What motivated us to separate?

Q. What motivated us to separate?

A. The Course gives two answers to this, and they both come down to the same thing. First, the two answers:

One answer is that we wanted special love from God (see T-13.III.10-12). We wanted Him to single us out, to love us more than His other Sons. (This only makes sense if you realize that there was an infinite number of Sons before the separation.) God refused this request for the sake of our happiness, knowing that “To ‘single out’ is to ‘make alone,’ and thus make lonely” (T-13.III.12:1). But we decided that this refusal made Him a cruel Father, so we left.

The other answer is that we couldn’t stomach being merely the created. “He [the Son] would not accept the fact that, although he was a creator, he had been created” (T-10.V.4:3). Being created by Someone Else implies a subordination. It implies being lower than. Therefore, we wanted to reverse this. Rather than being created by God, we wanted to create ourselves. And then we sought to turn the tables entirely and be God’s creator. “The ego was made out of the wish of God’s Son to father Him. The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father” (T-11.In.2:3-4).

I’m sure you can see how similar these two motivations are. In the first, we wanted to be above our brothers. In the second, we wanted to be above God. This, then, is the original root of the separation—the desire to be above, to rule on high and put all else at our feet. This was the motivation behind the separation. This was our replacement for the oneness of Heaven.

This not only explains the original act of separation, it explains just about everything since. For this urge to be above dominates our lives to this day. Everyone strives to be special, to be singled out, to be the favorite. Even those who don’t seem to strive for it are usually trying to demonstrate how much better (i.e., higher) they are than those nasty competitive ones.

And everyone seems to constantly be engaged in fashioning and refashioning their identity, shaping it with their deeds and even their thoughts, exalting it with their achievements and debasing it with their sins. The last thing on our minds is accepting a pregiven identity that is fixed and unalterable. Even now, we want to be the creator, not the created.

The drive to be above is what set the separation in motion, yet it is no relic of an ancient past. We are still caught in the bubble of that impulse, and all of our lives and all of time is reflected on that bubble’s walls. The only way out is to face the unsatisfying and disheartening nature of the impulse to be above, and moment by moment, make another choice, until we finally learn our way out and the bubble pops.

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