Sep 11, 2005
T10.5 The 'Dynamics' of the Ego
Good evening. And welcome to everyone who is joining us on the Internet.
It’s an interesting opening sentence tonight.
The ego ALWAYS attacks on behalf of separation.
Let’s be clear on one thing. The ego never does anything but attack.
It’s incapable of caring. It’s incapable of being sensitive to needs. The only need that exists is the need for self-protection. Self-protection is a defense, and so every act of the ego is a defense against whatever. It’s a defense against your world. It’s a defense against God. It’s a defense against your Brother. And, unknown to you as you practice the state of egohood or orphanhood, it’s a defense against your being consciously aware of Who and What You Are. It’s the means by which you keep your Birthright hidden from you.
Well, you say, “You know, I go through my week and I work with the people. I work together. I do my best to work together with the people I work with. I try to be supportive of my family. I try to be thoughtful. As a general rule, I’m not going around attacking. I’m not trying to be separate. I really do try to fit in.” Remember last week we talked a little bit about needs and how needs are always messy? Getting into the arena of needs so as to have needs met, is always uncomfortable. You all work very hard to arrive at a point where you are without need.
You raise your kids, they move out, and now you go about getting all the pretty little knick-knacks that you never could have when your kids were at home, or the hobby supplies that you need that you could never leave handy because somebody would get into it. Your need of raising the kids, and everything that went along with it, is over and now you can have things the way you want them. And so, for a while, perhaps you enjoy the freedom.
And then what happens? Oh, dear. Tsk, tsk. One of your kids gets pregnant. And after nine months or so, here’s this little one who knows nothing about not touching anything. And as it grows, it becomes a threat to the order that you have finally achieved; the peace and so on that you’ve established. And so, unless you happen to be one who has not let go of the capacity to stay in touch with needs, if you’re one who has not let go of the capacity to find that relating to each other is more important than the orderliness of things, you begin to think of this grandchild and grandchildren as a threat. When you become defensive, [you say,] “Don’t touch. Don’t touch. No, no. Don’t do that,” rather than valuing togetherness; rather than valuing being present with each member of the family in ways that are embracing and involving.
Now that’s just one of the ways that you establish independence. It’s just one of the ways that you reinforce separation. But there’s another way you do it, too. I’m describing this so that you might understand that the statement, “The ego always attacks on behalf of separation,” is not just a philosophical statement. It isn’t a statement to be intellectually understood. It needs to relate to where you live. Another way in which you establish and confirm separation is by refraining from becoming involved with your Brother or Sister when there is a need.
A favorite phrase for a lot of people is, “Been there, done that.”
“This is their time to work through their problems. I did it, and I moved through it, and I’m beyond it now. I don’t have to go through this again with them. I don’t have to be willing to take up my time and energy, when nobody took up time and energy with me when I was moving through it and growing, and developing and maturing, and becoming a more effective presence.”
But there’s something more fundamental than just the bother of it. Why are needs messy? Because they are where change is occurring, where things are not stable. They are a threshold. You might say they are the threshold of a miracle. And so, it requires everyone involved to be willing to stand at the threshold of what appears to be confusion. It’s lack of order—meaning it is movement going beyond your present sense of what the best order of things ought to be.
When there is a need that your Brother has, if you are not going to maintain separation, you’re not going to maintain distance and you’re going to get involved—meaning, in so many words, you’re going to put your shoulder to the same wheel they are putting their shoulder to, because it is a threshold of a miracle. You are reluctant to do it because you are afraid you will not be able to quote “pull off a miracle” unquote.
You do not want to stand at the threshold they’re standing at of the unknown, looking with perseverance to see how the need is going to be met. Why? Because you say, “I don’t see how the need can be met.” You are afraid that the need can’t be met, and you don’t want to confront yourself with your fear.
Do you see what I’m saying? You do not want to place yourself at the threshold that your Brother is standing at, even though you have platitudes like, “Been there, done that.” Well, if you’ve been there and done that, do it again. You know what it’s about. You know the ropes. So go there and stand with them, and be the encouragement and be the persistence that they fear to exercise because it looks like there’s no answer. You see what I’m saying?
Your reluctance to be involved is a way that you daily practice separation, which means that you are engaging in the ego’s activity of always attacking—self-protection instead of caring enough to give your attention to the threshold of a miracle with your Brother, and being willing to stand there because you have been there. And you know that what it takes is persistence, even though it’s not easy; even though you stand there in confidence, without anything to justify it except your past experience that miracles happen. They have happened to every single one of you. And they never happened because you were competent. They happened because you didn’t give up. No matter how sloppy you engaged in moving through the miracle, you didn’t give up.
