Ask: Is the ache I feel for others a judgment?
“Is the ‘ache’ I feel for others a judgment? …What I am experiencing is an overwhelming sadness/ache for others and I sense this is in fact the flip-side of the ego coin and is a form of judgment in its own right. The arrogance of ‘feeling sorry for people’ perhaps, although it doesn’t feel like pity…I feel overwhelmed at times by this ‘ache’ for others, for the state of the world and so on. I wonder if it is like any other projection that needs to be recognised for what it is, forgiven and released to the Holy Spirit? That said, the ego tells me that if I felt neutral and peaceful over the plight of others I would be cold and heartless. I understand that the pain and suffering of the world is not the Truth, but as a seeming person living ‘in it’ I can’t quite grasp that, although I get the metaphysics of it…” - AM
You are projecting meaning (judgment – wrong/bad) onto what you see happening in others’ lives and responding to your projections of meaning as though they are real. You ache for others because you identify with them. In other words, you are looking out at others from the ego (personal thought system) rather than from an awareness of Truth (Holy Spirit). So you are using these situations to reinforce your belief in the ego in your mind. And, yes, as A Course in Miracles teaches, this is a judgment against yourself because the ego is not you.
“To empathize does not mean to join in suffering, for that is what you must refuse to understand. That is the ego's interpretation of empathy, and is always used to form a special relationship in which the suffering is shared. The capacity to empathize is very useful to the Holy Spirit, provided you let Him use it in His way. His way is very different. He does not understand suffering, and would have you teach it is not understandable. When He relates through you, He does not relate through your ego to another ego. He does not join in pain, understanding that healing pain is not accomplished by delusional attempts to enter into it, and lighten it by sharing the delusion.”(T-16.I.1)
As long as you see yourself as a “seeming person living ‘in it’ (the world)” you will not grasp how you can look on the world and see that suffering is not real. You must make the choice to let go of your identification with a self in a body in a world and to learn What is real. In a situation where you are confronted with a story of suffering you can turn away from the story, and therefore the ego in you, and remember that only God (your True Being) in you and in the other is real. This is true empathy. And this is how you can use these situations to remember the Truth instead of to reinforce your belief in the ego.
Of course to the ego your turning away from the ego and its projections appears cold and heartless. And as long as the ego and its projections of meaning seem real to you, you will agree with the ego on this. But as you grow your awareness of Truth you will find yourself overlooking what appears in the world. You will feel compassion for others in that they suffer, but you will know that what they suffer over is not real. In time you will also learn that their suffering is not real, either. But you cannot know this from the ego. You can only know this from an awareness that only the Truth is true.
In anticipation of the emails I will get let me say this about responding to others who seem to be suffering: No, you do not want to say to others that what they suffer over is not real. You do not want to tell them that their own suffering is not real. If you wish to do that you are coming from a competing ego not the Holy Spirit (your awareness of Truth). You just need to know for them that suffering is not real while they still think it is. You will find yourself saying things like, “I can see this really hurts you” or “I’m sorry you are hurting” and leaving it at that. For many, all they want is to be heard and understood. That’s all the love that they can accept in their belief that suffering is real. To love others in the world you meet them where they think they are, not where you want them or even know them to be.
Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.
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