More on The Two Spiritual Goals

My last article about the two spiritual goals (http://acimmentor.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-two-spiritual-goals.html) led to my receiving a few questions. So I will attempt to clarify here.

“Spiritualizing the self” means using one’s awareness of Truth to better the self’s life in the world.  One who does this continues to identify with a self and does not seek to transcend the self. They bring their Awareness of Truth (Holy Spirit) with them into their work, relationships, etc. to help guide them to a more harmonious life. This is the most common choice for people on a spiritual path. It is always the way for those who are religious rather than spiritual. (Some are both).

I wrote that those who are called to go past the self to Truth are willing to wholly let go of the belief in guilt. This implies that, yes, those who do not transcend the self still believe in guilt. You would not continue to identify with the self unless you valued it. And if it is valuable to you then it is real to you so there is still an unconscious belief in your mind that the Truth has been undone and that you are guilty.

Moreover, spiritualizing the self always involves a sense that form (the self) and Formlessness (Truth) are equally real and interrelated. What one does or does not do as a self affects Truth, so there is an absolute “right” and “wrong” way to be a self. This is the way of religions. This belief, again, unconscious, is how guilt is perpetuated. Those who do not feel called to transcend the self usually have a hard time seeing this guilt. And since they are not motivated to transcend the self they are not motivated to find and undo the belief in guilt.

Those who seek to transcend the self must undo their belief in guilt because guilt is what ties one to the self. It takes a long while for them to be ready to see their belief in guilt because, believing guilt is real, they feel that they would be destroyed if they did see it. However, there comes a time when they are aware enough of Truth as truth to be ready to see that there is no justification for guilt. (My digital book, “Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace” goes into all of this in depth. You can find it at www.amazon.com or www.lulu.com.)

Spiritualizing the self is a little different from a “spiritualized ego”. An ego (personal thought system) is spiritualized when one uses spirituality to glorify the self, as in “I’m a good person because I’m spiritual” or “I’m better than others because I am aware of Truth”, etc. Those who set themselves up as leaders or teachers with special spiritual knowledge not available to others are a clear example of those who spiritualize the ego. New religions are often based on a spiritualized ego. However, spiritualizing the self does not have to result in spiritualizing the ego. You can spiritualize the self without listening to the ego’s pumping up of the self.

As I mentioned in the last week’s article, even those who are called to transcend the self will go through a phase of spiritualizing the self. For them their relationship with the Holy Spirit is not so much about getting answers for a more harmonious life for the self. Yes, that happens, but that’s a nice side-effect, not the goal. Being aware of the Holy Spirit is the goal. In short:

For one whose goal is to spiritualize life for the self the Holy Spirit is the means to a more harmonious life. For one whose goal is to transcend the self, the self’s life in the world is the means to be aware of the Holy Spirit.

Whether one spiritualizes the self or is called to transcend the self is an unconscious choice based on what one truly values. Some simply do not feel called to Truth. The awareness they have that makes life better for the self satisfies them. Therefore, they have no motivation to transcend the self. Once one is aware of Truth the process is going to evolve as far as one is willing. You are always in charge. The Holy Spirit cannot take you further than you are willing to go.


As I said in last week’s article neither way is superior to the other. Both are temporary, or time-bound, and fall away. Nothing one does or does not do in the universe of form has any effect on Truth at all. Truth goes on wholly untouched by it. Another way to say this is Eternity (Timelessness) is wholly unaffected by time. So one’s choice only affects their own experience in time. No part of what is in time “goes on” to Eternity. The Part of your mind that is Part of Eternity is already There. The part of your mind in time falls away, no matter what it has done in time. So there can be no right or wrong choice about the self. There is just what you want to experience in time. And I’ve found that some just don’t want to bother transcending the self. The pain of life in the world does not offset their enjoyment of it. Finding and undoing their belief in guilt involves more fear than they want to confront in themselves. But there are those of us who, having touched Truth, are called to It because we know It is the truth. So how could we be satisfied with what we’ve seen is an illusion? Growing our awareness of Truth to the furthest extent that we can is the only meaningful way that we can think of spending time.

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Comments

Anonymous said…
Very clear and after some time allowing more space for this wisdom to sink in, what rose up was a stronger sense of alienation. It is clearer for me Liz why "many" have fallen away. Thank you for sharing.

Deb
Anonymous said…
But then again, the True Relationship, the One that is meaningful is rising.

I sense much undoing still to accomplish. Thank you for your choice Liz. You help lesson the alienation.

Deb

Anonymous said…

"Whether one spiritualizes the self or is called to transcend the self is an unconscious choice based on what one truly values. Some simply do not feel called to Truth. The awareness they have that makes life better for the self satisfies them. Therefore, they have no motivation to transcend the self."

