VI. Fear and Conflict, P 8
8 I have emphasized that the miracle, or the expression of Atonement, is always a sign of respect from the worthy to the worthy. The recognition of this worth is re-established by the Atonement. It is obvious, then, that when you are afraid, you have placed yourself in a position where you need Atonement. You have done something loveless, having chosen without love. This is precisely the situation for which the Atonement was offered. The need for the remedy inspired its establishment. As long as you recognize only the need for the remedy, you will remain fearful. However, as soon as you accept the remedy, you have abolished the fear. This is how true healing occurs.
That last sentence, this is how true healing occurs, really grabbed me. I went back and read the paragraph several times and asked Jesus to help me see what he wants me to see as I did so.
The first phrase I looked at said … the miracle, or the expression of Atonement…. This is a good reminder of what I have learned earlier in the text. The miracle is the experience I have when I accept the Atonement. It is a miracle because it is a true change in my thinking and is done outside the illusion. In other words, as Myron, I did not get to this change through my own thinking. I may have used my thinking mind to get to the place I was willing to be healed, but the healing was not my doing.
Jesus then says that the miracle is always a sign of respect from the worthy to the worthy. There is a hotel I like to stay at, and the clerk has always been kind of taciturn. I respect her desire not to be chatty, but I have always spoken to her and been friendly. I noticed that even though she doesn’t appear especially friendly, she always remembers my name and goes out of her way to put me in a room she knows I will like.
Yesterday when I checked in, she told me that she was going to be on duty for twelve hours and maybe longer. That was the first personal information she had ever shared with me. Normally, she just did her job and did it well, but barely spoke at all. I sympathized with the long hours and started to walk away. Then she told me that she has children at home who need her and how it makes her feel to be away from them for such a long time.
She went on to tell me about her relationship with them. It was a very touching story and I was surprised by her desire to share like this. I listened until someone else came in and needed her attention. As I walked to my room I thought about what a difficult situation she was in. She needed the job to take care of her kids, but the long hours were keeping her from being the mother she wanted to be. I prayed for a perfect resolution to her situation.
I prayed in confidence knowing that this woman was sent to me for this purpose. I prayed knowing that the prayer would be answered. As God’s Son I am worthy of being heard, and as God’s Son she is worthy of the miracle. I was not praying for her from a belief that she needed someone more spiritual to pray for her. I absolutely know that this opportunity to offer a miracle is as much a blessing to me as it is to her.
I know that she does not stand below me, but beside me. It was not pity that provoked the desire for a miracle, but respect. This situation was a blessing to me because it reminded me of our worth and of our relationship as equal parts of the Sonship. I received a miracle because I offered a miracle. The miracle occurs because of this joining.
We are also reminded in this paragraph that when we choose against love, we choose fear, and we need a miracle to re-establish our truth. In truth we cannot be without love and fear has no place in our holy minds, but we cannot remember that when we ask for something different. The first part of the correction process is always going to be a recognition that we did, indeed, ask for the problem.
Whatever is happening in my life in every moment occurs because of a choice I made. If the moment is not peaceful, joyful, and loving, it is because I chose without love. Before anything can be done to reverse this, I first have to acknowledge that I did it to myself. As long as I project the cause onto the world, I continue to choose without love and the problem remains in place, and I continue to live in fear.
It is not enough, however, to recognize the problem and to acknowledge that I but did it to myself. This is a vital step, but it is not enough. Acknowledging the fear will not take me out of the fear. I must then be willing to accept the correction. The Holy Spirit will not take from me what I want to keep. You might wonder that I would want what causes me so much suffering. But here is an example of what happens.
Yesterday I thought about something I had done in the past that still triggers shame in me. This happened a couple of times before I thought to look at it. The shame is hard to bear and I didn’t want it. Up to the moment when the memory surfaced I was very happy and content. Then I thought about the past occurrence and immediately felt awful. In that moment I chose lovelessly and so I was in fear.
The fear is that I will never be free of this shame, and will continue to suffer for it forever, that it happened in the past and there is nothing to be done about it. This is not true, of course, but that is the underlying and often unacknowledged fear. There is unconscious fear as well, and it goes all the way back to the belief that God is really mad at me and I am forever condemned. Of course, in the moment, I wasn’t thinking about all that, and it was just about some bad behavior from my past.
I acknowledged that I was feeling shame and that it was because I had chosen against love. I chose to see myself as less than and this is not choosing love. For awhile this is where it stayed. I ran the scenario over and over in my mind and the ego picked it apart, first offering absolution in the form of projection, then jerking the rug from under me as it pointed out that making others guilty is a sin, too. That ego is very good at guilt.
Because of my study and practice this did not go on overly long. I was able to remember that the next part of the forgiveness process is to allow the mind to be healed. I resisted this, too, for awhile. Why would I resist healing? Isn’t that what I was asking for? Actually, at first I was not really asking for healing.
I was asking for the suffering to be relieved. I really didn’t have a lot of interest in letting the core belief in unworthiness be healed. When I realized the problem, I became willing to accept the Atonement in this situation, and all the angst about the past simply dissolved away. But before that could happen, I had to be willing to let go of the problem, not just the effect which was suffering. Then I had to be willing to accept the Atonement. As soon as I did, everything about it changed, and I was in peace again. Just as Jesus promised in this paragraph, this is how true healing occurs.