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The Purpose of Special Relationships 


Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited to bring clarification to certain points of the dialogue and for easier readability. For this reason, it does not match the corresponding audio mp3 word-for-word. However, the overall content and the expressed ideas remain unchanged.

Speaker: If the Course gave me another theology where I can go around and tell people that this is the way it is, and we’re projecting this, and we’re doing this and telling people things, once again we get back into that ‘talking about’ where it can become like another religion. We don’t need another religion. We’ve had enough religions. Jesus says that the Course doesn’t aim at that, that there can never be a universal theology. There is never going to be a time on this planet when everybody has one religion and everyone goes yeah, do you believe that, so do I! The ego is this fragmented thing where everybody has a perceived different self concept and different beliefs. Within the perception of the world there won’t be any universal theology, but there can, and must be, a universal experience. And to me that’s how I know I’m getting the forgiveness, it’s the feelings of peace, and the feelings of joy, of really enjoying these connections and these dialogues.

The waking up process in the ultimate sense takes place in the mind, from looking at the false beliefs in the mind without fear. Calmly looking on them and seeing them as false. In seminars, elderly people will come up to me and they’ll say if only I had this book when I was young. But that’s still these age/time concepts that are very much tied up in the ego system.
Participant1: And the age of the body or the passing of the body has no effect on the mind, and it’s the mind that’s to be healed, in the sense that the illusion of the body has nothing to do with that. Then if the body stops breathing, it still has nothing to do with that.

Participant2: Then if we have to work on stuff and become aware, we have to use these experiences in the body in order to gain awareness so that we can make our transition.

Speaker: Jesus says that only salvation can be said to cure and one either wakes or sleeps, and at one point he says many upon death arise and awaken. He is using death in the sense of the body. It could be any instant. Just one instant is all it takes to wake up. But really what I hear you saying is what’s the use of this world? And the Course is definitely saying though the world was made as a projection, as a distractive device, to keep your mind busy and preoccupied with things in the world, with pain and pleasure and pursuits so that the mind would not look at the belief that the Holy Spirit has a different purpose for the world. It’s meant to cover over the false beliefs, so the attention remains focused out here. So even though it was made for that purpose, that was the ego’s purpose. Now the Holy Spirit says here, I’ve got a different purpose, healing. We’re going to use these bodies, we’re going to use these cars, houses, trees, clothes, everything, in the waking up process, and that’s the whole idea of training your mind to start to bring the single purpose to everything. It’s probably the most difficult thing to grasp. I’ve had people ask, when we’ve been in classes for weeks and weeks, and they’ve said let me go over this again. There’s a purpose that the Holy Spirit has for the world, would you tell me what that is again. And this is after we’ve had weeks of going through the workbook. And the reason it seems so vague, so abstract, is that it’s impossible to hold that purpose while the mind holds on to other purposes. That’s the ego purposes that are given for the world, to get things for its own sake and to accumulate and all those things. We all recognize that part in us that just loves the thrill of getting something. When I was a kid going to Coney Island – that place could bring me happiness and salvation. I didn’t use the word salvation, but I was awful happy from that place or that particular ride or whatever. We’ve all had a sense that there are other goals or purposes that are in our minds and they obscure our function, they obscure that abstract purpose.

That purpose is what brings the fusion that we’re talking about. But as long as I’m going to hold tight to the corral, then gradually as I open the corral door that purpose starts getting more and more clear in my awareness, it just moves through me. The Course says the Holy Spirit will tell you what to do and where to go and what to say. Wow! That gives a sense of ease and effortlessness where I don’t have to be struggling with each decision that I make. There’ll be this presence that’ll start moving through me. So that’s what the Course calls one intent, singleness of purpose, it calls it a goal, that’s a passage I think I mentioned last time, the Peace of God is my one goal, the aim of all my living here, the end I seek, my Purpose, my Function and my Life. That kind of sums it up. He’s saying it’s there, it’s the Holy Spirit in your mind. He’s guiding you to let go of all these other goals that block your purpose from your mind.

