With all four kids home on Christmas break, I’ve been neglecting to take the time to start the day right. I don’t follow a strict routine; but I usually read a few pages from the Text; write in my journal, or listen to a Course CD and most importantly, I set my intention to stay “on Course” or on purpose throughout the day.
My purpose is to use every situation that arises as a means of finding peace. On the Text p. 366:5,2 we find that: “If [a] situation is used for truth and sanity, its outcome must be peace.”
By not readying my thought as I usually do, I noticed myself gradually getting off track. The ego’s voice seemed louder in my mind and it didn’t feel good. Finally, last Wednesday I woke up feeling mildly depressed and under the weather. Instead of handling it right away, I got busy with my day. By the evening I was feeling depressed, feverish, and I had a headache.
I have been helping my son review his college applications for the last couple of weeks. For one of his essays he had to write about an intellectual idea he found engaging. He wrote that our perception or misperception of a situation shapes our reality. He argued that it’s not the situation itself that determines our mood: we unconsciously chose our mood first and then go through the day interpreting situations in a way which confirm the way we feel.
The Course takes this concept a step further. It proposes that we experience the world according to the purpose or goal we have chosen. The Text, p. 367:5,8, says: “…the ego believes the situation brings the experience. The Holy Spirit knows that the situation is as the goal determines, and is experienced according to the goal.”
When we identify with the ego, every situation in our day serves to reaffirm the ego’s purpose of separation. Through its lens, we interpret situations in a way that makes us feel guilty, victimized, fearful, weak, or separate -- all feelings which make our separated selves seem real.
Last Wednesday I must have decided early on to identify myself with the ego. Having unconsciously chosen to see through ego’s eyes, I allowed myself to succumb to its purpose resulting in my experiencing a pretty miserable day.
In the morning I played tennis and as soon as I missed a few easy shots I couldn’t enjoy myself any longer. Usually, if I miss, I review the shot and adjust or laugh at myself and enjoy the exercise, but because I was operating strictly as an ego and the ego is one hundred percent attached to results, if I couldn’t win, I couldn’t have fun. My playing got worse and worse and by the end of the game I felt like a failure.
Back at home, I went outside and noticed that the gardener hadn’t planted the flowers the way I wanted them. What on a regular day would have seemed like a simple mistake, easily corrected, now seemed like a personal affront. The situation made me unreasonably upset.
My frustration escalated as the day went on culminating with my logging on to my Feedburner stats that evening to look at traffic for this blog. It showed only about one third of the usual traffic. Usually, the stats don't affect me at all. I look at them more out of curiosity. It's fun to see hits from all over the country and the world. My sense of fulfillment comes when I write as an expression of my connecting with my right mind, but because I was looking at them with my ego, and as separated beings we crave approval and confirmation, I was totally depressed.
Eventually, before bed, after indulging in a whole day of ego identification, I decided it was time to snap out of the tantrum. By then I felt physically and mentally ill.
I began by remembering why I’m here. My purpose is “to listen to One voice.” That phrase symbolizes my desire to go through my day allowing the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of every situation to shine in my mind so that no matter what my eyes see; I may experience the Peace of God.
I opened the Text on page 443:8,6 and read: “…hallucinations serve a purpose, and when that purpose is no longer held they disappear. Therefore, the question is never whether you want them, but always, do you want the purpose they serve?”
I was able to recognize that my depressed state of mind and my feeling weak and feverish, served the ego’s purpose well, as did every negative feeling I had experienced during the day. These negative feelings confirmed my identity as a separated self; a being, forever vanished from the experience of the love of God. As long as I perceived myself as a body, I was safe from the love of God – and that is the ego’s goal.
I continued to read (Text p. 443:9) “Only two purposes are possible. And one is sin, the other is holiness. Nothing is in between, and which you choose determines what you see. For what you see is merely how you elect to meet your goal. “
I invited the Holy Spirit to review the day with me. Seeing each situation through His purpose, I saw how silly my reactions had been. I saw how in every case, I had judged myself as an ego, a ‘self-made’ being I call Aileen. While I’m temporarily choosing to cling on to this self, it remains nothing more than a hallucination.
All my feelings of frustration, anger, and disappointment were directly related to my having chosen to serve the ego’s purpose. Choosing the Holy Spirit’s purpose, what I think of as my life can be a means to discover my True Identity.
In quiet, I allowed the words to sink in. One by one I placed each one of my needs, my desires and attachments at His altar and allowed His love to shine through all pain, doubt and frustration until I felt free and fell peacefully asleep .