“Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist. (T14)”
Affirmation: “Perfect love casts out fear.”
1 – A Beautiful Passage
Jesus seems fond of syllogisms. There are a number in the Course, but this is phrased in perhaps this most beautiful way of all of his syllogisms.
2 – Perfect Love vs. Fear
All of us wish to have perfect love and to show perfect love to others, especially our significant others. Likewise, all of us would like to be free of fear, and we would like for others, the same. According to this idealistic level of A Course in Miracles, we can have both. We are in perfect love, but we do not recognize it. And so, when we feel fear, it “produces a state that does not exist,” or, in other words, an illusion.
3 – We Live a Dream
We know from other parts of ACIM that its theology would say that we are living an illusion, living maya (an Eastern term). But do we really believe this? We are told (paraphrased from ACIM) that if others become vicious toward us, we will not be moved if we remember that this is our dream (or, in other words, our illusion). So, when life seems difficult and we seem attacked on all sides, we can pray for a moment of calm in which we realize that we are dreaming. And so none of it truly matters in eternity. And in time, people have made mistakes (including ourselves), but these can be rectified by turning away from the mistakes. Time does not matter, because time does not really exist. Only eternity matters.
4 – Illusions
Here the Course goes to the heart of the unreality in which we live. We live in illusions, not the real world, at all–at least most of us. (The real world comes near the conclusion of our pathway back to God.)
5 – Incompatible States of Being
Perfect love and fear are completely incompatible. This is what this passage is saying. Because most of us still feel fear upon occasion, we are lost in dreams–and not the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit. There is a danger that we will feel depressed upon reading these words. But elsewhere Jesus cautions us not to lose heart. If the way seems long, once begun the way back is always found in the end. If the way seems long, we are to take heart and to know that we will find our way back, ultimately.
In reality, only perfect love exists. But we frequently feel fear, and so we are not experiencing the real world on a consistent basis.
May we experience the real world. If this seems a long way off, may we in the interim experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.