Personal & SELF
The Personal and the SELF
In this crazy world we are experiencing all kinds of injustices and painful experiences like being dismissed from a job, being left by your partner or experiencing the death of a child; knowing the difference between your personality and your SELF will help to get through these experiences and to find inner peace.
This is man’s normal condition: I consider myself to be a person with a certain history, with relationships and structures, with desires and fears. I am experiencing myself as a physical being with toothaches and stomach aches, with desires and cravings and with the fear of illness and death. A serious Mind Training like A Course in Miracles questions all of the above: Is this really me? This certain lifespan of several decades with joy and pain? What was there before that and what will be there after that and what am I beyond all these fading phenomena?
The condition of our personality is based on a single idea: separation. Not only do we feel separated from each other and try to overcome this separation with relationships, but we also experience separation from God, from the highest source and from eternal life. In religion’s history, the loss of God and the (what seems like!) punishment is a main issue. This is where we find our first ”No” that we have said but can’t remember. It is the “No” that the son says to the father and thus his separation from him. It is a field that we can only grasp through mythic images like father and son, like the banishment from paradise, like the deep sleep that fell upon Adam. This fall let to a dream and to what we here call life and the world. It is all an illusion; however we want to experience it as real although only lingering illness and death are to be expected in the end.
This is how we are experiencing this separation as its painful mirror here on earth (just as well as in the so called after world). We are running around haunted with hunger and despair looking for objects of fulfilment: all the toys like cars and houses, hobbies and relationships, culinary pleasures and sex, vacations and business success — all meant to bring us peace and happiness. However, anybody who takes a closer look will realize that our searching and struggling does not bring satisfaction and that we are desperate. Consequences are depression, burnout, neuroses and even psychoses and maybe in the end a wild rampage caused by pure desperation, rage and an overwhelming feeling of revenge.
The personality is the ego, the egomaniacal impulse: greedy, calculating, and murderous. This is our competitive society which is only striving for profit and preys on whomever and whatever comes its way. Anybody who is in this condition and meets another person is driven by the question: What will I get from him? What advantage will I get from him? Our personality only knows victory and defeat and goes into relationships if they are useful. The personality is always comparing itself with others and always looking for its advantage.
Beyond our personality we find our true being in God, the SELF. The truth is: we, being the ONE SON of GOD, have never left the FATHER. We are only dreaming that we attacked the FATHER and took his life. This is the original conflict of all mankind, our “little problem with love”. I am the SELF, it is all of us; because collectively speaking we all are the ONE SON of GOD who is within the FATHER dreaming that he left him and is not allowed to return. We believe in guilt (in the attack on GOD) and the penalty (God’s revenge). None of this has anything to do with God’s reality, the reality of the pure MIND. GOD does not know about our world of dreams; illusions are meaningless for the HIGHEST.
In so far we need help and healing of the mind, not of the body, not in this world because our body and this world are the consequence of the original conflict in our mind, which is dreaming of separation from God and the creation of a world. Our personality, the ego wants the world to be repaired, because personality and world are one and the same thing. Saying “ No” to love we opened the door to our mind and the virus of separation could spread. Now the virus is alive and we are its host. The virus is leading our lives by giving us the weirdest commands. The theater of the ego with all its strokes of fate is the stage for the ego. The dualistic tension of being on top of the world and down in the dumps feeds the ego within us. And it seems that in the end we are enjoying this madness with its triumphal jackpot feeling and its self-destructive death fantasies. Tension and permanent psychic strain make the current that forms the core of the original conflict which makes the whole ego-world go round. This has nothing to do with HEAVEN.
The Spiritual Mind Training is about cancelling this murderous madness of the ego and quitting the game. Imagine there is call for war and you are not going. Not reacting to the Ego’s offers is the best and only sensible reaction. ACIM calls it forgiveness: (W. II. 1:4:1-3, page 401: Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still, and quietly does nothing. It offends no aspect of reality, nor seeks to twist it to appearances it likes. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not.)
This spiritual attitude has to be practiced if we want to find peace. And this is the purpose of the world’s classroom. Now the world has become a different purpose through the help that we are given in the Course. First it is important to study the ego’s actions in order to realize and really get to know its strategies and arguments. Any kind of complaining, anger, pain, envy, rage and fear are expressions of the ego on our hard-drive. Let’s consider: we are always the ones providing the hard-drive and the energy for the program, but we are also the ones deciding whether we are featuring the program of the SELF (Holy Spirit) or the program of the ego. We are the observer and decision-maker, the one choosing a false (Ego) or true (SELF) identity. Illusion or REALITY are the only possible options.
While entangled with the ego it is quite normal that we are making unfortunate decisions that hurt ourselves and others. It becomes tragic when we are not aware of it and doing the same over and over again: day after day, decade after decade, incarnation after incarnation. The calm look at the own unfortunate decisions, without judging oneself for them, is soothing and healing. The one who looks at his egomaniac entanglements and at the ones of other people together with Jesus, the greatest symbol of the FATHER’s LOVE, can’t attack or judge anymore. He starts to understand that he was captured within the ego and thus not free and not able to act differently. Only the one who chooses forgiveness for himself and thus starts experiencing his true SELF is free to love. This is the mystical dimension of ACIM, which opens up to us once we have overcome our self-hatred.
