Stuck in a H.O.A.R.D. with IAGO
The issue of “being stuck” in one’s healing is quite often on my mind. Many people I come into contact with are stuck. Currently, a former client who repeatedly violated my professional boundaries—the first client I have ever formally denied services—just can’t let go. It’s been almost 5 months since I mailed the first certified letter stating I would not do any more sessions with him and ending all contact. I offered my recommendation that he seek counseling and work only with a male massage therapist until his counselor agreed he had made enough progress with his boundary issues to safely work with a female. His reaction to my boundary was inappropriate to a professional relationship and histrionic to an extreme. This fired client struggled to try to control the turn of events through blitzes of emotional manipulation. Under his veil of tears I had no doubt I had done the right thing for him and for me. Of course I used the situation to access my own emotional healing work, as is my practice with all challenging situations.
While the fired client’s demeanor has calmed, his tactics remain the same. He’s still trying to control through manipulation. He goes to great lengths to get messages through to me (because I have blocked phone calls, etc.). He claims I am angry and have not forgiven him, but he forgives me for that, so why can’t I just do what God wants and let him help ME out by accepting him as a client again? In almost every communication he has promised he’ll “never bother me again” if I just do the one thing he is asking. This unfortunate soul is caught in very unhealthy behavior—stuck in a rut, mired in the muck on a slo-mo treadmill to nowhere. In regard to the healing path, the dude has lead in his moccasins.
Stuck in a Rut, Mired in the Muck on a Slo-Mo Treadmill to Nowhere
Even after embarking on the conscious healing path, who hasn’t been stuck at one time or another? We know we’re stuck when an issue comes up again and again with essentially no progress. We’re simply repeating the essence of some unhealed experience or pattern from the past. This is a very different situation than when an issue resurfaces again (and again) for refinement and greater breadth and depth of healing. In the latter case progress is apparent but not perfect. We may take two steps forward and one back. We follow a thread of healing work only to find that we’re back at that old issue we thought we had healed once and for all. No matter—we’re moving forward and what’s more worthy than doing the next layer of healing work now?
Stuck, on the other hand, is singing the same sad lyrics to the same repetitive tune over and over like a sloppy drunk. There may be different verses, but it all sounds the same. It’s off-key, annoying and gets no applause. And stuck never takes the healing prize.
To be stuck is to H.O.A.R.D – to Hold On Attempting to Relieve Discomfort. H.O.A.R.D.ing makes our lives messy.
Pray Tell, Howfor Hath We Got Stuck in This H.O.A.R.D., My Lord?
In a word, IAGO. Shakespeare’s Iago is among the most sinister villains in drama. Iago is an “ancient” or “standard bearer” to General Othello, whom he appears to love and serve. In an archetypal portrayal of evil, revenge and betrayal, Iago embarks on a plot to destroy Othello. A schemer and manipulator, Iago makes headway by leading everyone to believe he is honest. He appeals to the selfish motives of his cohorts. Iago’s deceitful manipulation not only destroys Othello, but almost everyone around him, before his darkness is revealed and he is imprisoned by one of his intended victims. Hmmm. . . . Sound like the ego?
Now what I know about Shakespeare would hardly cast a shadow on one nub of the spiny side of Velcro, but I know this: we get stuck by the dastardly villain, IAGO (aka ego), that lives in our minds. We get stuck because we embody IAGO: ignorance, arrogance, grandiosity and obsession.
I – ignorance – we don’t know.
A – arrogance – we think we do know.
G – grandiosity – we believe that our perceptions and judgments are The Truth.
O – obsession – with our version of events, which we prefer to think of as “reality.” This anti-Light “reality” is based on the “unholy trinity” (coined by Kenneth Wapnick) of sin, guilt and fear. Prominently featured are themes of victimhood, powerlessness, need, sickness and death.
IAGO/ego doesn’t know, but he thinks he knows. He believes his version is beyond question and he cannot get it out of his head. He is right, and he is miserable. IAGO is in a delusional hell of his own making.
My former client doesn’t know, but thinks he knows what is in my mind and heart. He believes his version of reality is beyond questioning and he cannot get it out of his head. He feels right, and he feels miserable because I am not conforming to his rightness. My former client is in a delusional hell of his own ego-nature’s making.
IAGO/ego waits patiently in our minds for opportunities to take control and keep us stuck. Ego, the idea of “not God” and “God gone,” draws life-force through our misery. If you think your personal version of IAGO is any less a scheming, manipulative, sociopathic villain than Shakespeare’s Iago, think again. “Not God” is not pretty. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see your ego-nature clearly.
