Quite frankly, if the ego did that, we'd be much quicker to see it for what it is and give it up.
No, instead, the crafty frog boiler/ego lures us into a vat of cool water/complacency. What's worse, the ego whispers to us the whole while about how well we're doing (flattery) and how much we really deserve to take a mind-watching vacation. About then -- when we're feeling a "Wow, that is so true! I have been through so much and deserve a rest!" and we are off to get a bottle of wine to celebrate, the ego turns up the heat ...just a smidge. "For comfort...to take off the chill... and help you feel more 'settled'," the ego hurriedly reassures us.
Maybe we have a thought like "look at those fingerprints on that glass door -- every time I turn around, there's something new that needs cleaning. And I'm sure it will be up to me......again!" We notice the thought vaguely but shove it under the mental rug (which is not the same thing as forgiveness, by the way) and sip our wine. We try to remember "there are no flat tires in heaven," just so we don't forget that Sweet Peace feeling that we were really enjoying. But it's kinda diminished somehow.
The hours and days and nights seem to pass. It gets warmer and warmer. If we're really honest, we see our Sweet Peace is becoming, well, more just a memory now, not an experience. But let's give ourselves a break, ok? (The ego was just saying that we are too hard on ourselves as it was putting away the wine opener). We are doing our best, and besides....we're too busy to think about that right now.
All these problems need to be dealt with!
The problems at this point are "tiny" (in our ego-ordered hierarchy of problems, that is) and somehow worthy of our attention, yet not our Vigilance. Daily schedules, chores, aches and pains...they all present various "problem" scenarios. Kids are rich sources of "problems;" work that we do for money is another. Relationships -- especially the ones that live with you, although that is not a requirement, nor is it key that the favorite problem relationship be with a still-living person -- offer an endless supply. Or you find house problems, car problems, computer problems, pet problems, yard problems, economic problems, political problems......yadda yadda yadda.
Ever so slowly, the ego turns up the heat. Sooner than we'd like to acknowledge, we are back to simmering in our guilt and fear and blame.
But that's nothing to feel bad about. Nope. You see, "feeling bad about feeling bad" is just another trick the ego uses on us. The best a student can do is just to notice and then go back to the mind for a chat with that other Fella Who's always right there waiting for us to remember to turn to Him.
Me: "Okay, Jesus, now, this time you have to admit it -- I really tried! I was trying to think with You when Costco didn't have my tire and my kid got a D and I got frustrated at a meeting at work and I had all those judgment thoughts about myself -- but I still can't find my Sweet Peace spot again. IT'S NOT WORKING!"
Jesus: "HEY Sport! I LOVE You!" **tousles my hair like I'm 8 years old**
Me: ::sigh:: "Yeah, yeah, I know...I love you too, Jesus. But did you hear what I said? I need you to tell me what I'm doing wrong. I'm taking notes. Just give it to me straight -- I was doing GREAT, and then I was doing Okay. But now I have the fear/guilt feelings up..and compared to Sweet Peace, they really...well.....suck."
Jesus: "Yes, yes, good, good....but I gotta say I LOVE it when you are this way!" **tousles my hair some more and offers me a lifesaver....I take cherry**
(Quiet pause as we suck -- in the cherry-lifesaver sense -- for a while.)
Jesus: "See, what you need to remember in times like these --and bully for you, by the way, that you noticed so quickly how miserable you are and turned to me -- is Faith."
Me: "Faith? Jesus, are you going all religious on me all of a sudden??"
Jesus: "Actually, let me rephrase -- you need to look at what you have invested your Faith in and see if it is giving you the results you want."
Me: "I'm guessing you are being rhetorical in that last part...and that maybe that's a hint?"
Jesus: "YOU are GOOD today! I need a HIGH FIVE!"
Me: "Wait, I need more help because I really GET that there are no stuck kitties or flat tires in Heaven. Or kids with D's or dirty dishes or ...well, all that stuff. But I am not FEELING it...so tell me what I'm doing wrong! Please, I mean."
Jesus: "See, behind each of those 'problems' you cataloged so thoroughly there's a secret 'problem' the ego has you believing in. And because you put your Faith in that dime-store crap story, you just keep generating more proverbial flat tires. And, more importantly, bad thoughts which lead to bad feelings."
Me: "Jesus, you've shocked me...I feel a bit speechless. I've never heard you say 'crap' before."
Jesus: "What can I say...I'm a straight-shooter." (mutters a sideways comment near my ear) "With your vocabulary? 'Shocked'?"
Me: ::giggle:: "Okay, no not shocked...I guess I just liked that you said 'crap'...like maybe You aren't the Perfect One all the time....makes me feel closer to you somehow."
Jesus: "Ah, but you see that's where you've got it wrong! I am the Perfect One all the time. And so are you. Which is a good segue into the crap Ego story, which is essentially this --
Me: "I'm feeling better...I think you are having that Effect on me again."
Jesus: "That's because we are healing Cause."
Me: "Okay, but one more thing bothers me. There are all these things -- responsibilities, chores, tasks, etc. -- that I just don't want to do. I try doing them. I try NOT doing them. Either way I feel bad -- either resentful or miserable/bored."
Jesus: "Yes, it's that whole Time drudgery...a common trap, even among the jet-setters, if you will believe it. Here's a trick, which is actually a fast-track to Truth: Approach each task, each moment, as though you have never done that thing before and never lived in any moment than the one that is NOW."
Jesus: "Time is another ego device -- surprise. And it can be a worse form of suffering than the hair shirt or bed of nails. Save yourself the pain, and drop the past and future. I swear to you once you are a Present Moment-er, you'll never go back. And let me add one last note....
The whole sleight-of-hand parlor trick of Time keeps you believing in Crime and Punishment, instead of God's story about the whole thing -- Much Ado About Nothing. Don't look back in the rear-view mirror, and don't worry about the map of the future. Keep your eyes on the road in front of you. And crank up the good tunes! I love it when you do that!"
I love You when I do that, too, Jesus. I love You.
Vigilance for Heaven must be my only Purpose now. Whereas I've become a master at 911's, I need to stand guard of my mind ESPECIALLY when there are no crises to jolt me out of complacency.
Ego thought and I are in the match of a lifetime...it doesn't get any more Karate Kid than this. If I don't watch my p's and q's -- the thoughts floating in my awareness -- and if I don't use all the so-called little stuff to Forgive the world in exchange for Heaven Now, I suffer. I need to be especially sensitive to any Time thoughts that creep their way in....shoulda/woulda/couldas or what if's are always red flags for the ego. As are feelings of anxiety about future, regret about past, boredom in the present.
When they appear, I can remember the Truth. I am Innocent. My Home is Joy. When I am with you and you are sharing your story/calling for Love, I can remember YOU are INNOCENT and Happiness is your due...and that we have the same desire for Knowing only that.
Ego thoughts seem so much worse when I can compare the feelings they create with the Sweet Peace that remembering Truth brings. It's like before I experienced them as daily nuisances --like an annoying hang nail. Now what they induce in me feels like a bad case of the plague.
And that's just all the more motivation to be Vigilant.... reminds me of the old joke:
*patient/me slapping his/my head* says, "Doctor/Jesus, it hurts when I do this! What should I do?!"
Jesus: "Have a lifesaver."