Saturday, October 10, 2009

We Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself ...

What is it about fear? Why is it so very powerful? It permeates our culture, our experience ... it sells newspapers, increases ratings, motivates our behavior. Whether we feel compelled to hoard our money, protect our borders, go to war, go to work, get a flu shot, or go to church ... if we peeled back all the veneers of the why's, the wherefores, and the conventional wisdom of doing a thing, we're quite likely, if we are ruthless honest with ourselves, that fear is the baseline motivation for much, if not most, of what we do. As a culture, as individuals.

The other motivational force, which is far more powerful, but which gets far less air- and focus-time, is Love. See, we don't seem to yet trust that Love is not only the most powerful force in the universe, but that it's the ONLY power in the universe. Love is all there IS. And even as I type that, as you read that, there is likely a litany of "yeah-buts" in your head, saying, "yeah, but what about all the pain, all the suffering, all the injustice, all the evil that I see all around me?"

When we don't trust Love to be powerful, when we see love as mere sentimentality, a nice "extra" in life, when we sideline it as an add-on, then we turn to the faux power of fear -- the power that exists only in the dark recesses in our own minds ... those places that are in need of the Light of Love.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he ... and so when we empower fear in our own minds, we will project that fear outward, into our environment, into our culture, into our experience. Fear, we may notice, is contagious ... panic can spread like a mental pandemic, resulting in either paralysis or riots, lashing inward or outward, or both.

When we are fear-motivated, we tell ourselves a fear-based story ... and our stories are projected onto life around us; we create a self-fulfilling prophecy of our own fears. We indeed attract what we fear.

Here's what God says about fear:

Fear not. For I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.

What we need, it seems to me, is rest. Rest from the cacophony of our fear-based thinking ... rest from the belief in separation from God. In conscious union with God, the mind rests, for then our minds function as the Mind of God... and thus the life of God becomes our life, the experience of God becomes our experience. In that state of rest, our mind comes into it's proper function: an avenue of awareness.

What if we have, and are, all we need?

What if nothing can be added to us, or taken away from us?

What if no evil can touch us?

What if all that God is, is already established in us?

"Son you are ever with me, and all that I have is yours."

What if good doesn't so much come to us, as it expresses itself IN us, and flows through us, to others...?

What if we only need to be still and know ...?

I see that God will never leave us nor forsake us ... that nothing which is created (which includes my own mind) shall ever separate me from the love of God (& God is love). I see that the kingdom of God is within ... in our midst. Here and now, at hand. We have only to accept and partake, in order to experience it. We have no need to try to recapture some mythological "glory days" of the past; nor do we need to endlessly await the elusive-and-yet-"soon-coming" utopia of the future. NOW is when we meet the I Am.

All that's in the way, is what we believe ... which is predominantly fear. Fear that we don't measure up ... fear that we are separated from God ... fear that we have fallen into depravity ... fear that we will be punished for doing/believing wrongly ... fear that God is disappointed and must be appeased ... fear that we don't have the foggiest notion of how to appeal such a One... fear that our attempts won't be good enough ... fear that we, or our offerings, will be rejected ...

But we created these fears ... and we can choose again. Repent ... for the Kingdom of God is at hand. This is not, as many have taught, a threat ... but a delightful and delivering promise. "Turn from the insanity of your own thinking, and embrace what God reveals, within you, to you, through you."

There is only One Power in operation in this universe, and that is Love. Fear makes a lousy and cruel substitute for love. Sure, it may "get the job done" but at what cost?

Anything that I accept as a power apart from God may harm me ... not because "it" can, because it is merely a shadow. If I *believe* that someone, or something, can harm me, then I will indeed suffer ... NOT from what someone/something has done, or even because of what I have done, but because of my *belief* that there is a power apart from God. I create my own idols, and then I suffer from their supposed power over me. Graven images are not just on stone ... they can be engraved upon my own mind, as well.

The harm comes from my deviation from Truth. And, once I know this, once I am aware of this, I can repent, I can choose-again. I can tell myself "a different story." I can submit my own perspective, and receive the perspective of God.

Even if "evil" comes at me from another person, I do not need to fear that one, and neither must I hate them ... in fact, in hating another, I actually "bind" that one to me. Evil is a funny thing ... in being a no-thing. When it is projected from one to another, it can only cause harm if it is accepted. If I do not accept this "gift", then it continues to belong to the one who brought it to me. Projecting evil is like swallowing rat poison ... it harms the one who swallows it. I do not need to accept any rat poison ... and the best response for one who has unwittingly swallowed rat poison, and is thus spewing it, is compassion.

Even if I am spoken of as evil ... even if I am perceived to be a horrendously-deceived tragedy-in-the-making, I don't have to let that concern me. I have no responsibility to prove anything or defend myself. I can let the world, and everyone in it, entertain any sort of notions they choose. I can bless those who curse me, I can do good t them that hate me, and pray or them which despitefully use me and even persecute me. I can pray for their awakening ... but I have no need to fear them, or to hate them... which will only harm me.

This is becoming true for me: if I do not entertain evil in my consciousness, there is no evil operating in my world. I may see the same events, I may witness the same circumstances, I may experience the same assaults ... but if I see them as confusion-manifesting, then I can pray with Jesus, "Father, forgive them, & help me to forgive them, for they know not what they do."

If I see a presence or power apart from God, then evil exists for me. If I see someone/something to hate, fear, or resent, then I am only seeing an image that I have created within myself... for hatred, fear, resentment all begin as thought, and are a self-created image, and thus totally lacking in power or reality. Figments in my imagination. Monsters in the closet. If I look at them closely enough, and shine Light upon them, the monsters turn into dust-bunnies ... just as those I hate turn into the confused-beloveds.

