Jesus is a psychological projection. You didn't invent him; you share him with the world, with all your brothers and sisters. He is our shared projection, a giant Rorschach blot, lost in a dense web of historical and cultural narrative, religious ritual, good intentions and rank fear.
Jesus is a mirror in which we collectively project both our best and our worst self.
We need to accept that Jesus is a projection in order to clarify our relationship with him. This is what it means to forgive Jesus, which A Course in Miracles unconditionally calls us to do (T-19.IV.B.8:1).
I am within your holy relationship, yet you would imprison me behind the obstacles you raise to freedom, and bar my way to you. Yet it is not possible to keep away One Who is there already. And in Him it is possible that our communion, where we are joined already, will be the focus of the new perception that will bring light to all the world, contained in you (T-19.IV.B.8:3-5).
When we say Jesus is a projection, it means that we do not encounter him as a body but rather as a powerful idea that can actually move mountains, love enemies unconditionally, and feed every hungry person in the world. We do not encounter a man who walks on water, but rather our own potential - shared with our brothers and sisters - to bring forth peace and happiness. In a sense, walking on water is easy. Loving our so-called enemy - that takes a miracle.
Letting go of a supernatural Jesus means remembering that the mind that was in Jesus is in us as well (T-6.V.A.1:5), because we share a mind - the mind that was created by our Creator in Heaven. The mind in the historical Jesus was not inhuman; it was not unfamiliar. What he learned and practiced, we can learn and practice. A Course in Miracles is clear: we share this potential with Jesus outside the limitations of projection and spiritual fantasy.
I was a man who remembered spirit and its knowledge . . . I demonstrated both the powerlessness of the body and the power of the mind. By uniting my will with that of my Creator, I naturally remembered spirit and its real purpose (T-3.IV.7:3, 5-6).
Th Holy Spirit is in this mind (T-7.IX.5:1), and as it guided Jesus to remember "spirit and its knowledge" (which manifests to others as the extension of radical - because utterly unconditional - love), so it will guide us.
The reason we can't just hear the Holy Spirit right now is because of ego. Ego is our construction; we make it, and its sole function is to obscure reality by maintaining the illusion that we are separate from Creation. It does this primarily through emphasizing the body's frailty and vulnerability and encouraging us to identify exclusively with that body.
Ego is not only the belief that we are separate from Creation but also that we are alone in our quest to survive. Ego's focus is always on "me" and "mine." It's rationale always leads back to its survival. No matter how seemingly selfless or generous, ego's concern is always with its well-being. There is literally nothing it won't sacrifice to that end. Ego can be charming and logical; it can be vicious and mean. Whatever works for it is what works, period. It doesn't care about anybody else.
Ego does not want to be seen as it actually is - cruel, destructive and incapable of change. It doesn't mind being admired. It likes when we try to fix it (because these efforts do not threaten but rather confirm its existence), but it fiercely resists being actually seen. If we see it clearly, as it is, then we will disinvest in it and it will die. Without our attention, freely given, ego will die. This is why it can never consent to show us its true nature and agenda.
The best argument ego has to keep us from looking at it is to argue that its death is our death. This is a very effective argument! But for it to work, death has to scare us. We have to want to look away from death.
As a young boy, I had to look at the death of animals a lot. Chickens, deer, cows, sheep, cats, trout, ducks, dogs, pheasants, crows . . . Some I killed and some I helped kill. But mostly I just watched. And learned. The lesson was: don't get close to anything. And try not to die. Everything that died did so in pain and fear. I was well into adulthood before I witnessed a peaceful, natural death.
When the ego teaches me to fear death, it benefits. I don't; it does.
Therefore, looking at ego is a form of spiritual psychotherapy. It is a way of dealing with our fear of death - of emptiness, nothingness, the void. Our ACIM healing practice is to look at ego in order to loosen its stranglehold and create tiny spaces in which the Holy Spirit's "still small voice" can be heard. Eventually this practice shifts to listening to the Holy Spirit - i.e., giving attention to it rather than to ego.
We do not actually need help listening to or responding to the Holy Spirit because doing so is natural and joyful. “Natural” means we know how to do it as a function of what we are, and “joyful” means that it gives itself away without needing words or gestures at all.
This stage of our ACIM practice might appear monastic because it requires discipline. It can feel boring. There’s not a lot of drama. Mainly it’s about creating meaningful structures in our lives that allow us to hear the Holy Spirit and better extend its message of liberation to our brothers and sisters so that they, in turn, can extend it to us. Our focus shifts from our needs and wants to those of others. How can we help?
This happens naturally as we begin to give attention not to our personal intentions for success and meaning but rather to the intention that was set for us in Creation. This is what Jesus understood; this is what Jesus shares with us still. Our values shift from getting what we want - which is always an ego move related to the body - to giving what we are created to give, which is a spiritual move reflecting divine values.
In a sense, the question "what would Jesus do" is trivial and unhelpful. But what is not trivial or unhelpful is to give attention to how Jesus speaks in us right now. The mind that was in Jesus is in you. If you listen to him, he will tell you in a clear and simple way how to hear the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will then teach you how to shift from fear to love, simply by reminding you that you are love.
Is there anything else we could want?