Past the ego’s guarded gate: empowering revelations


After my mom’s death in August, I was taken by surprise to realize there were things I was holding against her and myself. Things I had not forgiven. Things that came to me the day after the funeral planning was done, and I was taking my usual morning walk. There, on the street, in the open space of that walk, up they came. I cried my eyes out, stalled between one step and the next. I cried first for myself and things I’d never acknowledged, and then for my mom and that I hadn’t reconciled these feelings while she was alive.

A few weeks later, “the ego’s guarded gate,” a phrase from the third treatise, A Treatise on the Personal Self, sprang into my mind.

What empties space for love for fill?

Each time you have “fallen” in love you have emptied a space for love to fill. Each time you have felt true devotion you have emptied a space for love to fill. You have been emptied of the ego-self as creative moments of inspiration filled you and emptied of the ego-self in moments of connection with God. Conversely, you have been emptied by the lessons of grief as the loss of love has led to a loss of self. You have been emptied by a loss of self due to illness or addiction, depression, or even physical exhaustion. All these things you have brought to yourself for they have been the only way past the ego’s guarded gate. T3:5.2-3

Grief is a space. My morning walk was a space. That I looked up from wiping my tears that day, and looked into the eyes of a young buck deer standing on the edge of our neighborhood park, provided another space. We looked at each other for minutes. Minutes! There was such gentleness in those minutes! I felt so relieved.

What was going through my mind, causing my tears was a short-form of what Jesus asks us to do in Chapter 19 of the Course: to review our lives. And how perfect is it that he responds immediately afterwards, in the book and in life, by offering us the embrace of love:

This is a call to move now into my embrace and let yourself be comforted. C:20.2

It is here that he speaks of the loss of the ego for the first time. “You are no longer the “I” of the ego.” We move and move and move…beyond the ego’s guarded gate.

In Learning in the Time of Christ, there’s another call:

a.32 The entrenched patterns of the past are difficult to dislodge even when they have been recognized. Individuals can be encouraged here to “watch the parade go by” as what has gone unhealed is brought forward for acceptance, forgiveness, and letting-go. With the letting-go of each old pattern or situation that seems fraught with peril, a cloud of despair will lift, a little more of darkness recedes, and a little more light is available to show the way.

After a parent’s death, as after the death of the ego, a space opens in which we can take on a new Self. A new authority. My dad died ten years ago. With the death of my mom, my parental “authority” is gone. It seems kind of strange, but it makes a difference. I feel a difference. And how strange that the tenderest, most heart churning moments of our lives can and do bring us a new authority. I felt this too.

 [T]here is no authority to whom you can turn. But in place of that “outside” authority, I give you your own authority, an authority you must claim in order for it to be your own.

Become the author of your own life. Live it as you feel called to live it. (D4.23-24)

With each acceptance, each forgiveness, each step past our barriers to love, you and I claim our authority, and become authors of our own lives.


(I used the above quote in an interview recently. You can listen to the interview here:

The topic was “Connection and Creativity.” You can find a copy of my “Call to Power for Women,” on the blog of my interviewer, Sharon Ann Wikoff: