One thing has been a constant throughout your whole life. You have always been you alone. You have always been a separate person, autonomous within the confines of a body, and not once has there been anyone in there with you. Everyone else is just like you, in that they are unlike you, and unlike everyone else. And never have you found anyone who is the same as you.
This experience comes with a sense of "I am only me", completely cut off from others by a wall of bodies. And that seems to suggest "I am wholly myself." And yet, it is not an experience of knowing who you are, but of being out of touch with who you are. It's an experience of "I don't know who I am" while at the same time clutching at straws to define who you are. Looking for something to identify with, to convince yourself it is your self, because you have lost yourself.
You have been lost, confused, afraid, alone, lonely, weak, powerless and constantly bombarded with attack. And every time it has been "only my self" that has experienced this - the poor-me victim. And every time you have been unhappy it has seemed you are unhappy alone, afraid alone, suffering alone, sick alone, guilty alone, dying alone. And not once has it seemed that anything you have felt within yourself has been the same as that of anyone else at all. You haven't even had the slightest clue what anyone else is thinking or experiencing.
This is the experience of what we might call someone who is "being an ego". It is the automatic experience of anyone whose sense of self is a "separated off" self. A self that is excluded, isolated, imprisoned in a body, kept apart from sharing anything with anyone, and thoroughly limited to what the body dictates.
"This produces what SEEMS to be a wall of flesh AROUND the mind, keeping it prisoner in a tiny spot of space and time" Such a person has not really changed in terms of their perfection, but they have changed in terms of their relationship. There has been a communication breakdown between themselves and others. The body depicts this breakdown as a tremendous hurdle which filters and translates everything into confusing symbols. This is a person who once was free, but who has been locked up inside a body and has forgotten what it means to share. Their mind seems isolated and unaware of anyone else's mind.
Let's say there is no such thing as "an ego" at all. There are only people. And some of these people have decided to try to cut themselves off from others. They have done this by placing themselves inside a prison cell, and have tried to identify with that prison cell so that their whole sense of self narrows and confines to within its walls. They are a self which once was glorious and magnificent, expansive and unlimited, which has dimmed its light and condemned itself to a dungeon, to die alone and in solitude.
"The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to PROVE it is autonomous and real. "There is no man who does not feel that he is imprisoned in some way. If this has been the result of his own free will, he must regard his will as if it were NOT free, or the obviously circular reasoning of his own position would be quite apparent."
"For his belief in limits HAS imprisoned him."
"An imprisoned mind is not free by definition. It is possessed, or held back, by ITSELF. Its will is therefore limited, and not free to assert itself."
It is unnatural to be only yourself. Some people will model what ACIM says on the basis that, when you are awake, you are wholly yourself. And therefore when you are in ego, you are not entirely yourself, or are unwhole. But this is not entirely accurate. It is more accurate to say that when you are in ego you are ONLY yourself to the EXCLUSION of others, and when you wake up you are waking up to being MORE THAN just yourself. You are a whole self AND MORE THAN a whole self.
The entire premise of being "in ego" or "in separation", is that you are excluded from others. You are not sharing with them. You are not identifying with them. You don't regard them as part of you and you see yourself as a standalone, independent, self-reliant being. Not that being self-reliant is wrong. In fact you were created to be wholly sufficient and complete and lacking nothing, sharing the power of God. It isn't that you are "capable" that's wrong, it's that you try to be capable ON YOUR OWN.
This means that fundamentally the separation is really about you rejecting your inheritance from God. It's about you not wanting to be an effect of God. A rejection of God as your father. An unwillingness to acknowledge that you ONLY have what he has given you. That you do not have anything, nor can you BE or DO anything, WITHOUT him. That everything you are, comes from him, and is part of him and shared with him. Rejecting all that God has given is what makes you "separated off".
As soon as you are separating yourself off, to be a powerful being who does not want power, you immediately disempower yourself. You immediately enter into fear, because you know deep down that you have actually stripped yourself of power. You know you are not capable anymore. You can't successfully do ANYTHING on your own, although you can try. It will fail in some way. Anything you make will die. And all your mis-creations will crumble. You can't give immortality to anything because you are denying it in yourself.
You can be with God and be guaranteed of success. Or you can be without God and be guaranteed of failure. Realize then that everything that you try to do ALONE, WILL FAIL.
Everything. You are fundamentally in a state of fear whenever you try to be without God, think without God, do without God, see without God, think without God, live without God. You are fundamentally rejecting success, and life, and power, and happiness, and health, by trying to go it alone. Imprisonment as a solo-self is not freedom.
What this reveals then is that, for your whole life, you've been acting LIKE an ego. You've been trying to independently figure everything out, to understand what everything is, to give meaning to everything based on your whims, opinions and beliefs, and there is nothing that you've ever done that wasn't a solo effort. Even when you did things in a team or with others, you were still alone. And even your efforts to be a part of something bigger than yourself kept you in the dark.
