You cannot suffer. Who is suffering?

Sunday, Nov 15, 2020 2269 words 10 mins 5 secs
An A Course in Miracles Blog  © 2020 Paul West

If you are immortal, you cannot suffer. You cannot be hurt, damaged, offended, upset, sad, unhappy, depressed, lacking joy, unloved, abused, made sick, killed, harmed, bruised, wounded, angered, nothing. You can only be immortal.

So what does that mean, in light of what seems to be "you suffering"? Even "your suffering" cannot be truly happening to you. YOU cannot be suffering. Your immortal self CANNOT be experiencing suffering. You cannot suffer. So who is suffering?

"Spirit is in a state of grace forever."

So when you seem to be suffering, let's say you feel hurt because someone called you a "stinky fart face", can it really be that you ACTUALLY are hurt? And if you FEEL hurt by this, is this "you feeling hurt" actually really happening? Even if you feel it, even if it seems "it applies to me", even if it seems it was targeted "at you", even if its "highly personal and reminds me of the time I kept farting in church", CAN IT BE POSSIBLE that YOUR IMMORTAL SELF is actually experiencing this or believing it?

It must be that even when under attack, "you" that feels attacked is some kind of fictional construct. It can't REALLY be your immortal self that is attacked. Your immortal self cannot be sad or upset or feeling betrayed or victimized. It's impossible for your real self to feel anything but joy and love and happiness. So when you have an "I feel hurt" moment, even if it involves HEAVY emotions, and terrible pain, and totally seems to be all about YOU and how you feel... CAN IT BE?

It cannot ever be really your true identity that is suffering. Even if you seem to "hurt yourself", you are not hurting yourself. You can't BE hurt. So who or what are you hurting? If you even decide to kill yourself, YOU cannot be killed. So what is dying?

"You are immortal and you cannot die."

WHO or what is being killed? Sure enough it is the body that is involved. But in addition, how is it that there seems to be a sensation that it's YOU that is going down with the ship? WHO or what is under attack? Is this taking place IN YOUR MIND?

Is it possible, that when there is a sensation of hurt or upset feeling or guilt etc, that the feeling ITSELF brings with it a kind of illusion or "sense of" "self"? Could it be that when you are feeling guilty, and you feel like a target, and it feels like everyone can see you and knows you are there, and you are "self conscious" in public, and you want to hide from everyone because you feel like they KNOW your inner guilty secret.... is it perhaps that the guilt ITSELF brings a sense of "centric identity"? Is not anything other than love, a sense of selfishness, and thus a sense of ego?

Some years ago some stuff happened and I had a large amount of guilt because of it. And because of this guilt, I felt ashamed and took it with me everywhere I went. And I felt constantly threatened. Anywhere especially in public, which I avoided, it felt like I had a target on my back, that EVERYONE knew that I was guilty, and they could see this guilty self, and MY experience of this guilty self was a feeling of being very "self conscious". Nervous about what I AM. Feeling like I am "evil" or "bad". Feeling certain that I AM THE GUILT. And that everyone was pointing a finger at me.

It would then happen that if people would attack me, or call me names, or accuse me or whatever, I would feel like "this guilty self" is vulnerable AND attackable. If they would accuse me of something, they were accusing THIS guilty self of it, and IT was self conscious, and IT felt attackable and vulnerable, and IT believed that it deserved punishment and that IT was the ACTUAL target of what people were putting out there. So when they called me by name, and then hurled an abuse, this "guilty self" felt like it was ABOUT IT, personally, and that they were directly addressing this guilty self.

But then after a time and much healing, this guilt was gone. And then I noticed that when these same people were being the same way they seemed to be before, it clearly did not appear to be ABOUT ME, and it was not targeting "that self", that guilty self, that was in me before. And that guilty self and its sense of being "self conscious" ie in fear, was not there to "receive" the attack. It did not exist, so they could not AIM their attack AT it. And so "I", my identity, which was no longer bound up with the guilt, saw myself as NOT being the target of their expressions. And so I felt invulnerable and could now recognize that they were attacking themselves. What happened to the sense of SELF that was present IN THE GUILT?

See, whatever you make TRUE of you you will believe is WHAT YOU ARE, and in effect WHO you are. So if you believe of yourself, "I am guilty", you will believe this DEFINES you. And now you ARE guilt. And this guilt has components of ego in it. And ego is selfish. Ego is a kind of "self centeredness", a self-important self-interest.

If the absence of separation means that there is pervasive light everywhere throughout the universe, then ego is a massive CONDENSING of that, down to a point, such as a star, so that all you are now left with is masses of darkness and a tiny CENTER of a point of light. And this "all that's left" little concentration of "self" now seems to be separated off and small and weak and vulnerable. That littleness is the sense of EGO, and it is experienced like a focus on yourself alone, in isolation.

Everything about ego is about becoming small, little, contracted, compressed, diminished, weakened, self-focused, self-centered, selfish, self-attacking, self-important, self aggrandizing, delusions of grandeur, etc. This condensing produces a kind of "sense" of "me", distinguished from the rest, broken off and separate. This sense of self is "self conscious" ie made of CONCERN for self and FEAR of its own weakness and littleness. The "self conscious" self is in fear and looks out frightened of the world that threatens it. The more EGO you have, the more ego stuff you have, baggage, dark feelings, guilts and hurts, the MORE you feel self centered and like this stuff "is a self". A sense of "separated me", cut off from the rest and not sharing.