The ego ALWAYS attacks on behalf of separation.
Most of your days are spent, to one degree or another, confirming separation. Why? So that you might maintain the little bit of order that you’ve been able to achieve, and not let it be disturbed by the unpredictable. After all, you’ve done your work, you’ve lived your years, whatever—however you want to think about it—and now you deserve to have some peace, without disturbance. Well, you know what? That’s called death.
The dictum of the Father is, “Behold, I make all things new.” Being is a verb! Existing/Being is a Movement—a Forever Movement. Which means that in the process of Awakening, you’re all going to come to the point where you are willing to never expect things to be settled, in order, orderly. You know what? There is nothing awesome about order, or orderliness of things. What is awesome is the unpredictable Movement of Being, of Life.
I mean you go to bed at night. You don’t have any pets to disturb anything. And you get up in the morning and walk out of your bedroom, and do you stand in awe of the living room that hasn’t changed since last night? Why would you stand in awe at the familiar? Bliss is not peace with the status quo. Got it? Bliss is not peace with the status quo. Bliss is the absence of fear in the middle of, “Behold, I make all things new.” Bliss is the experience of awe and wonder. And so, is it beginning to click with you, maybe, that this awful thing that you call needs are thresholds to waking up, are thresholds to Real Experiences of Being?
And so if you have a child with a health problem that requires attention, or you have a child who for one reason or another is not up to par with the other children and needs a special help to catch up, if you have a situation in the community that is not leaving you alone, that’s requiring your attention—the call is for you to see the needs and not talk the needs away. You must see the needs and address the needs by insisting upon persevering until the miracle of the need met is manifested.
“Oh, that’s their problem.” That’s another one of everyone’s favorite sayings. “That’s their problem.” Well, there you go, practicing separation. And actually what you’re doing is you are practicing a defense against moving into a place where you don’t have the answer, but you’re called upon to be the place where the answer can come. This is how you practice separation daily in one way or another.
The ego ALWAYS attacks …
… it always attacks. It can’t do anything else.
But it …
… ALWAYS attacks on behalf of …
… the only thing that means anything to it …
… separation. Believing it has the power to do this it does nothing else, because its goal of autonomy IS nothing else.
“Oh, that’s their problem.” Isn’t that a statement of autonomy?
“Been there, done that.” Isn’t that a statement of autonomy?
The ego is totally confused about reality, but it does NOT lose sight of its goal. It is much more vigilant than YOU are because it is perfectly certain of its purpose. YOU are confused because you do NOT know YOURS.
Does that not make it perfectly clear that you and what you would call “your ego” are not one? You and the ego are not one. You and the habits of thinking that you are employing are not one and the same.
What you must learn to recognize is that the LAST thing the ego wishes you to realize is that YOU ARE AFRAID OF IT. For if the ego gives rise to fear it is DIMINISHING your independence and WEAKENING your power. Yet its one claim to your allegiance is that it can GIVE power to you.
Now what I want you to understand is that very few of you, especially when you get into a spiritual or metaphysical vein, very few of you become proactive. You back off from involvement, because lack of involvement means the avoidance of messiness. It provides a sense of peace. And then, in order not to have to be involved in the correction of things that need to be corrected, you say, or many say, “The world is an illusion. You’re making it real by addressing needs.” And so it justifies not taking action. And it provides a sense of peace because you stay out of the messiness.
It’s very easy to point at an illness, or a bad experience, and say, “It’s not real,” and think that you’re done with it. But saying it, is a way of not doing anything about it. If you know that it’s not real, you have the means of demonstrating that it’s not real, so that it no longer presents itself as though it is.
And you’ve got to persist until you see the miracle. The Course says that a miracle is a sudden shift of perception. Oh boy, that was wonderful news for the people who wanted to be in a state of separation, who didn’t want to be involved. A miracle is a sudden shift of perception. If you’re not careful, it makes it sound as though a miracle has nothing to do with needs being met—with food at the moment because you need food; with shelter because your house has blown away; or as I said last week, clean diapers because the baby has pooped in them. A miracle is a sudden shift of perception that results in a changed experience, because you stuck with the miracle, you stuck with the shift in perception until, for lack of better words, it brought forth the evidence.
Gotta keep your feet on the ground! And you’ve got to make everything that we’re reading relevant.
Yet its …
… the ego’s …
… one claim to your allegiance is that it can GIVE power to you.
Well, power to what? Power to rise above the situation, the unreality.
