II. The Ego and False Autonomy, P 3
3 Your own state of mind is a good example of how the ego was made. When you threw knowledge away it is as if you never had it. This is so apparent that one need only recognize it to see that it does happen. If this occurs in the present, why is it surprising that it occurred in the past? Surprise is a reasonable response to the unfamiliar, though hardly to something that occurs with such persistence. But do not forget that the mind need not work that way, even though it does work that way now.
I asked Jesus for an example of how I threw knowledge away and it was as if I never had it. I wanted an example that was recent and very clear to me so I could be sure I understood this passage. I thought of the day I said I was tired of the food game where I pretended I gained weight because I ate the wrong thing. I said that I was ready to know the truth once and for all. I had a moment of brilliant clarity and I knew the truth. It was so clear I could not imagine that was I ever confused, and I could not imagine ever being fooled again.
Within a couple of days fear and guilt arose in my mind around this issue and my clarity was gone. I was confused as I ever was and had to start over. Where did the clarity go? It felt like I forgot, but how could I forget something that crystal clear? In two days? How could that be? Am I victim to my own mind? Is it so slippery that I cannot hold onto something so real, so lucid?
Indeed that is the ego’s explanation. I forgot. I cannot do this. It disappeared all on its own. It’s not my fault. It’s hopeless. But that is not the truth. The truth is that I very deliberately threw it away. This lucidity was not what I really wanted. I wanted it for that moment I asked for it, but then I changed my mind and threw it away. Easily done when you realize how much practice I have had. This is exactly what I have done since the beginning of time . . . literally. After I threw it away, I used fear and guilt (handily made by my mind for this purpose) to demoralize and to discourage a return to truth.
This is the way my mind works. I decide on a thing and it is mine. I decide against it and it is as if it never existed. My mind is wiped clean of that belief and its effects go with it because cause and effect are never separate. This is the only way I could possibly keep the dream going. Our saving grace, the reason I can and will wake from the dream, is that while that is how my mind works to keep the dream alive, it does not have to work this way. Jesus is taking us by the hand, and gently, paragraph by paragraph, helping us to see differently, easing us out of our self-imposed confusion.