The Two Fantasies
I wrote long ago about how when I was young I had the very frightening experience of fantasizing about women I was attracted to and then finding my fantasy didn’t line up with pseudoreality (my term for what is called “reality” in the world). For example, I’d have a crush on a woman at work and fantasize about her in off hours or over the weekend and then when I saw her again at work I’d realize my fantasy had nothing to do with who she really was. Then I was terrified—what the hell was I doing in my mind?
Then along came A Course in Miracles and it described this phenomenon in a few different ways. (Writing scripts for others; we make an ego not just for ourselves, but for others; you change your relationship to others even when you are not with them, etc.) Phew! At least I knew I wasn’t the only crazy person around!
But knowing this didn’t stop it. In fact, I became aware I did it in more than just romantic situations. It was always a disturbing experience. I wasn’t “living in reality” I’d tell myself. I then tried to force myself to accept “reality”, which was always something dark or lacking or painful. But, after all, it was, well, reality.
But was it? Because what I called “reality” was really just my projections of fear. I went from a fantasy I recognized as such into another fantasy I projected away and called “reality”, that was all. Both were expressions of fear, but the one I called “fantasy” was disguised as something lovely to (inadequately) offset fear. The other I denied was also in my mind by projecting it away.
The ego (personal thought system) is a thought system of fear. It can only offer these two fantasies to choose from. Neither is real, because the ego isn’t real. It’s just a collection of erroneous ideas you have about yourself as a person in a body in a world.
You know when you are in the ego when you are pursuing thoughts to make yourself feel better—what you recognize as fantasy; or you have an emotional charge—what you have learned as a student of ACIM is an indication that you are projecting fear.
When the ego falls away you won’t fantasize about others or project fear onto them. You will be with a person in the moment. And when they are not around, you will not think of them unless you need to remember something—like something they said or did that is relevant to what you’re doing in that moment, that they are about to arrive, you have something to tell them, etc.
You cannot change the ego. You cannot be in the ego and in the moment, because the ego is in time, another projection of fear. But you can recognize how you think when you are in it so you know what you are doing and you are not deceived by it. And you can choose the other thought system, the Holy Spirit (the Awareness of Truth in your mind), to ask for another way to look at a given situation. But you will not stop fantasizing or projecting until the ego falls away.