It brings with it a kind of "focal point", a contracted little fearful corner of the mind, and the more this little corner withdraws and hides and tries to be even smaller and weaker, the MORE the sense of artificial "self" increases. Because the amount of selfishness is going up, the amount of self importance is going up, the amount of superiority/inferiority complex is going up, and this all produces what SEEMS LIKE a sense of "there is something here", "I am something", "I am all these feelings", "I am these thoughts". You become identified with FORM.

The whole egotism, the attitude, inherently has this bunching up, crunching together, condensing, tightening, contracting kind of thing about it, and this SENSE of this happening FEELS like the formation of a hot-spot in the mind that seems like "where something is, moreso than the rest", or "self interest". A sense of an island within the mind. A "self".

When the guilt goes, when the self attack goes, when the sin is gone, the egotism is gone, and all this tightened contracted littleness "dissipates" and stops being so focused, and without the focus on a tiny little huddled-in-a-corner-hiding sense of identity and truth, that sense of being "separated off" and "a separate identity" goes with it. It just disappears. But that isn't the end of YOU, because your sense of self EXPANDS and moves towards the UNLIMITED, universal, endless holy christ self that you really are.

So who is it that suffers? Who is it that can BE hurt and FEEL vulnerable? It is not your immortal christ self. It is not the real you. But it can seem to be a SENSE of "you" because part of your mind gets caught up in the contraction and withdrawal into "a center", into a little prison, a bodily identity, an identification with locality in space-time. And the more ego-stuff you have in your mind, the more intensely that your mind forms into a huddle of tightly-held-onto stuff, creating an IMPRESSION of you being kind of snagged or caught up on this collection of ego material. And being localized around a "point" it makes you feel like you are this little separated off dot of identity.

It is kind of like.... the suffering, ITSELF, suffers. Just as how fear is self-fulfilling. The guilt ITSELF brings with it a feeling of separate self. Any ego emotions, be it anger or sadness or grief or loss or lack or abandonment or unworthiness or sinfulness or fear or whatever, all brings with it SELFISHNESS, which is isolation and contraction and that attempt to GET AWAY FROM everything else, producing an increasing sense that you are "this something" in the middle of the ocean of mind. And this "sense of self" always feels vulnerable and threatened and unsafe. But this sense of self is PART OF the ego material that's in the mind, and without it your mind DOES NOT experience being a target.

Without the guilt, you cannot feel this. Without the unworthiness or loathing, you cannot feel this. Your mind is elastic and sort of snaps-back into its expanded, non-localized state, spread out evenly and smoothly instead of tightened and restricted and limited. When the guilt goes, YOU stop feeling like "you" are susceptible and attackable. You stop feeling like YOU are guilty. And that sense of "contracted self" goes.

Your sense of identity stops being "caught up in" the "truth" that the guilt expresses. Because if you believe "I AM guilty" then this will set you up to experience that you AND the guilt ARE ONE. And now you ARE guilt. And in the guilt is your "self", your identity. And you will not want to let it go if you believe that letting it go will be the loss of who and what you are. So there is a kind of addiction to the ego materials and an unwillingness to see YOUR SELF as being something NOT associated with, or identified with, the ego materials. e.g. with the guilt. "I am guilty" will feel like you are MADE OF guilt. That it is fundamentally your nature.

So who is suffering? Who is hurt? Who is it that is having loss? Who is sad? Who is unworthy? Who is afraid? THOSE THINGS, combined with your mind, produce a sense of identity, or identification WITH those things, that makes YOU feel and perceive that it is YOU that is those things. That they APPLY to you. Because you think they are PART of your makeup. But it is those things themselves that bring with them the sense of artificial SELF, that is the ego, the selfish self-centered self, the hoarding possessing self, the playing small self. And without YOUR CONSENT, without your BELIEF, that these things are true of you, that sense of little self cannot remain. Because true self is expansive and infinite.

You seem to suffer because you identify WITH and AS ego stuff. Which temporarily makes you believe YOU are being attacked and YOU are the guilty one suffering. But it is really "the ego", the non-existent fictional self, the selfishenss, that is the guilty one. IT feels like IT is guilty, made of guilt. And when you WITHDRAW your allegiance from THE GUILT, that sense of "its about me" goes with it. And then you recognize that your REAL self, your immortal self, was NEVER guilty. It CANNOT BE guilty. And your immortal self doesn't have that sense of self-consciousness, self-concern, self-importance and selfishness.

You can think you are suffering, but you aren't. In a way, it is the ego that is suffering. Ego = suffering. You can think you are "the little self that suffers", but it is NOT really you. Your mind can get CAUGHT IN the trap of the ego viewpoints, which bring with them a sense of self-focus and self-worship and vulnerability, but you are not ever really those things. It is the ego that suffers because the ego IS suffering. It is the ego that has guilt because the ego IS guilt. Without guilt there is no ego. Without a bodily identity there is no body. Without sin there is no world of sin. And without death there is no world.

"Without the idea of death there is no world."

So when you feel like "I am guilty" or "I am anything" other than as God created you, know that you are lost in the ego and are feeling ego stuff and ego stuff feels this way and the sense of artificial "me", self importance, being self-absorbed, selfish, comes with that territory. And it is that vulnerable, sensitive false self that seems to be the target of the suffering, NOT your immortal self. And once you dis-identify from that EGOTISM, the whole ego thought system, you let go of these false accusations and the falsely accused goes with it. And all that is left is your immortal spirit. Your true identity in God which can never be attacked.

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