Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability. He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives, which is equally variable. (T-4.II.2:1)
We all have an ego personality self we made, at the level of the mind, that we now think we are. This personality self was made by the ego, like the body, to be separate and special with. The ego uses both the body and the personality self to make the specialness and separation real. Bodies have special different shapes, sizes and colors. They are perceived by themselves and other selves as appealing or not appealing, as strong or weak, young or old and all other forms of comparisons. Bodies have different “carnal” desires. They have different levels of sickness and health. The personality selves have different feelings and emotions, likes and dislikes, values, opinions, experiences, achievements, failures, degrees of mental “health”etc. For the ego, they are both a goldmine of specialness opportunities and witnesses to the “reality” of the illusion and therefore the separation. We are very protective of them.
Think of the love of animals for their offspring, and the need they feel to protect them. That is because they regard them as part of themselves. No one dismisses something he considers part of himself. You react to your ego much as God does to His creations,–with love, protection and charity. Your reactions to the self you made are not surprising. In fact, they resemble in many ways how you will one day react to your real creations, which are as timeless as you are. (T-4.II.4:1-6)
Any threat to the belief that you are the body and the personality self and that their protection is necessary, is met with resistance by most. These cherished ego idols are an integral part of the ego’s “defense against the truth” thought system.
Undermining the ego’s thought system must be perceived as painful, even though this is anything but true. Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or scissors, although they may well harm themselves if you do not. In this sense you are still a baby. You have no sense of real self-preservation, and are likely to decide that you need precisely what would hurt you most. Yet whether or not you recognize it now, you have agreed to cooperate in the effort to become both harmless and helpful, attributes that must go together. (T-4.II.5:1-5)
Hidden by the face of innocence stories we tell ourselves, these selves, we made-up, only interact with other egos to prove that they are real.
“Giving to get” is an inescapable law of the ego, which always evaluates itself in relation to other egos. It is therefore continually preoccupied with the belief in scarcity that gave rise to it. Its whole perception of other egos as real is only an attempt to convince itself that it is real. (T-4.II.6:5-9)
These personality selves are not what they seem. Our unawareness of that fact is causing prolonged suffering. The ego wants you dead, but not itself. (T-15.I.3:3) The ego including, our personality selves, at their core, want the mind dead. If we will let Him, the Holy Spirit will teach us the true nature of our personality selves. Their perceived reality is a block to love’s presence.
The body and the personality self were made-up by the ego as part of its grand plan to keep the separation going forever. When you leave this body and this personality self, you go on to the next in the dream. You will have another body, another personality self, other familial relationships, other goals, other values, other likes and dislikes, other pains and pleasures and you will choose to believe that they are just as real as the ones you are presently experiencing. And such is the ego’s game. The game we made-up to pretend we were separate from God, Heaven and our Self.
Everyone who needs help, regardless of the form of his distress, is attacking himself, and his peace of mind is suffering in consequence. These tendencies are often described as “self-destructive,” and the patient often regards them in that way himself. What he does not realize and needs to learn is that this “self,” which can attack and be attacked as well, is a concept he made up. Further, he cherishes it, defends it, and is sometimes even willing to “sacrifice” his “life” on its behalf. For he regards it as himself. This self he sees as being acted on, reacting to external forces as they demand, and helpless midst the power of the world. (P-1.3:1-6)
How do we escape the cycle of seeming birth and death? The cycle of suffering? We must be willing to forgive this self and let it disappear.
Forgiveness is acquired. It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin. As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you. Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear. Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin. (W-121.6:1-5)
But before that can happen, we must be willing to end our denial. We must admit that we are protecting this self we think is us. We think we will die without all of its made up stories about itself and its “life.” And we must refuse to go through endless cycles of birth and death where we take the ego’s coaching to make it real, where we play the ego’s game of separation. No more. Holy Spirit I only want the truth. No matter what. Show me the way. If Jesus did what was asked of him, we can surely do what is asked of us.