"How to deal with cynical attitude? Since I realized everything is a reflected holographic mirror, I have had a depressed feeling that comes and goes because the thought is that I cannot get anything from outside of me and ‘everything is just clearly reflecting my mind as a mirror and my mind is crazy so why bother’?
This has led to confusion, since everything people tell me, even in deep willingness to be helpful, this part of my mind attacks instantly and says “they are just telling you what you think anyway, you cannot get anything else from them, be doubtful and be knowing of your own mind’s limits”, so I feel stuck in this limbo.
Then I do not trust anything and I feel like I should not even write this question because “it will just reflect what you think anyway, why ask?”. There is something very unhealthy and yucky about this, because it is ultimately deep untrust, but still it is the truth that everything is a mirror and this IS a holographic universe.
This also ties into that previously I used to believe in fairies, angels, past lives, etc. but now I just think they are all meaningless concepts and thought forms appearing in the mind that is reflected outside and are not ultimately true. This makes me depressed somehow as well. I see this type of thinking in some eastern nonduality as well. Help!"
Many ACIM students go through this kind of confusion, it's very common. I've been through it in various ways as well. What's basically happening is you are shifting away from the ego towards God, but you are now sort of in two minds. Or rather, you have two thought systems running in your awareness at the same time and you're attempting to make sense out of how they can both be true at once.
The ego in your mind is trying to hold onto its thought system and prevent the truth from undoing it. It wants to keep its way of perceiving, and it wants to figure out the meaning of what the Course is saying and twist it and draw its own conclusions from it, so that it can bring it back into its own mind and reinterpret it there based on what it has already accepted as true.
When this happens, "level confusion" arises. This is where the thought system of truth or Holy Spirit is trying to be defended against and reinterpreted by the ego, in whatever way seems to make it possible to keep the ego and stay as you are. It also usually means that there is quite a big distance or disconnect between what your ego is doing to interpret the truth, and what it would actually mean or be like to fully embrace the truth.
And so what happens is, because the truth is too far beyond what the ego-self can actually experience, its relationship to that truth shifts from the here-and-now heartfelt experience and goes up into the intellect. It goes into concepts, because the ego can't live it.
This is what happens when the ego is attempting to understand something which it is incapable of actually directly experiencing. It shifts into the intellectual mind and tries to use the intellect to sort of peek out at the truth and assess it and analyze it and decide what it thinks it means. And it does this as a disguise to pretend that this means it is becoming more spiritual, when in fact it's really still well within the confines of its madness.
So in terms of what seems real to you right now, it's always rooted in what you are actually experiencing. What you are experiencing is always matched to what you have allowed or accepted into your mind, and what you are aware of directly.
So here, you are in an ego body, and you are directly experiencing that as though it's real. And then along comes A Course in Miracles with its lofty truth and instead of it being a direct experience, it seems to be too far outside of the realm of what is direct and immediate for you right now. You can't relate to it, experientially. You can't really live it or fully believe it.
But your attempt to relate to it or to take it on-board means you're trying to build a bridge to it, knowing it is distant from where you are. And that basically takes you out of where you are "at" right now, and tries to construct a bridge in your intellect, based on concepts and ideas and thinking etc, to try to accept something into your mind which is beyond the mind right now. It becomes conceptual because it's too high above your current level of experience.
Another way to describe this is a "spiritual bypass". This is where you basically are trying to skip ahead past your current ability to experience, past what is directly immediately real for you right now, to take on some kind of truth which you literally are incapable of actually directly experiencing right now due to the limits of your mind.
The only possible outcome is that you move away from being present, and fly off into a fictional land of dreaming and making-up stories and conceptualizing and intellectualizing, trying to use your current mind to understand a "new mind" which is coming in, which the current mind is incompatible with and cannot experience directly. Your attempt to "get" these high truths "using" an incompatible, broken and very confused mind, just isn't going to produce a happy experience.
The further away from your ability to experience something you get, the more you start to use the intellect and the imagination to try to conceive or picture what it might be like or what it might mean or what you think it means. This means you are uncertain and are in fear. But then you will try to use that conceptualization to apply to your actual current experience, to change your experience in some way, based on it. But this inevitably results in a huge amount of confusion and distortion of your current life, because you're trying to "fit" your ego mind into a vastly different view of reality.
