I really enjoyed teaching our Text Reading Program class last evening here at Course Oasis. We finished the last sections in Chapter 29 and started into Chapter 30. Our discussion was lively, and I had an insight that had me marvelling at how clever the ego is.
We started the evening off with Section VIII, “The Anti-Christ” with its teachings on idols, the forms that the anti-Christ takes in the world––and in our lives. This is the section with the great questions and answers, “What is an idol”? Nothing!…Where is an idol? Nowhere!” That sure puts idols in their place.
It was the comments in paragraphs 8 and 9 that really got to me. In these paragraphs, Jesus talk about “more”:
What purpose has an idol, then? What is it for? … The world believes in idols. No one comes unless he worshipped them, and still attempts to seek for one that yet might offer him a gift reality does not contain. Each worshipper of idols harbors hope his special deities will give him more than other men possess. It must be more. It does not really matter more of what; more beauty, more intelligence, more wealth, or even more affliction and more pain. But more of something is an idol for. And when one fails another takes its place, with hope of finding more of something else. Be not deceived by forms the “something“ takes. An idol is a means for getting more. And it is this that is against God‘s Will. (8:1-2,4-12)
He then goes on to say,
God has not many sons, but only one. Who can have more, and who be given less? … For more than Heaven can you never have. If Heaven is within, why would you seek for idols that would make of Heaven less, to give you more than God bestowed upon your brother and on you, as one with Him? God gave you all there is. … No idol can establish you as more than God. But you will never be content with being less. (9:1-2,5-7,10-11)
As I read these comments, they reminded me of what Jesus says about “something else.” In relation to things, he says, for instance:
If you will keep in mind what the Holy Spirit offers you, you cannot be vigilant for anything but God and His Kingdom. The only reason you may find this hard to accept is because you may still think there is something else. (T-7.VI.7:1-2)
He also talks about us as seeing ourselves as something else:
The “something else” you thought was you is an illusion. (T-22.I.10:4)
And in Lesson 97 (“I am spirit”), he urges us to use the words of the lesson title as a response to temptation:
Use them against temptation, and escape its sorry consequences if you yield to the belief that you are something else. (8:4)
Putting these two concepts of “more” and “something else” together, I had the thought that when I seek for something else or for more, I am not only seeking something else or more, but I am also seeking to be something else or something more. (Often they are the same thing!) Jesus tells us that having and being are the same, so having something else or more “convinces” me that I am something else or more. That’s the purpose of the “something else” and the “more.” Furthermore, I seek for something else or more because I want to be something else or more! How crazy! When I’ve been given everything by God and have been created as everything (to follow the having and being reasoning), it is totally insane to want to be something else or more.
Looking for things in the world to content us is a clever ploy on the ego’s part. Of course, that’s been its plan all along: to get us to believe that we are not the holy Sons of God given all His gifts equally with one another. How easily we can fall for it! However, we can take heart from these words from the end of paragraph 9 quoted above:
No idol can establish you as more than God. But you will never be content with being less.