See complete instructions in 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: Lesson 282 says, in essence, that our true Name is love, as is God's. We have given ourselves the name of fear, but this is simply a mistake-we have not become fear. We are still love.
First, sign your name as you usually do, on the line below (or grab an extra piece of paper for this), and date it:
Look at your signature, and try to get in touch with your sense of whose name that is. What concept of that person are you holding as you sign the signature? Is it not a separate person? A person with a particular history? And a special station or place in the world? With special attributes?
Isn't this self trying to make its way through a perilous world? Isn't that why you sign your name to things? To protect yourself from something? Or to procure some needed thing for this endangered self? If, for instance, you sign a legal document, are you not often afraid of what it may bring into your life, even while you are hoping it will protect you in other ways? In short, isn't the identity signified by your name filled with fear? What else would a separate self trying to make its way through a perilous world be filled with?
Therefore, sign your name again, and this time sign it simply as "Fear."
Once you sign it, try to see this signature and the first one as the same. Look back and forth between the first and second signatures and try to let them blend into one. Try to realize that when you sign your name in everyday life, you are signing "Fear." You are saying, "This self who is separate, vulnerable, and beset by the dangers of a perilous world." Regardless of the specific words you write, the content of what you are writing is fear.
Now sign your name one more time. This time sign it as "Love."
As you sign it, try to really mean it. Don't think of it as a given name like "Joy," which doesn't mean much. Think of it as a statement that you really are love. Love is your nature. You are not a being who can love, who can love at times and hate at other times, whose love is partial, selective, and intermittent. You are love. Love is your nature. You are a segment of Love Itself. In your true nature, you are incapable of any anger, any hatred, even any neutrality. Being love, all you can do is love.
Realize that this is not an aspiration of what you want to be. This is who you are now, beneath all appearances. You are love, a segment of God's Love, merely dreaming that you are a separate being filled with fear. You are love masquerading as something else.
Look at this final signature and try to identify with it. Think to yourself, "That's me. That's who I am." Does that make you see yourself differently? What feelings does it evoke?
Here is another of the dozens of statements which the Course says, if accepted without reservation, can constitute the entirety of salvation. "If I could realize but this today, salvation would be reached for all the world" (1:1). A few of the others that fall into this category are "I am as God created me" (W-pI.94.1), "Ideas leave not their source" (W-pI.167.3:6-11), "There is no world" (W-pI.132.6:2-3), "Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists" (T-In.2:2-3), and "Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real" (M-20.5:7-10).
How often do I realize that I am afraid of love? We are afraid of love far more frequently than we realize. Ken Wapnick has used a variation of this thought as a suggested mental response whenever we notice our egos acting up: "I must be afraid of love again." There is a sense in which we could say that the ego is the fear of love. It is a mental stance that rejects Love as our Source, that rejects Love as our Self, and that refuses to recognize Love in everyone and everything around us. When we look at it in this way, it begins to be more understandable that if we could simply realize this one thing-not to be afraid of love-the salvation of the world would be accomplished.
Fear of love is insane on the face of it. Of all the things we might be reasonably afraid of, love is not one of them. A famous old-time Christian evangelist, Charles Grandison Finney (famous in the 1800s), once wrote that "Love is the eternal will to all goodness." To be afraid of that which eternally wills only our good is truly insane. So to accept today's idea is "the decision not to be insane" (1:2).
Fear of love is a fear of our own Self, which is Love. Therefore, to realize today's idea is "to accept myself as God Himself, my Father and my Source, created me" (1:2). We are indeed afraid to recognize ourselves as Love; it seems a very dangerous thing to do, to our egos.
Fear of love is to fall asleep and dream of death, because in rejecting love we are rejecting that which guards us, protects us, and brings us joy. In fearing love we are imagining ourselves to be something other than loving, or in other words, evil and sinful. In such a picture of ourselves we imagine we deserve death. To forget what we are and to believe we are something else, the mind must fall asleep. Therefore, to realize today's idea is a determination not to be asleep in dreams of death (1:3).
To will not to be afraid of love is a choice to recognize my Self because my Self is Love.
No matter what names we may have called ourselves in our madness, names cannot change what we are in truth (2:1-3). To choose not to fear love is to remember this. What we have done in calling ourselves unloving is not a sin:
The name of fear is simply a mistake. Let me not be afraid of truth today. (2:4-5)