IAGO is the ancient standard bearer of the ego. A Course in Miracles (ACIM) states that the range of the ego is from “suspiciousness at best to viciousness at worst.” Gentler appearances are just the manipulative window dressing of a cold-blooded, self-centered liar. Thus ACIM counsels us to let go of the ego’s thought system and embrace our natural inheritance of peace instead. In the peace of forgiveness we find our freedom, which was never really lost, just out of sight.
If we want to be free, we must surrender. We must stop listening to the combative counsel of IAGO, open our minds and be willing to hear the quiet, sure whispering of the Holy Spirit instead.
As [worldly] sight was made to lead away from truth, it can be redirected. Sounds become the call for God, and all perception can be given a new purpose by the One Whom God appointed Savior to the world [the Holy Spirit]. Follow His light, and see the world as He beholds it. Hear His Voice alone in all that speaks to you. And let Him give you peace and certainty, which you have thrown away, but Heaven has preserved for you in Him.
(ACIM Workbook Part II, “What Is the World?” Introduction to Lessons 241 – 250)
But how can we unseat noisy IAGO from the helm of our minds?
First, we must understand that IAGO/ego is a liar. When you consider the ill effects on our beingness, brutal sociopathic liar would be a better description. If you are not CONTENT—feeling peaceful, loving and joyful—IAGO is present manipulating your holy mind with untruth. Embrace the idea that in your ego nature you do not know anything. (ACIM Workbook Lessons 1-50) Be willing to see things differently. Obsessively ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to perceive events and things and to correct your thoughts. This will eventually take care of ignorance, arrogance and grandiosity.
We have repeated how little is asked of you to learn this course. It is the same small willingness you need to have your whole relationship transformed to joy. The LITTLE gift you offer to the Holy Spirit for which He gives you EVERYTHING. The very little, on which salvation rests. The tiny change of mind by which the crucifixion is changed to Resurrection. And, being true, it is so simple that it cannot fail to be COMPLETELY understood. Rejected yes, but NOT ambiguous. And if you choose AGAINST it now, it will NOT be because it is obscure, but rather that this LITTLE cost seemed, in YOUR judgment, to be TOO MUCH to pay for peace.
This is the ONLY thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain, and the COMPLETE escape from sin, ALL to be given you. Say ONLY this, but MEAN it with NO reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:
“I AM responsible for what I see.
I CHOSE the feelings I experience,
and I DECIDED ON the goal I would achieve.
And everything that SEEMS to happen TO me,
I ASKED FOR and received as I had asked.”
Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done TO you. Acknowledge but that YOU have been mistaken, and ALL effects of your mistakes will disappear.
(ACIM Urtext T 21 C 1-2, The Responsibility for Sight)
Now that you’re not lying to yourself, trust. Trust in God. Trust in God’s goodness and omnipotence. Trust that “all things work together for good,” and that “there are no exceptions except in the ego’s judgment.” Your obsessive attention and “control” is not needed to make sure that everything will turn out okay. You do not need to “enforce” God’s Will. God’s Will always finds a way. Be vigilant only for The Kingdom of Peace. Meet all of life with the best non-judgmental loving acceptance you can muster, take care of yourself as kindly and lovingly as you can and practice the Terrestrial Trinity of Proper Priorities: God, self and others. With practice, this will take care of obsession.
Diligently do your healing work. The aforementioned principles are a tall order for a confused mind in pain. None of this is a quick fix. Healing is a process. Enlist a guide who knows the way and don’t be afraid of getting dirty. You’re already stuck in the muck. You can’t get out keeping your frilly dress or starched shirt white, but it’s okay—it will all come out in the wash.
As a matter of course, forgive everything. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Forgive what feels unforgiveable. Forgive IAGO/ego in all of its guises.
If you will lay aside the ego’s voice . . .
if you will listen with an open mind . . .
then you will hear the mighty Voice of truth,
quiet in power, strong in stillness,
and completely certain in its messages.
(ACIM Workbook Lesson 106)
Finally, give thanks for what you have learned and the peace you have recovered. Repeat this re-education process for more and greater peace, love and joy in life.
“When we wake up to true knowledge, all of our sufferings come to an end, and we become totally different persons. Yet, at the present, we are living under a spell of ignorance and wrong understanding. Our education, rather than removing these false concepts, is strengthening them. . . .”
(Swami Tejomayananda, Right Thinking)
With Peace and Love,
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Healing Loss: Choose Love Now by Miradrienne Carroll
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