Participant1: And releasing what’s in the corral, those attachments, is what makes room for that one intent or that one purpose to be really what the mind is riveted on. I guess the mind will rivet on what is desired, and if what’s in the corral is what’s desired that’s what the mind’s attention is given to, and if that’s released then the mind is freed up to rivet itself on that one purpose. So to get to that one purpose it’s letting go of those attachments in the corral. The ego would have us believe that to open up the corral is to make ourselves vulnerable, because to the ego that is very threatening.

Speaker: I was reading the Course and there were those two words ‘risk honesty’. I mean true honesty - it seems that way at the beginning because to the ego honesty is a threat, total consistency, total laying aside of deceptions, the ego says hey, I can’t be honest, I’ll be out of business. My whole existence from the ego, is based on mirrors and schemes and games and total honesty is consistency of thought and action and word and deeds that the ego is very afraid of. So it does seem at the beginning that there’s a real vulnerability and it seems like it’s a risk if you’ve been used to repressing.

Participant1: It sure feels like one.

Participant2: Right, but if it doesn’t it’s like more of an accepted growth.

Participant3: Was there a particular question or aspect of relationship that you wanted to address?

Participant2: I’d like to address special relationship. I’d like to understand more about what those relationships are for and why they’re here. I didn’t really know anything about it and I’m just now reading about that in the Course.

Speaker: We go back to the metaphysics and look at why specialness was made, why special relationships were made. Once the separation seemed to occur, in an instant, it was answered in an instant. The answer was the Holy Spirit in our minds. So that’s how quick this world lasted, just one instant. But the ego wants to call forth and wants to keep the mind invested in believing that the past is still here. The ego uses time to skip over the present. You’re guilty in the past and it’s been that way for a long time and it’s not going to change. It’s that depressing kind of thinking where it’s been bad in the past and it’s going to be bad in the future and you don’t have any power to change it, you’re a victim. Whereas the Holy Spirit says Now is your point of power. Right now you can get in touch with beliefs, you can make decisions you can be open to another way of seeing and looking right now. And the Holy Spirit uses the past to bring the mind to the Holy Instant. The way this relates metaphysically is as we mentioned, that the belief in separation occurred and was answered in an instant. And the ego’s answer to the correction, to the Holy Spirit, was the special relationship. Because this is a way of seeming to provide something outside, something on the screen, that is so attractive that the mind won’t want to go within to that light, it wants to get caught up in something.

And that’s why the special relationship is called the most boasted weapon that the ego has, because it’s like the ace card, that the pain I know in my life that I’ve experienced through special relationships has been carved quite deep and its hit deep things that I didn’t even know were there.

And the dynamic beneath it is, now that the mind buys this belief in separation it actually is afraid of the light, afraid of the Holy Spirit at this point– the darkened mind is, because it believes that it actually pulled off the separation, it actually pulled off the impossible, which is to separate from its Creator, which is really a horrifying thought. And to believe in that is very horrifying and that is ontological guilt and fear that is buried really deep in the mind. This is the belief in separation.

So now I have a self concept of world and personhood, I’m now a person in the world, all these ideas and beliefs are learned and built up on to cover over that cornerstone, because the ego says that if you go to that cornerstone and lift that cornerstone, then God’s going to be there. And the ego says you really did it, you separated from God and He will get you, he will come after you for what you’ve done. You’ve actually stolen from Heaven or you’ve pulled yourself away from the Kingdom and He’s angry about it. So the ego keeps screeching don’t ever, ever, ever go near that cornerstone, we’ll make a bunch of beliefs, we’ll build a world that you’ll be so involved in that you will never go back to that point. And the special relationships, those are the things that are part of the dream world that are very attractive. The Course talks about special hate relationships and special love relationships, and the special hate relationships are the obvious ones, they’re not quite so insidious or difficult to see, because it gets back to the projection that we were talking about before. You’ve got this guilt the ego says, unload it, you don’t like this person, get them out of your life, get as far away as you can, it’s OK to hate some people, the ego counsels, and that’s its way of dumping the guilt, of getting rid of it and blaming. But the special love is the flipside, where I seek for a partner, I seek for a person, whether its children or a spouse or best friends or whatever, that will make me forget about all this unconscious stuff and I can stay so distracted in form, that I can make a bargain with them, and if I can get them to meet my needs a lot of the time they will serve as a God substitute.

