Lesson: Managing Fear
by Tom Baker
If I were a motivational speaker I would remind you first off that you are enough. You are smart enough, attractive enough, spiritual enough, intelligent enough, kind enough, interesting enough, and trusting enough to be loved. Because what a motivational speaker is trying to do is help you to become fearless. What a motivational speaker is really trying to do is making himself fearless. My challenge to you is to share this material to take the fear away from others. That which is shared becomes part of the whole. What is fear? Fear is the thought of loss and degrades into a thought that I am myself lost to love. No one or nothing loves me nor do I love anyone or anything. Always go back to lack of love as the core of fear.
(Do circle with back rub to share "enoughness" with everybody.)
Notice how you are more relaxed, physically and emotionally. You are less defensive. When you lose your defensiveness you are no longer afraid. A Course In Miracles says, "In your defensiveness your safety lies." Have a conversation with others with your arms crossed in front of you. Feels funny and very artificial.
(Do circle with back rub to share "you are my friend" with everybody.)
This leaves us with you are enough and you are my friend.
You should be a good deal less afraid than you were fifteen minutes ago. You have reassured another that they are enough and you have reassured yourself that someone is your friend. No need to withdraw or be cautious. No need to be defensive. As fear goes down, love comes up.
Form a circle: What did I come here to do? I came here to love and to learn to love. We say this to the whole for we share this purpose. In order to love robustly we must overcome fear. We are not naturally afraid but have learned to live like that. Mastering fear is essentially returning to our natural state in which we are enough, others are our friends, and sharing is receiving. Do you notice how much a child’s world this is? You remind children of their great gifts and how beautiful they are, how the doctor and the postman is their friend and how sharing is caring. This is before the ego arises. I learned all of this from A Course In Miracles and Mr. Rogers. (Talking to children: little girl raises her hand, why did they hurt our friend? Difference between 2nd graders and 8th graders: the arising of the ego.)
When does the ego arise and gain strength?
When there begin to be doubts about being loved and being enough: quiet enough, smart enough, nice enough, pretty enough. The same as you have now but not as sophisticated. Also the separateness from the mother and father and the family. In loneliness we all begin to wonder why we’re always alone. And gradually we formulate a sense of not being enough and finally not having enough. I’m afraid that no one likes me or no one will like me, so no one loves me. The ego idea then begins to focus on the enemy or the opponent and encourage the mind to find enemies and opponents, to judge them, then to resent them and even to hate them and punish them.
Disarming the Ego
If I were a diet guru I would begin by telling you how you could 20 to 40 lbs. in only a month. You eat these 5 foods, take this necessary harmone, and make each portion at every meal the size of the palm of your hand. Then somebody from the back of the room asks, "What happens after you lose 40 lbs?" You gain it all back. Unless you change your lifestyle.
The expressed aim of A Course In Miracles is to take fear, blame, and guilt out of the ego made self (your life style) and so open this self to the grace of God. Without fear, blame, or guilt the ego comes apart and can no longer function as the seat of consciousness. This leaves the self open to reunite with the consciousness of God which, up until the cleansing of the ego, has been an extreme unconscious fear. All of which suggests that the greatest fear we have is rejoining the love consciousness of God. Of course this is a very mixed fear, for it is linked or entangled with the deep desire to return to the love consciousness of God. Thus the thing we love the most is also the thing that in our ego consciousness we fear the most.
The smooth operation of the ego depends on attack, defense, sacrifice, and a deep sense of lack. Two short cuts past the ego on a long term basis are 1) living in the Now and 2) total surrender to God, especially the future to God. These two short cuts effectively freeze the ego and allow God consciousness into the mind. Unfortunately both of these short cuts break down under the stress of living in the world. In a cloistered or protected thought environment these "ego freeze" techniques can be quite effective. In the chaotic world of the ego they almost always break down since the ego’s insistence on controlling the future while ruminating on the past and its total distrust of God squeeze out the Now and make God into a distant idea which has the characteristics of the ego which is attacking, defensive, sacrificial, and in great need of reassurance. In times of quiet, good order, and intentional peace these short cuts can work beautifully to bring about what the Course calls "holy instances."
The most effective means of disarming the ego is to adopt a no attack, no defense posture, refuse to make love deals based on sacrifice and to see beloved humanity in terms of abundance, excellence, innocence, and delight. This looks like loving the divine in everyone, both those that are special and those who are ordinary. These approaches effectively strengthen God consciousness in us and start to shine the ego thought complex away. In the Course, light is the sign that the God consciousness is growing. As the God consciousness grows, fear becomes less and less an obstacle, going from a major threat to life like cancer to an irritant like mild arthritis.
Practical steps: 1) Reinforce abundance in others, that is, be generous of heart. Let people know they are enough for you. To quote Mr. Rogers: I like you just the way you are. If generosity yields feelings of sacrifice the ego has hi-jacked generosity and made it into a love deal in which I must lose so you can win. This happens when relationships become close and love is a real possibility. 2) Bless the other person and ask their blessing for you. See the other as your friend and yourself as their friend. Live in a world of friends. You know the ego has intruded if you begin to rate your friends or use your friends to enhance your image. 3) Remind yourself that you cannot lose your worth and you cannot lose your life. All fear is a call to trust God with your worth and life.
© Copyright Tom Baker 2014