Much to this self's surprise that likes to think "this way or the highway" it's a win win deal.
Anonymous said…

The first time I picked up the text I was staying with a friend and there was a bookcase by the bed. I was looking for something to read and pulled out the text. I had never read any ACIM material and didn’t know anything about the Course but in what I remember to be just a few minutes recognized it was not written by a human. I have been a great reader all my life and was really kind of stunned. This morning I am so grateful I was given the sight to recognize what was going on. People are waiting on Jesus to return and I was blessed to recognize he is already here. Today I put down all the debate, all my wants and complaints and am grateful for what has happened.
Bente hove said…

I reflect on this in your otherwise excellent (yes, that's a 'pos.' judgment ;-) ) article:
Quote: "Spiritualizing the self is a little different from a “spiritualized ego”. An ego (personal thought system) is spiritualized when one uses spirituality to glorify the self, "

I think that the idea of 'ego' IS the idea of 'self'(with a small s) (e.g. 'the tiny mad idea' that MADE separation into persons/bodies/selves...), so no difference there!
It is clarified in the early chapters in the Text on the ego - and last chapters on self/Self concept.
The workbook part II: 12. What is the Ego?
Clarificatin of Terms: 2. The Ego - the Miracle
Problem is we WANT to be a body - and so it is tempting to bring the Holy Spirit INTO the world (in stead of bringing the world to the H.S. ). When the dream of body is given up totally, the world - and the rememrance thereof - is gone (but not YOU/the Son of God...)!
Comments ?...
Blessings to everyONE
Anonymous said…
In theory Bente, but I suspect none of us will see that stage. As I look around and then back in history, where are these folks? It's like this carrot dangling out there in front of us leading to guilt and frustration for not succeeding. The carrot has become a symbol of the ego.
Anonymous said…
The question Liz asks these past two weeks is "Why are you doing this, the Course?" It's a question we ask and answer for ourselves. The dream has already happened. Our existence as people is meaningless. There is no future payoff such as if I'm spiritual I'll go to heaven. If I work real hard Jesus will love me more... Meaningless is the word that has been used these past two weeks. So why am I doing this Course? It's a personal question.
Bente hove said…
Theory ??
We can either see ACIM as 'theory'- or TRUST it as truth from the ONE mind/Son of God/God (represented here by 'Jesus'(symbol of a love that is not of this world)...
So that we live(d) forever - and the world and death is not real, but only a dream...
And what 'stage' ?
In 'reality' we are SPIRIT...(Self)
In the dream (world) we are convinced we are a BODY...(self)
The former is dreaming it is the latter right now...
So both parts are in your (split) mind 'right now'...
And in every moment you have the possibility/choise to be still and go to the SELF-part of the mind - and bring the world of darkness to the Light (holy spirit) and ask for the miracle (correction of perception - from false to TRUTH...)..
Till we don't need that any more - the totally awakened state..
Did I get you right ? And clarified anything...? Hope so..
Bente hove said…
I think the problem with ACIM is 'level confusion'...
The book - in FORM - is just as illusory as the body's hands who are holding it !!
They are on the same level !
But the CONTENT is for the MIND - that is asleep !
And so, the CONTENT does NOT speak to you as a PERSON !! But as a (split) mind...
And therefore, ACIM is a course in LOOKING (with H.S. at the ego/world, 'from above the battlefield') - and NOT in DOING...
Did that clarify anything ??
Anonymous said…
I am playing devils advocate Bente. But since your asking, you responded to me with a lesson on ACIM as well as your personal minds beliefs which was the point I was making.
Anonymous said…
Theory: "A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something." Given your answer Bente, the Course for you is theory. I'm not attacking you, trying to demean you or do any kind of negative thing. The purpose or one of them, of the past two weeks blogs is to open yourself to why and where you are in practicing the Course. It's a personal examination.
Anonymous said…
Bente what you and I are doing here is just ego stuff. It's interesting and it's fun but it would be a mistake to take any of it too seriously.
bat said…
i love reading about all this stuff, but i too only take it with "a little seriousness", as kenneth wapnick states. I mean, it's nice to know what ultimate reality is and all that, but practically speaking, we all think we're bodies and we might not ever think otherwise. Ken said if you still wake up and look in the mirror and see a person there, then we're still entrenched in the world, and i doubt anyone can claim otherwise. The only thing i trust is that this is a process, and i am part of that, the Atonement. I may or not may not die without ever reaching the big answer, but it doesn't matter anyways since this is all illusion, so instead i just try to practice as best i can.
will said…
Ok, I got my Google problems worked out. I was using anonymous because I couldn't sign in through my account. So if you were wondering who this anonymous is invading the safety of your space it's me.
Anonymous said…
we only ever encounter in others what we believe about ourself. so i will either perceive a projection of my personal self, or will choose to ask the HS for help in perceiving Christ Presence -
Love calling to Itself. every moment, this opportunity for a Holy Encounter - the miracle. those i am having, often only briefly, but with increase. the more i forgive and release the belief in unworthiness and offer readiness to accept atonement, the less craziness i project onto others. something underlying your sharing here Bente, offered That for me. this evening, after a previous night and day of difficulty, i am in Love. that's how this is unfolding. in deep gratitude for everyone, nicci
Bente hove said…
I did NOT say ACIM is theory for ME (I mentioned the two possibilities..Theory or truth...)(read again)
I felt no attack at all - and all the comments - after mine - just resonate with me too...
And, of course, our discussion certainly IS just ego-stuff - AS it is taking place between PERSONS (which is the idesa of 'ego')..
We like to understand and discuss it, share it, don't we...
- but, ideally the real work with it is an 'inner one-man show', isn't it...
(and it feels like I'm not even close to 'home' ;-) )
will said…
Bente,

