Ascended Master Jesus through Kim Michaels.
The most obvious example of the ego’s relativistic, dualistic way of thinking is what I prefer to call black-and-white thinking. This plot by the ego makes blatant use of the basic duality built into the mind of anti-christ. It defines two opposites that are opposites in every way, meaning that there is no overlap or potential for compromise. There is no gray zone because the opposites cannot co-exist but must cancel out each other—or so it seems. One opposite is defined as being absolutely good and the other is defined as being absolutely evil, thus setting up an inevitable, to-the-death struggle between them.
The ego makes people believe that the only way for them to please God and be saved is to take the side of good and to fight against evil. An extreme outcome of this scenario is the definition of two religions or ideologies that both claim to be the only true one, making their respective followers believe it is their duty to fight the other. The ultimate triumph of the prince of this world is to get two groups of religious people to kill each other in the name of the same God, as for example in the Crusades.
The result of this ego-manipulation is that people adopt a very simplistic view of the world. Their religion is completely true and all others are completely false. There is no room for any nuances in between, which means that people almost inevitably become extremists and fanatics. This is a very easy approach to life because it really does not require people to think for themselves. They simply accept the definitions created by the leaders of their society without making any personal attempts to discern whether their leaders are right according to the Christ standard. They believe these leaders are absolutely right and that God himself would agree with them.
The consequence of this approach to life is that once people have accepted that a particular belief system is absolutely good, they will never question it. They will blindly follow what the leaders of their religion have defined as absolutely right, and this has led to some of the worst atrocities in history. I described this scenario as follows:
Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Matthew 15:14)
Instead of leaving the blind leaders alone, people follow them uncritically. They never question that the black-and-white definition of life might not be in alignment with God’s truth. As a result, many people have spent one or more lifetimes engaging all of their energy and attention in this dualistic struggle between two relative opposites. Such people have defined an enemy or scapegoat, and they believe they must do God’s work by destroying the enemy.
As long as people are trapped in this extreme form of black-and-white thinking, they are absolutely convinced that they are working for good and will be saved. The stark reality is that everything they do to fight the self-defined enemy only serves to trap them more firmly in the dualistic state of consciousness. This obviously prevents them from putting on the wedding garment of the Christ consciousness, which is the only way to enter Heaven.
It can be extremely difficult for extremists to admit that they are wrong. They cannot admit that what they have seen as a work for God has not promoted God’s cause but has only served to reinforce the dualistic struggle created by the forces of anti-christ. Such people tend to become very defensive and hostile towards anyone who questions the validity of their approach. This is why the scribes and the Pharisees wanted me dead and why some people in today’s world become fanatical in defending their “truth.”
The fact is that such people are unapproachable for a spiritual teacher. You see this illustrated in how the scribes and Pharisees rejected my attempts to show them the higher way of Christ. They literally used their black-and-white viewpoints to justify rejecting the Living Christ, meaning that they had put their own graven image before the Living God. They used a relative image to justify not reaching for the direct experience of God’s absolute reality—the experience I came to offer to all who were willing to lose their mortal sense of identity for my sake.
Overcoming extreme selfishness
You will remember that I earlier said that the ego creates a false path to salvation. By using black-and-white logic, the ego creates the impression that being saved is a matter of belonging to the only true religion and meeting its outer requirements. The more people identify with their egos, the more prone they are to believe this illusion. It seems so easy that instead of doing the hard work of pulling the beam from your own eye, you simply have to believe a predefined doctrine and follow a set of outer rules.
At the beginning level of the spiritual path, people are prone to accept the black-and-white approach to salvation. They become very zealous – even fanatical – in following their particular belief system – be it religious, political or scientific in nature – and they absolutely refuse to question it. That is why some people can believe that by killing the enemies of God, they will instantly be saved.
Now comes one of the subtleties that the more mature spiritual seekers need to understand. The extreme outcome of being blinded by black-and-white thinking is that people become entirely self-centered and selfish. They often believe they have a supreme right to do what they want and that anyone who opposes them – including the rest of the human race – is wrong. They start acting like predatory animals who take whatever they want and are unwilling to consider how their actions affect other people, affect themselves in the long run or compare to higher principles. In the past, humankind was at a much lower level of consciousness than today, as illustrated by the cave man society in which the law of the jungle ruled. In today’s world, you see this level of consciousness in many criminals, from leaders of organized crime to pedophiles or serial killers.
