I. Right Teaching and Right Learning, P 2
2 Many stand guard over their ideas because they want to protect their thought systems as they are, and learning means change. Change is always fearful to the separated, because they cannot conceive of it as a move towards healing the separation. They always perceive it as a move toward further separation, because the separation was their first experience of change. You believe that if you allow no change to enter into your ego you will find peace. This profound confusion is possible only if you maintain that the same thought system can stand on two foundations. Nothing can reach spirit from the ego, and nothing can reach the ego from spirit. Spirit can neither strengthen the ego nor reduce the conflict within it. The ego is a contradiction. Your self and God’s Self are in opposition. They are opposed in source, in direction and in outcome. They are fundamentally irreconcilable, because spirit cannot perceive and the ego cannot know. They are therefore not in communication and can never be in communication. Nevertheless, the ego can learn, even though its maker can be misguided. He cannot, however, make the totally lifeless out of the life-given.
There are two ideas here that I want to think about. First Jesus tells us that we don’t want change. We think that peace lies in keeping the status quo. Change, no matter how much it might be helpful, causes anxiety to most people. Our first experience with change, the separation, didn’t work out so well, so now we have a deep fear of change. This is the reason we have this big book and all these lessons. We are gently easing ourselves into a change that is beneficial. This change will bring us back to the changeless. I began with a fear of change and now I embrace change as my way home.
The second idea is that my ego-self and God’s Self are in such profound opposition that there is no communication between them and never can be. The ego doesn’t know, but only perceives. God does not perceive, but only knows. I used to imagine that they speak different languages and so cannot communicate with each other.
That is not it, of course, because the difference is even more profound than that. God knows only God and so does not know illusion. As long as I believe I am a person I don’t even know myself, much less God. And I would not ask God to join me in this delusional state, but rather, I choose to join Him in Reality.
At first, that felt very scary to me, the thought that spirit and ego could never communicate, but then I realized that this is why we have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was created for us so that we could return our mind to God when we were ready. It is through the Holy Spirit that we communicate with God. The Holy Spirit is our translator. He both perceives and knows, or to use my metaphor, He speaks both languages.
The way the Holy Spirit is helping us is to teach the us a new way of understanding, but this can only be done if I stop trying to protect my thought system and allow Him to change my mind. If I keep fighting change, I will prevent learning from occurring. This is why I use a very simple formula, based on the belief that I don’t know, and the Holy Spirit does know.
I begin with the premise that God Wills I be happy. His Will is peace, love, and joy. There is only His Will and so if I seem to be experiencing something else, I must be experiencing something that does not exist. I know that the ego completely believes in what it shows itself through the body’s senses and so resists the idea that appearances are not to be trusted. But I go back to the simple thought that if it is not God’s Will it can’t be true no matter how real it seems to be. I ask the Holy Spirit to heal my faulty thinking and I accept the Atonement. By keeping it simple, I am able to resist the ego tendency toward complexity, which leads to confusion.
But I go back to the simple thought that if it is not God’s Will it can’t be true no matter how real it seems to be. I ask the Holy Spirit to heal my faulty thinking and I accept the Atonement. By keeping it simple, I am able to resist the ego tendency toward complexity, which leads to confusion.