Two things have come to me from the past two blogs. One, I was convinced my only interest was Truth. I have since realized I have a big investment in the Course making my life better. The other is remembering why I gravitated to the Course in the first place. I wasn't after faith. I had already been down that road. I wanted to have the experience and the Course promised that. After a number of years of doing the Course my opinion is the only people who KNOW there is a God is those that have had a revelation (if their mind will allow that belief). And I'm not talking about the good or bad opinions of revelations just the experience. And I am certainly not minimizing the value of faith, it's just that I've done that. So I keep going in the hope that what the Course is pretty adamant about will actually happen.
will said…
As far as knowing God it's like the old example, the only way you will know what pistachio ice cream is, is to taste it, experience it. The human race has completely forgotten this. Opinion and belief is king and is causing havoc around the world as well as in our personal lives. In large part we have become incapable of saying "I don't know."
Bente hove said…
I've EXPERIENCED both a physical 'miracle' (not the most important, though) - and a 'smaller'(?) revelation (literally BREATHTAKING FEELING of total LOVE, but and revelations are highly individualized and cannot be described...AND, 'there is no order of difficulties in miracles')
And, in daily living I've ALWAYS received a miracle when I've remembered to ASK for it...!
(and remember what a miracle is...)
Striking thing is I so often forget to even ask...
Shows how difficult even 'the little willingness' still is...
will said…
Me inferring that God isn't doing his job is one of the dumber things I've ever said. I guess that's how you learn. Oh brother...
María Angela said…
Querida Liz, soy española y tengo que traducir tus artículos con el traductor de Internet, darte las gracias por compartir-te y por tu artículo, comparto contigo tu sentir acerca del auto trascender.

El Amor de Dios, jamás se ausentó, y si mi deseo es la Paz y recordar Quién soy, no tengo por más que soltar mi falsa identidad, la cual me sirve para vivir en este aparente mundo, y retornar desde ya, ahora, mi corazón al Hogar del cual jamás me ausenté, pero me olvidé, tan fácil de decir, y tantos obstáculos que le he puesto.
Gracias, gracias, gracias.
Abrazo profundo en el Único lugar donde nos reconocemos "todos", en DIOS
will said…
A very rough translation:

Maria Angela said...

I am Spanish and I have to translate your articles with the internet translator. Thank you for sharing your article so we can share with you your feelings about the transcended self. God’s love is never absent and my desire is peace and to remember who I am. I have nothing more to do than let go of my false identity which helps me to live in this world and return home with my heart which is never absent but I forget so easy to say it and so many obstacles that I have made to him.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

I deeply embrace the place where we recognize “all” in God
Jeremy said…
This article makes a point that is very helpful to me. Very clear! It helps me to see what I am choosing. Sometimes I have chosen to spiritualize the self. Sometimes I have chosen to spiritualize the ego. And occasionally I find myself drawn simply to the awareness of Truth for its own sake.

I have never been clear of the distinction between 'ego' and 'self'. I might indicate my understanding as follows: The accepting the ego thought system leads to identification with the body/personality. The 'self' is whatever you think you are, and if you accept the ego then the self IS the body/personality because this identification is the primary way in which we attempt to maintain the sense of separation and guilt. However, there may be some who deeply believe that they are an individual non-physical soul (not the personality), and if so then this would be the self for them. I don't actually think 'self' necessarily implies body/personality; but in general, for most of us, we define the self as the body/personality. Those few who identify with a non-physical 'soul' may not be completely honest about much they in fact do identify with the body/personality and may be unconsciously trying to spiritualize either the personality or the ego.

ACIM often uses the word 'ego' to mean the personal self, the self of the body/personality. Other times it seems to mean the thought system of separation. Liz, I have always appreciated your attempt to make the distinction between them.
We mustn't take our selves too seriously nor forget to smile.Aren't we all like the two fish in the tank where one fish is asking the other: how do we drive this thing ? God blesses us all. Shalom.
Bente hove said…
And, Love has forgotten noONE...!!
:-) :-) :-)
Have a nice weekend everyBODY <3 - in Denmark, 'over there', all over the globe
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