But still the mind is deceived and believes that it’s lacking, it still believes it’s been kicked out of the Kingdom, and its go for what you can, eat drink and be merry for you’re going to die, and get as many people and friends that can be this focus, sometimes only one, sometimes the focus is a group. The special relationship can come in lots of ways, or it can even be with things, you know I’ve had it with all kinds of people, I don’t want to go anywhere near any men or women again, I’ve had enough of that pain, I’m just going to go find myself a good mountain, build myself a log cabin and get myself some quilts or knitting or something I like to do, and the heck with it. Any kind of pursuit, academic, I’ll become the smartest whatever, the best botanist in the world, whatever career…it doesn’t so much matter what it is, but that’s why it’s set up that way.

And that’s where the co-dependency comes in because at a very deep level the deceived mind is looking for completion in that other person and it can’t succeed, the whole thing is set up from the word go not to succeed. It can seem to succeed for certain periods of time, that’s what’s so sneaky about it, where you seem to have it all, according to the world’s standards you seem to have a good career, you seem to have a loving spouse and everything that you think you’ve ever wanted, and all of a sudden you hit these periods where you feel life is meaningless and the wheels are falling off, and wait a minute, but I just had it all.

Participant1: I had everything, and now I have nothing.

Speaker: There’s that mirage again, you can have a mirage of having everything but in a way it’s like the ego is saying it’s a cruel vicious world, never mind that it’s just a world where I perceive exactly what I think I want to find whatever I selectively choose in the world, which is the fact of it. But the ego says it’s a cruel vicious world out there, people are out to get you, the Government, the IRS, people that are always treating you bad at work, and if you can find a haven if you can just find that one person, or a couple of people that you can always talk to who won’t beat you up and won’t attack you, then build your home build your security on that relationship with that other person. So it’s like we have our basket and our emotional eggs and we start saying this is it, this is the haven that will do it and we go clink, clink, clink and we start putting our investment into the life we’re going to live together and how it’s going to be, we keep loading them in and building them up, and then invariably they seem to leave, they seem to die, they seem to get sick they seem to be going through trauma, and we’re so emotionally invested and co-dependent with them that we seem to go down the cesspool with them because it’s been set up from the beginning, they’ve been set up as a God substitute and there is no body, ever, that will serve as a God substitute.

Participant1: It’s set up for the basket to drop.

Speaker: The ego is setting it up. Now the Holy Spirit says OK this is where you think you are, and they seem to be set up destructively but I can bring a touch of heaven to them, I can bring a purpose, so that you can bring that purpose to that relationship. You can literally turn the relationship over to the Holy Spirit and say I don’t know where this is going to go, but I know I want this to be for the greater good I want this to be for my waking up, and I have used this relationship, I have had investment, I really want this person to come out this way, to make something more of themselves, I wanted to fix them, I thought I could change them and on and on. I’m going to give all that to you Holy Spirit. I want you to help me unlearn the strings that I’ve attached to this relationship, the way I have wanted to use them to meet my needs, to build me up. Because I’ve felt unworthy I’ve used them as a crutch. It’s like idol worship with heroes and stars; I’ll attach my identity to this person. When I was a kid I grew up with heroes and idols and it made me feel better just knowing that I was attaching myself to this other idol. It’s like a quick fix, it doesn’t last. The idols seem to be letting us down but it’s just our own perception that’s mixed up. So in my life I was involved in a relationship with a woman for three years and it was just the most emotional roller coaster ride that I’ve ever been on but it was very good for my growth and for teaching me where I had the investment. It can seem like a very fast ride, it can seem like a real accelerated undoing of false beliefs when you hang into a relationship and you give it over to the Holy Spirit, because a lot of the repressed false ideas of belief that the mind hasn’t wanted to look at start to come up to be looked at.

