VI. The Rewards of God, P 5
5 How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away? He must have thrown it away because he did not value it. You can only show him how miserable he is without it, and slowly bring it nearer so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it. This teaches him to associate his misery with its absence, and the opposite of misery with its presence. It gradually becomes desirable as he changes his mind about its worth. I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit. You have taught yourself the opposite. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?
When I read that I have taught myself to value what the ego offers, that the ego brings me happiness and that I associate misery with spirit, I couldn’t see it. How could this be true? So I considered some specific instances and looked at them to see if Jesus was right. I thought about something I had said recently that I later came to regret. When I thought about my words I felt foolish and wished I could take them back. It wasn’t really a big deal, but I was concerned about how others would see me.
As I thought about this, I realized that I was being foolish now and it was causing me to lose my peace. I asked the Holy Spirit to heal my mind of the belief that I need to look good in front of other people, but I noticed that my heart wasn’t in it. As I wondered about this, I realized that I was afraid to give up the belief that I had to make myself look good to others.
I guess my thinking went something like this: If I allow my mind to be healed of the belief that it matters what others think about me, then I will say and do things that are inappropriate and that make me look bad to other people.
It is very circular thinking, and typical of the ego. It reminds me of my fear of heights. I had a very scary experience of being up high and when I wanted to ask that my fear be healed I had this same problem. I was afraid not to be afraid of heights because if I wasn’t afraid, I would wind up right back in that same situation, and the idea of being there scared me. Isn’t the ego crazy in its logic? So in both instances, I was looking to the ego to protect me and I was seeing the ego as making me happy, and spirit, with its healed mind as being a source of potential misery. Wow! Jesus was right.
The only reason I am not totally buying into this circular reasoning is that I have asked in faith for healing I couldn’t imagine, and let go of my defenses long enough to accept it. In so doing, I have learned to trust spirit, and to value what spirit offers. I have learned to distrust ego and to see that what ego offers is not of value to me. I still fall for the ego insanity sometimes, but I don’t cling to it anymore. It is a thought I believe until I notice that I am no longer interested, and then I let it go.
Here is a favorite quote from Chapter 8 of the Text, it says:
Yet you are not asked to dispel your hallucinations alone. You are merely asked to evaluate them in terms of their results to you. If you do not want them on the basis of loss of peace, they will be removed from your mind for you.
Sometimes when I read this I feel such a sense of relief and gratitude that I cry. I am not alone. I am not asked to do what I clearly cannot do. To be free I only need to want freedom. I don’t have to untangle my mind or stop behaving in a certain way. I don’t have to figure out how to want to be healed while I still believe healing will hurt me. I only have to see that my thoughts have cost me my peace of mind, and to know I want peace more than I want the thoughts. They will then be removed for me. A little willingness, a little trust, that is all that is required of me. Thank You, God.