The current mind is not capable of experiencing this truth which is coming from a mind which operates and perceives very differently. Yet it's trying to grasp it, trying to understand it, trying to figure out what it is or what it means. This is just going to throw you into your intellect and take you out of your direct experience of presence.
You're "bypassing" away from what you are genuinely experiencing right now to try to act as though you are being an identity and a mind which is much more expanded than you are. You can only hope to apply this new truth on an intellectual level because it hasn't become your experience yet. You cannot accept it and experience it yet.
So then you'll go into level confusion because you're trying to sort of reach outside your mind, with your faulty mind, grab ahold of the truth, and bring it back into your current mind. You then set about trying to use this "understanding" to change your reasoning, your motivations, your justifications. You try to mix it with your current ego mind and the ego's beliefs, and this results in all kinds of conclusions which are very confused and make no sense and just doesn't compute.
You end up trying to apply it on the "level" of this world, on a physical level, which correlates to the level of the ego mind, in terms of trying to "live it" and experience it, but you are doing so with the ego which believes in form. So you try to change the form of your life, the objects or people or events that are in it, and the ego keeps explaining how you would need to do this in order for this new truth to be true. To apply this truth to your experience, it's going to demand really radical, crazy, bizarre demands as to what you're going to have to do in order to reflect that truth.
So part of you is opening up to accepting that "only the truth is true", to take the Holy Spirit's truth (as an experience) into your awareness, but the "you" that you are right now, your ego self, is interfering big-time and interpreting it and is trying to bring it INTO your present self's experience to apply it there. This is the ego's defense against the truth, where it is always trying to figure out how it can KEEP the ego beliefs that you have and yet make this other stuff true at the same time. It won't work. It can't work.
Like for example, you could say, on a higher level the truth is that you are not a body. And now if you are an ego who believes you are a body, you're going to try to bring that truth into your current experience and apply it there. And so you'll be trying to come to new conclusions based on this new information.
Such as, if I'm not a body, then why bother eating? If I'm not a body, what's the point is moving the body around? If I'm not a body, why do I keep putting clothes on the body? etc... pretty soon you'll end up sitting naked and starving to death. The truth of not being a body cannot be manifested in the FORM of a body. It transcends it, because this truth comes from somewhere beyond the ego body entirely. Trying to make the body "express" or represent that truth, it's going to cause sacrifice and suffering.
So with you, you've taken on board these high spiritual truths, which are true, such as that you are one with everyone, the world is a mirror, other people are reflecting you to yourself, you're doing everything to yourself, etc... but you're then trying to apply this within the sphere of the ego mind. i.e. in the world. You're trying to implement it here, in form, in a body, where your actions and behaviors and decisions all start to be based on this new information. You're trying to bring God into the world to spiritualize your ego life.
That leads to the sense of being cynical that you describe, where you do not see the "point" of doing certain things, always backed up with a "because". So this new truth is now being used by the ego as a justification for ITS decision making, still based on its rules and its view of the world. It wants to keep the world and keep it real.
It wants to keep you identified with being a body. But at the same time, it wants to pretend that it has accepted the truth and can now prove it by changing itself to match it. If the ego changes to match the truth, it would mean that (since the ego is not real) the ego must die. So it's no wonder this leads to depression and hopelessness and seeing no point in why you (ego) should live.
And you'll notice in what you say, that all of this confusion is happening entirely within your own ego self, as though your separate ego self is now believing that it is all that exists. The ego self is trying to take on board the idea of being oneness. It's trying to position itself as that which is reflected in the mirror, as though IT is all there is everywhere. It is trying to understand how you can be one and joined to others and still be a separate self. The ego is trying to make itself as big as the universe.
If you are a separate self, but the Course's truth is simultaneously true, then your separate self is one with everything, your separate self is the only self, your separate self is out there pictured in the world, and there is only you - the separate ego, so there's no point listening to anyone (who appear real) because they're not really there. It's quite easy to get into this kind of perception because your separate self is trying to see and experience what the higher level truth is saying is true.
