Passing Through Grief on the Path
Historically, it was rare for me to put out in these articles what was going on for me in real time. (Three volumes of my articles are out in books titled The ACIM Mentor Articles). An article would come to me after I completed processing an experience. But for the past couple of years I’ve gone through so much immediate shifting that I find myself sharing pretty raw stuff. Sometimes an article is my processing so that I end up cutting and pasting it into my journal. And I shift so fast that often I have moved way past an article by the time I post it. This is one of those. But as it reflects the process, I will share it as I wrote it last week.
It isn’t always easy to share my grief since the ego (personal thought system) dribbled away, because I’d rather tell you that when it falls away it is all happy-happy-joy-joy. And for some it is. Maybe it will be that way for you. But if it isn’t, you will be prepared to face whatever is in your mind, as I was.
Maybe this mind is simply more difficult than some. It has never been a happy learner. When I began A Course in Miracles at the age of twenty I very soon experienced a direct Revelation of Truth (God) and the miracle of the Holy Relationship. I experienced true joy, yes, but my experiences showed me that what ACIM teaches is true. I went through bouts of grief through my twenties, mostly showing up as depression and anger that I had been “robbed” of a normal life. I didn’t even have a chance to get disillusioned! All my personal values were undermined so young and I could no longer uphold the illusion that my life was solely my own. I was pissed off.
But though I saw that Truth is true and got the implication that that meant that indeed everything else was an illusion, I also knew I was not yet ready to accept this. I could only get on with growing my trust in the Awareness of Truth (Holy Spirit) in my mind, which I did for the next thirty years.
We each take a path to Truth that suits our seemingly-individual minds. When the ego fell away from Bernadette Roberts’ (What is Self?) mind she felt she lost God. As a contemplative she had subdued the ego and put it in the service of God, uniting with God through the ego (or so she thought). So when the ego fell she felt her means of connecting with God was gone and went through a dark night of the spirit. Eventually, however, she realized the void left when the ego was gone is God, and united with God without the ego. (I wonder if I could state this another way? God was no longer something to reach for because she was in God).
Here you can see how one’s path informs their experience. Until much later, when consciousness (what she meant by “self”) fell away altogether, Ms. Roberts followed a path well-worn by other contemplatives. But as a student of ACIM, I never thought to put the ego in the service of Truth, because I understood it to be false and something to release. I never sought “union with” Truth, because I understood Truth to be What is, therefore What, ultimately, I am. I sought to realize this as the Awareness of Truth Itself.
I knew for a long time that I was not wholly aware of Truth. I knew “wholly” would mean a shift in my conscious awareness that I had not yet experienced. I felt I was perhaps 85% there, but I felt a dark block in my mind where the Light could not penetrate. I knew it was resistance to Light, of course, and sometimes I saw its shape. It was a sense that to lose the ego was to lose me. I thought that this was only something the ego said, and I would correct it for myself. But I wouldn’t feel it budge. It seemed impossible to move this conviction.
And then the ego dribbled away. What I mean when I say this is that I ceased to believe in it, slowly, over time. The hard nugget of resistance in my mind was not belief in the ego and it also did not value the ego for what it was. But it was the part of my mind that over-identified with it and valued it as me, so that it feels I lost myself with it. Where Ms. Roberts felt she lost God with the falling away of the ego, I feel, in part, that I lost myself to Truth with the falling away of the ego.
This “in part” is important because I do not go around in unmitigated grief. I feel the grief, sometimes more strongly than others, but I don’t feel it’s me. How could I, when clearly I still exist without it, so it could not be me. What greater proof could there be that it wasn’t me? You would think that my continued existence would be good news to my entire mind, but it is not to the ego-identifier. To it, a different existence means death. I am here; I “go on”, but not as I was, so what I was, is “dead”. In fact, it could contend that the age-old idea that when we “die” we become spirit is true. I experience myself now as Spirit; as immortal. But not as a Spirit-person or immortal person, as that part of my mind wanted. The body didn’t die, but my belief in it as me did. So this part of me limits my rejoicing at this realization for now. It sees these new experiences as “proof” its life is over. (Yet, it is still here to grieve, isn’t it?)
So, fine, I’ll grieve. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, grief is the process we go through to acceptance. In fact, now that I face the grief head on, the discomfort I felt for five years, but did not realize was grief, is gone. That’s nice. And facing this ego-identifier/resistor/griever I have learned a tremendous amount about this mind in the past couple of years, to such an extent I spontaneously find the very beliefs ACIM has said are there but that I had not seen before. It has often been uncomfortable, sometimes extremely so, but always interesting.