Participant2: Yes, I guess part of it is the surface stuff. That was the thing that was interesting to read about, the thing that you put up against is the thing that irritates you the most, when you both put up against each other, irritating each other just as much, and all this stuff you hang on, are they special relationships, closeness to spouses or family or whatever, that’s really all that they really are?

Participant1: It accelerates that whole bringing to the light of the belief that we don’t even know we have and certainly don’t want to look at.

Participant2: Yes but if its special it makes you possibly take more of a look at it, because if it wasn’t it could be someone that you just throw off.

Speaker: It seems to have a real charge

Participant2: Yeah and it has to be something that you have a tremendous amount of fear around, then you’re willing to hang in there and take more of a look at it.

Speaker: Yes, and you’re reading “A Return to Love”, Marianne has a great way of putting it, she says we’re all coming here to learn how to love, and that’s an interesting thing to think about, because once again the deceived mind thinks it knows what tables and chairs are and also it thinks it knows what love is. It’s read books and it’s seen movies and it’s had experiences and it’s a very humbling fact when you come to see that there aren’t different kinds of love. That’s in the special relationship section too, that there seems to be in the world a brother and sister love, love for a parent, a romantic love and on and on and on, there seems to be a pretty big scale of love, puppy love, love for your pet and so on, and the Course teaches love is one and love can only look on itself. In a deceived state of mind you don’t know what love is, and to use Marianne’s phrase ‘learning how to love’ or to use Jesus’ phrase ‘learning how to become aware of the obstacles to love’s presence’ that I’ve constructed in my mind. That’s the process of doing it. The ego will say why do I have these people in my life, why do I keep attracting these people in my life who bring such pain to me. And to the Holy Spirit it’s Hey, golden opportunity here to really look at something that you can’t stand to look at in your own mind so you’re projecting it out and now you’re seeing it in the other person.

I can give you the metaphysics of what goes on behind that, for example you’ll see this person that is absolutely, we’ll say sloppy, just sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, just seems uncaring and leaves things around. People have said now that’s a mirror, right? And I’m seeing in them what’s in me. I’m not sloppy! Forget what Jesus says, I’m neat and orderly and this person’s sloppy and it’s driving me nuts. Really it’s the idea or the concept that sloppiness is once again a meaning. These are just images on the screen, and the mind interprets the behavior as sloppy. In other words sloppy is a concept in the mind, it’s like neat.

Participant2: And the mind has determined what the form looks like to be labeled sloppy.

Speaker: Right, it’s made a judgment.

Participant2: And what the form has to look like to be labeled orderly and neat and organised.

Speaker: Right it’s an arbitrary decision that’s an ego judgment and when we have sloppy and neat, divine order is obscured. How can there be fusion or divine order when things could be better. In other words it’s not so much sloppy but sloppy is not good. There’s a connotation to it, neat would be better. So in that sense this is just bringing up an opportunity to look at my investment in the order of things, as opposed to the Christ; that when I’m upset with you because you’re sloppy, I’m saying I would rather hang onto the ordering in the world the way I think it should be rather than to see the Christ in you. It doesn’t mean you don’t communicate about it, there certainly is a certain amount of efficacy and efficiency, there’s some organization, but don’t let the form obscure the content. When Jesus dictated the Course, Helen was very much into writing and things needed to be a certain way, and she went nuts. She was looking for consistency in form and Jesus was always trying to come at content and I think part of the reason that he didn’t put so much emphasis on consistency here and there was that it was, go for the content, go for the change of the perception in your mind, don’t try to demand that it be consistent in form. Because she was looking for punctuation errors as we’ve mentioned, and grammatical stuff. That was more her unconscious resistance to his love being projected out, in the form of ‘you could do this better’.

Participant1: So any time I perceive something and I notice a rise inside of me it may not mean that what I’m seeing out there in behavior or form is my behavior or form, but it does mean that what I see out there in behavior or form I have some judgment about and I have some context or belief in my mind about that; and that’s the gift, that’s the wonderful thing about noticing it. It’s oh, that’s another one for me to look at.