This means there is a logical premise at work, behind every failure, and guaranteeing everything you do will fail. And it goes like this: IF you are a separated-off self, you LACK EVERYTHING. And therefore everything you do will be a mistake, will break, will be wrong, will upset you, will make you suffer, and will be depressing and frustrating. Being alone IS a limitation.
IF you are a separated-off self, you are automatically in a state of fear and anxiety which you will not be able to get rid of. It doesn't matter how much you work on it. It doesn't matter what path you take, what you believe, what choices you make, what thoughts you have, how you feel. Nothing you do will work completely, if you do it separately. Doing it separately CAUSES you to suffer. Doing everything alone PUTS YOU IN PRISON. There is NO freedom there. Or as some may put it, "there is no rest for the wicked."
"Today's idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment which all the separated ones experience. Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation. So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering, and intense fear of loss."
See how Jesus confirms that if you are a "separated one", you WILL experience all manner of unhappy things. Note that he also says that since the separation, no-one has been sure of ANYTHING...
"The intrusion of the ability to perceive, which is inherently judgmental, was introduced only after the Separation. No one has been sure of anything since then."
We have quite literally entered into a state of FAILURE, by participating in the separation. It is a state of being flawed, of fundamental attack, insecurity, unholiness, suffering and despair.
The problem then comes when you start to believe that there is something you can DO about it, WITHIN the confines of this situation, that will make it better. You will try to fix it yourself. You will try to think your way out of it with your own thoughts. You will try to do techniques on your own. You will be the one who decides what you prefer and what will work for you. You will make all the wrong choices. And you will always be the central figure in every single thing that you do. Your whole life will revolve around yourself, and you will be trying to SAVE this self at the same time.
This self will do A Course in Miracles. This self will pray. This self will try to become more spiritual. This self will try to become separately enlightened. This self will try the latest techniques and sample the spiritual buffet-line, looking for something it thinks it needs, something it has lost. Some kind of salvation, which will save it from all the fuck-ups and failures that continue to plague it. And as it seeks for this, it will not find it.
"Everyone is looking for himself and the power and glory he thinks he has lost."
"Yet the ego, though encouraging the search very actively, makes one proviso; - do not FIND it. Its dictates, then, can be summed up simply as, "Seek and do NOT find."
The problem is that it is this very sense of being an isolated self that is the ENTIRE problem. The confinement, the walls that surround you, the body, the gap, the lack of communication, the broken relationship, the isolation and the exclusive specialness, all CONTINUE the problem. Being "separated" is the problem, the problem is NOT being a self. Because when you are separated, you are NOT being yourself.
This "self" that you are working WITHIN the confines of, trying to get IT to be holier and more awakened, just stays WITHIN those confines and does not want them to ever be questioned. It doesn't consider that ITSELF, or, its way of identifying itself as "separated", is the whole problem. It's the ONE problem behind all problems. The one issue that isn't getting solved. You think you are already all of yourself, and only yourself.
So then some people will say that you have to GET RID OF, ie KILL AND DESTROY, this self, in order to be free. In order to be truly spiritual, it has to die. This is utterly bullshit. It's just another in a long line of solutions which separated selves have come up with for how to deal with their suffering. The whole act of trying to BE separated off is an attempt to destroy the unlimited nature of yourself, in the first place. So making the self FULLY dead is just a continuation of that. Self needs to expand, not die.
"The sudden EXPANSION of the self that takes place with your DESIRE for it, is the irresistible appeal the holy instant holds."
The self does not need to be destroyed. The self needs to EXPAND its definition of its identity. It needs to realize that it is MORE THAN the confined limited sense of self that it has been living under. That it is MORE THAN ITSELF.
Because ego really is just a notion of selfishness or being self-absorbed, as though to say, putting your whole attention on YOU EXCLUSIVELY. If you being exclusive is the problem, destroying you isn't the solution. What you need is freedom from exclusivity.
"You have made much progress, and are really trying to make still more, but there is one thing you have never done; not for one instant have you utterly forgotten the body."
What Jesus is saying here is that the one thing we have never really done is question THE PRISON that we're in, the sense of what it is that has defined us as "separated". We have not brought into question whether we actually ARE separated, and have not been willing to realize that ALL our suffering has been CAUSED BY that sense of isolation. If I am ONLY me, then I have become separate.
Identifying WITH the body has made us narrow and limited. The body is narrow and limited. It's like an anchor in time and space. When we think of it as "my self", we have to think of ourselves as narrow and limited. And now we are small and special and selfish and cut off. We have to forget the body in order to expand the sense of self beyond the separation. The body symbolizes the separation (as a separation device), so we have to open up to being MORE THAN a body. And if I am more than ONE body, I am more than JUST myself.
