Undoing the Ego

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Saying the words, “I want to break up,” whether with respect to a marital relationship or any other committed relationship (be it romantic, work, friend, etc.) is one of the hardest things a human being ever has to do.

Making the conscious choice to end one of the strongest bonds we have ever made frightens us to our very core. We fear that we’ll never meet anyone else. We fear the possible financial burden, the loneliness, the unknown. We feel guilty for being disloyal, abandoning a loved one. We dread seeing hurt or rage on our partner’s face. We fear retribution, punishment and vengeance.

Many teachings suggest that we should never break up. There are loyalty oaths, responsibilities, social stigmas. There is the suggestion that we are immature, lack tenacity, are being selfish.

I’ve found that for a certain kind of person — a person who is considerate, emotionally generous, fair-minded, and understanding; someone who is seeking cooperation, yet has low self-esteem — it is possible to be taken advantage of in relationships.  It is this sort of person who is the most afraid to break up, because underlying these positive qualities, there is often an emotional immaturity and dependency that produces strong feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.

Yet, it is just this sort of person who benefits from dissolving a partnership that is not working because it is an opportunity to be true to themselves; to put themselves to the test of being more independent; developing resourcefulness and self-sufficiency; and, eventually, if they so desire, insisting on a more compatible mate, a true partner, a mutually rewarding, cooperative, and enjoyable relationship.

I speak from experience. I was this low self-esteem person, and for a long time I didn’t even know it!  I was blind because I was competent.  People close to me relied on me, but instead of being appreciative they took me for granted, undervalued me, and gave me no credit.

Therefore, for too long, I also took myself for granted, undervalued myself and unconsciously assumed no one else would ever want me.  Thank goodness there was a spark of indignation inside me (my natural positive self-esteem — everyone has it no matter how crushed or buried) which pushed me, little by little, to find the courage to make changes.

After agonizing for years, I finally left a husband who wasn’t truly in partnership with me, and a job which did not serve me. In the process it felt as if I was losing everything that mattered to me — building a life with someone; having children together; developing lifelong relationships with family and friends. (That’s a story for another time.)

Thankfully, my spiritual studies sustained me through the pain and fear. A Course in Miracles empowered me through Lesson 153, “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” which strengthened me to tell the truth without attacking. I learned to focus on the healing power of our relationships with others. I had a growing understanding that, whether we are aware of it or not, we are all facets of the same diamond, all beating in the same heart, all thinking through the same mind.

A Sufi proverb puts it this way, “When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit laughs for what it has found.”

The lyrics “breaking up is hard to do” are so true. But spending a lifetime in a relationship that you resent is far worse. I learned a hard, but invaluable spiritual lesson from this experience — I gained a deep and abiding trust in God, a heartfelt ‘knowing’ that being completely dependent on God, rather than on any human being, was the answer. What a perfect solution to codependency!

Paradoxically, that dependency guarantees the most empowering relationship in which we will ever be, because it is an awakening of our original relationship with God, from which all other truly loving relationships spring.

The biggest surprise of all is that after we break some ties which were sustained for too long due to low self-esteem, our self-appreciation, love and esteem grows.  This growth leads to another break up — the break up with your self!  As A Course in Miracles explains, the person you take yourself to be is an ego-induced self-concept.  As you awaken to your True Value, you naturally break away from the false idea of personal identity and recognize your True Self.

If you have questions, please email miracles(at)amytorresacim(dot)com

Copyright © 2009 Amy Torres.  Updated 2016.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Extra-Strength Ego

Do you ever feel like you have an extra-strength ego?

Lots of people tell me that their ego is particularly strong and I have to laugh!  Let’s not give “your” ego that much credit — there is only one fear-based, guilt-inducing, headstrong ego.  Don’t worry, it is only your unconscious choice to believe in the ego that has made it seem so strong and unique to you.  But luckily, even extra-strength ego is a dream aspect of the Real You and You are actually the boss of it 🙂

The Real You is Spirit.  The ego “you” is a figment of Spirit’s imagination. Ego plays this game in which You forget what you truly are.  Until you realize this, you fully believe you are a person, and the world and the people in it seem very important.

