Releasing vs. Fixing the Ego/World

Students often express confusion when I tell them that the goal of a true spiritual path is not to improve the ego (become a better person) but to let it go. Likewise, they wonder why, since the world is in our mind, we shouldn’t try to fix it. If not in the traditional ways (charity, politics, etc.) they want to know why using our mind to try and change the world is “magical thinking” and an obstacle to Peace.

If you have a splinter in your thumb do you want to heal the splinter or your thumb? What would you accomplish by fixing the splinter? You would not heal your thumb and your thumb would continue to feel worse and worse. From the perspective of your thumb you would not be accomplishing anything by working on fixing the splinter. The splinter is an alien thing in your thumb and its presence not only hurts your thumb but prevents it from healing. To heal your thumb you have to remove the splinter first.

And so it is with the ego and its world, which are alien things in your mind. Just as the splinter is in the thumb but is not the thumb, the ego and its world are in your mind but they are not your mind. Your belief that they are your reality is like the splinter in the thumb: It is the source of your pain and suffering. Trying to fix the ego and its world only reinforces their “reality” in your mind and perpetuates your pain and suffering. When you work on fixing them you are not doing anything to heal your mind, you are not doing anything real, and so you will not find lasting Peace. The only way to heal your mind and find lasting Peace is to let go of your belief in the ego and its world as your reality.

Comments

Marina said…
I am learning that the hard way...the ego does always speak first and seems to be the loudest, but I've learned that it is indeed ALWAYS WRONG! It's only when I stop resisting the ego and turn to the Holy Spirit that I feel my true self at peace.

On another note, I really enjoyed your discussion group. I thought about the question one of the participants asked when he questioned how you related to the statement “And you will find ever-increasing confidence in your safe inclusion in the circle with everyone you bring within it’s safety and it’s perfect peace” when you sponsor these discussions. Your response was very indicative of how you have learned to not allow the ego to cause separation. He seemed focused on it increasing your confidence because you included a select group in your circle (the discussion group) and you saw no difference in the group vs. the whole. I believe you have increased your confidence, but not in your work with select people, but with your inclusion of the Sonship in your forgiving heart. This is everyone’s goal and I am happy to say that you as a Teach of God are leading us by example. Thank you for that! Blessings of love and peace to you!
Anonymous said…
Dear Liz,

You wrote:
"The only way to heal your mind and find lasting Peace is to let go of your belief in the ego and its world as your reality."

I have a problem with statements like these. I am in a body. I might realize that I am free of it, but while it is here it needs to be clothed, housed and fed. This is real. This is reality, perhaps not ultimate reality, but something that needs to be dealt with.

As long as I make an effort to make money to supply this body with sustenance, I am treating it as real. Otherwise, I would just lay down and starve.

Isn't your home and your job and your bills reality? Love and forgiveness does not take care of them.

I would appreciate your response.

JJ
ACIM Mentor said…
Oh, absolutely Love and forgiveness takes care of these things, JJ! That's what the Holy Spirit is. On the outside your life will look like any other life - job, home, family, friends -but when you are following the Holy Spirit rather than being motivated by ego it is all effortless. It is done through you rather than by you. Just rest in God and all of your worldly needs are supplied.
Anonymous said…
I understand i do, yet I feel a loss when my friend rips me off, my music, my things and my friendship gone. She tried to make it about me, but I knew what was going on. I could not get a word in and I didn't try. I just said "you are trying to make this all about me" I have to let it go, she was never my friend. I know we are all one, yet the betraial was hard to take. I felt anger, then sadness. Now it is better, I pray for help to let it go
ACIM Mentor said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
ACIM Mentor said…
Anonymous, we are not all One at the level of the body/ego. The Oneness is in your mind, as is all that you perceive. Forgiveness is overlooking the world and all of its loss and betrayals and recognizing that only God is Real. You are One with God - that is your reality. Underneath your friend's betrayal is your own betrayal of your Self by identifying with a personal self. So forgive yourself your illusion of separation from God. You have Everything in God.
JJ said…
Dear Liz,

JJ here again.

You said:

"Oh, absolutely Love and forgiveness takes care of these things, JJ! That's what the Holy Spirit is. On the outside your life will look like any other life - job, home, family, friends -but when you are following the Holy Spirit rather than being motivated by ego it is all effortless. It is done through you rather than by you. Just rest in God and all of your worldly needs are supplied."