Participant2: What you’re saying then is the whole point is to remove the judgment. So that when I visit friends of mine for example who have their house totally destroyed, you have to pick your way through, I have to reach a place where it doesn’t bother me when I visit, that its perfectly fine that I have to step through clothes, books, papers.
(Laughter from whole group)

Participant2: I will make it!

Participant1: What it means is valuing being with that person more than being in an orderly environment, otherwise you wouldn’t go see her.

Participant2: I love the person. I have a lot of problems with the behavior. There are some things, my brother and my mother have similar kinds of behavior that are really difficult to accept, well I don’t accept it. I always have a problem with this concept of what you see in somebody else is what you are, the way you are. My brother is going to go into the mountains in the middle of Denver somewhere and he’s going to build a ski lodge, you know, and my brother doesn’t have five dollars in his pocket. He’s a dreamer, and there’s no way that any of that will ever happen, and he’s now on his third divorce and he’s got two children, you know it just goes on and on. I mean the way his life is, it’s all fragmented and troubled and all of that, and it’s really hard to stand by. You wish that that person had more order in their lives, you wish that you could see them being in a better place and more at peace and have things work for them and he’s forever getting himself into another bad marriage and another bad situation, and you know it’s just very tough to stand by.

Speaker: You hit the key word wish, that’s it. The ego is a wish, it’s nothing more than wish.

Participant2: And I feel sorry for him too, I think poor guy, can’t he just .. why couldn’t his third marriage work out? Here’s these two little dear children and why can’t they have finally something work for them?

Speaker: That’s your brother out there, then you think now wait a minute, what is my lesson in this, if I’m trying to heal my mind, how do I bring that back, what interpretation am I making? Really beneath it all is the wish that things would be different than they are.

Participant2: Yes, exactly.

Speaker: The deeper you go into this it comes up in so many different forms, whether its relationships or things around you, homes or houses, and the mind has this very deep rooted wish that things would be different than they are.

Participant1: There’s a judgment that things are not the way they should be.

Participant2: Hmm mm

Speaker: Expectation is a word we use a lot. You know there’s an expectation there.

Participant2: And my sister, her marriage’s not working and I can’t believe it, how long they’ve been married and it looks like they’re not going to stay together. And it’s like my goodness, I can expect my brother to do this, but my sister who’s a real down to earth responsible, sensible person. She hasn’t been able to have a child and it’s just kind of made her crazy, and she says her husband hasn’t been sensitive to her and now she wants to leave him, just change her life all over and it’s really tough seeing both of them.

Participant1: And you start to get a sense of if I’m seeing something out here it really comes back to my mind and my beliefs that it’s possible, that anything is true.

Participant2: Oh sure. It’s like there’s nothing to be done out here, it’s always bringing it back to my mind and the beliefs in my mind that would have me interpret it or see it the way I do.

Participant1: Holy Spirit doesn’t look at any of that and say this is off, this is all askew because it’s really not so, you know this will never work. It’s the ego that looks out there and says boy this is bad news, this is not the way it’s supposed to be. But there is a way of looking with the Holy Spirit and knowing that everything is in order.

Participant2: Yes, divine order.

Participant1: And I don’t have to want anything to be different than it already is. That’s where the pain comes in, of wanting anything to be different than it is.

Participant2: Well then where is this answered prayer, when we pray it says here that your prayers are always answered. Talk about prayer then, because the whole reason for prayer in the concept that we’ve had has always been to make the out here be what we think it should be.

Speaker: Or better.

Participant2: So prayer doesn’t do that, but this is saying that Holy Spirit answers prayer or God answers prayer.

Participant3: I thought prayer was to make you perceive things differently.

Participant2: But then you get into the will of God and what is the will of God, and then the will of God is my will. It’s all stirred up, to me it doesn’t fit together.

Speaker: You’ve raised two or three good questions in there in that whole thing.

Participant1: There’s good material here.

