A meaningless world engenders fear.
Today’s idea is really another form of the preceding one, except that it is more specific as to the emotion aroused. Actually, a meaningless world is impossible. Nothing without meaning exists. However, it does not follow that you will not think you perceive something that has no meaning. On the contrary, you will be particularly likely to think you do perceive it.
Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones. It represents a situation in which God and the ego “challenge” each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides. The ego rushes in frantically to establish its own ideas there, fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own impotence and unreality. And on this alone it is correct.
It is essential, therefore, that you learn to recognize the meaningless, and accept it without fear. If you are fearful, it is certain that you will endow the world with attributes that it does not possess, and crowd it with images that do not exist. To the ego illusions are safety devices, as they must also be to you who equate yourself with the ego.
The exercises for today, which should be done about three or four times for not more than a minute or so at most each time, are to be practiced in a somewhat different way from the preceding ones. With eyes closed, repeat today’s idea to yourself. Then open your eyes, and look about you slowly, saying:
I am looking at a meaningless world.
Repeat this statement to yourself as you look about. Then close your eyes, and conclude with:
A meaningless world engenders fear because I think I am in competition with God.
You may find it difficult to avoid resistance, in one form or another, to this concluding statement. Whatever form such resistance may take, remind yourself that you are really afraid of such a thought because of the “vengeance” of the “enemy.” You are not expected to believe the statement at this point, and will probably dismiss it as preposterous. Note carefully, however, any signs of overt or covert fear which it may arouse.
This is our first attempt at stating an explicit cause and effect relationship of a kind which you are very inexperienced in recognizing. Do not dwell on the concluding statement, and try not even to think of it except during the practice periods. That will suffice at present.
Yesterday’s lesson said that I am upset because I see a meaningless world, and today he gets very specific about it. My upset is fear. I always thought I was afraid because certain things happened, like wars and financial upsets, and like bad relationships and sickness and death. But I am discovering something very startling. Those are just effects or images that represent my fear. There is actually a root cause.
I am afraid because I see a meaningless world and because I think that the world is meaningless, I rush to put my meaning on it before God can put His there. I am in competition with God. That is the real cause of all other fear. Though I am not consciously aware of this, it must be causing me intense guilt and fear on an unconscious level.
The first time I did these lessons I couldn’t find that fear and guilt because it was so deeply buried in my mind. When it did start to rise in one form or another I would quickly project it onto something or someone else before I could become consciously aware of it. I have had enough time with these lessons that my initial reaction to them is not the same as it was in the beginning. I have spent the time since my first time through the lessons learning to recognize the meaningless, and doing it to the best of my ability and without fear.
I absolutely accept that I, to the degree I identify with ego, am in competition with God, and I have had enough healing that this realization is not as frightening as it once was. Here is a message from “Hey, Holy Spirit, It’s Me Again” that the Holy Spirit gave me at one time.
Me: Holy Spirit, could You talk to me about this? Why do I still feel discomfort at the idea of a meaningless world?
Holy Spirit: That is only the ego shuddering in fear as it foresees its own death. Do not be concerned by this twinge of resistance. You are completely and wholly supported as you take this next step. Don’t think you have to do or undo anything and don’t allow guilt to enter into this process. When you do your lesson, and when you see ways in which you think you are in competition with God, just notice them. Just say, “Oh, I see that,” or “So that is how it works.” Your willingness to see differently is your part, and that is all. Guilt and fear are just ego devices to keep you from being willing.
From that message and others like it, I have learned that willingness is my part and that guilt and fear are not real and that I can disregard those emotions when they arise. I don’t always do so, but I know that I want to and that I will, sooner or later, remember to do so. Just these simple instructions, that I give my willingness to see differently, and that I stop indulging the ego choice for fear and guilt, have made all the difference.