V. The “Dynamics” of the Ego 1-6
- No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth. The “dynamics” of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to see beyond it, since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth.
- What is healing but the removal of all that stands in the way of knowledge? And how else can one dispel illusions except by looking at them directly, without protecting them? Be not afraid, therefore, for what you will be looking at is the source of fear, and you are beginning to learn that fear is not real. You are also learning that its effects can be dispelled merely by denying their reality. The next step is obviously to recognize that what has no effects does not exist. Laws do not operate in a vacuum, and what leads to nothing has not happened. If reality is recognized by its extension, what leads to nothing could not be real. Do not be afraid, then, to look upon fear, for it cannot be seen. Clarity undoes confusion by definition, and to look upon darkness through light must dispel it.
- Let us begin this lesson in “ego dynamics” by understanding that the term itself does not mean anything. It contains the very contradiction in terms that makes it meaningless. “Dynamics” implies the power to do something, and the whole separation fallacy lies in the belief that the ego has the power to do anything. The ego is fearful to you because you believe this. Yet the truth is very simple: All power is of God. What is not of Him has no power to do anything.
- When we look at the ego, then, we are not considering dynamics but delusions. You can surely regard a delusional system without fear, for it cannot have any effects if its source is not real. Fear becomes more obviously inappropriate if you recognize the ego’s goal, which is so clearly senseless that any effort on its behalf is necessarily expended on nothing. The ego’s goal is quite explicitly ego autonomy. From the beginning, then, its purpose is to be separate, sufficient unto itself and independent of any power except its own. This is why it is the symbol of separation.
- Every idea has a purpose, and its purpose is always the natural outcome of what it is. Everything that stems from the ego is the natural outcome of its central belief, and the way to undo its results is merely to recognize that their source is not natural, being out of accord with your true nature. I said before that to will contrary to God is wishful thinking and not real willing. His Will is one because the extension of His Will cannot be unlike itself. The real conflict you experience, then, is between the ego’s idle wishes and the Will of God, which you share. Can this be a real conflict?
- Yours is the independence of creation, not of autonomy. Your whole creative function lies in your complete dependence on God, Whose function He shares with you. By His willingness to share it, He became as dependent on you as you are on Him. Do not ascribe the ego’s arrogance to Him Who wills not to be independent of you. He has included you in His Autonomy. Can you believe that autonomy is meaningful apart from Him? The belief in ego autonomy is costing you the knowledge of your dependence on God, in which your freedom lies. The ego sees all dependency as threatening and has twisted even your longing for God into a means of establishing itself. But do not be deceived by its interpretation of your conflict.
We may be afraid to look at the ego’s thought system because as terrible and despicable the things that happen in it are, the sad fact is that we seem to be stuck with it. We are doing the best we can here – if we look at it too closely, every single one of us are going to have to decide – God or the ego? And this is a decision that we, perhaps, have been putting off.
However, by now we are past putting it off any longer. We want truth, and to see what is true, we must look honestly and with courage at what is not truth. We must look at what has been posing for truth, for if we do not look at it squarely and without fear, it will continue to cast its spell upon us. If we continue to let the tricks and illusions of the ego fascinate us, frighten us, or fashion us in any way we will continue to be deceived by it and impose upon ourselves and each other a longer stint in the realm of sorrow.
Healing removes all that stands in the way of health. We must be able to look at the illusions, the enchantment, at the source of our fear in order to recognize that it is a spell, that it is an enchantment, that it is not real. As we study and apply what we learn in this Course, we learn that the effects of this spell melt away when we deny their reality. We learn that to deny a place for grudges in our life, establishes the joy in fellowship we have with our brothers. We learn that to deny the reality of sin and shame in our lives, fills our minds with a sense of peace, purity, and worthiness. We learn that to deny the reality of sickness and disease, keeps our focus upon health and wellness. We learn that to deny the reality of fear itself, fills our minds with God’s love, goodwill, and devotion to the Sonship. And it is not long at all before we recognize the fact that what has only temporary effects does not exist no matter how loud it clamors, no matter how much it argues its separate points, no matter how it tries to impose itself upon the memory.
The news and entertainment industry, the educational, health care, legal and religious systems of the world are built upon the premise of ego beliefs. The dynamic is one which promotes fear: fear of not knowing what is going on in the world, fear of ignorance, fear of sickness, disease, and death, fear of injustice, punishment in this world and the world beyond. Adopt the perception of the ego world, there seems to be very good reasons to rise up against each other, to build walls, to arm ourselves, to project our wrongdoing unto others, to lift ourselves above or put ourselves below but never recognize our love for one another, our mutuality, and our brotherhood.
