When we remember and connect with who we really are, happiness and peace exist no matter what conditions surround us.
By Gary Renard
I’d like to begin this series of article, which like my books, will be based on the modern spiritual masterpiece, “A Course in Miracles” (ACIM), by making some distinctions about the nature of real spirituality.
There’s a difference between real spirituality and what has become commonly accepted as spirituality the last few decades, namely the self-help movement. It’s not my intention to put down the self-help movement. I’m not a hypocrite. I’ve used the self-help movement successfully in my life. It’s just that I know the difference between that and the real deal. And what I teach in my workshops and articles, like the Teachers in my books, is the real deal.
The self-help movement is about getting what you want, making things happen in the world, attracting things to you that are outside of you, and achieving your goals. That approach is based on a false premise. The premise is that if you get what you want it will make you happy. But the truth is that if you get what you want it will only make you feel good for a short time. Then you’ll want something else.
It’s like a carrot and a stick, designed by what I’ll call the ego, which you can think of for now as the false you based on the idea of separation — the idea that somehow we have separated ourselves from our Source, which is God, as well as from each other. If your happiness and peace of mind are dependent on what happens in this world, you’re in trouble, because the only thing you can depend on in this ego illusion of a world is that it will shift and change. That’s what it does. It’s fleeting and transitory, offering only temporary satisfaction.
But what if it didn’t matter what happened in the world? That’s heresy to the ego, but what if it really didn’t matter? What if you could be happy, strong and peaceful regardless of what happens in the world? That would be real power. It would be real strength and freedom, and it would be real spirituality.
Having taught all over our country and the world for 11 years, in 44 states and 26 nations, I couldn’t help but notice from many of the questions I’m asked that there is a tremendous feeling of scarcity everywhere. People then attempt to fix that scarcity on the level of form (the physical world or what you could call the screen we think is our lives) by getting something, whether it’s a material thing or a relationship. They believe that will somehow erase the sense of lack. However, they’re looking in the wrong place. The lack is within, not without, and it’s not caused by what most people think. As “A Course in Miracles” (which I’ll simply refer to in these articles as “the Course” or “ACIM”) puts it, “A sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need to correct.”
I’ve said the ego is the false you, but there’s another you — the real you. The real you is something that has nothing to do with this world, or the body you inhabit. Your body is simply a symbol of separation. The real you is something that is immortal, invulnerable, constant, unchanging, inseparable and whole. It’s something that can’t be touched by anything in this world; something that can’t be threatened in any way.
When the Course starts off by saying, “Nothing real can be threatened,” that’s what it’s talking about. It means the real you. When it goes on to say, “Nothing unreal exists,” it’s talking about anything else — anything that is not this immortal, changeless, invulnerable self. That’s why the Course is a purely non-dualistic spiritual thought system. It’s saying that of the two worlds, the unseen world of God and the falsely seen world of man, only the world of God is true, and nothing else is true.
EXPERIENCING THE REAL YOU
The world of God cannot be seen with the body’s eyes, except once in a while in temporary symbols, because the body represents a limit on awareness. However, your perfect oneness with your Source can be experienced. Even while you appear to be here in a body, it’s possible to experience the real you. And spiritual experience is very important. In fact, it’s the only thing that will ever make you happy. Words won’t do it; my words won’t do it.
As the Course says, “Words are but symbols of symbols, twice removed from reality.” And when you think of it, how is a symbol of a symbol ever going to make you happy? How’s it ever going to make you feel full, and whole, and complete, and satisfied? Even a description of the reality of the world of God won’t do it. It’s still just words. But an experience of reality, an experience of what you really are and where you really are will make you happy because it is full, and whole, and complete, and satisfying.
The Gnostics referred to this direct experience of God as “Gnosis,” which means knowledge. But it doesn’t mean intellectual knowledge or information. When the Course uses the word knowledge it often uses a capital K, because like the word Gnosis, it is referring to direct experience, or Knowledge of God.
How does one get to this experience, which blows away anything this world has to offer? This is accomplished by undoing your ego. As ACIM succinctly puts it, “Salvation is undoing.” And that’s a brilliant approach because if you could really do that, if you could completely undo the false you, then eventually the real you would be all that’s left. And you don’t have to do anything about the real you. The real you is already perfect.
It’s already exactly the same as its Source. In order to experience that perfection, what you have to do is remove the ego within your unconscious mind — the walls of separation that block your experience of this perfection. As we’ll see, that’s not something you can do on your own.
This begs another question. How do you play your part in undoing the ego? This is achieved through a certain kind of forgiveness, but not the kind of forgiveness that most of the people in the world think of, if they think of forgiveness at all. The traditional form of forgiveness makes the illusory world real in your mind, thus keeping it, and the ego, intact. But true forgiveness, which will be a major theme of these articles, does not make the illusory world real, and does not keep it and the ego, intact.
There are people who will teach you that you should “make friends with your ego.” But I’ve got news for them. Your ego is not interested in being your friend. In future articles we’ll see why this is so, why the only thing you can really do with your ego is undo it, and exactly how to accomplish this.
ABOUT GARY RENARD
Gary Renard is the bestselling author of “The Disappearance of the Universe” trilogy, including “Your Immortal Reality,” and his latest, “Love Has Forgotten No One: The Answer to Life ” — all based on “A Course in Miracles.” As a teacher and worldwide speaker, Renard has taught “A Course in Miracles” in 24 countries and 43 states, appeared in seven documentary movies, won the Infinity Foundation Spirit Award, and hosts a monthly podcast. For more information, visit www.garyrenard.com.