[acimlessons_list] Lesson 160 - June 9
sue at circleofa.org
Sun Jun 8 10:46:22 EDT 2008
Lesson 160 - June 9
"I AM AT HOME. FEAR IS THE STRANGER HERE."
Morning/evening quiet time: At least five minutes; ideally, thirty or more.
My suggestion: Begin by realizing that the experience of <fear> and the
experience of <home> are mutually exclusive. When you feel truly at home,
you feel a sense of shelter and safety, a sense of joining and belonging, a
sense of comfort and peace. When you feel afraid, you feel the absence of
all these things. In essence, you feel homeless.
Now spend some time trying to get in touch with each state. First, imagine
feeling completely at home inside yourself, regardless of what goes on
outside you. Imagine knowing who you are, feeling at home with yourself.
Imagine feeling at home with God, enfolded in His Love. Imagine fear being a
thought loitering on the periphery of your mind, trying to invade the peace
of this inner home, knocking on the door, tapping at the window, but unable
to get in.
Then switch to getting in touch with the state of fear, the state that we
all live in. Notice how in this state, fear, anxiety, and worry are your
most natural reactions to the happenings of the world, so natural as to be
automatic reflexes. This leaves you feeling that you have no safe harbor, no
true shelter. You feel separate from God and alienated from yourself. It is
as if <you> are loitering on the outside, while fear sits unchallenged on
the throne of your mind.
Now ask yourself with real sincerity, "Who is the stranger?" Is it fear or
is it you? Who sits at home in your mind, and who is on the outside,
wandering homeless? Is it fear or is it you? Which of the states you just
reviewed is the truth and which is the lie?
Now answer with the words that God has given you: "I am at home. Fear is the
stranger here." Realize that this answer is true because it comes from God.
Repeat it over and over. Try to feel the truth in it.
Finally, let this idea draw you down into your mind, to the place where you
are at home and where fear has no place. Feel the attraction of home drawing
you deep within. Sink down to where you are at one with your Self, at home
in your Creator. To renew your focus, from time to time repeat, <"I am at
home."> And whenever a thought wanders into this holy home, say, <"I am at
home. This thought is the stranger here.">
Hourly remembrance: One or two minutes as the hour strikes (reduce if
circumstances do not permit).
Repeat the idea, letting it draw you to a place in your mind where you feel
truly at home. Thank your Father for the letters from home He sent you in
the previous hour, in the form of loving interactions and shifts in
perception. And ask Him what to do in the coming hour.
Response to temptation: When you are tempted to be afraid or to see a
brother as a stranger.
1.When you tempted to be afraid, say, "I am at home. This thought of fear is
the stranger here." While you do, imagine yourself at home within your mind
while the thought of fear loiters outside, powerless to get in.
2.When you are tempted to see a brother as a stranger, remember that he is
part of your Self. You might say silently to this brother, "You are at home
with me. There are no strangers here."
Fear in this lesson is virtually synonymous with "ego." The picture being
given is that we have invited fear, personified as a stranger, into our
house, and the stranger has taken over and declared that he is us. He has
taken over our identity almost completely. And the insane part of it all is
that we have gone along with the stranger. We have accepted that this
stranger is really us, and we have given our home over to him completely. We
have been dispossessed.
Who is the stranger? You, or the ego? It is so easy, when thoughts of fear
occupy our minds, to believe that the fear is us. The anger is us. The
loneliness is us. The sense of helplessness is us. We have habituated
ourselves to identifying with our thoughts and feelings of fear; we believe
they are us. The thrust of this lesson is that all of these manifestations
of fear are an interloper, not a genuine part of us at all. You are not the
ego; the ego is not you.
Stephen Levine, in several of his books, talks about relating <to> our fear
rather than relating <from> it. The distinction he is making is between
identifying with the fear (relating from it) or distinguishing our self from
it (relating to it). When I relate from my fear, I am in its grips. The fear
runs me; the fear is me. When I relate to my fear, however, I can look on it
with dispassionate mercy. I can react to it with mercy, and heal instead of
go into panic. It is the difference between saying, "I am afraid," and
saying, "I am having thoughts of fear" or "I am experiencing fear." My
thoughts are not me. I am the thinker who is thinking the thoughts, but I am
not the thoughts.
When we can separate ourselves from the fear we feel, we already have
identified with our true Self. Our Self is certain of Itself, and It
operates to heal our minds, to call us home. As we give this Self welcome in
our minds, we remember who we are.
Yet this new vision of ourselves, of necessity, includes everyone. It is as
though God were offering us a pair of glasses and saying, "If you put these
on, you will see your true Self." But when we discover that, in putting them
on, we see not only ourselves in a new light, but everyone, we rebel. We
want to see ourselves as innocent, but we are unwilling to see everyone that
way. If we refuse to see those around us as innocent, we will put down the
glasses, refuse the vision of Christ, and we will not be able to recognize
ourselves (10:5). "You will not remember Him [God] until you look on all as
He does" (10:4).
When thoughts of fear enter my mind today, let me recognize that they are
the stranger, the interloper, and that I am the one who is at home--not
fear. Fear does not belong. I do not need to accept it in my mind. But let
me not fight against it; let me look on my own thoughts of fear with
compassion and understanding, recognizing them as merely a mistake, and not
a sin. There is no guilt in feeling fear, or there need not be. I can step
back from these thoughts, step back into my Self, and see them as the
illusions that they are. I can look upon myself with love. And from this
same place of merciful awareness, I see all my brothers in the same light:
caught in fear, mistaking the fear for themselves, and needing not judgment
and attack, but forgiveness, kindness, and mercy.
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