Tag Archives: Stress

Ask the Holy Spirit for Escape from Fear

The way we view our brother is actually the way that we view ourselves.  If we attribute dark motives to him, it is sure that we are projecting those motives from within ourselves. And mild annoyance can be just as debilitating as more aggressive forms of hostility.  We are never angry at something that is “really there”; what we see is always a projection from our own false image of self, our ego.  To believe otherwise is to construct a room without exits in this illusory and sad world of ours.

            We can see the dynamic of blame played out with our brother.  First, for whatever reason, we unconsciously feel fear; this fear floats about looking for a place to alight, and just a word, of whatever nature, from our brother is enough to create anger.  The whole encounter revolves around fear, but we will more likely correctly identify what transpires if we allow ourselves to

experience the fear as stress.  We can then more easily bring ourselves around to a better slant of mind, without torturing ourselves by looking for the source of fear.  Ease up, and ask for respite from the Holy Spirit.  It is our little mind, the ego, that has gotten us into this fix, but it is our Higher Mind that can get us out.  If we dwell a moment upon our brother’s sterling qualities, the sword of guilt above our heads will no longer descend to touch our heart.

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Increase the Daily Calm

We must honor our brother, for in him God has given a part of Himself for us to love and cherish.  The Christ in us sees our brother truly, in the holiness that is his own; would we allow the egoistic false self to see otherwise?

            Remember that it is much easier to see one’s brother as holy than to see him (or one’s self) as special.  We taught ourselves specialness with much effort, because we wished it to be true. It takes much effort to assimilate a lie, and no effort at all to let the truth be shown to us.  And with this, effortless accomplishment comes to us and we are at rest.

The Attraction of “Sin”

            There is an attraction to “sin” that is not found in what is recognized as merely as a mistake.  The Course says that our way to sin is lit only by “fireflies” that would hurl us over precipices. (T-24.V.4:2)  The attraction to sin exists because in our debased self-image, we still long for specialness.  And specialness carries with it the seeds of destruction and decay.  Be glad that this is true, for the decay is the decay of the ego, and with the ego’s demise goes all our pain and suffering.  With Christ’s vision we know a perfect lack of specialness as we hold our brother’s hand and walk Home together.

            If we can see our brother as holy, we will have come a long way toward seeing ourselves in the same light.  “In him is your assurance God is here, and with you now.” (T-24.VI.1:4) If we see our brother as sinful, it is sure that we perceive ourselves the same.  Do not be variable in private assessments of our brother, for such variability will permeate the whole of the world as we see it.

            I have frequently recognized that I never get angry unless I am stressed, and this is possibly true for most of us.  It is thus very likely that the variability we have been discussing arises out of stress, which is really fear causing us to feel threatened.  If we can so clear our minds that we are calm and at peace, we will not be tempted to think ill of our brother.  It behooves us so to organize our daily lives to maximize the calm and minimize the myriad frustrations.  This we owe to ourselves and to our brother. 

Jesus: “Fear Cannot be Controlled by Me, but It Can Be Self-Controlled. Fear Prevents Me from Giving You My Control.”

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Affirmation: “Fear can be self-controlled.”

Reflections:

1 – Previous Posts

I have posted on passages from A Course of Miracles about fear three times in the very recent past. Fear is a motif of ACIM, and fear and love are said to be the only two emotions–with all others being subsets of those two. Fear is of the ego, and the presence of fear is a sure sign that we are letting the ego rule once again. We need to find out how to avoid letting the ego rule. We will never make much progress on our spiritual “journey without distance” (from ACIM) unless we find a way to overcome fear. But Jesus also tells us that we cannot “master” fear by our insistence; he says that the only true mastery is through love. So this puts us back at square one. We need to understand how to love, to get ourselves and our egos out of the way, to see how we can view our world, the people in it and ourselves, with only the positive sense of love. Then and only then will we be free of anxieties. It is true, though, that such mastery may come ultimately only with Awakening.

2 – Conditions Bringing Fear

The quotation is not the complete passage, and what is quoted can be a little misleading. Later on Jesus says that we are to ask for help in eliminating the conditions that have brought the fear about. That then frees us to accept the control of Jesus. What are these conditions, usually? That we have been too self-centered, that we have not let go and let God, or, more precisely, the Holy Spirit as the Communicator to us. We have not let the Holy Spirit have His way in the guidance that we have asked to recognize as we live our lives. In these early passages in the Text of ACIM, Jesus has not yet introduced the Holy Spirit fully, and he uses the first person, himself, to introduce us to the idea that we need help in our daily lives. He is there for us, and later on he will make clear that the Holy Spirit is there for us. Here we are bade to give control to Jesus in regard to the conditions that have brought fear about. It is always a desire to be separate, these conditions. And it is not the will of the universe that we see ourselves as separate and apart from the whole. We desire so much to be independent, but we are not intended to be as independent as the ego has said. We are part of the All, and the sooner we join the whole in our minds and hearts, the quickly we will be free of fear, free of anxieties.

