Today belongs to love. Let me not fear.
See complete instructions in a separate document. A short summary:
- Read the commentary paragraph slowly and personally.
- Pray the prayer, perhaps several times.
- Morning and evening: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
- Hourly remembrance: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
- Frequent reminders: Repeat the idea and then spend a quiet moment in meditation.
- Response to temptation: Repeat the idea whenever upset, to restore peace.
- Read the “What Is” section slowly and thoughtfully once during the day.
Practice suggestion: Pick someone whom you expect to deal with today, but whom you’d rather avoid. Say to him or her:
I let you be as God created you.
I give you the honor due your sinlessness.
I love you like a brother and like a friend.
Give this day to Him, and there will be no fear today, because the day is given unto Love. (2:2)
Fear is what happens when we shut off our awareness to Love. It is nothing but the illusory absence of Love-“illusory” because Love is never absent. Nothing but Love exists. Like the physical sun, Love is always shining. We say sometimes that “the sun isn’t out today.” In fact, of course, the sun is out, but there is interference, clouds, something in between which is blocking our awareness of the sun. We then experience darkness, which is no more than the absence of light. Darkness is nothing in itself. When the interference is removed, light is there, just as it always was.
So too, when we remove the interference to our awareness of Love, Love is there and fear is gone. If we give this day to Love, there will be no fear.
It is easy to see how we can understand any form of fear as no more than a call for Love. “Fear is a symptom of your own deep sense of loss” (T-12.I.9:1). Fear is how we feel when Love appears to be absent; therefore, it is simply an automatic cry for Love’s presence. It is a call for Love, and nothing more. Fear can take many forms-anger, worry, sadness, jealousy, sickness, or an addictive desire for a thing or for a person-but all of these are just forms of fear. When I am aware of them in myself, let me bring them to the Holy Spirit so that He can reinterpret them (see T-12.I.8:8-9), so that I can understand that all forms of fear are nothing but an unconscious call for Love (see T-12.I.8:13), and therefore they are nothing to be guilty about.
When I was a child I believed that all sickness was caused by germs. I had a pretty clear understanding that some kind of invader bugs got into my body and messed things up; I could understand that. Even if metaphysically this is not a true picture, nor even wholly true scientifically, it was what I believed to be the truth. That was what real sickness was for me.
One day I was riding in the back seat of the car on a long drive, reading a comic book. I started to feel sick. I guess I had never experienced motion sickness before, so I must have been quite young. I thought I was “getting sick,” and told my parents to stop the car because I was going to be sick. I went into a service station restroom. As I walked in I felt less sick. I used the toilet, and after a few minutes, I felt fine. I was utterly baffled; what had happened to the sickness?
When I returned to the car and told my parents, they said, “Oh! You must have been feeling carsick.” They explained to me that sometimes motion can make you feel sick, but that it isn’t the same as having the flu. I remember clearly saying something like, “You mean I’m not really sick? I just feel sick?” They more or less agreed with my interpretation. They told me it had to do with the mind being confused because my eyes were looking at something motionless while the rest of my body felt motion. In effect, they told me the sickness was caused by false perception in my mind!
In my young mind, something clicked. I wanted to read that comic book! Even though my parents advised against it, I went back to reading it. I started to feel sick again. But I now knew the truth that I wasn’t really sick! This was a false sickness. There was no real reason (i.e., germs) to be sick. My mind was doing it to me, so my mind could undo it. So, despite the nausea and pain in my stomach, I went on reading. “I’m not really sick,” I told myself. And the nausea went away, and I never had motion sickness again in my life, except one time on an ocean liner in a very heavy storm, after all eleven hundred people on the ship had thrown up except for me and another dozen or so-I guess the “evidence” was just too overwhelming.
Just as that day I convinced myself that my sickness was not real-a very clear lesson in my life of the power of the mind-the Holy Spirit wants to convince us that our fears are not real. Just as I realized that day that nothing was truly wrong with my body, He wants us to know that when we are feeling fear, nothing is really wrong with our minds. Despite what we perceive in the world, the Holy Spirit wants us to know that the fear is being manufactured by our own minds; it is not real, because Love is never absent and therefore there is no real reason for fear. You may feel fear in one of its many forms-He never asks us to deny that, instead He asks us to look at it and recognize it very clearly-but He does ask us to realize that what we are feeling is false. It has no cause. It is just something manufactured by a mind that has blinded itself to the truth. We don’t even need to cure our fear, because the sickness isn’t real!
We will either love our brothers or fear them; those are the only two emotions in this world, according to the Course (see T-12.I.9:5). To give the day to Love means, then, that we will not react with fear to our brothers. We will “let all things be as You created them” (1:1), and therefore we will honor our brothers in their sinlessness. We will give each of them, as the Son of God, “the love of brother to his brother and his Friend” (1:1).
The path of the Course lies here, in learning to let go of our fears and to respond to one another with love instead, honoring what we all are in truth, instead of fearing what our brothers or sisters appear to be. This is how we are redeemed (1:2); this is how light replaces all the darkness in the world (1:3).
Today belongs to Love. Let me not fear.