Has anyone ever viciously stabbed you in the back? I seem to have a pattern of betrayal by people who are close to me. Someone I had considered a close friend (I’ll call her Cathy) revealed confidential information about me. She insists she felt guided by the Holy Spirit to do this, while I think she was guided by her ego and it lied to her, pretending to be the Holy Spirit.
The betrayals keep happening, so I still haven’t learned the lesson. What’s the lesson? In my case it feels like I have to stop being so gullible and trust my gut about people who are not what they appear to be.
As A Course in Miracles states, “Trials are but lessons failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before had brought to you (T-31.VIII.3:1).”
If you’ve been betrayed, your lesson may mean something different to you than mine, because egos make the lessons personal. Underneath there’s only one cause of problems: that we see ourselves as separate from God, and hence from each other. And there’s only one lesson: to forgive and see the illusion for what it is.
The ego in me continues to resent this former friend, and then I feel guilty because I’m unloving and not being “spiritual.” What works is to pull back and see the episode from the observer position. I can see that Lorri-ego is mightily angry and calls this woman a “phony, two-faced b----.” I can see Cathy-ego denying her own hatred, projecting it onto me, and calling it love.
Here’s the kicker: both dream figures are equally unreal. There’s no Lorri and there’s no Cathy. There’s no Lorri who feels she got betrayed and there’s no Cathy who thinks she was acting in love. Lorri’s interpretation and Cathy’s interpretation are both ego stories and both are false, because nothing in this world of form is true. This does not mean that Cathy did not actually attack me at this level. It appears she did, but how I respond to it is the key.
The Course says, Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response. That is why analyzing the motives of others is hazardous to you. If you decide that someone is really trying to attack you or desert you or enslave you, you will respond as if he had actually done so, having made his error real to you. Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes (T-12.1:4-7; 3:3-4).
I am Spirit, Cathy is Spirit, and the world of form and matter is an illusion. When I forgive both dream figures, I feel peace. The minute I start thinking of myself as Lorri who was betrayed by Cathy, I feel lousy. If I see Cathy as a dream-figure ego who attacked out of her own fears, then I don’t get upset. Instead I can see it as her call for help.
Seeing us both as Spirit does not mean I’ll share personal information with Cathy again. It doesn’t mean Lorri has to be friends with her. That’s where holding the two levels of earth and heaven is helpful. You take your cues from the situation as it appears here, but also know the higher truth.
If someone has attacked you, can you step back and see it in a new light? There’s no “you” that can truly be attacked, for you are the Self, Spirit, who is just imagining and reviewing the events in this world.
Love and Light, Lorri Coburn