Once you begin to grasp that you are not a person, your ego may very well kick up a fuss, impelling you to think, “My ego is particularly strong!”  Ego is an immensely powerful force when believed in, but it is also, as ACIM puts it, a “quaint absurdity” (W-156) when seen through.

Your life is best spent awakening from the ego fog of forgetfulness and discovering you are peaceful, joyous, loving, formless, timeless God Mind, as you’ve always been. The one ego mind, which has fragmented into shapes and forms called people, animals, vegetables, minerals, etc., is actually like a multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia combined: it is splitting into many personas, talking to itself and seeing what is not there (hallucinating).

Ego is not your true nature; it is an acquired taste. So, don’t take what seems to be “your” ego personally, because we are all just shapes and forms of the same ego. Visualize one ego thought of separation being blown, like air, into billions of balloons and you get the human population. Put a pin in it and extra-strength ego deflates instantly.

Extra-strength ego is just a more heavily armored “balloon” — thicker rubber, you might say.  When you attack another or yourself, you are just denying the Truth: that Unified Spiritual You is Perfect. When you are willing to see the good in your brother, his “body grows decreasingly persistent in your sight, and will at length be seen as little more than just a shadow circling round the good.” (T-31.VII.3:3)

As you lose your taste for extra-strength ego, you gain a taste for forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a well-lit path Home with a Constant Companion Who is well worth following.  This is Who Jesus followed, and you can too.  At first, it can seem difficult to discern the voice of the ego from the Voice for God, but with a little practice, the “irresistible attraction of love for love” (paraphrasing T-12.VIII) takes over.  More on the irresistible attraction of love for love next time!  For now, if you’d like some one-to-one coaching, click here.

Here’s the follow-up article: Irresistible Attraction of Love for Love.

 

Remember to Laugh

Amy crosslegged whiteLaughing is the application of ACIM principles.  It’s right there in Chapter 27:  “Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time.” T-27.VIII.6:2-5

Dr. Bernie Siegel, the author of Love, Medicine and Miracles, has many stories to tell about the power of laughter.  There’s a whole school of yoga devoted to laughter.  Comedian John Cleese says, “Laughter is a force for democracy.” Cancer thriver, as Kris Carr calls herself, has laughed in the face of terminal disease.  Vice president Joe Biden shines light when he shares the tragic death of his wife and child.  How do we laugh when we’re least likely to feel like laughing?

Biden considered suicide but came to find, “There will come a day, I promise you, and your parents, as well, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.”  He was speaking to the families of military veterans, but it goes for the rest of us as well.  It applies to anyone who has contemplated suicide or hurt inside in any way, for any reason.

“This is the great wake-up call, this is the great spiritual practice.  What am I going to do now?  Am I going to fold?,” asked Carr, author of Crazy, Sexy Cancer, who was given a death sentence but instead chose to keep smiling and become a peace revolutionary through a plant-based diet.

There is a saying, “Time heals all wounds.”  A Course in Miracles promises to save us time.  It teaches that miracles literally collapse time.  The miracle of laughter uses time for healing rather than brooding, simmering, panicking, collapsing, or seeking vengeance.

“The Holy Spirit uses time as He thinks best, and He is never wrong.  Psychotherapy under His direction is one of the means He uses to save time …” P-1.5:5-6

Laughter is psychotherapy.  Laughter is good medicine.  And when we just can’t bring ourselves to laugh, a wry comment, some dry humor, a small smile are better than nothing.  They are the equivalent of raising our eyes up from the ground and looking out towards the horizon.  There is some scientific evidence which shows that laughter, even when we force it, or fake it, stimulates chemical changes in the brain and body which are powerfully healing.

Of course, ACIM students learn that the only illness is mental illness and when we’re willing to change our minds, we find an inner peace that removes the wrinkles from our brow and puts a smile on our lips.  Remembering to laugh is choosing to forgive.  Lesson 121 is, “Forgiveness is the key to happiness,” and Lesson 122 follows with, “[Forgiveness] sparkles on your eyes as you awake, and gives you joy with which to meet the day.”

At the root of physical and emotional pain is always psychological pain.  Whether our situation is dramatic or mundane, we deserve to exercise our option to choose light and laughter.  Remembering to laugh is an undoing process that takes us from our personal problems all the way back to the one problem the Course says is the only real problem: believing the tiny, mad idea that we are separate from God.  All we have to do to establish inner peace is choose again, choose to recognize the cosmic joke is on us, and forgive, forgive, forgive!

