Waking up from the dream of anxiety is a gentle, gradual, and loving process. To move from anxiety to love, we have to learn to distinguish between the two voices in our mind and choose the voice we want to listen to. For each of us, there is a part of our mind that is sane and a part that is insane. The sane part is our Inner Therapist, who is the link back to remembering our Loving Source. The insane part is the ego, which believes itself to be exiled from its Source, and which views the body as its home and ally.
Turn on the nightly news, and you’ll instantly see ego insanity in action. The world is full of it. In the twisted theme park that is this earthly realm, dream figures utterly convince us of our separation from one another. This park has two attendants who are present to us during every moment of our visit. One is the ego, and the other is our Inner Therapist. We can hear both their voices, but the “ego always speaks first” and loudest (ACIM T-5.VI.3:5).
By choosing to listen to your Inner Therapist instead of the ego, you can repurpose every experience you go through in this theme park, changing it from an attempt by the ego to keep you asleep into an effort by the Inner Therapist to help you wake up.
The ego might tell you that you need to win tons of shiny tokens in the boardwalk games in order to be happy. Your Inner Therapist will tell you that winning or losing those tokens doesn’t define who you are, and your safety doesn’t depend on winning. When the roller coaster breaks down and you’re stuck in midair, the ego will tell you you’re vulnerable and should be terrified. Your Inner Therapist will remind you to think of the experience as an opportunity to trust that you are safe no matter what the circumstances. When you eat too much cotton candy and get a bellyache, the ego will use that as evidence that you must be a body. Repurposed through your Inner Therapist, the bellyache becomes an opportunity to learn that you are not your body.
Listening to Your Inner Therapist
You might now be asking, “How do I hear my Inner Therapist? How do I distinguish between the voice of the ego and the Voice of my Inner Therapist?” This takes practice, and we’ll explore some ways to do it. I have worked with many people who have felt paralyzed in making decisions because they were unsure whether their “guidance” was coming from ego or from their Inner Therapist. But ultimately, you don’t have to worry about figuring it out. As long as you are willing to consistently turn to your Inner Therapist, you can be certain that any ego that is present will gently fall away as you are ready to let it go. The more you do this, the better you will become at distinguishing between these two voices.
In my experience, the voice of the ego is any thought that is judgmental or fearful, or has a negative sense of urgency to it (like “You better do this now, or else!”). It makes you feel unworthy, and it limits your sense of self to a body. Because “the ego always speaks first,” it grabs most of our time and attention. But the good news is that your Inner Therapist “does not speak first, but He always answers” (ACIM T-6.IV.3:2).
The Voice of our Inner Therapist is very quiet — so quiet that it is easily drowned out by the endless distractions of the world. This Voice is a loving and gentle teacher that I experience not as words or sound, but as a feeling — a lightness at the core of my being. Although the body is not our true reality, it can be used as a communication device once we give its purpose over to our Inner Therapist instead of to ego. That means we can actually sense the Voice of the Inner Therapist in our own body.
I can also perceive the Voice of my Inner Therapist as thoughts, but they are very different from the loud, chatterbox thoughts of the ego. These thoughts often come as inspiration, such as when I ask for help with writing. I ask, I pause, and thoughts come forward.
To strengthen my ability to listen to my Inner Therapist, I use the game of solitaire. When I have to make a decision about a move, my first inclination is to move the card quickly to an obvious spot. However, I’ve practiced slowing down the process, inwardly asking for assistance in placing my cards. I sit without making a move until I feel an energy that’s brighter, quieter, and more spacious than my initial ego feeling of “Move this game along, sister!” Using solitaire as a listening exercise, I am repurposing the goal of the game from winning to slowing down and simply paying attention.
A simple game like solitaire can remind us that in every moment we have the power to choose to listen to one of two voices and make one of two choices. Do we listen to the ego’s voice and choose to follow its incessant demand to react or attack? Or do we listen to the Inner Therapist’s Voice and choose to follow its quiet plan of healing and miracles? This is a decision that we have countless opportunities to practice in the game of life.
Excerpted from the book From Anxiety to Love: A Radical New Approach for Letting Go of Fear and Finding Lasting Peace. Copyright ©2018 by Corinne Zupko. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.