The Cost of Fear

by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

“Fear is deception. It attests that you have seen yourself as you could never be, and therefore look upon a world which is impossible. … Let us not be deceived today. We are the Sons of God. There is no fear in us, for we are each a part of Love Itself.” (Lesson 240)

From the perspective of A Course in Miracles, when we dwell in fear, we are deceiving ourselves about our reality. As we are told in the Course, if there could be an opposite to love, it would be fear, but what is all encompassing (love) can really have no opposite. Therefore, when we dwell in fear we are denying not only our reality of love but our real power. We are living a lie, and the lie is costing us dearly.

From a worldly perspective, what has fear done for you? I know it is easy to fall into fear; we do it all the time without thinking. Just because we are used to being afraid, though, is no reason to continue being afraid. Think about it, when you have been afraid about something in the future, has it really made a difference? The thing either happens or not, but wasting your time in fear has done nothing except perhaps caused you to lose sleep. Fear is an unproductive emotion. It makes nothing better and only creates chaos in our lives and world. No one thinks straight when they are in the grips of fear, so what is the point of promoting it? What’s the point of paying its high price, when it’s costing us the awareness of love?

There is a lot of talk lately that our country is the most divided it has ever been. Promoting division and conflict seems to be something that some think will benefit themselves, but it is antithetical to truth and our reality…and plain common sense. Fear does nothing productive; as a matter of fact, fear and worry have been recently linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s in patients. This does not mean we don’t deal with serious issues that come up, but if we are adding fear to the equation, then we are hurting ourselves.

We cannot know the fullness of our minds and our strength when we separate ourselves from our wholeness, and our wholeness is found in each other. Abraham Lincoln wisely said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” In the Bible, Jesus clearly emphasized that whatever we do to the least of them, we have done to him, the Christ, which is the truth we all share. In A Course in Miracles we are told, whenever you meet anyone it is a holy encounter. As you see, think, or treat another, you do it to yourself. So in that seeming “other,” you either find yourself or lose yourself. This means you join with your brother in peace and love and find the infinite knowledge you seek, or not.

“Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is. This is the prerequisite for knowledge only because those who are in conflict are not peaceful, and peace is the condition of knowledge because it is the condition of the Kingdom.” (T-8.I.1)

You either have conflict or awareness; it is your choice. If you want to be at peace, and thereby experience the awareness of God’s knowledge, then you have to make the choices to reduce the conflict and stop dwelling in the atmosphere that engenders fear and separation. Fear does not make us strong and more unified, it makes us weak and divided.

In renowned journalist Bob Woodward’s latest book Fear: Trump in the White House, he recounts how he came up with the book’s title. Many speculated that the title was a commentary on the fact that people are feeling great fear about Trump being in the White House, but that is not where the title came from. Years earlier, Woodward had done an interview with Trump when he was a businessman. Woodward asked Trump how he ran his businesses. Trump responded that he probably shouldn’t say it, but that he uses fear. He said fear was a great motivator. As long as everyone was afraid of him, afraid of each other, afraid of losing their jobs, he was in control and successful.

Thinking that fear motivates is the hallmark of ego thinking. The only way this misguided thought can motivate or wield control is in a mind that believes it is separate from everyone else, attack gets it something it wants, guilt will bring it peace, it is forsaken by God, or that there is no God at all. Many of us have traveled down this road, and if we are now students of A Course in Miracles, we have found that this road led nowhere. But, if you have not replaced the lies of the ego with something else, then you will continue to travel down this fruitless road, ignorant of any other way.

This is an exhausting and depressing way to live, if you can even call it living. But, all is not lost – that’s why we have the Course. We urgently need a course correction and a Course correction!

Again, fear is an unproductive emotion, but it seems real and very viable as long as it is kept in the darkness of our minds. If we don’t look at our fearful thinking , which presents itself as hate, anger, righteous judgment, unworthiness, guilt, and depression to name a few, then the Holy Spirit cannot help us. It is not because fear is so powerful, but because if we don’t look and release our attachment, the Holy Spirit cannot heal it for us.

“The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him. Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon. He sees for you, and unless you look with Him He cannot see.” (T-14.VII.6)

We have free will to stay as miserable, angry, and fearful as we want, even if it is not real, but what is the benefit? The idea of ruling through fear is not a new idea. It is as old as the dawn of time; as a matter of fact, it is responsible for the concept of time! But if we are students of the Course, then our goal is to look at the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence (fear) and no longer support them so they can be removed from our thinking.

Therefore, it is time we stop supporting fear and anything and anyone who would encourage fear. Those who rule by fear are simply trying to make us feel weak and vulnerable in a feeble attempt to exert power over us by promoting themselves as our saviors, and their answers of fear and separation from each other as the solution. The real solution is the one God gave us: The Holy Spirit. Let Him into the dark and fearful areas of your mind. His goal is not to frighten you or take anything away from you; His goal is to give you the awareness of the Kingdom. You cannot get there with hate in your heart but only through the love of God within you now — and that brings peace.

It is time for us to stop listening to fear and those who would value fear. As the Course reminds us, if we stop giving breath to ego thinking, it will simply fade into the nothingness whence it came. It is like a bad dream — when you wake up, it has no more power to frighten you.

Fear is costing us the Kingdom of God. Fear gives us nothing; it is time to let it go and replace it with the truth…

I gladly make the “sacrifice” of fear. (Lesson 323)

1 Here is the only “sacrifice” You ask of Your beloved Son; You ask him to give up all suffering, all sense of loss and sadness, all anxiety and doubt, and freely let Your Love come streaming in to his awareness, healing him of pain, and giving him Your Own eternal joy. Such is the “sacrifice” You ask of me, and one I gladly make; the only “cost” of restoration of Your memory to me, for the salvation of the world.

2 And as we pay the debt we owe to truth, — a debt that merely is the letting go of self-deceptions and of images we worshipped falsely — truth returns to us in wholeness and in joy. We are deceived no longer. Love has now returned to our awareness. And we are at peace again, for fear has gone and only love remains.

Remember, the next time you feel that stab of fear, or hear someone promoting fear, hate, or separation, stop and realize that fear costs too much and offers nothing of value in return. It is time we turn to the strength of God within and allow His Love to stream in and replace the lies of the ego with His mighty peace. Let His Kingdom of peace reign.

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