TIP:  Paradoxically, sometimes the only way to laugh is to stop laughing.  When I was going through a “dark night of the soul,” it was healing for me to stop laughing and smiling, because I blocked people from helping me with my constant good cheer.  They just assumed I was okay.  So if it seems to you that your smile is a defense, relax into your pain and allow that energy to move through you.  This is easier said than done, because becoming vulnerable when we’re frozen with self-protection takes time.  And certain emotions feel dangerous.  But if you sincerely want to heal, the Holy Spirit will show you how, and will help you find a healer with whom to do release work.  You will laugh again.  And each time you do, time will melt into timelessness until you remember Who you already are.

Get your laugh on — click here to watch the miraculously funny Trevor Noah.

Read previous, related issues of The Unlearning Classroom:

God Is In Your Smile
Forgiveness is Fear-Removal
What Is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is Understanding

 

Ask Amy: Are you the creator of your universe?

Guy QuestionQ:  After working with the Course for several years, I take from it the message that I am the creator of my universe.  A dear friend of mine was killed in Syria recently.  Did I create this?  If I did, I don’t know how I can live with myself.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA:  Rest assured, you did not create the killing of your dear friend in Syria.  Only the ego thinks in terms of guilty responsibility, magical powers of influence, and the loss of life.  Jesus, in his Course in Miracles, would never put you through this kind of psychological agony.

The idea that you are the creator of your universe is a common misconception among Course students.  The primary mistake lies in not understanding who you really are.  Typically, every human, and therefore, every reader of ACIM, begins with the assumption that he or she is a body, identified as male or female, labeled with a name, assigned a role as son or daughter, and so on.  These designations are nothing more than ego brainwashing, layering assumption on top of assumption that the body is “you.”

But you are not a body.  God’s Creation is an extension of the Creator Himself — consequently, you are Spirit, not human.  Therefore, when referring to yourself, know that You are Imageless, Formless, Timeless, and Unified as God’s One Son.  It is not the little ego “you” who creates; the ego “you” mistakenly dreams and that is all.  The real You creates the way God creates: You naturally and effortlessly emanate Loving Light.

“Yet what is it except a game you play in which Identity can be denied?  You are as God created you.” (W-191)

The one collective ego mind (of which people appear to be individual fragments) is a terrorist dictatorship thought system.  The way out of this tyrannical, punitive, and vicious ego-mind cycle is to observe the ego with Jesus.  Then you discover the only reason the ego felt so real is that you believed in it, while forgetting it was nothing more than a passing idea in God’s Mind.

“In a split mind, identity must seem to be divided.” (T-27.II.11:1)

When you stop unconsciously denying your true Identity, it is revealed that as long as we seem to live in a world with others, the only sane choice is to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and be a miracle worker.  You will feel peaceful, comforted, liberated and illuminated, as you devote the body to serving God’s Will instead of reinforcing a false personal identity.

“It is impossible that God lose His Identity, for if He did, you would lose yours.” (T-14.XI.7:5)

Let us conclude with a prayer for your friend.  May he rest in God, at Home with his Father, enlightened and free in the recognition of his true Self.  Death can serve as one of the many doorways to Who we really are.  Happily for all of us, it is inevitable that everyone awaken to our God-Self, each in our own perfect moment.

“The word ‘inevitable’ is fearful to the ego, but joyous to the spirit.  God is inevitable, and you cannot avoid Him any more than He can avoid you.”  (T-4.I.9:10-11)

Note:  If you found this topic interesting, click here to read the Ask Amy column in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Miracles magazine, which delves into this same concept from a different angle.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the March-April 2015 issue of Miracles magazine.  Miracles is a well-loved  staple in the ACIM community.  To get a subscription, email Jon@miraclesmagazine.org or call 845-496-9089.  To ask Amy a question, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

W-84: Review of Lessons 67 & 68

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

I am Who I am.  I am That.  That I Am.  Am I.  Am.  Ma.  AmmA.  AbbA.  Aaaaah.

LESSON 84

There are the ideas for today’s review:

(67)  Love created me like itself.

