IV. This Need Not Be 1-6
- If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen. That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior. Yet this is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep and what you are vigilant to save. Your mind is filled with schemes to save the face of your ego, and you do not seek the face of Christ. The glass in which the ego seeks to see its face is dark indeed. How can it maintain the trick of its existence except with mirrors? But where you look to find yourself is up to you.
- I have said that you cannot change your mind by changing your behavior, but I have also said, and many times, that you can change your mind. When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be. In every case you have thought wrongly about some brother God created and are perceiving images your ego makes in a darkened glass. Think honestly what you have thought that God would not have thought, and what you have not thought that God would have you think. Search sincerely for what you have done and left undone accordingly, and then change your mind to think with God’s. This may seem hard to do, but it is much easier than trying to think against it. Your mind is one with God’s. Denying this and thinking otherwise has held your ego together but has literally split your mind. As a loving brother I am deeply concerned for your mind and urge you to follow my example as you look at yourself and at your brother and see in both the glorious creations of a glorious Father.
- When you are sad, know this need not be. Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise.
- When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego, and know this need not be. You can be as vigilant against the ego’s dictates as for them.
- When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the “sins” of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be.
- Watch your mind for the temptations of the ego, and do not be deceived by it. It offers you nothing. When you have given up this voluntary dis-spiriting, you will see how your mind can focus and rise above fatigue and heal. Yet you are not sufficiently vigilant against the demands of the ego to disengage yourself. This need not be.
As we come to our daily devotional practice, ask the Lord to speak to your heart and mind and get past any defenses that you may still harbor in your thoughts. We are still listening to the voice of the ego, Jesus tells us. This is demonstrated through our attitudes, feelings, and behavior. When we experience a feeling of dread or even fatigue toward our devotional practice, when we choose to do a bunch of other things and skip our time with God, when we allow the circumstances and issues that blare from the news medias of the world to engorge our minds with worldly concerns, Jesus tells us that we are fighting to keep, and we are vigilant to save, our identity with our ego. Our minds are puffed up with thoughts about saving our human faces, about preserving our worldly goods, about impressing other people, about not losing ground in the world rather than seeking the face of Christ. This reflects darkness in our life for ego cannot reflect anything else! Where we look to find ourselves is up to us, Jesus reminds us.
This morning when I woke up, dark things from my past were presenting themselves to me. The ego was recounting ways in which I hurt people, ways in which I was a disappointment to those who love and care about me, ways in which I mocked and ridiculed the things of God and the people who did their best to honor Him in their lives. I thought of how my daughter died in a car accident and the ego was telling me that it was all because I was not a good person and it was because of my mistakes that she died. Before I came downstairs to start the coffee and have my morning devotional, Jesus reminded me that I was looking into a dark and deceitful mirror to find myself. I could continue to look into that mirror as long as I wanted, but it would never show me who and what I am. It would never fill me with anything but lies; I would only feel bad about myself and others. It would always show me the image of itself and hold me accountable me for all its dirty deeds. It was up to me, if I wanted to be a dum-dum, but there was a shining mirror in which I could look and all the ego’s darkness would not be reflected there, only the love, the mercy, the purity of God.
There are people in my life that my ego despises. All it wants to do is make fun of them, avoid them, or talk mean about them. Yet God did not create my brothers to give the ego something to mock, avoid, or build cases against. God creates my brothers for me to love, cherish, and to share good times. If I choose to believe the dark images that the ego reflects about others, I will not be filled with joy, I will not have peace, nor will I know purity and innocence. Only when I choose to exercise my will and change my mind about what the ego tells me about others will I think with God.
My mind is one with God’s and so is yours. Jesus tells us that changing our minds when our ego’s reflect dark images in our minds against ourselves and others may seem hard, but it is actually much easier on us when we think with Love than against Love. Remember our God, our Creator, our Father, is Love. When we think without Love we are thinking with something that has opposed what we are in truth. When we deny our truth, our minds split into two separate and conflicting camps. Jesus explains this to us in great detail so that we know what we are up against, brothers. He is deeply concerned for our minds. He urges us to look at ourselves and our brothers and choose to see the glorious creations of a glorious Father.
We do not have to be sad, depressed, oppressed, or possessed of a deprived and depraved state of mind. We are never deprived of anything except by our own decision. We can ask God to give us what we really need and want and choose to be happy. When I get sad about losing my daughter, I choose to remember all the beautiful days in which she blessed our life. Instead of focusing on her death, I focus on her life and her resurrection. I believe with all my heart that the reason that she visits me from time to time and gives me signs of her continued existence is because I have accepted that I am not deprived of her, that her meaning and purpose are far beyond our mother/daughter relationship, that she came to us and stayed with us exactly as long as she was supposed to stay. When the ego tempts me to think that she was deprived of life or that I am deprived without her, I can choose to be depressed and feel sad or I can choose to go with the truth.
When our daily stressors work us up and we find ourselves rushing about, hollering at the kids, being rude to our mates, and having regretful thoughts toward ourselves, slow down. The ego will keep us in a state of hurrying, worrying, fretting, and fuming only as long as we allow. There is absolutely nothing on the face of the earth that is worth losing our joy. We are called to be vigilant for joy, for peace, for quietness and trust which stand against the yammers and clammers of the ego and the false sense of urgency that it promotes.
When the ego tries to guilt us, remember that it is the ego who violated the laws of God, and we are not accountable for the sins of the ego, once we shed our attachment to it and see it for what it is. What we did when we were not in our right minds is forgiven and corrected by the Atonement. The Atonement sets us free of all that would keep us trapped in fear, in harming instead of helping, in trying to gratify that which can never be gratified. When we change our mind about those whom our ego has hurt, has played and toyed with, we no longer see them as our enemy, as our inferior or our superior, as anything but our equal, our brother, our friend. All is forgiven and when that happens we are released from all that would torment us. It is a very simple thing to know which mirror we are looking in to find out who we are! If we are looking in a mirror that reflects guilt, we are listening to the voice of ego. Guilt does not draw us closer to God. Guilt does not bring us joy. Guilt is a construct of the ego. Choose to let it go!
This morning when my mind was tempted to accept feelings of guilt and depression, I chose not to be deceived by it. I know from experience that going down that path leads to nowhere good, happy, or helpful. That path is a dis-spiriting journey that leads to broken relationships, wrong-mindedness, helplessness, and uselessness. Being in this state is a burden not only to ourselves, but to others and to Christ Himself. When we choose and accept Christ’s vision of who and what we are, our minds can commit to God’s version of who we are – His Son. We need to be vigilant, brothers. We are called to be strong and of good courage.
When we are vigilant with our minds, we are inspired. We are motivated. We are free of the ego’s disheartening view of a shattered and fragmented Creation where dog-eats-dog and it is us against the world. We use our minds to heal, to correct, to inspire and motivate others to shrug off the low-mind of ego and think with the mind of Christ.
If you are following along with the syllabus, you may have noticed that instead of five paragraphs today we covered six. We will finish the last five paragraphs of “This Need Not Be,” in tomorrow’s post. Feel free however to read ahead to complete the section on your own. Today in your thoughts and in your prayers ask God for the grace, the courage, and the commitment necessary to not only watch your mind but to change your mind from thinking with the ego to thinking with Christ. In every interaction, reflect God’s love and mercy by offering forgiveness. The ego will try to make this hard for you but be reminded that showing tender mercy and love is our natural state. Being helpful and harmless is how we were created. Getting back to our original version gives us joy, makes us whole, and keeps us well.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4. The illusions of the ego IV. This need not be 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For 2021 daily workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com