See if this impacts you like it does me: Evil is nothing but a suggestion or temptation to accept a creator apart from God.

Woah! Did you know that's what we do, when we entertain thoughts of evil...? It's an appearance, from within our own minds, our own imaginations ... projected out where we can see it, and thus to know that we need more Light shone in dark corners of our thinking ... we need more renewal of the mind. How GOOD to know that...!

If I rest in the truth that God is the ONLY power, and that that power is Love, I find myself discovering, to my dumbfounded joy and delight, that all manner of blessings drench me...! I can abide in the truth of God's kingdom, here and now, on earth. I can abide in the awareness that God is all in all, in everything, with everyone and everything living and moving and having their BEing IN Him...! I then find myself "accidentally" and "FIRST-naturedly" living the Abundant Life. Glory be! This formerly fear-based and pessimistically-streaked woman is gob-smacked that this is becoming my reality...! Gadzooks!

Yes, indeedy, circumstances may confront me, and appear to be terrifying, threatening of disaster, and YET, Christ says within me, "It is I, be not afraid." I notice that God has odd ways of reminding me of Himself. Sometimes, no oftentimes, the very thing which *appears* to be a disaster is the very vehicle of my awakening to the reality of the spiritual life. Often, when we believe our lives are falling apart, they're truly falling together, perhaps for the first time...!

That which appears to be evil can actually be opportunities for my transformation ... as they challenge what I thought I believed, showing me what's deception, and what is truth. It takes what it takes for the prodigal to wake up and smell the pig-sty, remember who he really is, and thus return Home to God. The "long ways off" can be speaking more of an awareness-distance, than of a geographical-distance...

I want to come to the place, and thus it is happenING, wherein I recognize God as the Soul of every person and God as the activity in every situation.

Can you hear the Voice of God, here and now, within you..?

I will never leave you nor forsake you. Why all this struggle? I am in the very midst of you, closer than breathing, nearer than hands and feet. Why struggle as if you had to seek for Me and search for Me? Why struggle as if you had to hold on to Me? i will never leave you; I am with you always.

Stop fearing; stop doubting. Rest in Me, in My arms, in My love, and let yourself be at peace. Trust the I who is at the center of your being. Believe that I can do all things in and through you. Believe that there is a Presence at the center of your being whose only function is to bless, to love, to be an instrument of My grace. Trust Me. Believe only in Me. Fear not.

Shalom, Dena

P.S. Next, I want to explore why the fear entered in ... I want to look closely at the doctrine of "original sin."


Sue said...

Great stuff, Dena. This was such a good post to read for me today.

I slip back so easily into fear, even knowing what "be still" contains. I guess I am feeling a bit dismayed at how deep the tentacles reach sometimes. I was molested as a child, and grew up in a family with a distant father. It dismays me when I give into fear after discovering the wonderful comfort and love and acceptance that is in the father.

I guess sometimes I just expect to be more whole than apparently I really am, and sometimes that is very disheartening to me. I am really wanting to find some sort of Christian community and it's amazing all the fears that are coming up in me, fears of not being liked or accepted by the group I want to join. I have such a fear of rejection still, even though Papa has done so much in that area with me :(

And so reading this just reminds me of why you are on my blogroll and why I so love to be reminded of what true reality is. Thank you for that, Dena :)

Dena said...

Your transparency is refreshing and inspiring, Sue! I can relate to your fears, your desires, your longing for community.

Sometimes, I've noticed (even today) that we can be rejected not for who we are, but for the story that others tell themselves, about us. Richard Rohr said today, "Once we have learned to do our soul work, once we have found our “inner thread,” a person does not need to impress others. Such people live their lives from the inside out and not from the outside in. Human admiration and praise is fine and human criticism hurts, but eventually you know it does not mean very much.

Being a public person over so many years now, I have learned that many people love me because they are simply loving people and many people who hate me, hate me for their own wrong reasons. In both cases, it has little to do with me. I had best not take either of them too seriously. What freedom that is!

Then you can stand naked before the naked God without shame, knowing you will always be received as you are. The point is not the perfection of the gift but the giving of the gift! “I am who I am, who I am!” the soul shouts. That is all you are and it is apparently more than enough for God. All we can give back to God is who we really are, which is, without doubt, the most courageous act you will ever perform."

Is that not powerfully liberating...?

You're doing just fine, Sue. You're right where you're meant to be, learning what you're meant to be learning, experiencing all these things that work together for your good.

There is no "Plan B" that you've somehow mucked your way into. Plan A has always been in operation, and you're right on track.

Holding you in His Light, seeing you as whole-indeed, seeing you in abundant relationships...!

I am blessed to know you.

Shalom, Dena

Sue said...

Thank you, sweet lady

MysticBrit said...

This came to mind, from Gerard Manley Hopkins, on reading your exchange here -

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame...
… Each mortal thing does one thing and the same ...
… Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells;
What I do is me: for that I came.

As ever, you've nailed it in a few well-chosen paragraphs, Dena. There is only Love, and it's we who give Fear life by our imaginings. Society as it is only persists because we've been taught to fear, and because we're afraid of what the Truth might do to our 'comfortable' existence. We walk around in a fear-induced haze, instead of dancing in the clear air of Love and Truth.

And I'll say it again, you're a fine soul, Sue, and a joy to know.:)

Sue said...

MysticBrit - wow, that poem, so beautiful. And thank you for your kindness :)