VII. Distortions of Miracle Impulses, P 5
5 A solid foundation is necessary because of the confusion between fear and awe to which I have already referred, and which is often made. I have said that awe is inappropriate in connection with the Sons of God, because you should not experience awe in the presence of your equals. However, it was also emphasized that awe is proper in the Presence of your Creator. I have been careful to clarify my role in the Atonement without either over or understating it. I am also trying to do the same with yours. I have stressed that awe is not an appropriate reaction to me because of our inherent equality. Some of the later steps in this course, however, involve a more direct approach to God Himself. It would be unwise to start on these steps without careful preparation, or awe will be confused with fear, and the experience will be more traumatic than beatific. Healing is of God in the end. The means are being carefully explained to you. Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you, but to reach it the means are needed.
Sigh. We are truly in a state of confusion that we need Jesus to take such pains to explain to us our relationship with each other, with him and with God, and that it is further necessary that he tell us the appropriate response to each. My brothers and I are equal in every way and therefore it would be inappropriate that we look with awe on anyone. I look on certain of my brothers and sisters with deep gratitude because of their devotion to this work and I look to some for guidance because they have stepped forward to a place I have not yet gone. But never is awe appropriate.
I think I now love Jesus more than I have ever loved him because I understand that I am not to look with awe on him. Like most folks with a religious background, this came as a surprise to me and I was, for awhile, uncomfortable with this lack of “respect” for Jesus. I understand differently now. I love Jesus because he is my brother. I respect him and am grateful to him because he has gone before us and made the path clear. My gratitude to him for this is immense, but it is not awe. I am devoted to Jesus because he is devoted to me.
I said that I love Jesus more now that I am not in awe of him, and this is because I do still confuse awe with fear. I have, through the study of the Course and the practice of it, uncovered a deep and abiding love for God, but there is still much fear covering that love. I can truthfully get in touch with that love only rarely but kept this a secret from myself. For a long time, I said that I didn’t understand all this talk about fear of God.
Then as I studied the Course I understood the theory; I must fear God because I am still here when I could be with Him instead. I even understood the reason for the fear, the underlying unconscious guilt for my attack on God. I mean, who wouldn’t be afraid when you think about attacking God by withdrawing yourself from Him and leaving Him less than He was? And then I realized I am still doing it, doing it every day as I see myself differently than He created me, as I choose ego over God. And yet, I didn’t feel a lot of fear, and this is scary for me to admit, I didn’t really feel love either.
Eventually, I realized that I was hiding the fear of God from myself because I just couldn’t face it. It was too horrifying to allow myself to see the fear of God, and thus to look at my own perceived guilt. This is the reason I have become such an excellent projecting machine; I have learned to make all sorts of experiences the cause of my guilt, and nearly anybody can become the holder of my guilt. I am so good at this that the interchange is seamless and fools even me.
I began to look, really look, at my plan to avoid guilt and to avoid God, by doing the lessons and practicing what Jesus gave me through the Course. I allowed my willingness to grow and became more accepting of the truth. I let more light into my darkened mind. I learned that to accept responsibility for everything was not the same as being guilty for it, and this opened the door to more freedom to explore what actually happened and what I could do about it.
I have come a long way. I fully and without exception accept responsibility for the whole world. I did this, and it is I who must undo it. I am not guilty of it and I have lots of help from my brothers who have already gone before me. I am sometimes still confused about my guilt, but I accept that as well and am happy to see an opportunity to let more of it go. I also recognize that none of this is personal and it is done for the whole. Personal is just another word for separation.
Something really big is happening now. (Sorry, Jesus. I know there are no levels and no degrees but I am sure you will forgive me for my distorted perception if you remember the first time this happened to you.) I have been going deliberately toward God. In the past, I have been working on the blocks to Love’s presence and skirting God while I did it. Now I am asking to be brought before God. My friend did it first, and that helped push me over the invisible line I had drawn.
I have had a taste, just the tiniest taste of being in the presence of God. It feels like… well, what can I say? But definitely feels. It is all about feeling and, oh my dear God, what a feeling! I wanted to stay in it so bad, but how could one function in the world in that state? Why would anyone even want to? And once I moved out of it, I wanted it back, but I also didn’t want it back. I think that reluctance is the fear of God that still exists in my mind. After all, if I couldn’t continue to exist as before, wouldn’t that mean “I” would not exist? Common sense tells me that this is insane reasoning but evidently I’m not entirely interested in sanity.
I am encouraged, though, with each bit of success, each rare moment of touching Love. I suspect that my experience is nothing compared to the real thing and a part of my mind longs so deeply for the experience that I cry to think of not having it right now. I’m just waiting for the rest of my mind to catch up. As Jesus tells us in this paragraph, “Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you, but to reach it the means are needed.” So I continue to do the work that will bring me to the end.