Facing Our Fear of Love

We spend a great deal of time looking at our hatred and anger and guilt. That is a big deal in A Course in Miracles – staying with the hard stuff, keeping it where we can see it instead of denying or projecting it. It’s difficult work! But then one day something happens – for me it happened anyway – and the thing is this: I realized the hatred and anger and guilt was optional and I could just discard it. No more conflict!

And the thought was so terrifying that I shoved it as deep as I could – and as far away as possible – so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. Ever.

Underneath our fear of death and guilt – which seems to be the darkest of dark veils – is our fear of love. I don’t think we’ve seen anything until we get in touch with our fear of love.

Recently I was praying – vocal prayer, really basic stuff. Help me Jesus! Just saying it over and over because I was deeply unsure of what to do with a particular challenge. And in the midst of it there was this lovely clarity – this lightening bolt of helpful insight. Jesus was saying, I’m glad you’re here. It doesn’t really matter what you do with that problem you’re having back in the world. Stay with me and let the rest of it go. Will you do that now? Are you ready?

And I am telling you it made me want to tear my heart out and burn it on a stake.

I think the point of the insight was pretty clear. The problems we think we have are just stand-ins for the only problem we really have – the idea that we’ve separated ourselves form God and everything that flows from that. God’s anger, God’s desire for revenge, our psychological defenses, our resistance. We get obsessed with the external world – got to get the job thing squared away, earn more money, eat less chocolate, run more miles and on and on and on.

And all we really need to do is just get close to Jesus – just go through the fear of death and the fear of guilt – until we get to the center where love is. When we get there, it doesn’t matter what’s going on outside. That’s over. There is only this union – this reunion if you like – and when we’re aware of it, when we’re not hiding from it or obscuring it or whatever, then there is only peace. There is only joy.

But man! It’s not easy getting there. Indeed, since that moment of clarity I’ve been clinging to the fog like a drowning rat. We’re scared of that love – a love that is impersonal, without personality, not special, not limited, all of that. As soon as I see it I turn back to the world of specialness and personality. Do I still have my body? Great. Still have no money in the bank account? Excellent.

And you know, it’s okay. We take a couple steps forward and then scoot backwards. It’s alright. I feel like each time I shine a little light on the next step – the next plateau, whatever image works for you – it doesn’t leave just because I retreat. And so I’ll creep back up to it and see that if I want I can go a little closer to the love that so terrifies me.

Meanwhile, back here in the world of anguish and pain, I can’t quite shake the feeling of hope – that the love is there and that one day I’m not going to run from it. You’ll be there, too!

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