Deep down inside of us we are carrying only one single conflict: our “no” to the LOVE of the FATHER. We hate ourselves for that “no”– only: this conflict is unconscious, because the ego covers this conflict with oblivion and shifts this original conflict (level1) onto the level of inter-personal relationships (level2). This is the reason why we fell into the dimension of the physical world: we were supposed to be unable to take a conscious look at the original conflict (otherwise we might have given up the thought of separation right away and immediately returned into the pure MIND – even though we have actually never left!).
Bodies (forms) manifest separation and therefore the great advantage for the ego-game to enable the projection of guilt. This is how the ego stages the perfidious drama of shifting guilt. This is how self-hatred turns into hate towards other people. It is always the other one who did not fulfil my expectations and needs and it is always the other one who took my peace. The ego’s strategy says: if I am suffering then the other one deserves to be punished and pay for it. This scapegoat strategy is the basis for all the drama in our world. We are in love with this game because it seems to solve our conflict with God. All we need to do is look for the guilty one, judge and execute them (or have them executed from a God of revenge) and we’ll feel relieved, righteous and free.
However the actual problem has not been given any attention nor has it been solved: it is our problem with LOVE, with GOD (level1).
The king-size value and blessing of ACIM is its discovery and explanation of this secret ego-dynamic. The one who is able to understand this dynamic holds the key to salvation. The Spiritual Mind Training wants to guide us back onto level 1 and wants to make us aware of the fact that we are spirit and that we are having a spiritual problem which mirrors in the world of forms and which can only be solved on the spiritual level. The ego loves this mixing-up of levels. It loves it when the level of causes (level1- my mind/spirit) gets confused with the level of impact (level2- my physical body in this world). When this happens then other physical beings are responsible for my peace or lack of peace, then I become the victim and I am no longer responsible for the causes that I made.
The Ego is the thought of separation. This is why it keeps repeating this program of separation and on our inner hard-drive the ego divides itself into a perpetrator and a victim Self. We are generally preferring the victim-self because we enjoy the feeling of being innocent (and the guilt projection onto somebody else). Actually it is all about taking responsibility for one single decision, which has been made collectively by all of us: our saying “No” to the LOVE for the FATHER. Once this has happened we will be able for this big return with the help of the spiritual world. We do need help desperately, but it cannot come from this world, it can only be experienced in our mind.
When taking the described dynamic of the ego into consideration we may as well omit to analyse our personal drama. It would only be another diversionary maneuver of the ego, trying to bind us to the world of forms to make us mindless. Insofar some may ask: What does the painful situation that I am going through as a human being right now have to do with me? We like to call it the mirror that we are looking at. On the one level, the personal one, I can say:
I always see only myself that is also me. Also I carry the egomaniacal potential within me and it wants to experience pain and tears because on this level of confusion I do believe in guilt and separation and I don’t know how to find my way back to LOVE. I am once again experiencing the twist of fate, which seems to be unpreventable….
On the other level, the level of the SELF I say: All of this has nothing to do with me, it does not affect me and thus does not hurt me. On this level, in the SELF, I am free of pain and rage, without anger and without fear. On this level I feel compassion with the people who are attacking my person. On this level I can see their need and their delusion. They are not free to love when they act “personally. They are prisoners of the ego and desperate and full of fear.
On the level of impact within this world the advice from the perspective of the Spiritual Mind Training is the following: I take the other person and his egomania seriously and I don’t have to put up with him. I am entitled to call the police if my life is in danger. I may go to court with him and ask for worldly justice. I may say: ”No” and I am actually asked to do so for the sake of the other person’s learning-process. If I was in his position I would also look for a person to show me my limits – speaking from a higher angle.
Waking up from the dream of this world is generally related with sever emotional pain. Whenever we are experiencing enormous pressure of the ego the chance that we are putting an end to the ego’s game and that we are refusing to be part of it and turn ourselves over to the SPIRIT are increasing. Only few seekers met the goal of being spiritually clear easily and without experiencing a lot of pain.
What attitude is healing? I am taking the Spiritual Mind Training seriously and practice daily. I am turning to stillness and I am observing my mind and realize the murderous impulses of the ego: vanity, hedonism and even feelings of rage. All of this is the ego; it is all the person it is all connected to the body and the world. I have to let go of all of it, if I want to find inner peace. I forgive myself for all of it.
Let me conclude by saying a few words about the level of forms (level2). We are always expecting everything to be perfect; perfect bodies, perfect relationships, a perfect world where we are sitting peacefully under the Christmas tree with everybody. However, this is not possible and not intended in the ego’s program. The ego lives off destructive tension; it does not live off of heavenly harmony. The world of forms stands for the ego; it is a symbol for separation and an attack on God. It is a place of war, misery and death. However, the ego loves our naïve way of hoping for world peace – using the motto: seek but don’t find. The one who gets stuck on this level 2 is bound to fail even though moments of pseudo-success may arise. I don’t place my trust in this world, but I do place all my trust in the MIND. This is the only place to find PEACE, this is where I will seek and strive for in some silent hours. The spiritual world has enhanced my desire for healing and is now allowed and asked to act within me.
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