VI. Fear and Conflict, P 5
5 Fear is always a sign of strain, arising whenever what you want conflicts with what you do. This situation arises in two ways: First, you can choose to do conflicting things, either simultaneously or successively. This produces conflicted behavior, which is intolerable to you because the part of the mind that wants to do something else is outraged. Second, you can behave as you think you should, but without entirely wanting to do so. This produces consistent behavior, but entails great strain. In both cases, the mind and the behavior are out of accord, resulting in a situation in which you are doing what you do not wholly want to do. This arouses a sense of coercion that usually produces rage, and projection is likely to follow. Whenever there is fear, it is because you have not made up your mind. Your mind is therefore split, and your behavior inevitably becomes erratic. Correcting at the behavioral level can shift the error from the first to the second type, but will not obliterate the fear.
This explanation of fear arising from a split mind is very helpful to me. I can easily see how this happens in my life. The sentence that sums it up for me is this.
Whenever there is fear, it is because you have not made up your mind.
Jesus says that one way this can occur is when I decide to do two things, either at the same time or one after the other. Here is an example of how I have done this. A long time ago I decided that insomnia is a maddening condition resulting in suffering, and therefore it should be avoided at whatever costs. Recently, through guidance from Holy Spirit, I decided that to use insomnia as a classroom for teaching myself that the body is not creative and so insomnia is in my mind, not my body.
Both thoughts were in my mind. There was the thought that I should always arrange my schedule to be in bed by a certain time, and if that didn’t work, I should always have Ambien on hand to assure a good night’s sleep. There was also the thought that the body is not creative and so insomnia is a projection of a separation belief, and so the solution is to allow that belief to be healed in my mind.
These two decisions led to two different behaviors. Sometimes I would choose to believe that the body or the environment was the cause of my problem getting to sleep or staying asleep. When this happened I would want to take a pill. Other times I would choose to believe that this was a great time to practice the truth, that insomnia is a projection from the mind and pills are magical solutions, not real solutions. Then I would not take the pill, or delay taking it as I gave my willingness to allow the mind to be healed of the belief that the body is creative.
Because I held both decisions in my mind at the same time, my behavior reflected this conflict; sometimes I would act on one decision and sometimes on the other. No matter which I chose, I felt conflicted and this triggered fear because no matter what I did, I did not altogether want to do it. Jesus says that the part of the mind that wants to do something else is outraged.
I didn’t feel the rage because I was putting a lid on it and calling it frustration. But frustration is anger pretending to be something more socially acceptable, so I have to cop to anger. And since anger is just rage with a veil pulled over it, I guess I may as well say it. I was enraged. And since all emotion is either fear or love and this was not love, the rage was an expression of fear.
When I was trying to believe both ideas at the same time I was torn between the two, acting on first, one, and then, the other. The conflicted behavior was intolerable and caused outrage in whichever part of the mind didn’t get its way. And when I chose to not take the Ambien and to work with the mistaken thought, this was a strain because I didn’t entirely want to do it. Because I didn’t wholly want this practice I felt coerced and this was intolerable as well. Either way, I was in fear because I had not made up my mind.
It was an uncomfortable period of time as I continued the practice in spite of the fear. That in-between place, where I know the Holy Spirit is right and at the same time I also believe I am right, is always uncomfortable. Persistence in the face of resistance has always helped me stick with it until I push through to the other side.
This did not mean that I forced my behavior, which would have produced more consistency in my behavior but would not have reduced the fear. I was simply consistent in noticing the thoughts and asking for correction regardless of the decision I went with. As my practice proved to me that the body is not creative, I naturally began to drop my desire to act as if I was the victim of outside forces. This brought a lightness and joy to my practice because I was much less conflicted.