A Course in Miracles teaches us that the ego is a fear-based thought system which relies on us taking everything personally. The ego loves for us to feel insulted, outraged, taken advantage of, walked all over, judgmental, self-righteous, and victimized. These attitudes are unconscious and seem justified until we bring them into awareness in order to become free of them.
One way of looking at forgiveness is that it teaches us detachment. Unlike dissociation or denial, detachment is a healthy way of observing the ego, free of emotional involvement. Detachment helps us take ourselves and others less personally, which frees us from feeling offended, victimized and vulnerable. It takes practice to allow detachment, and can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit, because it is a process of dis-identifying with the ego (personal sense of self) and re-identifying with our shared and unified God-Self. Your true Self is in constant state of loving extension – invulnerable, radiant and free!
All the ego boils down to is a thought of separation…
a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. A Course in Miracles (T-27.VIII.6:2)
We get to ‘choose again’, as Jesus advises over and over again in the Course, in any given moment whether we want to take this idea of separation seriously, or find it humorous. This is a potent turning point. When we are willing to stop taking ourselves personally, we are willing to undo the projection that there is a self. This is the moment when we choose to laugh! And this willingness to laugh reveals that all tragedy is really tragicomedy (tragedy with a happy ending).
So how do we take ourselves less personally? One, be willing to ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It’s as simple as, ‘Holy Spirit, please guide me today.’
Two, give your thoughts to the Holy Spirit all day long. Good ones, bad ones, give everything to Spirit as often as you can remember. Speak from your heart, and confide in the Best Friend, Comforter and Guide you will ever have. This willingness to develop a relationship with God through his emissary, your Inner Teacher, the Holy Spirit, naturally leads to Love. This is the forgiveness practice ACIM offers us to help us recognize that what we thought our brother did to us has not occurred. How could it, if we are…
a Oneness joined as One. A Course in Miracles (T-25.I.7:1)
And three, choose again – allow a shift in perception to take place in your mind that permits any circumstance to be transformed into something laugh-worthy. Then you will know that you are not the person you thought you were – you really are God’s beautiful child.
How beautiful indeed are the Thoughts of God who live in His Light. A Course in Miracles (T-3.V.10:5)
The undoing process will seem to take time and effort while we use this dream as an unlearning classroom, but in the moment of awakening all sense of suffering will simply evaporate. Everybody is defending and attacking all the time, even if they don’t realize it (and especially if they don’t realize it) until that holy instant when we choose to…
Be still and know that I am God. A Course in Miracles (T-4.Intro.2:2)
Tip: Sometimes the way to take yourself less personally is to take yourself more personally. Paradoxically, it really helps to fully embrace and even exaggerate upset feelings and thoughts consciously rather than suppress them and act them out indirectly. This permits a full release. Remember, you have to do this with the Holy Spirit as your guide, because the ego will never help free you from its thought system. Usually the Holy Spirit guides you to a psychotherapist, coach, 12-step group, spiritual teacher, or some loving person to help you through this on the human plane.
Can you think of an event in your life that seemed terribly important and/or incredibly painful at the time it occurred, that you see differently now? Take a few minutes to appreciate this shift in your perception.
If you would like to share your story, please email me at email@example.com.
Amy Torres uses the self-inquiry method given in A Course in Miracles to undo limiting beliefs and behaviors. She helps us access Inner Guidance and claim our True Identity. You can read her popular column, Ask Amy, in Miracles magazine, watch her many videos on ACIM on YouTube, and buy her mindfulness MP3s on www.cdbaby.com.
(If you liked ‘How to Take Yourself Less Personally,’ you may enjoy other essays in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You, including, ‘The Purpose of the Body,’ ‘Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Spiritual Unfolding,’ ‘Death Is Just a Belief,’ and ‘Flossing and Feldenkrais.’ Be sure to watch Webinar #10: The Purpose of the Body on YouTube. And check out my Facebook page devoted to body issues: http://facebook.com/acimbodyimage.)
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Copyright © 2012 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.