Wow! You didn’t really think that’s what you wanted, but if you listen to the ego, that’s what you ask for and that’s what you get. And you end up not being an agent for change, because you’re not being the Presence of Love that wishes to see the Evidence of Love and sticks with it until the evidence is there.
… its one claim to your allegiance is that it can GIVE power to you. Without this belief you would not listen to it at all. How, then, can its existence continue if you realize that, BY accepting it, you ARE belittling yourself and DEPRIVING yourself of power?
Now what is this ego that you’re listening to? It’s not your mind. It’s a set of definitions. It’s a set of beliefs. It’s conclusions that you have arrived at through faulty reasoning—reasoning that has been based upon factors that do not include God in the equation; that only include your definition of yourself and the definitions of everything else that you employ.
And definitions are not that which is holding the definitions. You are what is holding and employing the definitions. And the you that is holding it, holding them, is the Ultimate One—the Christ right now. But you’re holding definitions of yourself at odds with What You Are. And then you are believing that you are the definition of yourself that you’re employing—the foundational definition of yourself being that you are an orphan, that you have no Father, ultimately that there is no God, and that the world and universe is nothing but a fluke of material dynamics.
The ego …
… meaning all of these definitions and theories and concepts that you employ …
… can and does allow you to regard yourself as supercilious, unbelieving, “light-hearted,” . .
… you don’t take anything too seriously. “That’s their problem.” “Oh, you worry too much.” Lighthearted, yeah.
… [small laugh] “When you’ve worked your problem out, come back and tell me all about it.”
… emotionally shallow, callous, uninvolved, and even desperate, but NOT REALLY AFRAID. MINIMIZING fear, but NOT its undoing, is the ego’s constant effort…
… get it?
MINIMIZING fear, but NOT its undoing…
… you see? The miracle is the undoing of the fear. The miracle is the shift of perception that undoes the fear you have of not being competent enough to participate in a Brother’s miracle, and involving yourself in the resolution of his need—that awful, messy thing called need.
MINIMIZING fear, but NOT its undoing, is the ego’s constant effort, and is indeed the skill at which it is very ingenious.
How many ways do you have to get out of doing things? And how many of you can express your means of not getting involved with lofty, spiritual principles?
You even say, “I have so many things to do, I don’t have time to take care of myself. I’ve got too many things to do, too many urgent things to do, to take a nap, or go to bed early and get some needed rest. After all, I’m a spiritual being. I’m not a body. I am still free to be as God created me. And that means I don’t need sleep. That means that I can push and push and push beyond endurance. I can ignore my needs.” You see, when you are behaving in a way that disrespects you, you will experience more needs. But if you will acknowledge your needs and meet them by sticking with them until you have the evidence of no need, you will find perhaps that you do need less rest than most people. But not because of any autonomy and power you have of your own, but because you’re willing to fit in. To be a part of what? The Way, capital “W” Way Things Work.
How can it …
… the ego …
… preach separation WITHOUT upholding it through fear, and would you listen to it if you recognized this IS what it is doing?
You see, orphanhood is an unnatural conscious experience. It’s actually an aberration. And because it causes you not to remember your Father—and therefore your part in the Sonship, your involvement with something—you experience fear. You experience the unnaturalness of it, the uneasiness of it. And as I’ve said before, at the bottom line it’s your capital “S” Sanity telling you that you are trying to do something very unnatural, and to stop, to be alert not to proceed any further in that direction.
But then what happens? As I’ve said before, because you’re still the Son of God, you’re still the Christ, you have all the power of your Christhood, and you can still feel it, even though you don’t recognize it for What It Is. And so that Strength that is True Strength, is used by you, in your amnesia as to your Real Identity, as the means of addressing the fear by overcoming it, rather than abandoning what has occasioned it. And that’s why the ego is described as that which causes the experience of fear, but also as that which minimizes it by suggesting that you have the power to overcome it and your power is greater than the fear. And so it gives you courage.
YOUR recognition that whatever seems to separate you from God is ONLY fear, regardless of the form it takes and quite apart from how the EGO wants you to experience it, is therefore the basic ego threat.
What is the basic ego threat? Your recognition that whatever seems to separate you from God is only fear.
Its dream of autonomy is shaken to its foundation by this awareness. For though you may countenance a false idea of independence, you will NOT accept the cost of fear IF YOU RECOGNIZE IT.