3 – Self-Controlled Fear

In getting the guidance of the Holy Spirit to eliminate the conditions that brought about the fear, we are going to the root of the fear. This is true self-controlled fear.

4 – Cause and Effect

Jesus also says that cause and effect are involved in fear. When the conditions that bring about fear are present as a cause, then the effect is the fear. To tamper with this cause-and-effect relationship would be to deemphasize our minds, which Jesus would never do. He also says that we fear the power of the mind, but to think of it as impotent is not a helpful concept. We are actually afraid of the power of the mind.

5 – Fear Can Be Overcome

Fear can be overcome. It is simple to read these words and to take them to heart, but perhaps it is not easy to effect the eradication of fear. As indicated, A Course in Miracles Course returns again and again to the differences between love and fear, and ultimately tells us that the only true mastery of fear is through love. How do we effect this change? How do we choose love in every situation? Ah, that is the question. But one of the best ways to so live is to turn often to the inner Self, as well as to the inner Deity, in communion and prayer. If we keep a reverent attitude toward what we are going through in daily life, we will be living in a more centered way. We will not become so scattered, with attempts made so often to go off in many directions at once. The scattered approach to living is an invitation to allow fear the upper hand. And stress fuels anxieties.

6 – Stress

How might we reduce the daily stress that comes with the territory of being human? One of the best ways is to devote a short period, morning and evening, to devotionals. The Workbook of ACIM is certainly a way to learn how to do this. When we touch base with God on a regular basis, we find that we are conscious of His Presence when our minds are on the things of this world. This is the best way that I know to “self-control” fear.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be free of fear. May I have help with the conditions that bring the fear about. And may I be guided in how to control my fear.

I pray for Jesus’s help in my life. He promises this to me. May I turn to him and to the Holy Spirit for the help that I so much need.

Amen.

If You Attack Error in Another, You Will Hurt Yourself. You Cannot Know Your Brother when You Attack Him.

“If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself. You cannot know your brother when you attack him. Attack is always made upon a stranger. (T41)”

Affirmation: “Attack is always made upon a stranger.”

Reflections:

1 – Very Little Rightmindedness

It takes very little rightmindedness to see the truth of the quoted passage. How often have we responded in anger to another’s words, felt a surge of self-righteousness, and then sunk into a depressed spirit? Why did you fall into a depressed spirit? Why did the moment of “triumph” not last? We thought that we had gotten the guilt out (an interpretation by Ken Wapnick). But the guilt resurges, because even when in the ego, we are misled, and we know it, somewhere in our minds. The ego, in fact, always oscillates between triumph and depressed spirit, because the ego is constantly being undone. That is the way of salvation, so that we will eventually see that the boons that the ego holds out to us are mirages.

2 – Seeing the Unholy

When we attack, we are not seeing the holy in our brother. We are not seeing his (or her) innocence. So we are not seeing truly. We have made of him (or her) a stranger. But do we want our nearest and dearest to be a stranger to us? Of course not. So we must reevaluate, and in the reevaluation, we come to see that making a stranger of our brother or sister is not going to lead us to salvation. It is our joining in relationship to our brother or sister that we know God, that we walk the pathway to Awakening–for this is the way of A Course in Miracles. Once one has known even once the joy of a heartfelt kinship, in a holy relationship one to another, we will never be satisfied with less than this best. We are ruined for any other kind of unholy alliance.

3 – Feeling

When we attack, we may feel momentarily better, but then the insanity of guilt will overcome us. We will feel worse than before, and this comes from knowing that we have betrayed both our brother and ourselves. Attack is rarely physical, but often verbal. And it is in response to anger borne of stress. The world we live in is a very stressful place, and so anger and attack dog our steps.

4 – Anger and Attack

Yet would we have it so? Would we have anger and attack as our constant companions? I think not. We recognize, however dimly, the insanity of such a defense against the truth of the holiness of our brothers and sisters. We know that we have done them a disservice when we attack them or respond in anger. Their own anger may have sparked the lamentable exchange, but we need to recognize, then, that the anger was distress based on error (from the Text of ACIM). Many times our significant others will bait us when in a low mood. And always we can respond by remembering the distress that is at the heart of this response. Remembering this will pave the way for our forgiveness, for momentarily the “pain-body” (a concept of Eckhart Tolle) is in ascendancy. Our brother or sister wants to experience pain at such times, but we do not have to oblige. We can fill our bodies with presence, and the pain-body will dissipate, sooner rather than later.

5 – Innocence

Recognizing the innocence in our brother even if he (or she) has attacked us first, is to know the evidence of insanity in our world. A special relationship is usually filled with attack, once the bloom of infatuation is off the relationship. A holy relationship, however, has moved beyond the specialness (which was always a lie), and knows one’s brother as the loving Self that he (or she) truly is.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I make no brother or sister a stranger by attacking that person. May I realize that I have always made him or her a stranger when I have attacked.

May I see the innocence even in attack received from another. Attack is a form of insanity–nothing more. May I forgive and walk into the light.

