only this is real

I was at my brother’s wedding this weekend, which was quite the extravaganza. Like, it probably could have been on a TV show about million-dollar weddings or something.

To give you an idea, here’s what the head table looks like (13 bridesmaids and groomsmen + dates)…

head table

This is not an environment that I often find myself in. Too much of everything. I was sitting in my room before we left for the church, and could feel myself getting more and more overwhelmed. I was running through everything that needed to happen, and it was spiraling out of control because of just how massive this wedding was.

I took a step back and told myself “only this is real”, like only this moment, me quietly sitting alone in my hotel room. All of that stuff that was running through my head didn’t exist. It didn’t matter. But my ego didn’t like this very much. And it wasn’t even so much that it wanted to churn through all this wedding stuff, as it just wanted to occupy itself with something. When I said only this is real, it was like “NO! I need to always be improving, contemplating something, trying to understand more and learn something.” It wasn’t happy just existing, because this is essentially the death of the ego. It can only exist in time. In one of its self-made illusions.

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chapter 4, section V “the ego body illusion”, paragraph 6, sentence 4

“By becoming involved with tangential issues, it hopes to hide the real question and keep it out of mind. The ego’s characteristic bussy-ness with nonessentials is for precisely that purpose. Preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are favorite ego devices for impending learning progress.”

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This significantly helped with the worry surrounding the wedding, but repeating “only this is real” still made me very uncomfortable. And when this happens, I’m like a little kid who found something interesting on the bayou, and keeps poking it with a stick until his curiosity is satisfied.

So tonight I was on a walk, pondering that statement, and I noticed that when I told myself that only this moment was real, this sidewalk… trees… shoes… breeze… it led to a serious feeling of loneliness. That it’s just me. Isolated. This is an emotion that has plagued me since I was a child, but tonight I noticed something for the first time. This loneliness was a creation of the ego. It wasn’t real. It’s a device the ego uses to perpetuate itself. To perpetuate separateness.

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chapter 4, section 6 “the rewards of God” paragraph 4

“The ego and the spirit do not know each other. The separated mind cannot maintain the separation except by dissociating. Having done this, it denies all truly natural impulses, not because the ego is a separate thing, but because you want to believe that you are. The ego is a device for maintaining this belief, but it is still only your decision to use the device that enables it to endure.”

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It’s hard to illustrate how big this is for me. Loneliness is probably one of the most often used weapons of my ego. Something I’ve been trapped within my whole life. Loneliness and isolation are like cornerstones of my identity.

Or… at least they were a year ago. Recently, as I started to develop much closer friendships, this has significantly diminished. It would still pop up pretty frequently, but didn’t have the same grasp on me that it used to. So it’s been gradually weakening, and tonight was a major blow to what was remaining. It’s like the ego is dying a slow death, and is pulling out its biggest most reliable tools, but is finding that they no longer work as well as they used to.

Loneliness isn’t real… how… freeing…

And isn’t is it cool to see how the course keeps facilitating this new understanding? I read both of the passages quoted above a week ago. They struck me as being important at the time, but it’s like a gift that keeps on giving. There’s an initial understanding, but a continual unfoldment after that as you witness the truth in action.

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