So, why do you not avoid needs? Why do you engage in addressing needs? Because they are the point of breakthrough, they sit there as the threshold of discovery; they sit there as the threshold of a miracle. And if you’re willing to address the need, it will uncover to you the fear you have that you’re not competent to meet the need. And it will also uncover the fear you have that if there is a God, maybe God won’t answer you. So fear has you coming and going. And it will box you in unless you ignore it. But if you do not ignore it, the miracle will occur. The shift of perception, the sudden shift of perception will occur. And simultaneous with it, will be the evidence of needs met, so that that need no longer presents itself.
… though you may countenance a false idea of independence, you will NOT accept the cost of fear IF YOU RECOGNIZE IT. Yet this IS the cost, and the ego CANNOT minimize it.
The ego and the fear are simultaneous and inseparable. The only way to get out of the fear is to abandon the ego. How do you abandon the ego? Very simply. In religious terms, turn to God. Invite God back into your life. Break your stupid isolation. Break your stupid rest in independence by inviting God back in.
But even more clearly, you have the means now, because you have the words now to understand that the way you abandon the ego is by abandoning the memory banks, abandoning the thinking, abandoning the reasoning processes that are based upon what is in the memory banks. You now know, because the words are being used, that there is a Place of Excellence in you, an Altar. It’s the Place where what? Your Divinity is held in trust while you dally with the ego. And what is held in trust there is called the Holy Spirit.
How do you abandon the ego? By giving your attention to that Place in you where your essential God-derived Divinity awaits your attention and invitation to be involved. And then listen, rather than spout from the memory banks all of your best judgments, and opinions, and reasonings, and conclusions, and definitions … blah, blah, blah.
It’s not hard, but it does require a shifting of gears, a shifting of attention, and a shift of intent. “Not my will, but Thine be done.” You see?
… though you may countenance a false idea of independence, you will NOT accept the cost of fear IF YOU RECOGNIZE IT.
Meaning if you recognize it for what it is.
Yet this IS the cost…
… again, that’s just the Way Things Work. It is the cost. No way to wiggle around it. It costs something.
… this IS the cost, and the ego CANNOT minimize it. For if you overlook …
… love you are overlooking YOURSELF, and you MUST fear unreality BECAUSE you have denied yourself.
In other words, it says the state of insanity cannot be a comfortable experience.
By believing that you have successfully ATTACKED truth, you are believing that attack has POWER.
Why? Because you believe that you have successfully attacked truth.
Very simply, then, you have become afraid of YOURSELF.
The Christ That You Are.
And no-one wills to learn what he believes would destroy him.
What if you join with your Brother in a willingness to recognize needs, not for the purpose of seeing what the problems of the world are, but so that the needs can be addressed and eradicated? Wow. What if your fear that you’re engaging in helping, in caring, in meeting the need, what if it results in miracles? Ah, you might become known as a miracle worker. Tsk. Bad news. Bad news. Then all the huddled masses of the world might converge on your doorstep. Well, but it’s just the same suggestion in a greater magnitude. “Maybe I can’t be the agent for change for the masses of the world. Maybe God will not work a miracle. Maybe I am not able.” You see?
So here we moved from, on a small scale with just your neighbor or your friend who has a need, or a member of your family, that you might not be able to stand immovably on behalf of the miracle, that you wouldn’t be able to be an agent for change, and then finding out that, indeed, that is the means for, not initiating a miracle, but eliciting/allowing a miracle and experiencing the wonder of it. You see, then you’ll find yourself not devoting yourself to anything else, because you see that it is what promotes correction of the things that need to be corrected. And you were just willing to stand as the servant of the movement of the miracle, rather than the author of it.
But now the fear presents itself that such an outcome will cause you to be overwhelmed with needs presenting themselves to you that you may not be able to be equal to. You see? You just moved into a larger arena in your mind and reemployed the initial fear.
You are all conditioned by fear. And this is what you need to see. You need to be willing to look at what holds you back. You have a need not to be suffering. You have a need not to be suffering from the belief that you are something less than the Christ. You need … you need to no longer experience an unconsciousness of your capital “B” Birthright because of Who and What You Divinely Are.
Looking at it, is not for the purpose of saying, coming to the conclusion, “I’m really screwed up!” That’s not the point. The point is to see what the belief is that keeps you from leaning further beyond it into your need not to be suffering, so that you get past the reluctance to experience a miracle, to have the clearer experience of your Divinity.
I’m here helping you persist through your fears that create reluctance and resistance, and that cause you to say, “You know, I really don’t need that much. I really don’t need to be wealthy. I do quite well with very little.” You see? “I have learned what’s really important, and things are not important.”
