Relief from pain and struggle feels meaningful to me. Discovering that my personal perspective is the problem, that I’m looking through a filter feels relieving. I don’t need the world to change I desire to see my conflicting beliefs and desires that are causing my distress and projecting that fear.
“So why is it, as soon as I see my issues
and begin to make changes it feels like I’m being tested?”
It is your own self check mechanism in what I call the Echo Experience! The Universe (the perceptual world) seems to reflect a choice point we thought we had just happily decided. The mirror of the mind asks us once more to choose healing in mind over our old pattern of ‘fixing’ in form in order to avoid personal discomfort.
“Are you sure you believe this?” it asks.
When you directly face the actual conditions of fear (in the mind) without your usual defense mechanism you will again be confronted with a fight or flight response. Whatever your previous method of coping maladaptive as you saw it was, will remain a temptation at times of great distress. This usually unexpected occurrence will be the first time you will have to face the blatant death threat to your self-concept without spacious time for reflection—or so it will seem.
Seated beneath the Bodhi tree (the tree of awakening) Siddhartha became deeply absorbed in meditation for 49-days, and reflected on his experience of life, determined to penetrate its truth. He experienced Enlightenment and realized the Buddha.
The demon Mara in early Buddhist texts is an ego character; the lord of death; the personification of sensual temptation and a trickster god. Mara wished to stop Siddhartha’s quest for enlightenment, so he brought his most beautiful daughters to Bodh Gaya to seduce him. But Siddhartha did not move. Then Mara sent armies of demons to attack him. Siddhartha sat still, and their arrows landed as lotus blossoms.
Then, Mara claimed that the seat of enlightenment rightfully belonged to him and not to a mortal. Mara’s demon soldiers cried out together, “I am his witness!” Mara challenged Siddhartha—These soldiers speak for me. Who will speak for you? Then Siddhartha reached out his right hand to touch the earth, and the earth itself spoke: “I bear you witness!” Mara disappeared. As the morning star rose in the sky, Siddhartha Gautama realized enlightenment and became a Buddha.
“The ego vacillates between suspiciousness and viciousness.” And what was a lightly veiled threat before now becomes more menacing and directly related to the lack of a patterned response, it will still feel totally reasonable and even logical to you to “do” what you have always done. It’s a new mental pathway you are establishing—TRUST. The key here is to link the knee-jerk patterned comfort response with maintaining the pain and not relief for the intensity. Once you do the sensations will soon loose their effectiveness to manipulate you into seeking immediate comfort over transformation.
“I loose the world from all I thought it was.” —A Course in Miracles
Awareness that this is what is occurring can allow some objectivity and focus on experience rather than story. The world must mirror what you still believe even if it is quite tentative now. There’s no point in arguing the fairness of a reflection that is merely a ghostly echo! “Do not breathe life into your failing ego.”
The echo effect has no power over you (unless you give it.) The word effect here is like a special FX in film by faking something—it’s a pretense—an illusion.
Pause for prayer, excuse yourself from the time pressure it claims and breathe. If it persists join with a mighty companion who understands what you are facing in reality not in form and can witness to the wisdom of the intention to see clearly that you have set. In AA that is what a sponsor is for and this is the addiction to the guilt of false responsibility that you are facing. Your patterned response may seem to offer a momentary illusion of control but it really reinforces your victim status in the story and perpetuates the false cause and effect that is maintaining the guilt.
You are so worthy of seeing through the entire mesmerism once and for all! “This need not be.” Face the attack thoughts in the mind; the shrieking voice and the thumping fear of consequences in your heart and you will notice you are being bullied! This voice is not your friend. The Spirit speaks gently with affirmative certainty. The only thing a bully can do is make you doubt yourself. The real brutality is your compliance with that opinion of you as if it is a fact. Bring to mind those that would readily disagree and sit with those supporters in mind. For ACIM students Jesus is our elder brother the perfect one to call on a bully! As He shares in A Course in Miracles “Leave the sins of the ego to me.”
So call it’s bluff—it’s always easier to welcome experience than fight it. “Hit me with your best shot fire away … it’s all in vain!” Now at least you are not a victim of the situation you are asserting your newly chosen certainty—that you don’t know but you are deeply love by One who does!
This is your Bodhi Tree moment—sit past the temptation
to defend and lotus blossoms will land!
“I need do nothing”
This is an all or nothing perceptual experience, it is either all a reflection of LOVE or all a darkened glass of fear. Your belief is the key. Accept you are seeing a fearful echo effect of your old world view and wait for it to pass. Which do you choose to believe? There are no degrees in darkness even the faintest glimmer is LIGHT. There is no battle to be fought and won. Accept that your Innocence is Given and not dependent on form of any kind.
Relinquish your belief in outcomes, accept instead that this is the generating realm and now is good to deactivate the threatening thoughts and beliefs. Desire only peace now and nothing can be held against you. No future shame scenes or guilty past associations can be used to taunt you when you ask for the Holy Spirit’s final judgement on it all.
There is no hierarchy of experience this is always what is at stake. It almost seems that you accept all these stories about yourself exactly as they are being shared and without any defense so you can discover the whole case will be overturned. Don’t waste time rationalizing your actions throw yourself upon the mercy of this higher court immediately. Discover your innate Innocence! Now is good! This is the Holy Instant. A pristine moment beyond time and space where the entire play can be let go. There is nothing to be learned through pain and suffering because the belief in sacrifice and time are the same. They merely delay Acceptance of the Love that is Given, guaranteed and not up to us. It’s very humbling. Under these conditions any attempt to control can be clearly seen as delay. resistance is futile though. Love is inevitable, because that is whom you are!
That is why old style atonement is so important to notice, what improvement do the innocent need? Striving for completion is an oxymoron acceptance is all something that is already complete needs! Come wretched as you are and shed the entire identity effortlessly. You can’t prepare for the Holy instant!
“LOVE waits on welcome not on time”
Open your arms and receive the lotus blossoms undefended!
My friend wrote to me as I finished this article—she is currently facing the Echo Effect:
“I asked Spirit to give me the true definition of healing” she shared, “as I am trying to give up the false fixing one I had. Then I woke up this morning with these song lyrics going around in my head, Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose!”
Nothin’, it ain’t nothin’ honey, if it ain’t free
And feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
You know feelin’ good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee
“The ego vacillates between suspiciousness and viciousness.” —ACIM (T-9.VIII.2)
“When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the “sins” of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be.” —ACIM (T-4.IV.5)
“Your way will be different, not in purpose but in means. A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do. When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation and fight against the giving in to sin; when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation; or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization; “I need do nothing.” —ACIM (T-18.VII.5)
“And some will find it in this course, and in the exercises that we do today. Today’s idea is true because the world does not exist. And if it is indeed your own imagining, then you can loose it from all things you ever thought it was by merely changing all the thoughts that gave it these appearances. The sick are healed as you let go all thoughts of sickness, and the dead arise when you let thoughts of life replace all thoughts you ever held of death.” —ACIM quote (W-pI.132.8)
A Course in Miracles – Chapter 4: The Illusions of the Ego – Introduction