March 2020

Speaking of the ego, author James Swartz in his book, ‘Meditation – An Inquiry into the Self,’ says: “The ego is the part in each of us that has split from the Self and set up business on its own. A product of Self ignorance, bedevilled by an unappeasable emptiness, it is a synonym for desire, the fear-driven power thought to correct the (unconscious) separation from the Self,” page 88.

This description says it all. The words, “an unappeasable emptiness,” in particular, resonated with me. As we grow older and have more time on our hands, we can become acutely aware of an unappeasable emptiness in our lives. And this may well afflict millions of elderly people, who spend most of their time in front of the television. The antidote to this emptiness is to have a spiritual path as well as a hobby or two, the desire to keep fit by eating healthily and taking daily exercise and indulging in a creative pursuit such as music, art or a craft of some kind. Most important of all is remembering that our goal is God.

And this is how Jesus describes the ego in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles, on page 467: “The ego is idolatry; the sign of limited and separated self, born in a body, doomed to suffer and to end its life in death…The ego is insane. In fear it stands beyond the Everywhere apart from All, in separation from the Infinite….” These are excellent reasons for making the effort to overcome the ego altogether.

On a more positive note, Jesus continues: “The Son of God is egoless…What can he know of sorrow and of suffering, when he lives in eternal joy?…when all there is surrounding him is everlasting peace, forever conflict-free and undisturbed, in deepest silence and tranquillity?” (When Jesus refers to the Son of God, he is referring to each and every one of us, because he says we are all children of God.)

It is helpful to realise that we will, one day, live in “everlasting peace, forever conflict-free and undisturbed,” as we look at this world and see the exact opposite. Those words are motivating and uplifting and are a very good reason to pursue a spiritual practice, which will lead us out of the darkness of the world of the ego and into the Light of the Kingdom of Heaven.

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