“I’ve learned how to be alone. It wouldn’t have been my choice, but I’ve learned to be alone. And you know what? In my aloneness, I’ve gotten closer to God.” Well, I’m telling you right now, that thought is pure bullshit. It’s pure ego bullshit, because the closer you get to God, the closer you will find yourself becoming with your Brother, and the more involved you will become in the addressing of needs with Divine Guidance. And as a result, experience miracles that will ripple out and bless everyone, because there never is a private miracle! Never!
If the ego’s goal of autonomy could be accomplished God’s purpose could be defeated, and this IS impossible. Only by learning what fear IS can you finally learn to distinguish the possible from the impossible and the false from the true. According to the ego’s teaching, ITS goal can be accomplished, and God’s purpose can NOT. According to the Holy Spirit’s teaching, ONLY God’s purpose is accomplishment, and it is ALREADY accomplished.
What is accomplished? The Movement of Being. The “Behold, I make all things new.” That is What’s Going On. It’s the only Thing that’s going on.
And if you are not seeing it in your daily life, which is really the only place available to you to see it, then you’re having a dream. You’re having a nightmare. But it is available to be seen, and that’s why correction of illusions is possible. And it is why giving your attention to needs out of caring, because you are Love, elicits miracles, sudden shifts of perception.
Miracles require diligence, much of the time. Miracles require of you that you stand right in the face of the effects of a hurricane, right in the face of a family illness, right in the face of whatever, and stay Conscious. Don’t lapse into your metaphysical and spiritual folderol that lets you not address with your full attention the manifestation of a miracle, because you’ve learned how to do with less than a miracle. [The ego says:] “You’re quite happy with less. And, to tell you the truth, your ability to do with less, means you’re further along the road of your enlightenment than your Brother who is experiencing need when he needn’t.”
Miracles are vigorous and invigorating, and it is impossible to stand in their Presence without awe. And if you’re not experiencing awe, you’re not involved in a miracle. And if you’re not involved in a miracle, you have somehow managed to avoid experiencing need. Needs are places in you in your ego structures that are weak, and they therefore serve as thresholds for [finger snap] breakthroughs, aha’s, sudden shifts of perception—sudden shifts of perception that put you in the position of acting, I’m going to say, radically, unexpectedly, uncalculatedly, being in a way that doesn’t honor all of the statements of the need. You usually experience need as a clear statement of lack—of lack that you cannot escape. On the other hand, if you’re looking at it as a threshold of breakthrough, of discovery and transformed experience, you will behave on that basis as you are infilled with that awareness, and you will take actions that your interpretation of “need as lack” would not allow you to take.
Now, I have shared with you a vigorous teaching that should invigorate you and cause you to have a little bit more courage to look at needs, so that your attention might be where the breakthrough can occur, and the sudden shift of perception can happen, and the correction of the suggestion of lack can be replaced by the Conscious Experience of Fulfillment that will be recordable on cameras, that will be evident through physical examination.
So where are you going to give your attention? Are you going to give your attention to wonderful, soft, spiritual platitudes? Or are you going to give your attention to real, down-to-earth, daily needs that may be uncovering limitations you’ve accepted as real, for the purpose of getting beyond that limited belief, so that you have the experience of the Fullness of your Being and have the evidence of it as well?
“Well, you know, hurricane Katrina has been a humungous disaster. I’m not wealthy. It’s so overwhelming that anything I would do would just be a drop in the bucket, and probably would be siphoned off by the executives who are administrating the contributions. So, what’s the use?” Well, there’s your first need. Address that thought. The thought is, “I can’t do anything meaningful here.” Not true. Needing to see through that thought, is the thing to give your attention to. Why? So that you can listen to find out what you can do, because you can do something.
God in His Infinite Self-Expression Looking Like You is not incompetent to the meeting of needs and the uncovering of the fact that their existence is illegitimate. And so you stick with it until you have the shift of perception that uncovers what you are capable of doing, together with the experience of its real meaningfulness, so that you may act and be that which diminishes the evidence of need.
Now, I’m talking about this because this is where we are in the book. It’s just handy that Katrina came along at the same time so I can use it as an example.
I love you all vigorously, with enthusiasm, with everything I can bring to you to encourage you not to continue, no matter what lofty reasons you might have for it or what selfish reasons you might have for it, so that you might stop maintaining distance from each other, separating yourself from addressing needs, and giving yourself a nice, little, imaginary castle that you can’t let anything disturb. I said that’s death. And the message tonight is engage in Life with Love, Extension, Caring—that which involves you with each other, instead of separating you from each other.
I look forward to being with you next week. But lean on me all week, okay?