VIII. Grandeur vs Grandiosity 1-6
- Grandeur is of God, and only of Him. Therefore, it is in you. Whenever you become aware of it, however dimly, you abandoned the ego automatically, because in the presence of the grandeur of God the meaninglessness of the ego becomes perfectly apparent. When this occurs, even though it does not understand it, the ego believes that its enemy has struck, and attempts to offer gifts to induce you to return to its protection. Self-inflation is the only offering it can make. The grandiosity of the ego is its alternative to the grandeur of God. Which will you choose?
- Grandiosity is always a cover for despair. It is without hope because it is not real. It is an attempt to counteract your littleness, based on the belief that the littleness is real. Without this belief grandiosity is meaningless, and you could not possibly want it. The essence of grandiosity is competitiveness because it always involves attack. It is a delusional attempt to outdo, but not to undo. We said before that the ego vacillates between suspiciousness and viciousness. It remains suspicious as long as you despair of yourself. It shifts to viciousness when you decide not to tolerate self-abasement and seek relief. Then it offers you the illusion of attack as a “solution.”
- The ego does not understand the difference between grandeur and grandiosity, because it sees no difference between miracle impulses and ego-alien beliefs of its own. I told you that the ego is aware of threats to its existence but makes no distinctions because these two are very different kinds of threat. Its profound sense of vulnerability renders it incapable of judgment except in terms of attack. When the ego experiences threat, its only decision is whether to attack now or to withdraw to attack later. If you accept its offer of grandiosity it will attack immediately. If you do not, it will wait.
- The ego is immobilized in the presence of God’s grandeur, because His grandeur establishes your freedom. Even the faintest hint of your reality literally drives the ego from your mind because you will give up all investment in it. Grandeur is totally without illusions, and because it is real it is compellingly convincing. Yet the conviction of reality will not remain with you unless you do not allow the ego to attack it. The ego will make every effort to recover and mobilize its energies against your release. It will tell you that you are insane and argue that grandeur cannot be a real part of you because of the littleness in which it believes. Yet your grandeur is not delusional because you did not make it. You made grandiosity and are afraid of it because it is a form of attack, but your grandeur is of God, who created it out of His Love.
- From your grandeur you can only bless because your grandeur is your abundance. By blessing you hold it in your mind, protecting it from illusions and keeping yourself in the mind of God. Remember always that you cannot be anywhere except in the Mind of God. When you forget this, you will despair, and you will attack.
- The ego depends solely on your willingness to tolerate it. If you are willing to look upon your grandeur you cannot despair, and therefore you cannot want the ego. Your grandeur is God’s answer to the ego because it is true. Littleness and grandeur cannot coexist, nor is it possible for them to alternate. Littleness and grandiosity can and must alternate since both are not true and are therefore on the same level. Being the level of shift, it is experienced as shifting and extremes are its essential characteristic.
The word grandeur signifies majesty, greatness, and splendor. As comfortable as we are ascribing these words to God, we are rarely encouraged to think of ourselves in these terms! But Jesus tells us today that God is in us and of us and when we become the least bit aware of God’s grandeur we automatically become aware of our own. In those moments of awareness, the ego loses all of its meaning to us. We are no longer interested in any of the gifts the world offers us, riches and fame, popularity, longevity, world travel, adventures, and knowing all the right people starts to seem trivial and shallow. Having our nose in everybody else’s business, passing along stories we make up about each other, priding ourselves on how much dirt we can dig up on others is just a waste of time. And yet the moment the ego senses that we are awakening to the truth of the matter, it attempts to lure us back to its illusion of protection. Inflating our egos is the only offering it can make – Jesus calls this grandiosity, and we have all been there and we all know others, even those who claim to love God the most, who have chosen grandiosity over the grandeur of God.
There is a lot of talk about narcissism. Everybody knows a few. It is very common to accuse our exes of narcissism. And yet very few of us are capable of recognizing the self-inflation of the ego in our own lives. Yet whenever our ego’s become inflated, it is always a cover for the despair we feel in a world void of meaning and purpose, in a world designed to eat us alive. Our egos grow large to counteract how small and helpless and alone we feel. If we did not believe we were godless and void we would never accept comparisons, competition, and attack as modes of relating to each other. If we did not accept the ego’s dim view of us, why would we try to outdo others and be jealous and spiteful toward anybody? If we did not feel small, we would not strut about full of empty air, looking down instead of at others. Do not demonize narcissists for while they can be dangerous, they are lonely, sad, and hurting. They are at the mercy of a volatile ego who will never tolerate them being puffed up for long, even if it is on emptiness.
In paragraph four, Jesus tells us that the faintest hint of our truth literally drives the ego out of our minds because once we know the truth about what we are, we naturally give up all investment in the ego. But we are to be aware that ego does not go down without a fight – it will do everything in its power to keep us from awakening to our reality in God. When we know ourselves as the grandeur of God, the ego will tell us that we are out of our minds. Who do you think you are? Look at you – you are a nobody, a nothing, a has-been, the ego will say. But no matter what the ego tries to make of us, our grandeur is true because God shared it with us when we were created. Our egos made grandiosity and we don’t like it – we see it for what it is, especially when it is someone other than ourselves who thinks they are more special than the rest of us. Nobody likes to feel less than. It feels like a personal attack when you are doing your best to hold things together and someone calls you and blathers on for hours about their own life and never once stops to ask a single question about yours! Nobody likes a narcissist or wants to be called one. But the grandeur of God is not egotistical. We did not make it. The grandeur of God was created from His Love.
From our grandeur we can only bless others because our grandeur is our abundance. When we bless others instead of feel better than others, we protect our grandeur from the lies of the ego. We keep ourselves in the mind of God. If we do not want to fall into illusions, if we want to keep ourselves from narcissism and egotistical ruses, we must remember that we can never be anywhere except in the Mind of God. If we forget this, we will give up hope, and we will attack others instead of bless them. We do not have to work to stay in the Mind of God. We do not have to worry that we can lose our place in the Mind of God. We are always in the Mind of God. We just won’t know it if we forget. And forgetting it, we will give place to the ego in our lives. We will deny ourselves the grandeur of God for the grandiosity of the ego and it will not make us happy.
It is our choice. As long as we are willing to tolerate the ego in our lives, we will be depressed, despondent, and destructive. Jesus tells us that pettiness and grandiosity are lies which switch places, sometimes we will feel small, spiteful, and insignificant, other times we will be puffed up on our own false pride and arrogance. Grandiosity is the ego’s substitute for the grandeur of God. It is very unstable because the ego is changeable and does not know what we are. Sometimes we will feel at the mercy of the world, other times we will feel the world is at our mercy. There will be extreme highs and plummeting lows. These are the essential characteristics of grandiosity.
We will end today’s review with paragraph six and complete the rest of this section tomorrow. In the meantime, review today’s text in your personal devotions and ask Holy Spirit to show you examples from your own life that will illuminate the contrast between the grandiosity of the ego and the grandeur of God. Will with Holy Spirit and accept God’s answer to the ego because it is your truth, it is my truth, and it is the truth that will save us all.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement. VIII Grandeur vs grandiosity 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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