“The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about. (T29)”
Affirmation: “help in the conditions that have brought the fear about”
1 – Can We Leave Fear Behind?
These three sentences, and the order in which they appear, are a very important sequence. We may feel that the correction of fear is beyond what we can do, but this passage says not. We can get help, though, in the slightly different matter of the “conditions” that brought the fear about. For that we ask for help, and rightly so. And when we ask, we receive.
2 – Change Thoughts that Hurt
I have read and reread the passage for today from the Text. I try to understand what it is saying, and I do realize that Jesus is adamant that he not interfere with the cause-and-effect nature of our thinking and our actions. This is a basic law of our universe as we know it. But help with the conditions that have brought the fear about! That is the crux of the matter, and we get help, when we ask, with these lamentable conditions. We need to watch our thinking, so that we do not entertain anxious and fearful thoughts. Thoughts frequently govern our actions, but Jesus also says that we cannot control the effects of fear by changing our behavior. We can change our thoughts, which will automatically change the behavior in which we will be led to display. There is a subtle difference between these two ideas that we would probably do well to understand, or to ask to understand, more clearly.
3 – Distraction Helps
When we focus our minds on something unrelated to the fear that we are currently feeling, we can short-circuit the bad feelings. Feelings follow thoughts, and if the thoughts are bad, we are led to anxious and lamentable feelings. We stop realizing how really blessed we are, so certain we are that right now we are in a bad place mentally. But we can change the record on the old stereo, and we can stop going around and around, like an old record. We can overlook our fear for loss of love or loss of relationship, or loss of composure in a world that does not sometimes seem to heed our fragile feelings. When we distract ourselves by focusing on other things than our hurt, we are well on the way to a better day. And, as A Course in Miracles points out, we can always start the day anew. We do not have to linger in the unhappiness that we have brought on ourselves by our obsessions about what might have gone wrong in our day.
4 – A “Reason” to Feel Fearful
The matter of conditions is pivotal. There is always an (insane) reason that we feel fearful. We don’t need to understand insanity, but we do need to leave it behind, and this passage notes that the help we need in leaving insanity behind is there for the asking. Elsewhere in ACIM we read that Jesus is saying that we are afraid because we have not let him guide our thoughts. We have gone our own, egoistic, way alone. How foolish of us, when there is so much help available, just for the asking.
5 – Fearful Thoughts = Madness
Fearful thoughts are always a form of madness, the form in which most of us live in this world the vast majority of the time. Until we willingly leave fear behind and return to love consistently, we will be afraid periodically. Can this be something we want to keep?
May I leave fear behind. This sometimes seems impossible to me, but You have promised that I can do so.
May I have the help that You have promised with the conditions that have brought the fear about. Then my fear is self-controlled, which is what Jesus asks me to do.