I am in the likeness of my Creator.  I cannot suffer.  I cannot experience loss and I cannot die.  I am not a body.  I would recognize my reality today.  I will worship no idols, nor raise my own self-concept to replace my Self.  I am in the likeness of my Creator.  Love created me like itself.

You might find these specific forms helpful in applying the idea:

Let me not see an illusion of myself in this.
As I look on this, let me remember my Creator.
My Creator did not create this as I see it.

(68)  Love holds no grievances.

Grievances are completely alien to love.  Grievances attack love and keep its light obscure.  If I hold grievances I am attacking love, and therefore attacking my Self.  My Self thus becomes alien to me.  I am determined not to attack my Self today, so that I can remember Who I am.

These specific forms for applying this idea would be helpful:

This is no justification for denying my Self.
I will not use this to attack love.
Let this not tempt me to attack myself.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

W-83: Review of Lessons 65 & 66

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think.  With God’s Guidance the thought arises, “Think nothing … let Me Think through you.”  Think nothing, let Me Think through you.  How quiet.  How beauty-filled.

How Perfectly Peaceful. … and then, being Thought-through produces a shift in perception from receiving as the tiny “me” ego-body to being the Thought Itself.

You don’t have to do anything but be willing to be aware of What Already Is.  And so it is!

LESSON 83

Today let us review these ideas:

(65)  My only function is the one God gave me.

I have no function but the one God gave me.  This recognition releases me from all conflict, because it means I cannot have conflicting goals.  With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think.  All doubt must disappear as I acknowledge that my only function is the one God gave me.

More specific applications of this idea might take these forms:

My perception of this does not change my function.
This does not give me a function other than the one God gave me.
Let me not use this to justify a function God did not give me.

(66)  My happiness and my function are one.

All things that come from God are one.  They come from Oneness, and must be received as one.  Fulfilling my function is my happiness because both come from the same Source.  And I must learn to recognize what makes me happy, if I would find happiness.

Some useful forms for specific applications of this idea are:

This cannot separate my happiness from my function.
The oneness of my happiness and my function remains wholly unaffected by this.
Nothing, including this, can justify the illusion of happiness apart from my function.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

W-82: Review of Lessons 63 & 64

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

My forgiveness is the means by which the light of the world finds expression through me.  I would not forget my function, because I would remember my Self.  Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world. The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.  Forgiveness is light.  Forgiveness is healing.  Forgiveness is healing light.  For to give everything to God.  Give God my lonely, frightened delusions of separateness.  Give God my heart swollen with gladness and relief that I am His Son.  My widening, expanding, overflowing heart … consumed by the Cosmic Heart.  And so it is.

LESSON 82

We will review these ideas today:

(63)  The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.

My forgiveness is the means by which the light of the world finds expression through me.  My forgiveness is the means by which I become aware of the light of the world in me.  My forgiveness is the means by which the world is healed, together with myself.  Let me, then, forgive the world, that it may be healed along with me.

Suggestions for specific forms for applying this idea are:

Let peace extend from my mind to yours, [name].
I share the light of the  world with you, [name].
Through my forgiveness I can see this as it is.

(64)  Let me not forget my function.

I would not forget my function, because I would remember my Self.  I cannot fulfill my function if I forget it.  And unless I fulfill my function, I will not experience the joy that God intends for me.

Suitable forms of this idea include:

Let me not use this to hide my function from me.
I would use this as an opportunity to fulfill my function.
This may threaten my ego, but cannot change my function in any way.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

W-81: Review of Lessons 61 & 62

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Behind the mask of your ego-face shines the light of Who You Really Are.  Good disguise!

LESSON 81

Our ideas for review today are:

(61)  I am the light of the world.

How holy am I, who have been given the function of lighting up the world!  Let me be still before my holiness.  In its calm light let all my conflicts disappear.  In its peace let me remember Who I am.

Some specific forms for applying this idea when special difficulties seem to arise might be:

Let me not obscure the light of the world in me.
Let the light of the world shine through this appearance.
This shadow will vanish before the light.

(62)  Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.

It is through accepting my function that I will see the light in me.  And in this light will my function stand clear and perfectly unambiguous before my sight.  My acceptance does not depend on my recognizing what my function is, for I do not yet understand forgiveness.  Yet I will trust that, in the light, I will see it as it is.

