convinces me to seek Jesus’ plan of Atonement instead. When I act from fear, when I defend myself against perceived attack I suffer, and I have lost my taste for suffering.
I have always suffered when this happened, but it wasn’t until I practiced the Course that I even realized I was suffering. Now that I have experienced peace, I have little tolerance for suffering. And now that I understand what interrupts that peace, I am quicker to seek relief. I had a recent experience in which I seemed to be a victim of someone’s carelessness. First I tried to solve the problem with ego. Ego has this new, nicer, kinder façade to keep in place so it offered helpful sounding words and reasonable sounding solutions. But the ego always has an agenda. It is always trying to win at someone’s expense.
Briefly, I was convinced that I was doing some good and that everything would work out. The person involved would learn a valuable lesson and I would control the outcome to my satisfaction. The ego had me there for a while, and I was playing its game. But I tell you, the ego may confuse me with its logic, but it can’t fake peace. I felt the wrongness of it, and I was suffering. Because suffering is no longer my desire, I was given the solution.
I was doing a Pathways of Light course with two other people when the answer jumped off the page at me. We were studying from The Song of Prayer and this is what I read: “The poisonous thought that he is your enemy, your evil counterpart, your nemesis, must be relinquished before you can be saved from guilt.” Ouch! No wonder I was not at peace. I was teaching guilt and learning guilt. Suddenly I knew exactly what to do and exactly the right words to use. After that everything fell gently into place. I knew that this answer was the right answer because it felt exactly right. It felt peaceful at every step.
My first response came from the ego and it was an effort to make the ego home safe. There is nothing I can do to make the ego world safe. I don’t want to even try to do this. Working from within the ego thought system to make it something it can never be is not going to work. It never has and it never will. I do have a home, though, that is safe without my effort. It is God’s Will that I return to my home because it is God’s Will that I not suffer and that I be happy. I have seen the ego will and I reject it. “God, please show me Your Will, now, that I might choose again.”