This happens a lot. Probably everyone goes through this in various forms. The ego basically cannot in any way correctly understand the truth. The truth is outside of its entire mind. Its reason and logic is completely opposite to the truth and it cannot use it to understand what the truth means. It comes to its own false and inconsistent conclusions based on its own interpretation of what the truth is saying, and so becomes very confused. The truth does not make any sense to it.
The ego mind cannot go into the mind of the Holy Spirit and experience what it is really like in the truth. The ego mind is eliminated in the truth. The mind of Holy Spirit is light, and the ego mind is darkness, and the light shines away the darkness, showing that it does not exist.
The ego has absolutely no way to understand this while retaining itself or keeping itself as part of the equation, otherwise it will see it as meaning you might as well not exist (while still existing, which means you will live as though you're dead, which is depression). i.e. depression is what happens when the ego self is kept and still believes it is real, while trying to perceive and accept that the world is not real or meaningful, and that therefore there's no reason to live. It shoots itself in the foot.
We get to these phases and Jesus talks about this, where you perceive that the world seems to be real and yet that it is an insane world, and IF you believe that this picture is reality and true, then you will be very very upset about this "insane world" you see. Or similarly, people see the world and make it real and identify it as having all kinds of bad stuff happening.
If that bad stuff is REAL to you, then you will suffer. It's the mind attempting to take on this broader truth (the world IS insane), while still believing that it is part of that insanity. Jesus tells us we must learn to move past that "despair" because it is not founded in reality and is inconsistent with the truth. Jesus talks about depression quite a bit in the Course.
So you're basically trying to do two things at once, you're trying to keep your ego and its intellect and its way of perceiving and its belief in what is real and true, but at the same time trying to take on board a truth which completely contradicts the ego's way of existing. Its perception of this truth is totally confusing to it and illogical and insane and it leads you to false conclusions about what the truth means or implies.
But the ego tries to do this because it's trying to use this opportunity to use this truth as a weapon against you, to take you out of your present grounded experience and put you into the conceptual fictional mind. This takes you away from direct experience into a kind of disabled state of paralysis and inaction. It makes you depressed because it blocks you from expressing yourself freely in the present and from engaging with "what is".
You need to get out of your head more. Part of you believes that you have the intellectual ability to find out the truth using your mind. And that part of you is the part which is trying to assimilate the truth, figuring that if you can understand it on YOUR terms, then you will be able to experience it. But this kind of conceptual intellectual experience is really a block against experiencing, and causes you to stop experiencing.
The intellect cannot experience the truth. It cannot figure out and come to the final perfect understanding of the truth, such that it will trigger some kind of sudden "getting it" which blows your mind. You can take the intellect VERY far in its prowess at dissecting the truth, but no matter how much you grasp the concepts and have profound clarity on it, it STILL does not create or cause or produce or end up with any kind of LOVE. Because it's taken you away from your heart.
This is a lesson really because this is something you need to learn about what you are doing and why it won't work. It's necessary for your efforts to fail like this so that you can let go of this part of the ego and its temptation to use your "special abilities" to know the truth. Truth is not information, it is an experience of God.
So you're trying to apply the truth that exists in the Holy Spirit's mind, above the battlefield, way out of reach of the ego, but are trying to apply it to the world below in which you see yourself, based on how your ego interprets how to apply it. It's the ego's attempt to unite form with content, or to keep the world real while spiritualizing it.
So it's really part of the spiritualization of your own ego, trying to become more spiritual than you are and pretending that you are more spiritual than you are. I've been way into this trap many times using my mind to grasp concepts and think about it all. I really really thought that if I could just figure it out perfectly that I would arrive at some spiritual love or happiness or whatever. If I could "get it" intellectually, I'd be done. But all I ended up with was, a more complete set of information in my head, and absolutely no real change in how I felt or what I was experiencing. Love didn't happen.
