Ascended Master Jesus through Kim Michaels.
I understand that many people will read my latest discourse on making LIFE decisions and wonder how you can make such decisions. Many people find it difficult to change their behavior or their outlook on life and often feel as if the harder they try, the harder it gets. Some have already gone through the process of deciding to make certain changes to their lives, but they quickly slide back into the same old habits. Some decide to study spiritual teachings or practice spiritual techniques, but after a short or long while, they feel as if nothing has really changed. Let me offer some thoughts on how to make LIFE decisions. I will be saying some of the same things I said in my latest discourse, but I will be saying them in a different way so as to hopefully help those who feel they do not yet have the full grasp on how to make life-changing decisions.
The first thing you need to understand is that you cannot make a LIFE decision with the outer mind and will. It must be a decision that comes from within, from the Conscious You itself. You cannot bring about a life decision with the outer will, you cannot force it, you cannot take heaven by force. However, neither can you bring about a LIFE decision by passively waiting for it, thinking it will one day happen by itself. We might say that you cannot force a LIFE decision no matter how hard you try, but neither will it happen if you are not trying.
What I mean here is that a LIFE decision is a natural – even spontaneous – result of the right frame of mind, namely a frame of mind in which you have clarity. When you see how the ego has been hurting you, you will spontaneously make the LIFE decision to let go of a particular ego game. Imagine that you think you have been holding a rope in your hand, but you suddenly see that it is a snake. You don’t have to reason about what to do; you simply let go of the snake. The key is to put yourself in a state of mind where you are receptive to the insights that can bring about a spontaneous decision. However, you don’t have to simply wait passively for a clearer vision to happen. You can take active measures to bring it about, but it must be the right measures.
Master MORE is fond of saying: “If people knew better, they would do better.” This is a true statement—when you recognize that “knowing better” does not refer to outer, intellectual knowledge but knowledge that has become internalized. In the last discourse I said that the real problem is that you have accepted a lower sense of identity based on a lack of true knowledge. When you internalize knowledge, that knowledge becomes part of your sense of identity and then expands your identity. When you accept this new identity, you will begin to act accordingly, meaning that you will effortlessly do better than you could do with your old sense of identity.
For example, virtually everyone has an outer knowledge that smoking is dangerous to their health. Those who still smoke have not internalized this knowledge. They do not truly know better because they have not fully understood how smoking affects them. They do not actually “see” that smoking is hurting themselves, and that is why they can keep smoking. Once you have an intuitive experience that shows you how smoking affects you, you will suddenly realize: “Why am I doing this?” At that point, it will be easy to stop because you realize that smoking is no longer compatible with the type of person you are.
Based on this, we can get a slightly different perspective on the master strategy of the ego. What the ego and the prince of this world are truly trying to do is to prevent you from knowing better. If you truly saw that you have an ego, that it is not the real you and that everything the ego does leads to suffering, you would instantly commit yourself to rising above the ego—thus making the master LIFE decision that puts you on the spiritual path. If you truly saw the nature and consequences of a particular ego game, you would instantly refuse to play that game, making an individual LIFE decision that would take you one step up the spiral staircase.
We can now see that the ego’s survival depends on it remaining unknown to the Conscious You. The ego thrives in the shadows and in order to survive – or even expand its power – it must remain hidden. It now becomes clear that the ego will do anything in its power to prevent you from seeing the ego and seeing through its games. It wants you to keep thinking you are the ego rather than realizing that the Conscious You is separate from the ego. It wants to prevent you from recognizing the ego games and their consequences.
The ego has several layers of defenses aimed at preventing you from fully seeing it and its affect on your life. To illustrate this, let me go back to my example of an alcoholic. Few people consciously decide: “I’m gonna become an alcoholic.” They slide into it gradually, often by using alcohol to dull the pain caused by a problem they cannot or will not solve. Dulling the pain instead of dealing with the problem causes more pain, and in order to avoid that, they drink some more, quickly sliding into a pattern that takes over their lives.
What is the first step towards recovery? Many people drink too much, which is plain for all to see—except themselves. They will deny that their drinking is a problem and refuse to acknowledge themselves as alcoholics. As any therapist can tell you, the first step towards recovery is the recognition that there is a problem. That is why it is so valuable when society recognizes a problem, perhaps by labeling it as a disease, and then focuses more attention on the problem and its consequences for individuals and society. Organizations such as AA have done an immense service by focusing attention on the problem of alcoholism and the potential for getting help. Unfortunately, Western civilization has not yet recognized the problem of the ego, but this will change within a decade or two.
The ego’s first line of defense is to prevent you from even realizing that there is such a thing as an ego or seeing that it is the cause of your suffering. Most people are completely unaware of the ego and think their suffering is either normal or unavoidable. They have not realized that the ego is a problem and cannot even begin to overcome it. For many people this is simply because they have never been told about the ego in a way they could understand. For others it is because they are not willing to even consider the possibility that their suffering could be caused by something inside themselves. They want to keep seeing themselves as victims of outside forces so they have an excuse for not taking command of their lives.
After you recognize that there is a problem, the next step is to recognize that you have that problem. This is where the ego is often most successful in terms of fooling people. It is so easy to see the splinter in your brother’s eye and so much harder to see the beam in your own eye. The ego is extremely skillful in making people think it is not their fault. Many spiritual people have attained an intellectual understanding of the ego, but they have not fully “seen” that they have an ego and how it runs their lives.
Once you recognize that there is a problem and that you are affected by that problem, you need to come to the recognition that if you are to overcome the problem, you are the one who must do something about it and you must begin now. The ego will do anything it can to make it seem like you can’t or don’t need to take action to overcome the ego. It is even possible for people to think that the ego is an external condition over which they have no control. This is much like an alcoholic who thinks he is the victim of a disease that cannot be cured but only held at bay.
Another area where the ego is often successful is in getting people to postpone – indefinitely – dealing with the ego. The ego is a master procrastinator and will seek to get you so occupied with other things that you never quite get the time to deal with the ego. Or it will get you to think you don’t need to deal with the ego today—you can do it in the tomorrow that never comes.
After you recognize that the ego is a problem, that it affects you, that you have to deal with it and that you have to do so now, what could possibly go wrong? You have to understand what you are dealing with and how to best overcome it. This means understanding the nature and origin of the ego and seeing through the ego games. The latter is another area where the ego is often successful in fooling people. It is often quite difficult to identify a seemingly innocent habit as an ego game and actually see that you are trapped in that game.
Human beings are very adaptable, which has the positive quality of allowing them to survive many different conditions. Adaptability can be used by the ego to make you tolerate ego-games. You have become so used to them that you think they are harmless or even normal. The good old argument that if everyone is doing it, it couldn’t be wrong is still very effective for most people. It is a simple fact that if everyone is blinded by the ego, then everyone will indeed be wrong.
What is my purpose for listing the ways the ego is trying to prevent you from getting to the point of taking action and making a LIFE decision? Simply to make you aware of the areas where the ego will seek to hide so that you can begin to understand the mechanics of how the ego seeks to blind and pacify you. I hope you can begin to see that the ego was created because the Conscious You refused to be aware. The key to overcoming the ego is to take back awareness and increase your understanding. The ego truly has no actual power over you, and it can only influence you as long as you do not see what is happening. As you become aware of the ego and its games, you are well on your way to rising above it all. You must seek the right kind of awareness.
NOTE: The rest of this dictation is available in the book Freedom from Ego Games.
Copyright © 2007 Kim Michaels