How do you take people who are completely selfish and raise them to a more spiritual level? Extreme selfishness is the ultimate outcome of the relative logic of the ego. In the Christ mind you see that all life is one, and thus when you hurt another, you are hurting yourself. When you are completely trapped in the mind of anti-christ, you think you can hurt others without hurting yourself, you even think you have the right to do whatever you want regardless of how it affects others. You justify this by using the relative logic of the ego, which can truly make it seem like anything – including total selfishness – is justified.
How do people start rising above this level of consciousness? They do so by realizing that there is something beyond the ego’s relative logic, that there is something that is right or wrong according to a higher standard. When you are completely selfish, you see nothing beyond the relative logic of your ego—and thus you think you have the right to do anything you want. To begin the process of escaping total selfishness, you must realize that there is a higher standard for evaluating your behavior so that you choose to limit certain types of selfish behavior.
For most people who are trapped in selfishness, this realization comes only when someone “puts the fear of God in them.” These people begin to realize that there is such a thing as long-term consequences. Their souls can be affected in an afterlife by what they do in this life, and they will either be rewarded in heaven or burn forever in hell. From a purely selfish motive, these people begin to modify their short-term egotistical behavior according to a higher standard.
Because these people are still identified with their egos, they cannot yet see the limitations of the relative logic of the ego. They need a very simplistic, black-and-white belief system with clearly defined rules for how to avoid hell and get into heaven. Here comes the subtle point. When people start modifying selfish behavior, they have reached a turning point from which genuine progress is possible. There is a real danger that these people will be fooled by their egos to enter the blind alley of fanaticism where they think they serve God by fighting what their belief system defines as the enemies of God. This will, of course, abort such people’s progress. However, if people avoid going into fanaticism, it is possible to make genuine spiritual progress by following a black-and-white belief system. The reason being that when you believe certain types of behavior will send you to hell, you gain a very strong motivation for modifying selfish behavior. This will cause a person to make less karma, and thus the lifestream can gradually free itself from at least some of the downward pull of the dualistic struggle. When you are completely selfish, everything you do creates negative karma that only reinforces the sense that you are in a struggle against everyone else. When you relieve some of this pressure, you can begin to see through the more selfish beliefs, and thus you can free yourself from some of the illusions of the ego.
Even though most fundamentalist Christians will reject my teachings as the work of the devil, there are actually people who have made progress by following a fundamentalist belief system. The problem is that this progress will only last for a time. A black-and-white approach simply cannot take you above a certain level of the spiritual path. Because this approach is still so heavily influenced by the relative logic of the ego, it can very easily become a blind alley that begins to take you into a downward spiral of judgment and pride, which is only marginally better than the downward spiral of selfishness.
The problem is that a black-and-white belief system automatically implies a value judgment. “The members of our church are automatically good and everyone else is bad.” This inevitably causes people to judge others based on a relative standard defined by their egos. As I said:
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew, Chapter 7)
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24)
Judging according to appearance means that you judge based on a relative, dualistic standard created by the ego. Judging righteous judgment means that you discern reality based on the vision of the Christ mind. When you judge based on the ego, you inevitably feel that you are better than other people, and this leads to spiritual pride, which binds you to the duality consciousness.
The ego wants a relative standard because it allows it to build the appearance that it is better than others. It can then create the illusion that because you are better than certain other people, you are guaranteed to be saved. As I explained in a previous discourse, there is no such value judgment in the Christ mind. That which is in alignment with God’s law is real, and that which is out of alignment with God is unreal. The Christ does not use the relative terms good and bad—it does not compare things on a relative scale that leads gradually from one extreme (good) to the opposite extreme (evil). The Christ mind does not judge based on appearance but is only concerned about whether something is real or not real.
One might say that the deepest level of ego-identification is to be completely selfish. You are completely identified with the dualistic struggle, thinking that life is a battle between you and the world. As you rise above this, you stop indulging in the most extreme selfish behaviors, but this makes you feel you are better than those who are still acting in “evil” ways. At the lower level, you might engage in religion in order to destroy all threats to your religion, thinking God will reward you for doing so. At the next stage, your motivation for being involved with religion is to prove the superiority of your religion and thus create the appearance that you are so good that God simply has to save you.
NOTE: The rest of this dictation is available in the book Freedom from Ego Illusions.
Copyright © 2006 Kim Michaels