As A Course in Miracles teaches us, our mind is seemingly split into two. We are either listening to the ego or the Holy Spirit as we go about our lives, that is until we could undo the illusory ego — the wrong frame of our mind that thinks that we are separated from God — and becomes enlightened. The script of all our lives have already been written since the instant we dream of separation and we are now merely watching the replays. While we cannot change the script, it is possible to save time and skip the lessons that we have already learnt. It is also possible for us to change the dimensions that we appear to be in. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit has laid out the happier path for us to return home and we can choose to walk that path when we are willing to listen to his guidance.
It is dangerous to think that we know what is best for ourselves. That kind of thinking cannot be more wrong. As A Course in Miracles pointed out, if we knew what is right for us, we would not be here in the first place. When we are willing or remember to ask and listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we are more likely to shift our perception from the ego’s to the Holy Spirit’s. We forgive more quickly. Problems that are seemingly impossible become resolved with never thought of solutions. The Holy Spirit will also guide us if we need to respond to a situation and how to respond to it in the best possible way. It is like buying the best guidebook to navigating life except it is freely available to us in our mind.
Yet, many students of A Course in Miracles have difficulties listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. This is common as the ego mind is still very much present. However, as one consistently and diligently practice true forgiveness and undo the ego gradually, the voice of the Holy Spirit will become clearer. Effectively, when we forgive because nothing is real here and our brother has not done what we think he did, the Holy Spirit will do the rest of the work to heal our mind. As the ego mind is being undone, the obstacles to love are being removed and hence the voice of the Holy Spirit which is perfect love becomes clearer.
So how do we differentiate the voice of the ego from the Holy Spirit? Here are some tips:
1. The ego thrives on specialness. The ego wants you to think that you are special, that you are different from others or better than others. Sometimes, the specialness is projected onto an idol, either an object that you desire or a special someone who has something that you do not have or possess. The vast majority of our relationships are also based on the principle of specialness, either special love (romance) relationship or special hate relationship. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, will tell you that you and your brothers are one and the same. There is only one Son of God, Christ, and when we join with our brothers, we become one.
2. The ego tends to speak first. The ego is usually loud and raucous, metaphorically. It is impatient and scheming. It simply does not want you to hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit as it means its eventual elimination. Be patient, the voice of Holy Spirit can take a while to perceive. When you first ask for guidance, it may not come immediately as the Holy Spirit knows that you are confused and perhaps still in fear. You can first ask the Holy Spirit to help you heal your perception. Then ask what the Holy Spirit would have you do. His guidance will choose to come in a form that is more receptive for you later when you are more relaxed, which brings us to the next point.
3. The voice of Holy Spirit is not necessarily what you imagined it to be. For example, you may get an idea when you first wake up in the morning or you may see a sign literally. Some will hear it as an inner voice in their heads. It may also come to you from other people as the Holy Spirit could use them to communicate to you. As the course reminds us, the only meaningful purpose of the bodies is for communication. In an interview, Helen Schucman, the “scribe” of A Course in Miracles, explained the communication as a knowing. Sometimes, if she was not sure about the right word for the book, she will visualize a blackboard in her mind and the right word will “appear” on the blackboard. Know that the Holy Spirit will communicate in a way that is most appropriate for each individual.
4. Ego is based on fear, Holy Spirit is based on love. If the voice or message is based on fear or makes you feel fearful, that is definitely not the Holy Spirit but the ego. The Holy Spirit is perfect love and incapable of giving you any fear-based message or guidance. You will feel inspired when you receive the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Personally, I also feel it as something I “should” do. The Holy Spirit is also always about giving and never about being selfish because He knows that true giving is really giving to yourself. There is only one of us. Having said that, sometimes we are asked to do nothing as the Holy Spirit sees the bigger picture and knows what is best. Our false empathy could have otherwise come from guilt.
5. The Holy Spirit is consistent and will tell you the same thing in multiple ways. Unlike the ego which keeps changing its messages since it is unsure of itself or scheming in different ways to get you to listen to it and making the body real, the Holy Spirit knows the truth and the truth is simple. The Holy Spirit will tell you in a thousand ways that love is all that matters. So, if you are ever unsure about the Holy Spirit’s guidance, feel free to ask for guidance again and you will find yourself receiving the same message in multiple ways until you get it.
6. Only the ego would have doubts. The Holy Spirit is clear and consistent for there is only one truth and the truth is simple — that we are innocent. If you feel doubtful about something, most likely it is the ego making noises. Calm yourself and give yourself time to receive the Holy Spirit’s guidance later. Be open to the form that the Holy Spirit chooses to communicate to you. It may not be what you have expected.
7. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance on what to do instead of asking Him for something. The Holy Spirit does not do anything on the level of form since the universe (i.e. form) is an illusion and does not truly exist. The Holy Spirit is only concerned with content, i.e. our mind. He focuses on the cause, our thoughts in our mind, and not the effect which is what happens as a result of the projection from our mind on the level of form. Therefore, we should not ask Holy Spirit to do something for us on the level of form, but we could and should always ask the Holy Spirit for guidance on what to do. If you feel upset over anything, ask Holy Spirit to help you heal your perception first before giving you guidance on what you should do.
8. The Holy Spirit is patient with a sense of humor. Time is an illusion. There is no time in reality and nothing to hurry to. In truth, we have all eternity. The course reminds us that we will be told what we need to know. The Holy Spirit actually has a good sense of humor. Just take a look at Arten and Pursah in Gary Renard’s books. As manifestations of the Holy Spirit in physical form, they love to joke around with Gary. The Holy Spirit will be the first to remind you not to take things in form too seriously, otherwise we are falling pray to the ego who wants us to be invested in this reality to keep us in the illusion that we are separated from God.
Hope these tips are helpful and do be patient. Have faith and practise true forgiveness diligently. Do not be afraid of the ego which is just the part of our mind that thinks that we could be separated from God. As you undo the ego gradually, you will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit more clearly. More importantly, this guidance is freely available to everyone of us. Why not start using it and be happier?
Here’s an excellent article by Kenneth Wapnick on asking the Holy Spirit what to do.