It sounds a bit like you give the same answer to every question and it sounds rather unrealistic. Can you give me a specific example of how love and forgiveness pays the rent?

If I don't have a home or a job, then how does love and forgiveness sustain physical survival?

Do you have any answers that are real life examples and not lofty abstract generalities?

JJ
ACIM Mentor said…
JJ, I stated very clearly that everything is taken care of in the usual ways when you follow the Holy Spirit; it's just effortless. Go to my website at www.acimmentor.com and read my many articles about how the Holy Spirit has worked in me and through me (under "Answers by Topic"). I have my own home, a life-partner, enough money, meaningful work, etc. Pay particular attention to the articles under "Holy Spirit" and "Practicing the Course".
JJ said…
Dear Liz,

You sound a little testy:

"JJ, I stated very clearly that everything is taken care of in the usual ways when you follow the Holy Spirit; it's just effortless. Go to my website at www.acimmentor.com and read my many articles about how the Holy Spirit has worked in me and through me (under "Answers by Topic"). I have my own home, a life-partner, enough money, meaningful work, etc. Pay particular attention to the articles under "Holy Spirit" and "Practicing the Course"."

Either you aren't hearing my question or I am not hearing your answer because they don't seem to be meeting each other.

It is nice that you have your own home, enough money, etc. Congratulations. Many people do, have you noticed? I would guess that very few of them would say that these things came to them as a result of love and forgiveness.

I did look at the references that you suggested and just found more of the same: repetition of the same spiritual principles, that while very true and beautiful, still do not pay the rent. As with most spiritual teachings, there seems to be a disconnect between the lofty abstract concepts and providing a way to live in the world that is a direct expression of those principles.

Anyhow, thanks for trying. I do appreciate it.

JJ
TStrang said…
Hi All,

I found this lesson helpful even if it didn't answer all my questions. What I got from the lesson is that the ego is a thorn in my mind. It only makes sense to remove a thorn. It doesn't make sense to leave a thorn in place and hope the situation will improve. So I can examine my thoughts to determine which thoughts resemble a thorn - something that simply causes trouble - and then give up the thoughts instead of trying to justify them. I might not clearly see the connection between this lesson and paying the bills but I can clearly see that removing the thorns from my mind would bring more peace to my life. ... But I do think job security increases as the ego weakens. So maybe I do see how this lesson helps pay the bills. ... Does this make sense, Liz?

Sincerely,
Tamara
ACIM Mentor said…
The original blog had nothing to do with paying the bills, Tamara, but with letting go of the ego/world! But, as you let go of ego and trust the Holy Spirit you know that the bills will be paid.
JJ said…
Dear Liz,

I realize at this point that you will not answer my question, but it would be great if you could at least acknowledge that you are not doing so rather than repeating the same thing without any specific examples or proof of any kind. You said (again):

"But, as you let go of ego and trust the Holy Spirit you know that the bills will be paid."

I let go last year and trusted the Holy Spirit and my bills were NOT paid. I am now bankrupt and homeless.

I do not mind. I do not value the things of this world. If I die I will be just fine. I do know this.

However, I would like you to consider how irresponsible it is for you to tell people that their bills will be paid merely by trusting Holy Spirit. This is simply not true as I can prove to you. I believe you are misleading people and it is not ethical.

JJ
ACIM Mentor said…
Perhaps it would have been better if I had not been so specific and had said that the Holy Spirit will take care of you.

During the initial phase of the "period of undoing" and often into the "period of sorting out", JJ, many students find themselves going through things like divorce, break-ups, bankruptcy, foreclosures, job loss, etc. because their life as it was (ego driven) is no longer appropriate for the new life with God that they have accepted. Many actually feel guided by the Holy Spirit in these things. Though often painful for a new student who has not yet done any comprehensive letting go of the world before, it is really only a temporarily disruptive episode that leads to a simpler, more peaceful, and loving life that is outwardly more reflective of their inner choice to awaken to their Reality in God. In other words, even in those times when to the world it looks like things are going awry, they are really just adjusting to your new values. Once you invite the Holy Spirit in the Holy Spirit will take care of your worldly needs - though perhaps not in a form that the ego would like! But you will always ultimately find relief and peace.
jean said…
Hey, I love this teaching! I find it very concise and to the point and very helpful. I appreciate being reminded that focusing on "fixing" the ego's projections will only serve to ensure that I never really get at the true problem, using the ego in the first place. I mean, it's just doing it's job, if you don't like it, let it go!

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