Section VI. Fear and Conflict 6-9
6. It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance without conscious effort, but this implies a willingness that you have not developed as yet. The Holy Spirit cannot ask more than you are willing to do so. The strength to do comes from your undivided decision. There is no strain in doing God’s Will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own. The lesson here is quite simple, but particularly apt to be overlooked. I will therefore repeat it, urging you to listen. Only your mind can produce fear. It does so whenever it is conflicted in what it wants, producing inevitable strain because wanting and doing are discordant. This can be corrected only by accepting a unified goal.
7. The first corrective step in undoing the error is to know first that the conflict is an expression of fear. Say to yourself that you must somehow have chosen not to love, or the fear could not have arisen. Then the whole process of correction becomes nothing more than a series of pragmatic steps in the larger process of accepting the Atonement as the remedy. These steps may be summarized in this way:
Know first that this is fear. Fear arises from lack of love. The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love. Perfect love is the Atonement.
8. I have emphasized that the miracle, or the expression of Atonement, is always a sign of respect from the worthy to the worthy. The recognition of this worth is re-established by the Atonement. It is obvious, then, that when you are afraid, you have placed yourself in a position where you need Atonement. You have done something loveless, having chosen without love. This is precisely the situation for which the Atonement was offered. The need for the remedy inspired its establishment. As long as you recognize only the need for the remedy, you will remain fearful. However, as soon as you accept the remedy, you have abolished fear. This is how true healing occurs.
9. Everyone experiences fear. Yet it would take very little right-thinking to realize why fear occurs. Few appreciate the real power of the mind, and no one remains fully aware of it all the time. However, if you hope to spare yourself from fear there are some things you must realize and realize fully. The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force. It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating. It is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine into a power surge that can literally move mountains. It appears at first glance that to believe such power about yourself is arrogant, but that is not the real reason you do not believe it. You prefer to believe that your thoughts cannot exert real influence because you are afraid of them. This may allay awareness of guilt, but at the cost of perceiving the mind as impotent. If you believe that what you think is ineffectual you may cease to be afraid of it, but you are hardly likely to respect it. There are no idle thoughts. All thinking produces form at some level.
Through our text reading today, Jesus teaches that we must consciously bring our mind under the guidance of Holy Spirit. We come to God; we ask Him for the mind of Christ. Help us, Lord, we pray, to think with Christ instead of against Him. The more we think with Christ and see the result of thinking with Love, the more we will be convinced of how right this is, that there is no other worthy state in which to be! Jesus promises that when our minds want nothing but God’s Will, there will be no conscious effort, no sense of sacrifice, no stretch or strain because we realize that everything we want, is what God wants for us. When we finally realize that God is not a God of fear but of love and power and a right mind, we will no longer be divided about Who we want in charge of our thoughts, Who we want in charge of our perceptions, and with Whom we want to be one.
In paragraph seven, Jesus gives us a beautiful prescription for all mistaken thoughts. When we have conflict with anything or anybody, recognize it as an expression of fear. Many times we will start to despise someone and fail to recognize that fear has entered into the relationship. Perhaps our partner has a wandering eye, perhaps our sister is a braggart, perhaps our best friend is a big gossip hound. We will not consider the fear factor involved but rather pounce upon the way their actions make us feel. While our mate’s wandering eye makes us feel unattractive, our sister’s self-promotion makes us feel small, our friend’s tendency to blab secrets and spread rumors makes us feel distrustful, we will not process those feelings as fear-based. We will not think of the lustful mate, the self-promoting sister, the bad-mouthing friend as lacking love because we will be too busy thinking of how they made us feel. But what we feel is a lack of love and the only remedy to lack of love is perfect love. Perfect love is the Atonement. It is the great equalizer. It is bringing both the receiver and the giver into mutuality, into honesty and clarity, into a perfect understanding that the mind brought under the jurisdiction of Christ is a mind that heals and unites and makes holy.
Any other remedy is a recipe, not for healing, but for disaster. Lack of love is not corrected by a fearful response, by withdrawal, by a refusal to communicate, by divorce and division. When we bring those who are on our shit list, our hit list, our A and B and C list to Atonement, there we stand in our humanity, in our humility, and offer our sour, bitter, spiteful thoughts to God. We bare our minds and pour out our hearts, we ask God to reveal to us our mutuality. And we take it like His Son because when we bring the darkness of all of those who disappointed, humiliated, and hurt us to Atonement, we see our own darkness in all its meanness, poverty, and filth. And there at Atonement we put down all the blame and shame we would cast upon others and we lay down all of that which would be on ourselves. Our minds are cleansed of all that is unholy, unloving, and wrong. We see ourselves not as the blemishes that marred our perfection, but as the Sons of God who are holy, whole, and smart. This is perfect Love. This is the only correction. This is Atonement.
There is no part of Creation which is not worthy. There is nobody and nothing that deserves anything less than our utmost respect and good humor. The miracle is the expression of God’s perfect plan of salvation for those who would separate from Him. The miracle worker is devoted to the vision of Christ. We recognize the truth about the world – it is a lie, it is fiction, its very purpose is to separate and divide and see each other with fear instead of love. Only Truth stands forever. When we recognize the worth of every single aspect of Creation we have accepted the truth, we have accepted Atonement. If we make a mistake and slip into fear and begin to have conflict, we know the solution. We have the remedy. The remedy will do us no good until we accept the remedy. We will remain in fear until we stop cherishing the idea that there is any aspect of Creation that is not worthy of Atonement. We will live in fear of spiders and snakes, as long as we find them unworthy of Atonement. We will live in fear of those who rape, plunder, call names, or snub us at social events as long as we find them unworthy of Atonement. All fear is gone when we apply the remedy.
No measures we take in the outer, physical world will ever obliterate fear and conflict and bring us peace. True healing only happens in the minds of those who have accepted Atonement for themselves and the other. Heal the mind first and the external world follows – for our minds create the circumstances we experience. Jesus highlights how critical it is that we get this and work with this until it becomes our practice and holy habit.
All of us are afraid and yet all it takes is our right mind to realize why we are afraid and how to avoid conflict completely. Our mind is powerful, creative, always alert, communicating, and always working. Our thoughts and the belief systems that power them are able to coalesce into a force that Jesus says can literally move mountains. A mind separated from God is in a state of fear and friction – miscreating a world that is full of division and forms that are susceptible to disease, decay, and death. A mind at one with Christ is unified, beautiful, guided by holiness, creating forms that nourish, that bring bliss and joy, harmony and fellowship forever. Our mind unified with Christ and one another are lovely and loving, a realm of miracles, the place of healing and the restoration of Creation.
Receive Atonement to give Atonement. Give Atonement to receive Atonement. This is the flow of God and it is available to each and every one of us for each and every need. Let there be no place for fear in the beautiful, powerful minds of those who perform miracles in His Name. For our minds are fixed upon God’s perfect Son, our brother, Jesus, who makes us one.
A Course in Miracles. Chapter 2:VI Fear and conflict. 6-9. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edtion (1992).
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