The following was a letter to a friend who was in prison for a crime committed during one of his many bouts with addiction to cocaine. He wanted to wake up but was fixated on his particular dream.
I had known Charles for ten years and during this time he had been incarcerated four times. This time it was for ten years. Prior to this he had been incarcerated at least five times, all while on a cocaine rampage. He was released at the age of 50 having spent most of his life in prison.
Without purpose that can be applied regardless of the circumstances of his life, Charles’ situation would have been cause for desperation. My point in sharing this letter is that without purpose we are all hopelessly caught in our pitiful little dreams, be they pleasurable or painful.
This answer to your concerns about your incarceration comes from the heart. May it go to the heart, find its mark, and be helpful.
The brick and mortar prison that you find yourself in is a metaphor for the situation we all find ourselves in. The prison I am referring to is the mind that is ruled by the ego.
The ego is the thought of separation taking form. It is a prison house of our own making. Self-centered and selfish the ego sees everything in relationship to itself. The ego thinks the body is its home.
As if imprisonment were not bad enough the ego’s practice is to inflict pain or suffer pain instead of helping one another to escape. Of course I am speaking metaphorically. The escape from the prison house we have all made is accomplished only by learning that the person we think we are, that long lasting separate entity, is not what we are.
No one asleep and dreaming knows the way out of the dream he is dreaming. After all he believes it is real. He needs help.
The escape is through the mind and everyone, regardless of the circumstances of his life must come to that realization. Humans tend to make comfort, safety and security their goal and when they get them they think they have escaped the prison of separate interests. What they have attained is a pleasant form of fear.
Changing the circumstances of our life is not a change at all because it is the mind that needs to change. It is not hard to see that we take the thought system that we live by with us wherever we go. It’s all about us. To use a common analogy, changing circumstances is like shifting around the deck chairs on the Titanic. What difference will it make? The mind ruled by the ego is a sinking ship. It needs a new captain, not a change of location.
Once you have made the decision to become a happy learner from The Teacher for Truth the outcome is certain. You will escape the dream. How long the journey takes depends upon your trust in The Teacher and your willingness to bring the darkness in you to Him.
Choosing between the ego thought system of self-absorption and The Teacher’s thought system of healing is the only power the mind has. The rest of the time it’s idling, going nowhere.
Our relationships provide the opportunities for us to learn what’s in our mind. The ego’s thought system of separation goes like this:
1. The other guy is the guilty one.
2. If it weren’t for him (the other guy), my life would be peaceful and happy. (Conclusion: My anger is justified.)
3. I’m right. He’s wrong.
4. Somebody should pay, and it’s not going to be me. I’m innocent.
5. The other guy should be the one to suffer.
Behind every encounter some version of the above is always going on when the ego is ruling your mind. It only takes one person to stop playing this game. You. To do this you must have the desire to learn from a different teacher—the one that would free you and your brother together.
The Holy Spirit’s thought system, which you have chosen to learn because you are a student of A Course in Miracles, sees your brother differently. He sees
1. The other guy is innocent regardless of his behavior because he is not a body.
2. He is present in your life to help you escape from your dream of isolation.
3. There is no loss to anyone. Both parties gain.
4. Your attitude toward your brother is your attitude toward yourself.
5. You and your brother are joined in mind. Changing your mind changes all minds.
“Together or not at all” is the Holy Spirit’s mantra.
You get to choose between the ego and the Teacher of Truth. That makes you the ultimate Decision Maker. All power and glory is in your hands. It is the only freedom you have in this world.
To choose the Holy Spirit as your Teacher you must recognize when the ego is in charge, acknowledge that you no longer want it to rule your mind and ask the Holy Spirit for His Teaching instead. It’s really simple to tell which you have chosen. When you operate under the ego’s rule you don’t feel loving and happy. Simple.
Everyone you meet is your savior from isolation. By seeing our relationships in this way, every day becomes an exciting chance to remember our true undivided nature. Purpose is everything!
Everyone engaged in dreaming is trying to get rid guilt by dumping it on someone else. Refuse to blame the other guy for your misery. (The real source of your misery is your choice to be a self-centered, special, individual entity.) Ask The Teacher for help. You are not going to be able to rehabilitate yourself.
“Humility … does require that you be not content with less than greatness that comes not of you.” – A Course in Miracles, T.381.