(Artist: Beo Nguyen. I like his paintings.)
A Course In Miracles to some extent encourages that approach when it talks about the ego as if it were a separate thing, like in the following quotes from Chapter 4.I:
"When you are afraid, be still and know that God is real, and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. Do not let your ego dispute this, because the ego cannot know what is as far beyond its reach as you are."
"The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise."
"The ego tries to exploit all situations into forms of praise for itself in order to overcome its doubts."
In the following paragraphs we learn about the ego's origin, about how it was made and how it is maintained. This will solve the question of responsibility. Important is that the ego is an idea, and ideas do not leave their source.
"Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability. He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives, which is equally variable. Their interaction is a process that alters both, because they were not made by or with the Unalterable. It is important to realize that this alteration can and does occur as readily when the interaction takes place in the mind as when it involves physical proximity. Thinking about another ego is as effective in changing relative perception as is physical interaction. There could be no better example that the ego is only an idea and not a fact.
Your own state of mind is a good example of how the ego was made. When you threw knowledge away it is as if you never had it. This is so apparent that one need only recognize it to see that it does happen. If this occurs in the present, why is it surprising that it occurred in the past? Surprise is a reasonable response to the unfamiliar, though hardly to something that occurs with such persistence. But do not forget that the mind need not work that way, even though it does work that way now.
Think of the love of animals for their offspring, and the need they feel to protect them. That is because they regard them as part of themselves. No one dismisses something he considers part of himself. You react to your ego much as God does to His creations, - with love, protection and charity. Your reactions to the self you made are not surprising. In fact, they resemble in many ways how you will one day react to your real creations, which are as timeless as you are. The question is not how you respond to the ego, but what you believe you are. Belief is an ego function, and as long as your origin is open to belief you are regarding it from an ego viewpoint. When teaching is no longer necessary you will merely know God. Belief that there is another way of perceiving is the loftiest idea of which ego thinking is capable. That is because it contains a hint of recognition that the ego is not the Self." (A Course In Miracles, Chapter 4.II)
Later in the same section Jesus says that "the ego is the mind's belief that it is completely on its own." It would be foolish to maintain that a belief or idea exists independently, or acts on its own. The question is not that, but how the mind regards the idea. This then is a decision of the mind, which brings us back to our "one remaining freedom" as prisoners of this world: "the power of decision".
"Appetites are 'getting' mechanisms, representing the ego's need to confirm itself. This is as true of body appetites as it is of the so-called 'higher ego needs'. Body appetites are not physical in origin. The ego regards the body as its home, and tries to satisfy itself through the body. But the idea that this is possible is a decision of the mind, which has become completely confused about what is really possible." (same section)
So, what then does Jesus have in mind when he talks about the ego as he does? In the same chapter Jesus gives an explanation. I will quote from the original dictation, for it is a stronger statement than what is given in the second edition:
"We have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and MUST realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed. But we cannot safely leave it at that, or you will regard yourselves as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or more properly, BELIEVE that you are here.
The ego is nothing more than a PART of your belief about yourselves. Your other life has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate. The ratio of repression and dissociation of truth varies with the individual ego-illusion [...], but dissociation is always involved, or you would not believe that you ARE here."
So, we clearly see that the ego is not a separate thing and neither acts apart from what the mind decides or wants. This is obviously crucial if one is supposed to take back control and take responsibility for what one experiences. As long as I think I am a body, in time and space, I am what ego is. Whatever my "individual ego-illusion" may be, it is still ego. Seeing this allows me to come to terms with what I think about myself. Being honest, I let go of the facade of being a spiritual and holy human being, because it is all the same illusion.
I want to be free, that is all. I want to go beyond this world entirely. That is what I have agreed to do. That is what I need to do in order to be free. And nothing can stop me, but I have to truly want it.
If conflict is an expression of fear, I have to admit that I am afraid of myself, afraid of own thoughts, otherwise why would I conflict with myself, conflict with my thought, dissociate from it and call it ego etc.? There is only one way to undo and heal the split.
"Fear arises from lack of love.
The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.
Perfect love is the Atonement." (A Course In Miracles, Chapter 2.VI)
"There is a kind of experience so different from anything the ego can offer that you will never want to cover or hide it again. It is necessary to repeat that your belief in darkness and hiding is why the light cannot enter." (A Course In Miracles, Chapter 4.III)
I need to train my mind to be vigilant and stay with truth and God only, instead of giving meaning to what is meaningless, because "the world I see holds nothing that I want." Letting the light in is my healing. There is no other way. It is a required course.
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