Concepts are not experiences, but this is how the ego attempts to pretend to be spiritual. It tries to reach up to a spiritual plane of existence and align itself with it. It tries to look like it is spiritual, act like it is spiritual, wear spiritual-looking clothes, eat spiritual food, have a spiritual attitude, etc. But this always stays firmly inside of the ego thought system and really doesn't go anywhere. It's a fantasy. It's the ego's false spiritual path, which really leads you AWAY from yourself and away from presence and away from the love that you already are. And once again it is part of "seek and do not find."
So yes it's true, stuff outside of you is the same as inside and there is only a oneness. But that does NOT mean, that right now, you are experiencing that, or able to experience that. Pretending that you can, is what the ego loves to do, and then starts to act as though it is doing it. Your actions then become fake and unfounded and unauthentic.
Yes it's useful to know that the people you see out there are part of your mind, and they are reflecting stuff back at you, and you're seeing yourself etc. But, if you then take that and start to conclude .... "so that means...." you're now going to make up a bunch of reasons why your behavior and actions and motives and so on are unfounded.
The ego will then perceive that, well, if this truth is true, then it means there's no point listening to anyone else because they are just you. Or, if this truth is true like you say it is, then that would mean that in THIS world, you might as well throw away everything that you were involved with outside of yourself because it's all illusion. i.e. you try to apply this world-undoing truth while still in the world, or this body-defying truth while still believing you are a body, or this ego-cancelling truth while you still are having an ego life.
So this ego is showing up in your mind at opportune moments to sort of wave the truth in front of your face and say, hey, so you really believe this huh, you really think this is the truth, well, okay then, if this is true, then.... it also means... (within the ego's world)... this and this and this. How do you like it now? This is the ego's attempt to get you to stop believing this truth, because it seems to lead to an unpleasant experience.
I've had this quite a number of times more in the realm of whether or not I should be "doing something ego". Like, if there's some fun project or I want to just enjoy something or buy a special food or seek for some pleasure or buy some toy or whatever. These things which my ego has decided "are ego", within the context of this world being real, where the ego splits up this world into "good and bad" and tries to spiritualize part of it at the expense of the rest, it then seems like I should not do the ego things and I should do more of the spiritual things.
This is the persona at work, or the fake innocent self, which is a cover-up for unconscious guilt. So then I will avoid doing these things because "they are too ego", and this is basically SACRIFICE, which is what the ego is calling for. The ego is using the truth to get you to believe that you should sacrifice everything in this world, in the name of being more spiritual.
That's its interpretation of the meaning of the truth - that if this truth is true, this whole world has to be sacrificed, so (despite the fact you are still in it) your motives to do anything in this world at all are false. The ego will use this against you like this as a weapon. And then you will not have any motivation to do anything because you're using an abstract spiritual motivation to run your non-abstract un-spiritual existence.
So what I find is that I will avoid doing stuff because I can't seem to let myself do it while maintaining a sense of being okay with God. i.e., it produces guilt. I have this belief I'm not supposed to do xyz because if I do, I am going against the Course truth and I'm rejecting Jesus and I'm believing in the world etc. Sin! So then I stop myself from just living life and being "normal" and start to sacrifice myself instead and get rid of the "things I love" or the "things I value", because my ego is saying, if you go and do these things, you're evil.
So this is really the ego getting involved and trying to put everything into one of two compartments in the mind, or in the world. One part of the mind is where all the acceptable spiritual good stuff lives, and the other is where all the bad evil stuff lives. And the ego then has this belief that the bad stuff is "the ego" and the good stuff is "not the ego". Yet this is all happening with the ego, good or bad. So then whatever it sees as going into the spiritual camp, it says you should focus on that, and whatever is in the bad camp, you want to get rid of it and avoid it because it's a sin.
So then you open up to the spiritual truth of God and your ego is going to try to put it into that bad camp and label it and judge it, or it's going to put it into the good camp and try to make out that it means you should sacrifice and get rid of stuff and stop doing stuff and put up a separation or wall around yourself to keep the bad stuff out. i.e. don't do anything in the world because it's not spiritual.
The ego persona sees the truth as being inside of your conscious self in your body, and the bad stuff as being outside of your body in the world. So if you're cultivating truth then everything "outside of you" is asked to be sacrificed and disconnected from. The ego thus uses that sense of separation to come between you and the world, to emphasize that the spiritualized ego within the body is true and the hated ego outside the body is false. And the simple conclusion then is to deny and get rid of everything outside of yourself in order to be more spiritual.
