I am often asked the question, “How do I know if I’m making a decision for ego purposes vs. if I am making the decision with the Holy Spirit?”
My answer: “You don’t have to worry about figuring it out.” Here’s why.
As long as you are willing to give EVERYTHING you are inclined to do to the Holy Spirit, you can be certain that any ego that is there will gently fall away when you are ready to let it go. We can’t get this wrong! Your willingness doesn’t even need to be wholly authentic, because “the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation” (T-5.VII.6).
It is an ego trap to think that we have to analyze our way through a decision. We can get easily lost in thought and doubt which can prevent us from making any decision at all, and this noisy thought can prevent us further from hearing the Holy Spirit.
Here’s an example. When I first entered the realm of blogging and coaching several years ago, I had big ideas of what it might look like. I felt guided to do the work that was embarking on, and yet I was certain that ego was still there as well, as I know how sneaky it can be. Instead of getting caught in “what was ego” and “what was Spirit,” I made it a regular practice to give my ideas of what I was doing and who I might help to the Holy Spirit.
My regular practice is to go through and name my “laundry list” of attachments, desires, beliefs, etc., and one by one, toss each thing into the Holy Spirit’s hands. Career stuff is no exception. Through constantly giving the work that I do to the Holy Spirit, something has shifted in me. I no longer have a “drive to achieve.” It has transformed into something a bit different. Now I’m utterly compelled to do the work that I’m doing, almost as if I’m being carried. I can’t keep it in. And thoughts about “what might come of this” don’t really enter my mind anymore. Sharing, teaching, and learning are just things that I have to do. Could there still be ego there? Maybe. But I don’t worry about it because I give everything I do to the Holy Spirit to be used on behalf of awakening.
The Holy Spirit will use ANYTHING we’ve made on behalf of our awakening, if we are willing to give it to the Holy Spirit for reinterpretation. This includes our jobs, our relationships, our bodies, our desires, and our dreams.
“You need be neither careful nor careless; you need merely cast your cares upon Him because He careth for you.” – ACIM (T-5.VII. The Decision for God)
As I’ve done this laundry list practice in which I give ALL my cares to Spirit, the Voice of the Holy Spirit has grown louder in my mind. I experience this Voice as a quiet but resonant feeling in the core of my being. It is not urgent, it is not impatient. It is like a vibrating feeling of pure joyful stillness.
If you aren’t sure what the Voice of the Holy Spirit sounds like within yourself, turn within, and simply ask Spirit for HELP to learn how to hear this Inner Voice. One of our big blocks in hearing Spirit is that we FIRST decide what we want and THEN ask Spirit to help us make a decision. We wonder why we don’t hear Spirit’s response!
“This is your major problem now. You still make up your mind, and then decide to ask what you should do” (T-30.I.3).
You might not realize that you have already made up your mind in the outcome you want, and so again, all you need is a tiny speck of willingness to see differently by giving ALL your desires and decisions to the Holy Spirit (Also check out “Rules for decision” in A Course in Miracles. It is REALLY helpful. You can find it here: T-30.I in the FIP edition; p. 682 in Sparkle edition; or Chapter 30, Part II in the Original Edition).
So next time you have to make a decision and you’re wondering if you’re doing it with ego vs. Spirit, follow these simple steps.
- Does one particular path feel “right?”
- Get honest with Spirit (i.e. yourSelf) about any fears that are present surrounding the decision
- Get honest with yourSelf – have you already decided the outcome that you want?
- Offer your fears and your desired outcome to Spirit.
- Proceed to do what you feel inclined to do while giving your action to Spirit.
Trust that you’ll learn exactly what you need to because you’ve given your decision to Spirit, and ego will fall away as you’re ready to let it go. “A happy learner cannot feel guilty about learning” (T-14.III.1). We need to go THROUGH our lessons, and not skip over them, in order to learn that we WANT the Peace of God. If we get caught up in worry about “will I/did I do the right thing?” this is a lovely ego trap to keep us frozen and listening to its insane voice. We can choose to not listen to this “puff of madness” (T-20.III.8).
As we go THROUGH our lessons, and bring EVERYTHING to the Holy Spirit, we’re no longer supplying the ego with soil to plant its roots. Instead, we’re learning that our roots are ALREADY firmly planted in the Love that we’ve never left.