I’ve just returned from my first visits with ACOL groups. These were along the California coast and this subject was among those I spoke of. I thought I’d share it here. ~ Mari
It is the very essence of love to be able to hold all the paradoxes that the mind would like to reject. When we know love, we know the personal and the universal are not in conflict. When we know love, we know that our humanity and our divinity are not in conflict. When we know love we even know that our minds and hearts have no need to be in conflict. This is the beauty of the way of love. Love has the power to unite us—within ourselves—and with each other. Love has the power to bring us to wholeness.
But all of that waits on our acceptance of the ego’s end.
T3:3.10 The Self that I recognize as You, is not other than who you are, but who you are. All that was ever other than who you are was the ego. The ego is gone. The ego was simply your idea of who you were. This idea was a complex set of judgments, of good and bad, right and wrong, worthy and unworthy, a list as endless as it was worthless. Realize now the worthlessness of this idea and let it go.
The movement from ego to true Self is the movement of ACOL. We’re told at the very beginning that this is where we’re heading, but the ego is still addressed throughout. In the first book, the Course—it is as if it’s still there—but just not being taught to. Then increasingly—as what we’re leaving behind. And finally as what we have left behind. I’ve had people say to me that you can’t say the ego is gone just because you’ve read the book, and I imagine that might be true if all you did was read. Jesus says you may do that and change the world, but you won’t be who you are or create a new world. There’s something different than simple reading that Jesus invites us to. Do you feel that?
These are changes of enormous proportions: the end of the ego—which coincides with the discovery of the true Self, and—the end of learning—which coincides with the beginning of sharing in union and relationship as well as creation of the new.
The end of the EGO
Now, what I had a hard time with, what a major stumbling block of mine was, and that I see others having the hardest time with, is very simple. We want to, and maybe even do accept that the ego is gone, but then wonder, when we still have things about ourselves that we think of as being from the ego, what’s going on?
What I’ve seen is that when I ask myself, How can I be ego free when I still feel like this?…it is about the feelings I have when I go against my nature. Really, the next time you have the thought come to you that your ego is acting up, see if this isn’t true. I’d be willing to bet these thoughts or feelings are not about trying to build up your false self, but come from your desire to acknowledge your true Self.
I believe this question of what seems to be of the ego, is about what we haven’t yet discovered about what it means to live honestly…to live true to ourselves. To be our true Selves. To liberate our true Selves. And I feel this is important to share with you.
This isn’t about the little stuff. This is about the big stuff. If we’re going to see ourselves as humanly divine, we’ve got to love ourselves first. Accept who we are first. Jesus says, “You wouldn’t be other than who you are. Herein lie your peace and your perfection.” (C:20.42) And I feel that one of the things we realize with our heart’s knowing, is that this is true. When it comes right down to it, we really wouldn’t rather be other than who we are. We don’t want anyone else’s life, not really. We just want to live our own truly.
Here’s a great quote from Day 8 on radical acceptance:
8.8 All power to effect change comes from acceptance—not acceptance of the way things are, but acceptance of who you are in the present. Not through acceptance of the way you want to be but of the way you are now. There will be many things within your life that will take some time to change, but many others that can change instantly through this radical acceptance.
What a big shift this is—what freedom. Days—8-9-and 10 of The Dialogues are so incredible that way. So liberating. “Oh. I don’t have to accept whatever comes along. I have to accept me and how I feel. Wow.” And you know why we can do that? Because the ego is gone. Jesus isn’t seeking to have us become ego maniacs! No. He wants us to be true to ourselves.
We will keep what will serve the new and let the rest go. I know I’m still doing that. I don’t know about you, but I know that’s true of me. I also know I’ve come farther in the last few years than I did in the ten before that. Still, it’s all valuable somehow—because this takes a lot of courage and, as we stumble and rise again, if we’re honest about that, we face the truth of who we are in that moment and go on. We companion others as they go on. And all the while we are in union and relationship.
Here’s a good example. I had a hard time getting the time to myself that I craved. I started going out to my cabin at sunrise because it was the only hour no one would bother me. I couldn’t find my voice to state what I needed—and this has been an issue of mine—finding my voice. Using my voice. Being true to myself. I’m doing that now, and also benefiting greatly from the gift that this early morning pattern of greeting the day has become!
We may not look like enlightened ones, but we’re doing this incredible work of merging the human and divine in the ordinary lives we live. We don’t need the one percent to lead the way anymore. Jesus says this course goes out to humble and ordinary people like us so that IN OUR MULTITUDE we will change the world. We can’t all drop out to go on pilgrimages. Yet we can all be pilgrims and pioneers of the new, and do so according to who we are, and where we are, and with the gifts we’ve been given.
And you know why we need to do that? Mainly because the world needs us in it as who we are, but also because if we’re intolerant of ourselves, we’ll be intolerant of others. If we love ourselves…this is so simple…we love all.
This is the big switcheroo here, being true to ourselves. It’s at the heart of what Jesus calls radical acceptance—accepting how we feel—not what’s “out there.” Accepting everything . . . but the ego.