How to Deal with Miracle Impulses and Ego Impulses: Summary of a Class Presentation

In yesterday’s class, I asked us to choose one out of four themes as the one that was most relevant for us to work on. Here they are:

  1. Telling ego impulses and miracle impulses apart

My point here is that ego impulses and miracle impulses are truly different, and feel different. So to tell them apart we just need to want to; we just need to be honest with ourselves. But this is easier said than done. The way the impulses present themselves to us is already deceptive. Our unnatural ego impulses present themselves as natural. Our natural higher impulses show up as artificial impositions imposed from outside.

As a result, telling the impulses apart is a process. It’s something we need to learn to do over time. We need to learn to gradually undeceive ourselves. In this, experience matters. And we can also benefit greatly from help from others, who have more objectivity about our impulses than we do.

James (Mary Anne’s husband) made the excellent suggestion that we use the four criteria from Lesson 133: Does it last forever? Are we taking from someone else? Is our purpose in it to serve the ego or the truth? Do we feel guilty about it?

  1. Watching for miracle impulses

Here I talked about holding ourselves in a state of miracle-readiness. This means keeping our minds right-side up, primarily through Workbook practice. But it also means being vigilant for miracle impulses showing up in our minds. To adapt a biblical injunction, “You too must stand ready because the [miracle impulse] is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

In what form do they show up? Here are two examples, one from Helen’s guidance before The Song of Prayer, and one from Psychotherapy:

This does not mean that you cannot get messages for another, if it is God Who chooses this way of reaching him.  This will usually happen unexpectedly, generally in the form of a sudden feeling that you have something to tell him; a message to deliver.

They [distant patients who need your help] will be sent in whatever form is most helpful; a name, a thought, a picture, an idea, or perhaps just a feeling of reaching out to someone somewhere. (P-3.I.3:8)

So we need not only to keep our minds in a right-minded state, we need to also watch out for the arrival of impulses like the above examples.

  1. Guided vs. indiscriminate miracle impulses

Not all miracle impulses are meant to be expressed. In some cases, the miracle receiver is not open to the miracle. In other cases, doing that miracle would not fit with our lives. It might be too exhausting for us in our current state, or it might conflict with other obligations we have (for instance, Jesus told Helen that she needed to stop taking dictation in time to punctually get to work in the morning).

Jesus therefore urges us to ask him before we do a miracle. He says that the miracle level should be under his control.

This is especially relevant, I said, for those of us who, like Helen, tend to be over-responders, and are therefore likely to overdo it with expressing miracle impulses. (The

rest of us are more like Bill, tending to under-respond to our miracle impulses.) As an analogy, Helen tended to hopelessly overwater her houseplants.

  1. Expressing only guided miracle impulses–the right use of inhibition

At one point, Jesus asks us to say to him, “If you want me to I will,” and then add, “and if you don’t want me to I won’t.” He ties this to retroactive inhibition, in which new learning makes it more difficult to recall old learning that conflicts with the new.

What I get from that is that the new mode of behavior must inhibit our old mode. The new mode is letting ourselves be guided in expressing only the right impulses. And that

needs to inhibit the old mode of expressing impulses willy-nilly—both ego miracles and miracle impulses.

Which one is most relevant for you to focus on?

In the class, I asked you to try to get a sense of which one you should focus on at this time. Let’s use the blog to share how that is going for us.

Here is a suggestion: Try being sensitive to those subtle impulses to share on this blog about how this is going for you.