“The idea for today simply states a fact. It is not a fact to those who believe in illusions, but illusions are not facts. In truth there is nothing to fear….” ACIM, Workbook page 77, Lesson 48.
Lesson 48 is one of the shortest lessons of all in Part I of the Workbook, yet it is a very important one because, in order to overcome the ego, we need to overcome fear. If we were aware of our inner strength, which comes from our connection to our Source, we wouldn’t be fearful. Yet, here in the world of the ego, we rely on our tiny little selves to do everything; to provide food, shelter, financial security and good health, etc. “The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.” W77.
If we are fearful, as most of us are at times, then it means we believe in illusions. But how can we overcome illusions and, thereby, overcome our fear? Jesus tells us to let our rational minds guide us. ACIM appeals to the rational minds of all those who follow this spiritual teaching. If God is eternal and all powerful and He created us in His image, then we, too, must have His powers. Yet, here on earth, we live our little separated lives, we grow up, we grow old and we die. There is nothing eternal about the human body. Similarly, all other forms of life on earth are destined to perish ultimately. If we remain as God created us, which ACIM keeps insisting upon, then we are eternal spirit, at one with God and with all of creation. If we can remember this, then we will realise that there is nothing to fear. On the other hand, if we identify only with our physical bodies, we will inevitably remain fearful; they are so vulnerable.
In all honesty, it is not easy to disregard the physical body and identify only with our spiritual selves. One would have to be an Ascended Master to reach that stage. But we can constantly remind ourselves that we are eternal spirit. There are several Workbook Lessons which can help in this regard: Lesson 97, “I am spirit,” Lesson 110, I am as God created me” and Lesson 95, “I am one Self, united with my Creator,” are just a few very helpful lessons to keep us focused on our true reality and help us overcome illusions.
The reason we believe in the reality of physical forms is that our eyes (and all our other senses) prove to us that they are real. But we cannot trust anything that our physical body shows us, because the physical body was created by the split mind as a home for the ego which wants to keep us trapped in its world—a world where we all appear to be separate individuals and autonomous from each other and from God. “If you but recognized how little stands between you and your awareness of your union with your brother! Be not deceived by the illusions it presents of size and thickness, weight, solidity and firmness of foundation. Yes, to the body’s eyes it looks like an enormous solid body, immovable as is a mountain. Yet within you is a Force that no illusions can resist…” T479. The Force within us is God; that is why it is true to say that there is nothing to fear.
It would be easier to overcome fear if one could set up a direct channel with the Holy Spirit, the Voice for Love—God’s ambassador. Some people are able to communicate with the Holy Spirit and rely on His guidance in all that they do. The mystic and spiritual teacher, David Hoffmeister, explained in a YouTube clip how, after studying ACIM for eight hours a day for over two years, he began to hear the Holy Spirit very clearly. He said it was like an inner stream of thoughts which gave him specific guidance about where to go, what to do and what to say. That is the way to become fearless because instead of relying on our little ego self we now rely on God, through the Holy Spirit. But it takes time and willingness to set up the connection. We also need to have a lot of faith and trust.
DavidPaul Doyle has written a very valuable guide to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit— "5 Steps to Hearing God’s Voice." It is well worth reading as it offers practical guidance and exercises to help us do this. By relying on our inner connection to God, we can overcome fear. It also helps to repeat Lesson 48 to oneself, “There is nothing to fear” if ever we do feel afraid. As Jesus advises: “It is particularly important that you use the idea immediately, should anything disturb your peace of mind.” W77.
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