The ego sees spirituality as calling for sacrifice, because it sees the truth as an attempt to destroy your existence. It doesn't understand the truth and can't interpret its meaning correctly. And it can't go outside of its thought system at all to actually experience it. So I guess you need to admit this to yourself. You're confusing levels and bypassing and going into the intellectual concept and trying to apply the concept to your experience, because it's outside of your mind and beyond access.
Accept more where you are at and what you are experiencing now. And you need to also undo this ego belief that you need to sacrifice or that "there's no point". That's ITS interpretation of the truth, its not what the truth means.
The truth means that you are free and you can enjoy what you're doing even more if you're with the Holy Spirit. And there is no reason why you can't indulge or interact with people or have upsets or "do ego things" while you're still at that stage. There's no point being pretentious and trying to look or seem more spiritual than you are. Get more in touch with your immediate experience and know that even if you do "ego things", it does NOT prove that you are guilty or separate from God.
And BECAUSE this world is not real, maybe that should mean that you can do whatever you want here? Provided that doesn't turn into another level confusion, such as that since the world isn't real, I can hurt people if I want to. That kind of confusion comes because, again, the concept of the truth (there is no world) is being attempted to be lived, experienced and applied in the world, only with an intellectual conceptual grasp of that truth, and NOT because your are experiencing that truth. If you were experiencing that truth you would act only with love and could not justify hurt. "There is no cruelty on God."
Sometimes I get a feeling like this, like, what's the point in me doing anything if this world is not real? And that actually produces a kind of bland "disillusionment" which you might be referring to as a depressed, lifeless feeling. If its true that this world is not real, then what's the point in me doing anything here or trying to have success or trying to build anything or do anything over time? Technically it's all unreal so why am I doing anything? What's my possible motivation?
So I lose motivation because I'm in a level confusion. I'm saying that I believe this world is not real, but then I'm turning around with ".. and yet, I'm still here in this world, which means I do believe it is real, and will not attempt to apply this truth to this." It can't work. I'm trying to apply a completely opposite conclusion. I'm also lying to myself, that I believe this world is not real, because I AM still believing it is real and still need to live in it for now.
If I am in DENIAL, I will not want to admit this. It serves my ego better to get into the lofty intellectual concept of the truth and pretend that this means I am "doing it" or "being it", which is really an ILLUSION OF THE TRUTH, or an illusion of spirituality, than to own up to the fact that I really strongly still believe the ego right now. Thus I will "bypass" my level of experience and my honest current state of being, to try to pretend that I'm further along than I am. And that's the ego's arrogance, taking you OUT of touch with reality in the name of attempting to and pretending that you are becoming closer to reality.
You're basically expanding the ego in trying to take on board and "be" stuff that is too high and too far advanced past where you are really at right now. You need to let yourself be more where you are at and acknowledge it and allow it as being ok. The high-level stuff in the course is not really "useful" to you in terms of actually helping you to wake up right now. It's too far outside your mind. It's better to focus on what is "closer" to where you are at and to just focus on the next small step rather than an attempted huge leap.
In the Course there are several "levels" of truth and this is partly why we get so confused in trying to live up to the seemingly very lofty standards that it sometimes talks about. What we need to mainly focus on is undoing blocks to awareness and applying forgiveness and revealing the pre-existing love that's in the mind. That's going from "level 1" which is the ego/world, to "level 2" which is the Holy Spirit's thought system. That's a big enough adjustment as it is.
Then above that there are higher levels, which Jesus sometimes speaks in terms of such as the level of the Sonship, the level of the One Son of God, and Heaven. Sometimes he teaches about these levels, but they are so high that you cannot really APPLY them at the level you're at. You can't bypass from level one thoughts to level 5. You can't jump from being in the ego's mind to going past Holy Spirit and past the Higher Self to Christ, all in one go.
You are better off, and everyone is better off, learning to identify what these levels are and when Jesus is talking about each of them. And then realizing that the only level that is PRACTICALLY useful and applicable for you right now, is level 2. That means learning the Holy Spirit's way of perceiving, and undoing your blocks to awareness, and accepting the Atonement.