Amen.

Bring Love to Every Circumstance

monet - bridge“Remain who you are and continue to live by the laws of love in every circumstance, and you bring love to every circumstance. Be neither dismayed nor discouraged by those who do not see and have no willingness to offer. Just know these aren’t the ones given you to bring to love and trust that none will remain forever lost to his or her own Self. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 20.17)”

Affirmation: “I ask to reflect only love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Poor Example

We make a poor example of our faith, and we reflect poorly on A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, when we do not live in love. It is easy to let anger take over when someone baits us, or when we are threatened, or when we are simply stressed and have had all that we think we can take. But the answer is not to live this neurotic mess. The answer is to turn to the best that we know, which is love.

2 – Timeout

Take a timeout! That is the best advice. If we can’t escape the temptation, then get quiet. Just don’t say anything, unless that will antagonize your significant others even more. Usually we can turn aside a negative comment by a positive one of our own. If we don’t let the pain-body (as Eckhart Tolle describes in A New Earth) take over. The pain-body is our almost out-of-touch reactions to negativity, a need that the ego has to sound off from time to time. And we are very out of control when the ego is in charge.

3 – Be Present

How do we refrain from letting the pain that is within find an outlet? We can get very present, very poised. And don’t react at all to what someone else is saying. Try not to react, even, to what you are thinking. Just look within, to the inner Self, though we may not have actualized that Self in the way that Jesus hopes we will eventually. He hopes for us to arrive at Christ-consciousness, and we can ask for a glimpse of that bright moment when things are going awry for us.

4 – Live in Love

We need to live in love, for ourselves as well as others. We need to recognize that the good that we do lives on in other people. One quiet thought, expressed, will have waves of influence on other people, to say nothing of ourselves. We live in love when we express the best that is in our nature. And we know that even before the blessing of Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, has descended upon us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live in love today, regardless of whether or not there is any baiting going on around me. I do not have to retaliate; I can stay quiet, I can pray, and I can answer softly. I know that I always feel worse later if I reply angrily to any supposed attack. The attack can always be reframed as distress based on error, and, knowing this, I can forgive.

May today go smoothly for all of my brothers and sisters. They are filled with pain, sometimes, that I cannot comprehend. Knowing that, I can do no better than to offer solace—but reinforcement. Help me to walk the fine line between solace and reinforcement.

Thank You for help. You have never failed me. The times that I have had to wait for an answer have been few and far between. Thank You for the swiftness of Your responses.

Amen.

How to Acquire a Restful Mind

monet - water lilies7“The mechanics of the mind were what engaged you in so many daily battles that you became almost too weary to continue.  The mechanics of the mind were what were in need of being overcome in order for you to listen once again to the wisdom of your heart.  The mechanics of your over-worked and over-stimulated mind were what you were asked to leave behind as this act of leaving behind was the only means by which you could allow your mind to be restful enough for it to even contemplate union or the new learning required in order to facilitate your return to union.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 1.7)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek a restful mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Over-Stimulated Mind

We have indeed been over-stimulated in our minds.  And we have suffered for it.  Our society is particularly, in recent years, prone to contributing to jangled and frenzied nerves, and we would not have it so.  Multitasking does not really result in better efficiency.  Indeed, productivity goes down and accuracy declines.  If, in God’s good time, something is not reached, then it was not meant to be reached.  God’s pace is measured and sure, calm and serene.

2 – How to Work

Most of us work too hard.  God will show us how to work, and it is the easy and relaxed method of getting work done.  Speed does not really contribute to anything but frenzy.  We will get more done, in the long run, when we take time out to recharge.

3 – Slow Down

The mind can hold only so much.  And we have greatly overtaxed our mind in recent years.  The best thing is to ask God to show us how to work efficiently, and almost always that prayer will be answered by “slow down.”

4 – We Are Weary

We have indeed been weary.  A Course in Miracles says that we are not really capable of being tired, but we are very capable of wearying ourselves.  Listening only to the ego will naturally do that to us.  And we would not have it so.  Listen to the heart.  We need to stop when we find ourselves becoming weary, because the best work is not done under those conditions.

5 – What Union Means

We need to get our minds in the right mind slant to recognize union when it is presented to us.  We are one with the Christ/Self within, the God within, and with others in our world.  That is what union means.  We are part of the All, and the All is One.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would still my mind today, letting emotions ease and difficulties fall away.  I need to know that I have often tried to do too much, as do most people.  We are leading ourselves astray when we try to multitask.  We aren’t more efficient.  We are just frazzled.

You will show me how to work, how to proceed through my day with a paced and tranquil attitude.  If it is not there when I proceed calmly and peacefully, whatever it is that I have been after was best left alone.  It was not meant to be there for me.

Thank You for the peace that has engulfed me in my better moments.  May anxious and fretful times fall by the wayside, as I observe Your way and try to abide by it.  Thank You for the serene way in which You mean for me to live.  To live serenely is the only right way to approach life.  May I remember this all through the potential stresses of today.

Amen.