Jason Zweig is a finance columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Several years ago he shared a bit of wisdom gleaned from his father.
“There are three ways to make a living,” the elder Zweig counseled:
- Lie to people who want to be lied to, and you’ll get rich.
- Tell the truth to those who want the truth, and you’ll make a living.
- Tell the truth to those who want to be lied to, and you’ll go broke.
Not only an apt description of modern journalism, this poignantly witty insight provides a perfect metaphor for understanding the nature of mind.
Using the split mind concept described in A Course in Miracles, we have the self-centered view of reality referred to as the ego. And the source-centered reflection of truth known as knowledge.
In each moment we are choosing one of those two: either ego-framed “self” awareness or a knowledge-based “source” experience. And we always know which choice we made based on how we feel.
If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned [from source]. The absence of perfect peace means but one thing: You think [with the ego]. (T-14.XI.5)
And if we’re honest with ourselves, we rarely, if ever, experience “perfect peace.” Which, as the course points out, is attributable to our investment in choosing the ego.
The ego’s success at earning our attention is clearly described in Zweig’s first point: lie to people who want to be lied to, and you’ll get rich.
So what are the lies, and more importantly, why do we want to be lied to?
Do we believe having more money, robust bodily health, an enhanced self image, improved relationships, friendlier societal interactions, or fewer viruses will make us happier? Or, at least, less miserable?
Do we believe that our pains and joys come from the goings-on of the world and our body?
Do we wake up with ourselves and the people we care about at the center of our thoughts?
If yes to any of those, then we are believing a lie. And desiring it. And enriching the ego. While making ourselves poor.
The knowledge-reflected component of the split mind has a much more difficult task. It attempts to “tell the truth to those who want to be lied to” - a seemingly impoverishing endeavor.
The truth is that all our experiences of pain and joy are the result of a decision: which component of the split mind we wish to align. But we’re not ready to consider such a non-intuitive framework. In fact, we actively resist it. Much like reading news from a media outlet antithetical to our political proclivities.
It’s somewhat ironic that upon realizing we indeed want to be lied to that we open ourselves to the source of truth. And in that moment, we become rich.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll explore these concepts in greater detail, including why we want to be lied to and practices for making the decision that leads to bountiful peace. I look forward to seeing you then.