Trying to apply something so lofty as, for example, "there is no world", is so high, it's like a level 4 or 5 concept, there is just no way you're going to EXPERIENCE that right now without having a revelation from God, that attempting to even use that information is not going to go anywhere other than into your intellect as a concept. You can't live up to it.
It's okay to drop those very high lofty truths or at least to stop trying to make them reality in your present level of experience. Put them on a shelf. You cannot be Christ at this level of mind. This will take a great weight off your mind, stopping you from attempting to "be Christ", which is like trying to hit the ground running. First things first. Getting into the christ mind will happen later, after you've undone the ego at the level of your current experience.
There is a point in listening to other people's expressions because your ego self is NOT fully conscious right now and is NOT aware of the whole truth and you are NOT, as an identity, the whole of reality and everything that happens in the world. It is aware of the concept of everyone being you but that's not an experience, so it's not authentic or consistent or honest.
It is okay to interact with the world and have normal ego motivations for the time being and recognize you are separate and different and that other people may have something to teach you yet. Yes they are false, and eventually they will fall away, but not until you are genuinely ready for that.
As you sort out this level confusion and let yourself off the hook for being an ego, and are not focused so much on being perfect right now, which is part of seeking and not finding, you'll allow yourself to just live life more and "be normal" and express your ego and do so without guilt. Bring Holy Spirit into your activities and into your work and your pleasures. It makes it more fun and can be used as a exercise to surface WHY you believe that doing xyz is wrong and guilty.
Beware of trying to take on things you are not ready for. Beware of those lofty high ideals like "seeing the christ in everyone". That's really advanced, and trying to do it is not going to make it happen. It happens naturally as blocks to awareness fall away. Beware of "practicing the holy instant", it is also a very advanced state. The ego will try to practice it and this will only make it try to change and mold itself to match the truth, which will produce major distortions.
Let your ego self be more "as it is" and try not to let it get involved in "becoming spiritual". It wants to come along for the ride and sit on your shoulder and tell you what everything means, because it has an authority problem where it wants to tell God what God is. It wants to be able to affect God and cause God. That's part of its arrogance and its playing at being God. The ego cannot become spiritual and it cannot be a part of the truth, but it will try very very hard and this will only make you feel like shit.
The world is not real and we are not bodies and everything I eat is a substitute for God's love an an attempted attack on heaven, BUT, I just ate some ice-cream, and it was fun, and it didn't mean I am guilty. Lighten up about this. Practice trying to do "ego things" on purpose but make them okay, make them mean that you are not guilty.
A reframe that I do sometimes is to say, "this proves I am not guilty", when I am doing something "egoic". This separates the act from the judgement and keeps the ego from using it to "prove" that this particular behavior means guilt etc. Eating ice cream proves I am not guilty, or means I am not guilty, or I am not guilty for doing this.
You might've noticed there was mention of unconscious guilt, denial, fake innocence, and some other stuff in this response so far. That suggests that, in the bigger picture, you actually have some denial going on and are pretending to be more spiritual and innocent than you are, and that somewhere inside there is a guilt hiding in your mind which you believe is true of you. And thus you have projected this guilt outwards onto the world and are labeling and judging it as unreal or illusion or a reflection or whatever, trying to attack it and get rid of it and deny it. It's part of your denial of your unconscious guilt.
And the presence of that guilt needs to be identified and then brought into question. That guilt is causing you to see yourself as guilty for enjoying the world or acting like an ego. The guilt is saying you might as well not exist, if the truth is true, because in truth the ego doesn't exist. And you're seeing this guilt in the world, in the form of this concept that its all you (guilty you) out there so you might as well not listen to it. It's another attempt to stay separate from your guilt.
What it means is you are holding onto the ego and are identifying it as yourself, which means you believe in it, which means you believe in your guilt. So again, you just have this unconscious guilt which needs to be uncovered and undone. And one it's gone, you won't be trying to spiritualize yourself in this artificial way because you'll have genuine spirituality and a willingness to just be yourself.