Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Ego's Juggling Act

In the first chapter of part II of her book Awakening in Love, Margot Krikhaar speaks of learning to distinguish the Holy Spirit's Voice from that of the ego, and she devotes some attention to the deceptive similarities the ego can sometimes produce. Like everything she writes, her way of saying things is very incisive, simple and straightforward, and will no doubt be helpful to many of her readers. About our resistance to listening to the Voice of the Holy Spirit she writes: "In learning to listen to guidance, the biggest problem is not how to do it. The biggest problem is if you really want guidance." And that just about sums it all up.

The ego is a juggling act, and like a magician it permanently keeps our attention wrapped up in perceptions which actually veil the problem, and keep us engaged in solving problems of the ego's making, in order to divert us from ever examining the one fundamental premise on which the ego is based:  the thought of separation. It is the Course's path of forgiveness that allows us incrementally to return to the one place where we can make a change, which is in our mind. And the only choice we really can make is the choice to listen to the Holy Spirit more and more as we learn to see through the falsehoods of the ego. Until we accept the Atonement for ourselves, which is our only real job as students of the Course.

As long as our attention is riveted on fixing problems of the ego's making, its reign is unchallenged, so it is always afraid of us listening inside, and paying attention to anything other than the show it is putting on. One of the reasonable guises of the ego is why try anything different - it's always been done this way. That is the logic of the Samaritan woman at the well, Jacob's well - we drank this water forever and a day, including our forefathers as long as anyone can remember. Against that 'impressive' tradition, there is the choice of the water that would not make us thirst again. We have to become like the Samaritan woman, realizing that none of our special relationships that bind us to the world are worth anything. That is what looking at the ego means, daring to recognize that it has nothing to offer. We can only do that with Jesus' help beside us, and by the same token he offers us the water that will not make us thirst again. The choice will become inevitable eventually, as we realize more and more that the emperor has no clothes on.

Ken Wapnick in one of my favorite descriptions calls the ego's operating routine a 'maladaptive solution to a nonexistent problem' and the upshot is that if we let go of the ego, we will merely wake up to our true selves, and it's a lot less tiring than keeping up the high energy charade which is the false self. The end of our identification with the ego, is not the end of us, as the ego would have us believe, but the end of its rule over us and the beginning of freedom.

Copyright, © 2011 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.
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