Distinguishing our True Being from the false "me" sense
My intention with these articles is to offer practical tips and helpful perspective to spiritual seekers. My own path is A Course in Miracles, but I hope my guidance is useful to readers no matter what path they are on.
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I find that many of my clients have found themselves in a spontaneous awakening process. They often come looking for some kind of support. At some point, our conversation will often turn to what I feel is a key component of awakening.
Do you have a spiritual path, I will ask?
Most people do not. In fact, some might feel it is antithetical to a spiritual life. Shouldn't we just be going with the flow? "Letting go and letting God?" Aren't we admonished to stop organizing our life and setting goals and making endless attempts at personal improvement?
Aren't we to "be passers by?"
Afterall, even A Course in Miracles says, "A healed mind does not plan."
Okay, yes, but....
In reference to this often-quoted phrase, A Course in Miracles goes on to say:
"It carries out the plans that it receives (my italics) through listening to wisdom that is not its own.³It waits until it has been taught what should be done, and then proceeds to do it.⁴It does not depend upon itself for anything except its adequacy to fulfill the plans assigned to it.⁵It is secure in certainty that obstacles can not impede its progress to accomplishment of any goal that serves the greater plan established for the good of everyone." (ACIM, W-135.11:2-5)
So let us remember there is a Plan, but it comes from a higher dimension.
Distinguishing our True Being from the false "me" sense.
Remember, a true spiritual path is not teaching us Truth, but is geared towards helping us subtract what is false. Then the Truth can shine on Its own.
At first and for a long time, we think it is "me" who wants to awaken or find lasting happiness, just like we thought it was "me" who wanted to go to the movies last night and made a plan to do just that. And yet, convincing as it is, eventually we begin to see this "me" will never become free of suffering or find lasting happiness, because A) it is not Real and B) it is arising out of a fear-based (i.e. anti-happiness) thought system.
It is when this seeing starts to dawn on us that we often run and hide.
Or we yell at Jesus (or the angels or some other symbol of Love that we feel Guided by) -- "You fooled me!"
I remember my own indignation at discovering this path was not what it said on the brochure....after all, I was looking for Miracles. You know, stuff working out the way I wanted.
I used to call Jesus, "The Great, Benevolent Manipulator." He got me going a certain direction under what I began to see was a false pretense -- I thought I was going to get to be a happy, abundant "me" by following Him. Great relationships, money to live as I wished, a rewarding job, a healthy body! Woohoo!
But actually I was learning to be wrong all the time, to feel the pain inside, to accept my anger was never justified...in short, I was losing much of what made me who I thought I was, the "me" sense.
It's been many years now, and I can share there's been an ongoing emptying process. There is still work to be done, but my peace is greater. I can be a vessel for Light to reach others even as I continue to "die daily." This is how we become, as Saint Francis wrote, "instruments of Your Peace." That is how we come to say and mean, "Not my will, Lord, but Thy will." We stay focused on our own undoing, and the Holy Spirit does the rest.
Study and practice are essential.
We have to study and learn a lot about the "me" to understand its dynamics, so that we can recognize it -- so we can call a duck a "duck," so to speak.
What is this "me" then? It is a matrix of energies that shift, that come and go, and that arise from a fear-based level of the unconscious that is like a computer program. This program is on auto-pilot, forever replicating ideas of separation. From seeming life to seeming life, it picks up where it left off and plays out the program's rules, as in a dream that goes on and on and on.
We have to study and learn a lot about the "me" ...to understand its dynamics, so that we can recognize it -- so we can call a duck a "duck," so to speak.
A primary way it maintains status quo is through its constant self-referencing -- a sort of incessant "how does this impact me?" way of seeing the world. The psychological "me" -- the one that was seemingly born and will seemingly die -- must be relinquished, bit by bit.
It's the one that worries about the kids, frets about having gained a few pounds, gets excited when the football team wins. It falls in and out of love. It is the home of addictions. It is also endlessly consumed with judging itself and others, and extremely needy. Finally, it is contained, in its experience, in a body.
I will call it the ego, which is the term A Course in Miracles uses. Deep within us we have made a strong alliance with the ego, the fear-based thought system out of which these energies and all the behaviors that stem from them arise.
So to summarize: In order to mature in our spiritual path of awakening, we need to commit our lives to undoing the false "me" sense. We learn its tricks and how to recognize it, and we also cultivate a desire to remember the True Self.
For a very long time, we starve one and feed the other.
Choosing a Spiritual Path
Someone who is aware that they are in some kind of spiritual awakening process will do well to explore spiritual paths and be guided to the one for them. I highly recommend A Course in Miracles be part of your consideration process, but if it's for you, you'll know it.
I also recommend many teachers who have been helpful to me: Byron Katie's The Work; reading and practicing the work of Michael Singer who wrote The Untethered Soul; others who have written and have content on YouTube like Adyashanti, Jon Bernie, Helen Hamilton, and Mooji. The great Christian mystic, Joel Goldsmith, who wrote The Infinite Way.
There are other paths -- Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, etc. While I know bits about them and have practiced some of their teachings, they aren't my primary path, so I won't try to elaborate on their specifics. In their purest forms, however, they -- like ACIM and the other teachers -- teach nonduality....One without a second.
The process of awakening is almost always going to require us to develop discipline. And it will almost always require some kind of a map for undoing the false "me" sense.
In fact, not appreciating the need for working at this process can lead to unpleasant consequences. There are people with no training who find themselves unable to handle the dark energies that emerge. It is sensible to bring a good work ethic with you and to appreciate that your hard work supports a gentle, gradual process that will lead you to increasingly peaceful states.
So let's take a step back a moment. Think of your normal life. If we wish to master an art form or intellectual pursuit -- or complete a big project of some kind -- we do well to have a Teacher or Guide to follow, right? Let's take this helpful learning, as well as other practices that serve us -- such as a dedication to consistent practice -- and apply them to our spiritual world.
What lies ahead:
The mind must be retrained to think in ways that reverse our current thought process.
Our ways of seeing must be reversed based on our new ways of thinking.
Our heart must be cleansed of its pain and fear and rage.
The past must be relinquished, and
Fear and hatred in all their forms must be faced directly, owned, and then released.
In my next post, I will provide what I think of as a simple three-part structure for approaching life from a spiritual perspective.
I see clients one-on-one in my Reno office and on Zoom. Are you looking for support through Reiki, Angel Guidance, or Spiritual Life Coaching? Set up your session or 15-minute free consultation call by booking online.