Release Ego, Release Guilt

The ego is the part of the mind that believes in division. How could part of God detach itself without believing it is attacking Him? We spoke before of the authority problem as based on the concept of usurping God's power. The ego believes that this is what you did because it believes that it is you. If you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your ego you will experience guilt, and you will fear punishment. (T-5.V.3)

Your identification with ego is your belief you have overcome God. This belief makes you feel guilty. As long as you identify with ego, you will feel guilt and fear punishment. Guilt will manifest in lack of peace and in your life as any form of physical or emotional disharmony (dis-ease). You may accept the relief of certain forms of disharmony, but you will continue to manifest disharmony in some way as long as you identify with ego. Real healing is your complete identification with the Holy Spirit. This is the only way out of guilt and fear.

Because A Course in Miracles tells us that you have to seek out all the darkness and guilt in your mind to bring it to the light and dispel it, some students interpret this to mean that there are specific situations in their past about which they feel guilty. When you are ego-identified, it is very hard to accept that the ego’s special story for you – “your” past – did not happen and is not real. After all, when you are ego-identified, the past is the whole foundation of your identity! It explains who you are; it’s where you came from.

Often students come to me with a scenario like this:

“I’ve been having foot problems for years, especially with my big toe. I’ve been under the care of a podiatrist but now that I am a student of the Course I know that the source of the pain in my feet is my own belief in guilt. I searched my mind and realized that I still felt guilty because, in 1983, I stepped on my younger brother’s big toe and broke it. When I realized this I forgave myself and my big toe stopped hurting! But the rest of my foot still hurts and now I have to find the hidden guilt that is causing this.”

This scenario actually plays into the ego in several ways. The student did nothing to undo the ego. There was no shift in his identity. In fact, his ego-identity was validated because he still sees the ego’s story for him as the source of his identity. He may recognize that the guilt is only a belief in his mind, but he still projects the source of that belief onto an external situation in the past. By seeing it in the past and projecting it onto an external situation, he is distracted from seeing the real source of his guilt: His identification with the ego now. And his belief that the situation was real means he really cannot let it go (see
True Forgiveness). Moreover, his awareness that the guilt is only in his own mind and his inability to dispel it completely means he won’t just feel guilty for what he did in the past, but he will feel guilty for feeling guilty! The more he seeks for guilt in this way the more the ego will supply him with justifications for it because these stories validate the ego.

When the Course tells you to seek out all the guilt in your mind so it can be dispelled, it means to look at all the ways in which you value ego, or separation from God. You let go of ego not by going further into it and its illusions, but by going the other way toward the Holy Spirit (see
The Four Habits For Inner Peace). As you walk away from the ego your attachment to it will tug at you. You will resist the Holy Spirit at first because you value the ego more, but in time this will flip around and you will value the Holy Spirit more. This is how you confront your identification with ego and bring out the guilt in your mind and dispel it.

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