Speaker: Prayer’s a good one, because even in the Bible, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened, if you come through the Eastern route the law of karma, as you sow so shall you reap, however you want to take it it’s all this fundamental thing that giving and receiving are the same. Now there’s a part in the Song of Prayer, the prayer of forgiveness for healing where Jesus describes prayer as like a ladder. When you’re really bound into the world of form you can’t help but pray for form, help heal my child, help protect Aunt Martha on this trip to India, help end world hunger and poverty. You can’t help, if you believe in the reality of things around you how can you help but pray like that and Jesus is saying, as he told Helen, it’s not wrong to pray in that way, but there are higher realms of prayer, and it gets back to what someone was talking about when you start getting back to the perceptual. Help me see this differently is a prayer that the Course makes and says in many, many different ways because that’s really bringing it back to it’s a perceptual problem and I’ve got distorted perception, and I need another way to look at this. I need to see peace instead of this. At the deepest level, as you go to the higher rungs of the ladder Jesus says your prayer is your desire, so if your desire is single and whole then your prayer of course is always answered, then peace, joy – if your prayer is for God and nothing but God then the state that you receive is a state of joy and peace. When you have it tainted with desire for other things, Marianne Williamson in her book, I forget how she put it, do I want peace or do I want him to call?
(Laughter)

Speaker: I want him to call! It’s a prayer. That’s a good example of a prayer in the sense that its more important that he call me today, sometime today, than my peace is. So you can start to get at those levels of desire, and how important it is to get in touch with our unconscious beliefs and to really start to see what the ego’s beliefs are and to see what it’s purpose is, and to say hey I don’t want this, I’m not going to keep plugging this appliance in, I’m not going to keep following this ego because I want peace. I don’t want pain and misery and unhappiness. So that kind of addresses that idea of prayer. It certainly gets away from prayer for specifics in the sense that a lot of prayer even in Unity and new age type of thinking are very much tied into abundance and visualizing, using the power of the mind to visual the kind of house the kind life the kind of whatever you want.

Once again Jesus does not condemn, but it’s more now the middle rung – the experience, if you visualize something and you hold that in mind and it seems to come that’s a powerful experience, that there’s a power to this mind thing, that my mind is powerful. It’s definitely an experience that flies in the face of I’m a weak little helpless nobody and that I’m at the whim and the victim of everything in the world. But what the Song of Prayer does, and the Course in general says OK now you’re starting to learn that your mind has power and you actually can seem to manifest things, it seems that way. The script is written, it’s already happened and you’re still just watching the past, but it seems as if, experientially that things are coming to me that I want, that my mind has focused on. Then Jesus says OK now that you have started to see that your mind is powerful how about peace as your only goal. Peace of mind, enlightenment, salvation. Take that powerful mind that you’re starting to realize that you have and give it to me or give it to the Holy Spirit and start putting peace as your goal. Peace is abstract, how do you quantify peace, it’s an abstract kind of purpose, it’s hard to get a grasp on how am I at peace when I’m with my brother or my sister. Peace and judgment don’t go together, peace is an interpretation. But those are like the higher rungs where instead of praying for specifics, please bring me this, please give me that, please end world hunger, please let it be a hot sunny day for our family picnic; instead of praying for specifics you start to hold this abstract goal of peace in mind. And then allowing and accepting you don’t have an investment in the form as much and the peace starts to come because you’re not invested in form. And the joy starts to get so intense as you start to ascend up that ladder that is not seen as a sacrifice because things that seemed important like praying for certain specifics seemed like a real big deal, but the joy starts to be so intense, the well starts to bubble up inside so much that it’s like ha, I can’t believe that I thought that that would have brought me happiness and peace. But at the time you can’t see that. You need to have the experience of praying for something and getting it. So that kind of goes with prayer, and then you mentioned will.

