A friend related an experience from when she was a little girl attending the movie theater with her father. The film was not very good, and my friend was terribly bored. She anticipated another two hours of deplorable suffering.
At that moment, her father stood up beside her, took her hand, and led her out of the theater.
"We can leave? Just like that?" she bewilderedly asked.
"Of course honey. We paid for the tickets. We can leave anytime we want."
It's a wonderfully empowering concept - that we can say no to certain things we've freely chosen. Unfortunately we all too often do not realize or accept that liberating occasion.
I've read so many books that I considered abandoning midway through. Yet some sort of self-imposed moral obligation necessitated my completion. In nearly all cases I'd eventually finish and be left with the unsettling sense that I'd wasted an inordinate amount of time.
Saying no may not only reclaim lost opportunity, it can also help immensely on our spiritual journey - particularly in regard to denying the ego. But before we can say no to the ego, we must first realize we've been silently shouting yes.
Consider these powerful lines from A Course in Miracles:
You are a mirror of truth, in which God Himself shines in perfect light. To the ego’s dark glass you need but say, “I will not look there because I know these images are not true.” Then let the Holy One shine on you in peace, knowing that this and only this must be. (T-4.IV.9)
We've been looking through the ego's "dark glass" for years, if not lifetimes. And every movie we watch through such a lens is horrifically distressing. Yet we don't realize we bought the ticket and made the choice - and continue to do so.
Until we realize that there's another alternative. As we're prompted in the course, "Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God?" (T-11.II.7)
And now an older brother stands up beside us, reaches out his hand and says, "We can leave anytime we want and escape this pain. How about now?"
Join me in Thursday's class where we'll explore what it means to walk out of the theater of the ego, and how that choice brings us infinite peace. I look forward to seeing you then.