Another endearing conversation with the ego

I stared at the computer screen, begging for clarity about how to respond to another seemingly confounding email. I’d been struggling to follow the Holy Spirit/Jesus (that memory of our true undifferentiated wholeness in our mind) instead of always trying to lead. But the struggle had merely resulted in a paralytic dance leaving me stalled on a parquet floor with the imaginary dream partner du jour, aware of my ego’s childish stubbornness but nonetheless still invested in having things go—you know–my way. For once in my sorry dream.

I leaned on my desolate elbows; cupped my desolate chin in my desolate hands. How different would my life be if I could come to all relationships without all these freaking expectations and needs? If I could just start over–release my pathetically deeply rooted attachment to being right—and admit I don’t have a clue about how to handle anything? If I could just quit counting the many ways I have failed you and you have failed me and instead step wholly willing and needless into the certainty of the holy instant outside the tyranny of time, trusting fully in real, capital K Knowledge? What would it be like if I could truly make answering my call for love disguised in everyone and thing seemingly “out there” the only purpose for my days?

The computer screen blurred pastel. Small, kind, animated woodland creatures cavorted in my head; a buoyant Disney score rose from deep within my heart, and I smiled all Amy Adams.

“Yeah, right,” the ego said. He stood in the corner of my office looking an awful lot like Bill Murray as Nick the smarmy lounge singer in the old Saturday Night Live skits. “How’s that been working out for you again?”

I cleared my throat. “Excuse me; have we met?”

“Ha!  What say we take a look at another kind of score, sweetheart?” He puffed on his Tiparillo and held up a placard: “Ego: 34,576; Holy Spirit: 7.”

I sighed. It had been that kind of day in the classroom and I hadn’t even made it to lunch yet. “It’s not like this is some kind of competition,” I sniffed, throwing my shoulders back and summoning a dignity I did not feel.

“Right,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Have we met?”

He had a point. I had never been more painfully aware of my robotic impulse to compare and contrast myself with others, nor the equally strong urge to judge myself harshly for it. I was a walking—far too often talking–mess of special, guilty protoplasm. Truth was; I seemed to be regressing with this Course. At this rate I would never find my way home to perfect oneness.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he said.”Nice threads.”

He struck a Ken doll pose, allowing me to take in the faux plaid polyester suit and velveteen vest.

“Sarcasm becomes you,” I said.

He gave a little bow. “Likewise,”

“Thanks.”

“I know what you’re thinking.”

I sighed again.

“You’re not getting any younger.”

“There is no time,” I shot back.

“Right.” He winked. And winked. “So looks like you’ve made a mess of things. Again. Don’t be so hard on yourself. This is no easy path you’ve chosen here, sister. Trust me; there are much, much easier ways to go.”

“I’m afraid there’s no trusting you, my friend.”

He reeled as if sucker punched, wincing. “After all I’ve done for you?”

“Exactly.”

“Just try for once in your life to listen to reason,” he said. “I’m on your side, OK?  I mean; let’s just review for a minute exactly what this big, blue book of yours is actually saying, shall we? Let’s see …” He closed his eyes and pressed his fingers to his forehead like a drunken psychic. “It’s asking you to question everything you believe including the self you think you are. It’s telling you there is no world, there is no God that knows about this world, there is no right or wrong, no heaven, no hell, no you, and—most blasphemously of all—no me.” He cackled. “I mean. Has it ever even occurred to you that someone just made this!*%# up? That maybe, just maybe, you’re getting brainwashed here like you’ve never been brainwashed before?”

“Nope,” I lied.

“Okey-dokey, let’s have a little reality check here, shall we? What do you have now that you didn’t have before this Course? What say we make a little list and have a good, long look?” He tilted his head and batted his toadying eyes. “Come on. You know how much you just love to make lists.”

He had a point about that, too. On both counts. Nothing in my external life had changed as a direct result of practicing forgiveness A Course in Miracles-style; a new kind of forgiveness of what never was I’d been gradually learning to apply to everyone and everything I perceived “out there.” But I had, over time, become far more tolerant of others and myself. More truly compassionate, recognizing that—aware of it or not–we all suffered from the same crushing, unconscious belief that we had committed celestial homicide. Had destroyed our Creator’s home, fled the one mind, and now found ourselves seeking refuge that could never be found for long in a world of individual bodies vying for survival.

Nevertheless, my mind was still split between the lounge lizard ego and the Holy Spirit’s silent certainty. There were still many mornings like this one in which my resistance to giving up my investment in my way appeared to prevent me from returning to the unalterable, all-inclusive, eternal peace ever patiently waiting in our one mind. The real change in me as a direct result of practicing forgiveness ACIM-style? A near constant awareness that I always had a choice to make about which teacher I was listening to regardless of the circumstances in the dream. And the growing discomfort I experienced when I chose to listen to the ego’s slime-ball lyrics of dueling interests.

I smacked myself upside the head. “Hey mister,” I said. “No smoking in here. Anyway; time to take your act on the road again.”

“Oh come on,” he said. “I haven’t even gotten started.” He grabbed his microphone, cleared his throat, and began singing that abomination of a ‘70s tune, Feelings.

Feelings, nothing more than feelings, he sang. Really badly.

“Feelings lie,” I said.

Feelings, for all my life I’ll feel it.
I wish I’d never met you, girl; you’ll never come again.

“Take a walk,” I said.

His brows shot up. “On the wild side?”

“Out.”

“You’re killing me, you know that?”

“But softly,” I said.

“Ha!”  He started making little kissing noises.

“Bye, bye.”

“Wait, wait,” he cried. “How ‘bout a quick round of Stairway to Heaven?”

I waved.

And he was gone, God love him. 🙂 And–surprise, surprise–I was back in that classroom again, sharing a little cup of tea with Jesus, the big blue book open to Lesson 131, “No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth,” paragraph 4:

“Be glad that search you must,” I read.

“Be glad as well to learn you search for Heaven, and must find the goal you really want. No one can fail to want this goal and reach it in the end. God’s Son cannot seek vainly, though he try to force delay, deceive himself, and think that it is hell he seeks. When he is wrong, he finds correction. When he wanders off, he is led back to his appointed task.”

I clinked my teacup against J’s in a little forgiveness toast and found myself back at my computer answering emails, happily wrong again about—well–everything.


I am now speaking regularly at ACIM Gather radio, Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m., EST.

Comments

  1. Imagine there’s no scoring? I wonder if I can; no mirrored judgment; within, a finished plan (with kudos to John Lennon 🙂 … The scorecard metaphor works well, thanks! Every incremented grievance – tenaciously guarded – seems to represent unbearable self-condemnation, yet the fake self doing the condemning is just an actor on our mind’s hallucinatory stage, while our Inner Kindness Teacher – with our consent – presses the reset button, clearing ego’s score to zero reminding us it never existed in truth – with a serene smile. 🙂

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