Course in Relationship Miracles: Lesson 18
"I look away from my ego and toward my spirit for guidance!"
One question many in ego relationships have is: why not just substitute one relationship for another when the going gets tough?
The answer is: in reality there is no other relationship. I am "in relationship" with myself. It's all about me.
I might think I can substitute one partner for another, but I cannot substitute for myself. The circumstances of my life are merely showing me a reflection of my own state of mind. Until my own mind is changed, I will draw to myself the same "lessons" again and again and again if I try substitution. Better to learn my lessons the first time if the opportunity hasn't already been effectively sabotaged.
Sabotaged? What if the relationship has become so detrimental to my well-being that the detriment outweighs any possibility that I might learn my lessons given my present state of consciousness? Maybe I'm using the relationship to "beat up" myself and I'm so weary of the beating that it would be very hard to even begin seeing clearly enough to make the necessary mind changes. What if I need to step out of the relationship in order to begin to see more clearly?
In that case, it's not really substitution, is it? My intent is not to substitute another relationship. My intent is to step back, clear my energy, and take a look at myself.
What if I did that? What if I stepped back, cleared my energy, and took a look at my own ego desire to have myself hurt ... and then really decided differently. Would I then enter back into the same relationship?
Not at all. I've learned a lesson. I've changed my mind. My new mindset is now ready to produce a new kind of relationship.
This is not substitution. This is moving forward in my spiritual opening.
The best way to fully integrate this lesson in my inner being is to practice with all sorts of situations. With respect to my job, my living situation, my daily routine, my school, my acquaintances ... whatever ... am I tempted to run and substitute, using the ego slogan "the grass is greener somewhere else?"
Or am I listening inside not to my ego but to the voice of my spirit?
My spirit could be counseling me one of two ways:
If I am in my right place with only temporary difficulties, and the highest good has not yet been gained from the situation, then my inner voice will be saying something like, "Be at peace and wait." I might also be hearing a few or many instructions on how to handle myself, depending on how well my inner hearing is developed.
If I'm ready to move on to a whole new kind of situation because the learning and opening potential of the current situation has become greatly sabotaged, I might hear inside something like, "It's okay to walk away from this. You have much higher good waiting for you elsewhere."
So the practice this week is to listen carefully inside myself and identify every time my ego is telling me to run, or hide, or substitute greener pastures ... and also what my spirit is saying at a deeper level.
Each day upon awakening I take a moment to feel gratitude for the lessons I'm learning in this course and I say to myself a few times some such statement as:
"Today I will know the difference between the counsel of my ego and the counsel of my spirit."
It does not matter that I might have had a hard time knowing the difference in the past, or that I might feel somehow inadequate in this respect. Remember, saying it to myself activates my subconscious mind to work for it.
During the day I will ask myself whenever any difficulty arises:
"Am I tempted to run away from this or try to substitute 'greener pastures'?"
When I find myself thinking those kinds of thoughts, I recognize that I'm in my ego and tell myself, "No ... I'm going to listen deeper inside."
In other words, as often as it comes up I will be saying "No" to my ego and dedicating myself to hearing my spirit instead. It might not be easy to always hear my spirit in the beginning, but the more I say "No" to my ego, the easier it will become to hear my spirit.
The next step after saying "No" to my ego's counsel, is to ask inside, "I need to step back from this situation, true or false?", or "I need to wait and see what happens, true or false?", then listen inside to my inner being. The more I ask these kinds of questions, the more adept I will become at hearing what my spirit is really telling me deep inside.
If I need to I can take these kinds of questions into my sleep at the end of the day and see if my spirit "speaks louder" while I sleep.
Before retiring at the end of each day I simply ask myself, "Are there any still unresolved situations where I've been tempted to substitute greener pastures?" My subconscious mind will let me know if there is. Then I ask my spirit to give me clear guidance while sleeping.
If I don't have any of these particular kinds of unresolved situations, I can still gain practice by asking for answers to other questions in life. Before falling to sleep I simply say happily to myself a few times:
"During my sleep my spirit will guide me. When I awaken I will be enlightened."
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