Before the separation, every soul that was created by God in heaven, was whole, and also overlapped with each other. Everyone shared everything including identity. Christ is the one identity of every soul, and every soul is a member of that identity. I am christ and you are christ and we are one as two christs. The fundamental premise here is that everything is shared including yourself. You are you, but YOU ARE ALSO me. You are everyone. Therefore you are more than JUST a separate being - you are not just ONE creation of God, you are all of them.
It is natural therefore that you should regard yourself as ... fully wholly yourself, AND fully wholly everyone. This is a normal sense of identity. You are the whole sonship. You are in fact the entire Kingdom of God. And all its contents, every part of it, all its beings and creations, are a part of your self. This is what a natural identity is supposed to be. You, as an individual whole being, are ALSO one with everything.
"The Kingdom of Heaven IS you."
"The sonship is your soul."
"Is he the Christ? Oh yes, along with you."
"One brother is all brothers. Every mind contains all minds."
"The separation" was nothing more than a WITHDRAWAL of the parts of you which are shared with others, a retreat into fear, into being small and scared and vulnerable trapped in a little tiny body in a corner of spacetime. It was simply your unwillingness to SHARE YOUR SELF, and an attempt to have exclusive ownership and control over who you are. It was just your attempt to break away from the family unit and orphan yourself, like a black sheep who has become estranged and unwanted.
After the separation you simply wandered off "alone", as though you had been unplugged from the hive mind, disconnected from the input of spirit/soul, and unable to communicate with God anymore. You saw yourself as lacking everything and absent of anything. And so you were starting out empty and bereft. You had nothing left but your little sense of "there's only myself left". And this "only me, not you", formed your sense of identity. This is what we call "an ego". It's not really something new you made, it's the self God created that has been locked in chains.
The one thing we therefore need to do for salvation, and the one thing we may never have done in our entire lives, is consider that we are NOT JUST OURSELVES. We are more than just ourselves. To really truly SHARE with anyone we have to BE them. We have to open up to an identity, a sense of self, that INCLUDES OTHERS. Others have to actually become a part of you again. Not to the exclusion of you, nor calling for your destruction. You are a self who is whole, who must also reconnect to the whole.
If your every effort to go it alone and do everything independently of God has meant AUTOMATIC FAILURE, in every case, then your ONLY salvation from all forms of suffering is to stop doing everything on your own. The end of separation is simply the end of "trusting in your own strength" to the exclusion of all else. It means waking up from a sense of "I am only me", to "I am us." From ME to WE. From individual, to mutual. This is what shared interests are about.
Only if I am willing to let God decide WITH me can I be sure that the decision will be accurate and wise and certain of success. Only if I am willing to let the Holy Spirit judge the meaning of everything for and with me, can I be sure that the meaning I SEE is correct and sane. Only if I admit that everything I do alone WILL BE FUCKED UP, by default, can I be open to allowing myself to be HELPED. Opening up to His Help is opening up to RECEIVE.
The Holy Spirit is there to HELP us. He is the help, because he is the notion of being more than limited. He is unlimited, as we are in truth. And to remember our unlimited nature we have to be open to allowing something MORE THAN JUST ME to participate in everything I do, think, feel, plan, decide, pursue, live, say, etc. Only by allowing God back into our lives, in effect, can we resume our natural state of DOING EVERYTHING WITH HIM. And therefore, no longer being alone.
Everything you have ever done alone, no matter what it is, no matter how intelligent you've been, no matter how much you planned and schemed, no matter how much you figured out or understood, no matter how many concepts you came up with or how accurate they were, ALWAYS produced suffering in one form or another. Because all of them were attempts to narrow and confine yourself. And always because of the simple fact that YOU DID IT ON YOUR OWN.
That was ALWAYS the problem, because being alone is unnatural. God did not will that you be alone, so to be yourself you must rejoin the brotherhood of light.
"For you dwell in the Mind of God WITH your brother, for God Himself did not will to be alone."
"To be alone is to be separated from Infinity, but how can this be, if Infinity has no end?"
"There IS no end to God and His Son, for we ARE the universe. God is not incomplete, and He is not childless. Because He did not will to be alone, He created a Son like Himself. Do not deny Him His Son, for your unwillingness to accept His Fatherhood has denied you yours. See His creations as HIS Son, for yours were created in honor of Him."
"He is the Voice for God, but never forget that God did not will to be alone. He SHARES His Will with you; He does not thrust it UPON you."
"To be alone MUST mean you are apart, and if you are, you cannot BUT be sick."
"To be alone IS to be guilty. For to experience yourself AS alone, is to deny the Oneness of the Father and His Son, and thus to ATTACK REALITY."
"God would not have us be alone because HE does not will to be alone. That is why He created His Son and gave him the power to create with Him."
"The gratitude of God Himself is freely offered to everyone who shares His Purpose. It was not His Will to be alone. And neither is it YOURS. Forgive your brother, and you CANNOT separate yourself from him, nor from his Father."