"I am at home. Fear is the stranger here."
Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes--at least; 10--better; 15 even better; 30 or more--best
* Ask your Father: "Who is the stranger here?"
* Hear His Voice quietly assure you that you are not stranger to your Father nor He to you, that you will always remain at one with Him, that no stranger can separate whom God has joined as one. Welcome the Christ Who has come to search the world for you who belong to God. Offer thanks to Him.
Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)
Sit quietly and wait on God. Thank Him for His gifts in the previous hour. And let His Voice tell you what He wants you to do in the coming hour.
Frequent Reminder: Repeat idea. See yourself as no stranger to God. See no one as stranger to you.
Response To Temptation:
1. When tempted to be afraid, repeat idea or say: "This is my home. Here I belong, and will not leave because a madman says I must."
2. When tempted to deny a brother and see him as a stranger, remember you will thus see your Self as a stranger. Instead, accept the gift of Christ's vision.
Fear in this lesson is virtually synonymous with "ego." The picture being given is that we have invited fear, personified as a stranger, into our house, and the stranger has taken over and declared that he is us. He has taken over our identity almost completely. And the insane part of it all is that we have gone along with the stranger. We have accepted that this stranger is really us, and we have given our home over to him completely. We have been dispossessed.
Who is the stranger? You, or the ego? It is so easy, when thoughts of fear occupy our minds, to believe that the fear is us. The anger is us. The loneliness is us. The sense of helplessness is us. We have habituated ourselves to identifying with our thoughts and feelings of fear; we believe they are us. The thrust of this lesson is that all of these manifestations of fear are an interloper, not a genuine part of us at all. You are not the ego; the ego is not you.
Stephen Levine, in several of his books, talks about relating to our fear rather than relating from it. The distinction he is making is between identifying with the fear (relating from it) or distinguishing our self from it (relating to it). When I relate from my fear, I am in its grips. The fear runs me; the fear is me. When I relate to my fear, however, I can look on it with dispassionate mercy. I can react to it with mercy, and heal instead of go into panic. It is the difference between saying, "I am afraid," and saying, "I am having thoughts of fear" or "I am experiencing fear." My thoughts are not me. I am the thinker who is thinking the thoughts, but I am not the thoughts.
When we can separate ourselves from the fear we feel, we already have identified with our true Self. Our Self is certain of Itself, and it operates to heal our minds, to call us home. As we give this Self welcome in our minds, we remember who we are.
Yet this new vision of ourselves, of necessity, includes everyone. It is as though God were offering us a pair of glasses and saying, "If you put these on, you will see your true Self." But when we discover that, in putting them on, we see not only ourselves in a new light, but everyone, we rebel. We want to see ourselves as innocent, but we are unwilling to see everyone that way. If we refuse to see those around us as innocent, we will put down the glasses, refuse the vision of Christ, and we will not be able to recognize ourselves (10:5). "You will not remember Him [God] until you look on all as He does" (10:4).
When thoughts of fear enter my mind today, let me recognize that they are the stranger, the interloper, and that I am the one who is at home--not fear. Fear does not belong. I do not need to accept it in my mind. But let me not fight against it; let me look on my own thoughts of fear with compassion and understanding, recognizing them as merely a mistake, and not a sin. There is no guilt in feeling fear, or there need not be. I can step back from these thoughts, step back into my Self, and see them as the illusions that they are. I can look upon myself with love. And from this same place of merciful awareness, I see all my brothers in the same light: caught in fear, mistaking the fear for themselves, and needing, not judgment and attack, but forgiveness, kindness, and mercy.
Copyright © 1996, The Circle of Atonement, Sedona,
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