IV. This Need Not Be, P 7
7 The habit of engaging with God and His creations is easily made if you actively refuse to let your mind slip away. The problem is not one of concentration; it is the belief that no one, including yourself, is worth consistent effort. Side with me consistently against this deception, and do not permit this shabby belief to pull you back. The disheartened are useless to themselves and to me, but only the ego can be disheartened.
I remember what it feels like to be disheartened, and I remember it because occasionally my mind goes back to that state. It feels like this. I have a hard time letting go of some grievance, and after trying a few times and failing I begin to feel disheartened. I begin to feel like I can’t do this and there is a part of the mind, familiar with this feeling, which says its no use. This is the part of my mind that believes I’m not worth the trouble. This is the ego mind.
Here is something I wrote about that happened when I was still working. It is a good example of this phenomenon.
I approached a customer about buying a new product that he needs for his water system and I am pretty sure that I failed to explain myself clearly. I sense that I did not gain his confidence and that he may not buy it or may buy it from someone else who inspires his confidence. Every time I think about this I feel guilty and fearful. I did not do a good job for my company or my customer. I feel like I have been doing this job for a long time now, and I should not have made this error. I feel bad about myself.
I knew that I was not thinking clearly and that my thinking was not in alignment with God’s Will. I knew this from the very beginning, but knowing this didn’t seem to help me let go of the thought that I was guilty of my failure. I have tried and failed to forgive myself. I feel like I have failed both as a salesperson and as a spiritual student. This morning, I noticed the feeling is still popping up, but I noticed two other things.
I noticed that while I feel frustrated, and while the ego wants me to feel disheartened, and to give up, that is not happening. Instead, I am following those feelings and noticing the thoughts that create them. In so doing, I have realized that I became confused about what I was forgiving. The fact is that I might have failed to do my job in the way I thought I should. That is the only fact in this story and I am not sure that it is true. It is too early to tell.
Everything else about the story is something I made up. It is the ego interpretation of what the situation means. The ego says that if I did fail to make the sale it means I am unworthy and guilty. This interpretation is not in alignment with the Will of God. And it is this interpretation that I forgive. I accept the Atonement instead. I allow the Holy Spirit to heal my mind of the belief that convincing my customer to buy from me is what makes me worthy and failing to do this makes me unworthy.
The same is true about the feeling that taking days to come to this conclusion makes me an unworthy student of the Course. If it took me the rest of my life to let this go and accept the truth in its place, my reality would remain unaffected by that. I would still be innocent. I would still be exactly as God created me. In other words, and this is the second thing I realized, only the ego can feel disheartened and I am not the ego.
I stand outside these feelings that come and go and are based on mistaken beliefs and am untouched by them. I see that the ego is disheartened and I realize that there are beliefs in the mind that need to be healed, but I also see that I am not the ego and I have nothing to fear because I belong to God. As my mind clears of its confusion, I am filled with gratitude. I am grateful I stuck with it and did not allow myself to succumb to the ego desire to give up. I am grateful for the clarity. I am grateful to let this craziness be undone for me and for all of us.