Saturday, November 22, 2014

God Or The Ego?

The spiritual life can be like a roller coaster with ups and downs, twists and turns, incredible highs and sluggish lows where our momentum in life seems to bottom out.

I have been in a low, bottoming out, but the spiritual reality is always softly humming in the background even though it seems reluctant to come to the foreground - until yesterday when I returned once again to the incredible, difficult, enlightening but maddening A Course In Miracles.

So, I will begin again on Chapter 11 where we are confronted with the question, God Or The Ego?, and I wonder if you might be interested in joining me on this gentle exploration of the inner world?

Our Unitarian Universalist faith draws from many sources and we are a people of many books. We don't limit ourselves to just one. In my life I have studied the Christian  bible, the Tao Te Ching, many of the Buddhist scriptures, looked at the Koran, and A Course In Miracles which I have studied now for 25 years.

A Course In Miracles can be dense and intellectualized and it is easy to get lost in metaphysical concepts and speculations, but then there are times when it is stunningly crystal clear and understandings slam you like a whack with a 2 x 4 across the side of your noggin. Here is one such smack:

"The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father."

I have been reflecting on the viciousness of gossip, calumny, irreverence which has come to be called "snark" and it is passed off defensively sometimes as entertainment, comedy, but it is done at someone else's expense. The mockery, the ridicule, might be helpful if it puncture's the bubble of someone's ego which has become inflated and arrogant, but we should remember than underneath the ego is a child of God.

As Unitarian Universalists we covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person and if our snark, our mockery, our ridicule, our satire points to the fraudulence of the ego this might be holy work, the work of the court jester or the holy fool who points out the folly, the hypocrisy, the hubris of human egos, but at the same time that we mock the work of the ego, we must also be respectful and reverent about the underlying divine spark which has been buried in misguided projection and confabulation.

God, Life, is our origin, our Father and Mother, the ground of creation. When we forget this, and think we are our own creation, masters of our own life, that we can manage our own affairs by ourselves, we have lost our way, our humility, our reverence, a sense of gratitude for our radical dependence on others and life. Let us rise above our egos and praise God, praise the Spirit of Life, our Higher Power whatever we conceive that Higher Power to be.


  1. So good to see the UUAWOL back. I, too, love the Course and I am looking forward to following along with you. My spiritual life also seems like a roller coaster ride with highs and lows.

    The point about snark and irony being such a part of our post modern society that any sense of reverence is deeply repressed is very meaningful for me. I have noticed the same thing. The avoidance of this ironic, snarky posture often seems to lead to avoidance contributing to dead, boring, and cliched preaching which is almost as deadly because it lacks spirit; it is not inspirational. The recent adoption of the burning chalice as the symbol of UU is appropriate and meaningful, but UU has yet to find its focus on the "fire in the belly". Would that we could ignite a fire not to save the world but to save ourselves.

  2. Thank you Susan for your comments on this article. My spiritual life also has peaks and valleys and of course even St. John of the Cross wrote about the dark night of the soul. I think UUs sometimes turn toward the ego when they get caught up in social justice work. Not that SJW is not important, but when people get caught up in becoming attached to a certain outcome they are in endangered in getting caught up in idolatry instead of manifesting an inspired faith. We should always remember our spiritual roots and not get caught up in secular politics. As Jesus said, Give Caesar the things that are Caesar's and God the things that are God's. I fear that often UUs can't tell the difference and then they are lost at sea.

  3. So good to have you back. I am interested in ACIM and will be following the discussions. I am willing to contribute what I can as we go along. I am new to ACIM and find it very difficult but also intriguing. I'm hoping the articles and comments here can make it more approachable for me with my UU faith and background.



  4. I'm glad to see that you you way of life is back. I too am interested in hey Course in Miracles and I look forward to the articles that attempt to apply ACIM 2 Unitarian Universalism.

    The points made in the article about whether we choose God or the ego seems like a simple question to answer when it is put in this format. I can tell when I get caught up in drama and my ego takes over with competition, jealousy, envy, resentment, grievances towards others. I have learned at that point that I am in need of an attitude adjustment.

    I look forward to the future articles and I appreciate the good work that is being done on this blog. I find that it helps me in my spiritual life by focusing on things that are really important.