[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
In my previous blog, I wrote about the benefits I am reaping from just accepting the truth of what I am and just doing as I am told–by Jesus, that is! That marked the beginning of a significant shift, not only in my practicing, but also in the way I go through my day. Then something Robert said in the CCC class last week on “Dealing with failure in practice,” accelerated the process.
In the class, I brought up an issue I face from time to time and which my students have mentioned to me: feeling like a hypocrite or phony in relation to our practice. Specifically, this is related to saying that I am totally committed to the Course, but recognizing that I don’t always apply what it teaches and sometimes go completely against what it teaches! The ego’s voice says something like, “If I were really committed to this, I would be so much farther along. Who am I to encourage others to “practice, practice, practice,” when I still don’t?!”
Robert had a comment on this that made the penny drop. He basically said, “The way to stop feeling badly about being a hypocrite, is to stop being a hypocrite!” He told us to honestly ask ourselves if we are really doing all we can to apply the practices. “Then ask yourself how you can ramp up your efforts to really integrate the lesson into your day and use the practices in all circumstances. Then “Just do it!””
Well, “just do it!” won’t bring me the amazing financial benefits it brought Nike (an increase of 25% over ten years), but it sure will bring me spiritual and emotional benefits I can’t even begin to conceive of–and it’s already started.
Our friend Jan O’Kelley (who founded The Little Garden) used to have a sticker of a gorilla on the back of her Course book. Underneath the gorilla was the word, “Duh!” Now, I know that “just do it!” is one of those “duh” comments, a “no-brainer” that I should have got long time ago, but the ego has been very clever at trying to convince me that that there’s just something wrong with me and that there are all sorts of reasons why I can’t just do it. Now I know that, not only can I just do it, but I can also stop listening to the ego telling me that I can’t! “I rule my mind” (Lesson 236) is coming in very handy these days.
I often tell my students the story of my friend, Rabiah, who is a nurse and she often used to walk to the hospital where she worked. She would be walking along and the ego would be having a field day with her, filling her mind with all sorts of worries and fears. Then one day, she stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk and said a very vehement, “No!” and then walked on calmly and at peace. She was amazed at the power that simple word had. Now, this doesn’t mean that it silenced the ego forever, but it did give her a sense of the power of decision in her and the fact that she did indeed rule her mind.
I can stop listening to the ego; all I have to do is stop listening. “just do it!” When the ego tries to whisper its lies in my ears and show me fearful images, “[I] need but say, ‘I will not look there because I know these images are not true.'” (T-4.IV.9:2).
I can see infinite possibilities here for myself and also for my students: “If you resist practicing your lessons, just do them.” “If you find it hard to get motivated to do your evening practice, just do it.” “If you don’t feel like coming to class; just come.” Dwelling on the not doing is a great way to avoid the doing. This is so obvious. I know it may sound simplistic, because after all, as we often say, “it’s not that easy.” That’s what the ego would have us believe. It wants us to think that this is hard work that asks sacrifice of us, rather than the most natural and loving thing we can do for ourselves.
I feel so excited about these insights. I now see that there is nothing really holding me back from just doing it. I can rule my mind and I want to. I am practicing more faithfully than ever before and with gladness and gratitude. I am beginning to feel that every practice day is a day of special celebration.