Whenever I am feeling a little “cuckoo” — which means not feeling my happiest — I can bet a million bucks it’s because I am not saying yes to the present moment. In some way I’m not accepting my present circumstances. Unhappiness is caused by wishing something would be different than what it is. In that non-acceptance, the ego is out to kill our happy! It keeps us stuck in loveless thinking. We forget our innate goodness, leading us to believe what the ego says. The Holy Spirit is the part of the mind that reminds us of the truth, which is that we are created by Love itself (also known as God). The Holy Spirit is our direct line to God. By forgetting that we are created from Love and thus are part of God, we fall asleep to our own reality. The Holy Spirit knows this and can help us wake up if we so choose. The key is to stop letting the ego trick you! Here are some of the major ego tricks that you can watch out for:
Ego Trick 1: The Shoulds
The ego has a favorite theme: shoulda, coulda, woulda. As in:
“I shoulda done this better.”
“I coulda gotten that job.”
“If I’d followed my hunch, things woulda worked out differently.”
Not only does the ego use “should” to punish us inwardly with such judgments, it then projects them outward onto others:
“If you loved me, you would do so-and-so.”
“You should have done things my way, then it all would have worked out.”
“You could be doing more for this relationship.”
Whether we’re punishing ourselves or others, there’s no winning the ego’s game. We will only end up feeling disappointed and frustrated with ourselves and not allowing the natural flow of life.
Ego Trick 2: Obsession with the Past
The ego likes to keep us in the past, thinking about how we messed everything up and how we could’ve done it better! Our mistakes seem to be the source of our guilt, but in fact guilt always begins with the choice of separateness. We actually feel guilty because we fear love even as we go around looking for it, and so we settle for its opposite.
For instance, after her breakup with her boyfriend, a client told me that she wished that she had not acted as if she had cared so much while they had been together. By “caring” she meant acting jealous of the attention he had received from an ex. Had she not acted jealous in the past, she kept repeating, then they might still be together. She was stuck in the past regretting that she had not lied about her real feelings! This is just one example of the ego’s delusional thought system, convincing us that real love is impossible, so we might as well settle for some variety of guilt instead. Whenever we focus on the past in a negative way, this is the choice we are making.
Thinking of the past takes us away from the present moment when true change can happen, and when you can make the decision to embrace what was and stop suffering over it.
Ego Trick 3: Your Happiness Is “Out There”
When ego is running the show, you need to make things happen, and so you try to manipulate the world even if it kills you! The ego is always whispering in your ear, telling you that you will not be happy or free until you get enough money, or the right person, or the perfect job. If that were true, then we would not hear so many stories of people who “have it made” on a material level but are also alcoholics, drug addicts, or suicidally depressed. The truth is that nothing “out there” will ever give you freedom or happiness. That’s because you already have it: it’s your divine right to be happy as a perfect child of God.
Lesson 101 in the workbook states: “God’s will for me is perfect happiness.” And the decision we have to make appears in Lesson 102: “I share God’s will of happiness for me.”
It’s vital to understand the ego’s tricks, which are all the ways in which it projects fear. Then we can recognize the ego whenever it becomes active in our minds. We must also build a relationship with our internal teacher, the Holy Spirit, so that we give to it all our false, negative, and useless thoughts. One of my favorite self-reminders is: “Please Holy Spirit help me.” This is your job if you want to live your happy!
Each day you have the opportunity to remember that you are not your ego thoughts; you are the decision maker who can choose a different way of thinking. As A Course in Miracles puts it:
“Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit is the choice for guiltlessness” (ACIM, ch. 14, section III).
As you step more fully into trusting the Holy Spirit, you stop fighting life. You embrace what is, and then the ego has no power over you. You smile more and worry less. When you trust in your higher Self, you know that all is unfolding perfectly.
Here’s an image to help you remember this process: Imagine holding a bow and arrow and aiming for the Truth. First, you pull the arrow in. This means taking responsibility for everything you feel, no matter how sharp or dangerous it may seem. Maybe you’ve been poking yourself with this arrow for a long time and watching yourself bleed; that doesn’t matter now. By agreeing to trust, you have picked up the bow of Spirit, which helps you aim that arrow in the right direction. Bring the arrow in, close to your heart, knowing that it’s all yours. Pull in knowing that you are capable, you are unlimited, you are in a state of grace, and nothing can take that away from you. Then let the arrow go and… trust. When you hit the target of Truth, you’ll know because of the happy feeling you get. If you don’t hit the target, you probably still have plenty of arrows to work with….
Maria Felipe, author of the best-selling book Live Your Happy (New World Library) is an Ordained Minister through Pathways of Light, and is an international speaker of A Course in Miracles.
For more on Maria’s happy work check out: http://www.mariafelipe.org/
Live Your Happy now available as an Audio Book: http://www.mariafelipe.org/audiobook
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