Specific forms for using this idea might include:

Let this help me learn what forgiveness means.
Let me not separate my function from my will.
I will not use this for an alien purpose.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.

 

Gatita’s Metamorphosis Into The Lady

The Lady muted eyesIt has been about eight months since Gatita gently laid the body aside and emerged as The Lady.

Some hours after shedding her skin, I had the clear sense that Gatita was no longer a cat.  When I spoke with her in my mind she was now The Lady.  She had emerged from the confines of form.

The Lady has the elevated essence of Mary’s love, purity and kindness.  She is numinous, sublime and retains a feline inscrutability.

The Lady is another way of saying the Holy Spirit.

The Lady understood my great appreciation of Gatita’s form and we could mind-meld as She loved me and communicated ideas like,

“That was an exquisite form.  I understand your love for it.  You can love the Gatita I was and yet you don’t have to miss her.  When you drop your Amy form you will not miss that.  You will experience pure freedom.  And you can experience that pure freedom before you drop the form as well simply by shifting your attention from form to What Is.”

All grieving felt sweet; it was a confirmation of the love Gatita and I shared.  It didn’t feel like loss.

This grieving feels like a tribute to unconditional love.  It is confirming of the Formless.  It is liberating and tender.  It is strengthening of faith and courage.

Om Namah Shivaya.

Click here to read an earlier post on the miracle of Gatita’s passing.  And this may inspire you as well: Inexplicably Predictably Happy

“The Lady” illustration was lovingly and beautifully drawn by Harper Wood.  If you would like to commission artwork, email harper@harperwood.com

W-80: Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

Commentary (full lesson beneath commentary)

Once the problem has been identified, something glorious happens … it is seen that there never was a real problem.  In that sense, the solution is inherent within the problem because when looked at closely, there is no problem to be found.

There was a bad dream that ended long ago, but that was a fantasy, not a real problem.

Close your eyes and receive your reward.  One problem, one solution.  Salvation is accomplished.  Peace is at hand.  Enjoy:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSouws7cE-A

LESSON 80

Let me recognize my problems have been solved.

If you are willing to recognize your problems, you will recognize that you have no problems.  Your one central problem has been answered, and you have no other.  Therefore, you must be at peace.  Salvation thus depends on recognizing this one problem, and understanding that it has been solved.  One problem, one solution.  Salvation is accomplished.  Freedom from conflict has been given you.  Accept that fact, and you are ready to take your rightful place in God’s plan for salvation.

Your only problem has been solved!  Repeat this over and over to yourself today, with gratitude and conviction.  You have recognized your only problem, opening the way for the Holy Spirit to give you God’s answer.  You have laid deception aside, and seen the light of truth.  You have accepted salvation for yourself by bringing the problem to the answer.  And you can recognize the answer, because the problem has been identified.

You are entitled to peace today.  A problem that has been resolved cannot trouble you.  Only be certain you do not forget that all problems are the same.  Their many forms will not deceive you while you remember this.  One problem, one solution.  Accept the peace this simple statement brings.

In our longer practice periods today, we will claim the peace that must be ours when the problem and the answer have been brought together.  The problem must be gone, because God’s answer cannot fail.  Having recognized one, you have recognized the other.  The solution is inherent in the problem.  You are answered, and have accepted the answer.  You are saved.

Now let the peace that your acceptance brings be given you.  Close your eyes, and receive your reward.  Recognize that your problems have been solved.  Recognize that you are out of conflict; free and at peace.  Above all, remember that you have one problem, and that the problem has one solution.  It is in this that the simplicity of salvation lies.  It is because of this that it is guaranteed to work.

Assure yourself often today that your problems have been solved.  Repeat the idea with deep conviction, as frequently as possible.  And be particularly sure to apply the idea for today to any specific problem that may arise.  Say quickly:

Let me recognize this problem has been solved.

Let us be determined not to collect grievances today.  Let us be determined to be free of problems that do not exist.  The means is simple honesty.  Do not deceive yourself about what the problem is, and you must recognize it has been solved.

Let’s practice together!  Watch and hear Amy reading each ACIM Lesson on Youtube.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.