Jesus asks us to accept the concept of that which ends in death, which comes to a close, which seems to have a past but has no future – simply does not exist. Nothing is real outside the Kingdom of God. Jesus tells us not to be afraid of anything then, because there is no fear in God’s Kingdom. We can look then upon anything that would frighten us, fill us with a sense of dread, depression, or depletion of any kind, and deny it a place in our Kingdom. The light of Christ dispels its darkness and sets us free from any thought system that would bind us to its false reality.
All power is of God, and that which is not of God has no power is the belief system that sets us free. We will no longer give our power to the ego, for the ego has no dynamic of its own. Its only power lies in opposition to what is already created. There is simply nothing at all dynamic in a lie. If I tell you that I have millions of dollars at my disposal, and you latch onto me thinking that my millions of dollars will somehow benefit you – that lie will let you down, not build you up. We may gad about together for awhile but sooner or later, depending upon your gullibility and my finesse at bluffing you, you will find that the millions of dollars I professed to have was an illusion. My lie had no dynamic on its own – you had to believe in it to give it the only power it had.
As much as a stretch as it may seem, we can take such a scenario and apply it to our attitude toward ego in general. When we accept into our consciousness that all power is of God, our response to evil would simply be a matter of denying our support of unloving, hateful, fearful, destructive thoughts. The Hitlers of this world do not arise on their own – they rise in the world because of the willingness of others to support destructive political beliefs of all kinds, to attack and murder the Sonship, to project blame and shame upon others rather than to take corrective measures. The Hitlers of the world are not so much aberrations of human nature, but rather exaggerated examples of what the belief system of separation produces. They give us nothing to build upon, to be proud of, to hold up to God and say, “Hey, we are good without You, after all.” Instead they welcome sorrow, despair, unimaginable torments, shame, and a sense of despair into the world. They show us by their extreme examples of the true results of separation, the results of lifting ourselves up against our Creator by attacking Creation. Like all the rejectors of God’s Kingdom before them and since, they align themselves with the many forms of nothingness outside the realm of God. That we are trapped in a realm with such examples is an indication of our own responsibility to look without fear on the subterfuge of the ego thought system and see it for what it is.
All power is of God. What is not of God has no power to do anything that lasts forever. To let it work us up and steal our joy is a denial of “All Power is of God.” If we do not want evil to reign in our world, we draw closer to God, we become lights in the darkness, we draw all people to lay down their weapons of war and their fingers of blame and accept the function of being perfectly helpful and perfectly harmless. We learn peace, to have peace, to become peace. Peace, which is one with God, with Love and with Joy, is one with the most powerful forces in the Universe. There is nothing namby-pamby about it. There is nothing hippy-dippy about it. There is no weapon that can be formed against it. There is no arrogance attached to it. Death, disease, and despair cannot defy it.
As impossible and as implausible as this may seem at the world level, it is only when we practice the peace of God and accept it as our own and become it that we will know the truth of “All Power is of God.” For the world is an alternate kingdom, it is that which deceives us, it is that designed to prove that the love and joy and peace of God is not invincible and can crush the Sons of God. The ego’s aim to be autonomous, to exist without God, without brotherhood, without Sonship is the symbol of separation. It is not Satan or Lucifer or the devil, because it insinuated itself upon us. It resides in our lower minds until we deny it access. This is not something we can ignore; it will not go away by itself. We must actively deny it a place in our consciousness. It does not leave unless we call upon God and accept His Son as our identity.
Every idea has a purpose, and the purpose is the natural outcome of what it is. The other day James told me how much it would mean to him if I made him Cuban tamales, which is what we call Chef Paul Prudhomme’s La Jolla Tamale Pie.* The idea appealed to me because I love to see my husband happy. Then I thought of how happy it would make our friend Linda to eat Cuban tamales with us. The natural outcome of James’ idea was a delicious tamale pie that not only pleased us but was happily served up to our friend, son, and grandson who stopped by.
While this serves as an example of sharing happiness, everything that stems from the ego is also the natural outcome of its stabs at independence from God: There is a power that is not of God. The power that is not of God will give us opposites; it will give us what we do not want. I think of the world as a stage in which we practice opposition to God until we wake each other up to the nothingness, the meaninglessness, the go-nowhere-ness of the ego’s illusion. It may take one life-time, it may take several, but disenchantment will happen for we were made to be free of illusion and to know that all power is of God.
We will wrap up today’s text with paragraph six and finish the next 12 paragraphs of this section over the next two posts. However, I urge you to prayerfully read the rest of this section and ask God to illuminate it to your mind so that you may understand the “dynamics” which fuel the ego. Do not let anything take the place of your personal devotional practices and meditations, for it is only in this time alone with God, that we can practice His Presence and come to know the reality of All Power is of God.
A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the Ego. V. The dynamics of the ego 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com
*Recipe for tamale pie: