EXAMINE YOUR THOUGHTS & FEELINGS
To get back to the teaching, once we’ve stepped back for a second and reminded ourselves that none of this is actually happening- viruses aren’t real and neither is my body or anything else in this world- we can take the next step with the Course’s teaching.
Getting to the crux of the issue with any problem we have always begins most fruitfully by examining what we feel and think about it. Start by asking yourself: ‘How do I feel about this whole situation?’ Fear? Worry? Panic? Amusement? Anger? Concern? Shock? Then have a look under the hood of each feeling you can identify to explore the thoughts hidden beneath those feelings.
For example, if you’re feeling afraid, some of the thoughts behind that might include:
- I’m afraid that I will get sick.
- I’m afraid that someone I love will get sick from the virus.
- I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay the bills if I get sick and must self-isolate.
- I’m afraid that a lot of people will be badly impacted by this- especially vulnerable people around the world without family, financial resources, or even homes.
- I’m afraid that our social and economic structures are going to crumble.
- I’m afraid I don’t have enough money to get by if I can’t work.
- I’m afraid food and other essential supplies will run out.
- I’m afraid I or someone I love might die.
You basically want to simply notice and acknowledge what you’re feeling and thinking while understanding that neither determine what’s real, or who you really are.
JOIN WITH JESUS/ THE HOLY SPIRIT & LOOK WITHIN
It’s important to do this with the Holy Spirit, Jesus, or any other symbol of perfect, non-egoic love that resonates with you. Don’t look within on your own; to do so would just be another way of reinforcing the ego.
Be sure to invite Jesus or the Holy Spirit (etc) as your Guide before you begin this exercise because the point of doing it at all is to correct the way you’ve been seeing things apart from Their help. This is effectively the same as looking at things with the ego. We correct the mistaken belief that we can go at it alone by joining with, or enlisting the help of, the wise and kind Teacher that is Jesus/ the Holy Spirit.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
The Course teaches that you are never alone to begin with anyway. In light of this, inviting the Holy Spirit or Jesus to be your Guide is actually more akin to taking your head out of the sand that you had originally dunked it into, to avoid recognising the fact that They are always with you. You’re basically looking back to your Loving Teacher who has always been with you, whether you shut your eyes and pretend they aren’t there or not.
Rather than asking Them to come to you, which implies that they had left and could leave you, you want to realise that you can’t leave them, even though you often pretend you can and have. It’s like realising you’ve had your eyes closed and perhaps sheepishly saying: ‘Oh hey there Jesus, I’m back again. Please help guide me- thank you!’ Your willingness to join with Them at the level of the mind, is akin to opening your eyes, being willing to accept the reality of Their presence, and getting back to doing the inner work you need to do to get sane (right-minded) again.
FORGIVENESS IS THE REAL NEED & SOLUTION
The work you’re here to do, as always, is true forgiveness- aka the Course’s version of forgiveness. So be sure to ask for help with that in recognition that it’s the only thing we truly need. Even while it may look as though we need many things in the world- especially in a time of crisis and uncertainty- it’s helpful to remember that forgiveness is what we always and only truly need. This is helpful because it’s something we have complete control over- we always have the power to forgive.
Being aware that forgiveness is always the real need and solution also clarifies your commitment to the goal of the practice and teaching of A Course in Miracles: inner peace. You can remind yourself of this by simply asking the Holy Spirit or Jesus the following: ‘Please help me forgive and remember how to forgive truly. I want the peace of God.’
THERE IS NO HEIRARCHY OF ILLUSIONS
The basic practice of forgiveness is what we need to be consistently repeating as Course students- whether we’re applying it to seemingly big and rare world-wide developments like a pandemic or the seemingly small annoyances that come up all the time. There is no hierarchy of illusions, as Jesus teaches us in the Course- no difference between the seemingly big or small issues that we’re confronted with throughout our lives.
We need to consistently wrap our heads around the fact that they’re all equally illusory and therefore need to be dealt with in the exact same way spiritually- that is, on the level of the mind. Again, this is not the case behaviourally, or on the level of the world, because the goal of illusions is to make separation, difference and complexity real. This core ego goal guarantees that solutions within the illusion will be many, different and varied. In contrast, forgiveness is the only solution required on the level of the mind.
BE AWARE OF YOUR ONLY TWO OPTIONS FOR SEEING
The aim of looking with Jesus/ the Holy Spirit at the feelings and thoughts you have about any issue is to sort the true from the false. It’s about developing awareness of the two options you have for how you view things; not about struggling with or fighting against what you find.
As you examine the thoughts you’ve been thinking, consider where they must have originated. That is, are they likely to have been generated by the ego’s wrong-minded thought system or are they reflective of the Holy Spirts right-minded thought system?
This helps us do three crucial things:
- Make the unconscious conscious. Recall and unearth the two unconscious thought systems that we’re constantly choosing between, which are the underlying cause of our conscious state as we know it- the cause of the feelings and thoughts we experience.
- Clarify and differentiate between the two diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive thought systems and their outcomes, by understanding where our thoughts/feelings come from.
- Consciously choose again. Identify which of the two thought systems- the Holy Spirit’s true, or the ego’s false perception- we would prefer to reinforce. This brings us back to our only real choice point and our identity as the decision-making part of the mind.
THE EGO IS OUR DEFAULT PROGRAMMING
This process ultimately helps us recall the Holy Spirt’s alternative explanation and solution for everything we tend to feel and think, which left unchecked, defaults to the ego’s narrative. We need to understand that the ego’s wrong-minded thought system is our default programming because it was the original choice that gave rise to the illusion of a world of form.
Examining your thoughts and feelings around most issues will reveal that you’re seeing things from the ego’s perspective, which simply indicates that you must have chosen the ego as your guide on an unconscious level. This is not an invitation to guilt. It is an invitation to reassess your choice based on the consequences of each option available to you.
UNDERSTAND THE COST OF EACH CHOICE
Its only when we can clearly see that we are choosing the ego that we can then look at the consequences of continuing to mindlessly adopt its lens. This also paves the way to recalling that there’s a better alternative and that we can meaningfully choose against the ego in favour of the Holy Spirit’s perception. That’s what we want. We want to choose differently, motivated by our recognition of how awful we feel when we believe the ego’s insanity.
That’s the secondary aspect that needs to be assessed- do you want the logical outcomes that follow each option? The ego’s thought system will automatically lead to fear, worry, anger, sadness, and a sense of suffering. Adopting the Holy Spirit’s right-minded perspective however, will invariably lead to a growing sense of peace, joy, love, and a sense of safety that transcends the external world.
YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM OF THE WORLD YOU SEE
Simply examining these two options honestly helps us return to our real locus of control. It returns us to our true power even in the midst of external chaos or disaster. We access our real power when we return our awareness to our true identity as the mind, spirit; as the Holy Son of God.
So going back to the thoughts and feelings that you identified having about the coronavirus, you probably confirmed that most, if not all of them, can be traced back to the ego thought system. A good way to identify this quickly and easily is by asking; does what I’m thinking or feeling make sense to God? Would it exist in God as He is defined and described in the Course? That is, does this feeling or thought reflect perfect love, happiness, peace and perfection?
The vast majority of what we think and feel does not; we wouldn’t experience ourselves as individuals if it did. This recognition helps us go deeper. If what I’ve been thinking or feeling would not be advocated and validated as true by the Holy Spirit, I’ve chosen the ego. Similarly, if my state in any way stems from, or reflects fear, I’m just strengthening the ego’s thought system and believing its insane content- all the ideas that constitute its thought system. This need not continue.
*This concludes part 2 of the 4-part series titled, ‘The Course on the Coronavirus.’ Please click on the arrow below to continue reading part 3 in the series.