God’s will for his son, for us, is perfect happiness. I like this part of the Course because I’ve heard all these things I’ve grown up with – it’s God’s will people starve, it’s God’s will this or that happened. God’s will is for perfect happiness. Now the Course also goes on to say that God’s will is not known in this world that this world was made to cover over or to make up an alien world, to keep the ego apart from God. This is where all pain and grief and misery come in, and then when we talk about free will, free will is when the mind has accepted the atonement and is healed, then the will is free because the Father and the Son’s will are one. The Son knows it, he knows that the Son’s will is not apart from the father. Jesus knew that as a fact. So to speak of free will in this world you know that’s the big question, free will versus determinism, its been the philosophers’ big debate for centuries and centuries, that the script is written that everything that’s happening on the screen has already happened, that’s a destiny argument if you’ve ever heard one, pre-destination. It’s all spun out and its already happened. That’s hard to fathom.

Participant1: Happened in that instant when the mind latched on to the belief that it could separate from its creator.

Speaker: And people have a lot of resistance to that idea because it gets to free will and destiny: what do you mean it’s already happened, that’s destiny, there’s no choice in that, and from that point the perceptual world, the script is written it’s already happened. You’ve heard of psychics that can tell the future, all they’re doing is reading the past, they’re reading the past, whether they call it the future or not.
(Laughter)

Participant2: It’s already happened and over with?

Speaker: Yes.

Participant2: In that instant it was over?

Speaker: Exactly.

Participant2: It came and went. Well how come it seems like the truth then has stretched out over eons? I mean even in this lifetime it seems like I’ve been here forever.

Speaker: Right. And the ego says no no, the past isn’t over and gone, like a blip, dragging it, bringing it in, it keeps the past alive.

Participant2: Am I ever going to get rid of this ego?

Speaker: He tells us we can’t help but let it go. But the second part of that is, a lot of times I had a sense of this destiny thing, but I also had a part in my mind that kept saying wait a minute where does choice come in? Like when I studied behavior and all these different things, what do you mean I’m like a rat, train me to be whatever you want. What, don’t I have any choice in this? And the Course is saying yes, it’s all over and done this is all part of the unholy instant and here’s the present, this is the Holy Instant and you can decide to accept the atonement, which is in the Holy Instant and in that instant you’ll see that the past is over and done. Its more and more going into the Holy Instant, which is in our minds in the stillness, that’s where the meditation and the quiet comes in. So the instant is over and basically from all the metaphysical standpoints this whole perceptual world that seemed to happen, that God doesn’t know about, and that’s kind of oh my life’s meaningless.

Participant1: Even God doesn’t know.

Speaker: But from a mind that believes that this is really happening, that it’s happening to me and this is my life and if I get this job and these relationships and this person, then Jesus says here’s your stepping stone - you have decision, but really the only decision you have because the past is over, is which lens are you going to look at the projection with, are you going to align with the ego or the Holy Spirit. And every instant you have a choice to align with the ego or the Holy Spirit. What’s your purpose going to be for the world? A lot of the time it seems that we click into auto pilot with the ego, we’re so familiar with waking up, going through out routines, getting in our grooves or our ruts and it really seems deep and heavy. It’s like gosh this is a heavy rut, and those are just decisions lined up with the ego. But as we work with the Course he helps to train our minds to decide more consistently with the Holy Spirit until the point comes when we can go to that cornerstone, lift that up and see that the ego is really belief and no reality at all. That I could never have separated from my creator, that’s a silly idea and all the thoughts and beliefs and concepts that are built, that came from that belief are all false as well. It’s good news because it gives us hope. It can seem overwhelming, it can seem like oh my gosh I haven’t even made a dent, like I’ve got to pick up all the grains on the ocean beach and I’ve got a handful now. It can seem that way, but all Jesus is asking for is our willingness, he says just focus on now, that’s all you’ve got to keep your attention on, just try to keep on how you feel right now, and when you do feel upset try to be willing to see it differently, to lay aside your judgment. That simplifies it from this long contorted linear thing.

Participant1: And one of the ways the ego tries to come along and upset your journey is just that very thing of having you look at where you are, feeling overwhelmed and desperate and hopeless about getting to where you think you want to be. That’s a good ego trick too, that’ll fool you to hell as well as anything. When you start to entertain the thought of oh I’ll never get there, so whatever, we can recognize that that too is an ego thought and then disregard it. That’s the best thing we can do, recognize the ego thought and disregard it.

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