I. The Two Uses of Time, P 8
8 The Holy Spirit would undo all of this now. Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist. There is no fear in the present when each instant stands clear and separated from the past, without its shadow reaching out into the future. Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present. And the present extends forever. It is so beautiful and so clean and free of guilt that nothing but happiness is there. No darkness is remembered, and immortality and joy are now.
I was putting it this to the test in my mind. I thought about my concern for my son as he is looking for a job and his money is running out. He is worried and I am concerned this will trigger depression for him. So I look at this concern from the perspective of what I have just read. Is it true that the fear I have for my son is a result of the past and future? In this moment is there anything to fear?
I see that this is true. In this moment he has plenty of money. In this moment he has nothing to be concerned about. He gets upset only when he thinks about the future. I get upset when I project my fears, based on the past, onto him. In actuality, right now nothing is happening and he is fine. He has not run out of money. Is he depressed or worried? Maybe. Probably. But my fear is that these feelings will lead to something worse. And that is just a perceived future, which does not exist.
How about pain? Suppose I have a headache. It hurts in the moment, right? Well, yes and no. I notice that my head hurts when I think about it. When I get distracted, I don’t feel pain. If I start to worry about the pain, start to be concerned that it is not going away, then the pain is worse, and fear enters my mind.
If I think about how I used to get really bad headaches and sometimes migraines that lasted for three days, then I could get afraid and the pain would be very apparent to me. But in any moment I may feel pain, but I notice that it is only disturbing to me when I project into the future. Otherwise, there is no fear.
I have also noticed that without fear, the headaches that used to go on for days, now seldom last long enough for me to get around to taking something for it. It will come and then I get busy and forget about it. Then maybe I notice it again and then it’s gone. I think I have to pay attention to it to sustain it. There is no fear involved in headaches for me now because they don’t seem entirely real to me.
When I had pain from dental surgery, it felt severe. I got completely involved in the fear. I remembered the pain from past surgeries and I anticipated the pain. I became afraid of it and afraid it would get worse and last longer. Then I suffered.
The pain itself was not nearly as bad as the fear of the future pain. Jesus says there is no pain, that pain is not real. There is no physical pain and no emotional pain. These are part of the dream of separation, the effect of guilt. Can I step out of my dark imaginings and into the light of the never-ending present moment? I think that each time I experience emotional or physical pain, I have the opportunity to practice letting my perception be corrected and this will bring me to that moment of freedom.