Handout_154-160

Workbook Lesson Support Notes

by Allen Watson

LESSON 154
June 3

“I am among the ministers of God.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Purpose: To give what you have received, and so recognize that it is yours. To give the Holy Spirit your voice, hands and feet.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes—at least; 10—better; 15 even better; 30 or more—best

Say: “I am among the ministers of God, and I am grateful that I have the means by which to recognize that I am free.”

Let the world recede from your mind, as your mind lights up with the realization that these holy words are true. Thus will the gifts of God spring to your awareness, so you can give them.

Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)

Sit quietly and wait on God. Thank Him for His gifts in the previous hour. And let His Voice tell you what He wants you to do in the coming hour.

Remarks: At times the business of the world will allow you only a minute or less, or no time at all. At other times you will forget. Yet whenever you can, do your hourly remembrance.

Frequent Reminder: Say: “I am among the ministers of God, and I am grateful that I have the means by which to recognize that I am free.”

Remarks: In time you will never cease to think of God, not even for a moment, not even while busy giving salvation to the world.

Response To Temptation: Use the day’s thought.

Overall Remarks: Your practice will begin to be infused with the earnestness of love, keeping your mind from wandering. Do not be afraid, you will reach your goal. God’s Love and strength will make sure of it, for you are His minister.

COMMENTARY

As I see it, this lesson has two main things to say to me:

1) My function on earth is to be a minister (or messenger) of God, and the specific form that function takes is determined, not by me, but by the Holy Spirit.

2) As a messenger, my function is to receive God’s messages for myself, and then to give them away, as directed by the Holy Spirit. By giving away the messages I will recognize and understand the messages I have received.

The Holy Spirit knows me to the core. He knows my individual strengths and weaknesses; He knows the “larger plan” I cannot possibly know (1:5); He knows how best to use my particular strengths, “where they can best be applied, for what, to whom, and when” (2:2). Therefore, it is unwise to try to evaluate myself or to direct my own functioning in this world, and far wiser to place myself in His hands. Because of this, I will “choose no roles that are not given [me] by His authority” (7:3). He chooses my function for me, tells me what it is, gives me strength to do it and to succeed in everything related to it (3:2).

A major part of the training program in the Workbook is learning to hear His Voice and to submit to Its authority. Learning to hear His Voice isn’t something that comes without any effort. Indeed, it takes effort and great willingness (T-5.II.3:9, 10). I may feel at first that I don’t know how to hear His Voice, but that is exactly why I need this practice. I don’t know, as I begin, how to tell the Voice of the Holy Spirit apart from my own ego’s voice; I need training in that discernment, and some of it will be trial and error. But if I will follow the instructions in this book, I will learn.

The second point is really an encouragement to take up the function given me by God, which in a generic sense is to be His messenger. “He needs our voice that He may speak through us. He needs our hands to hold His messages, and carry them to those whom He appoints. He needs our feet to bring us where He wills, that those who wait in misery may be at last delivered. And He needs our will united with His Own, that we may be the true receivers of the gifts He gives” (11:2–5). Clearly, He directs me very specifically, choosing where I go physically, whom I speak to, and what I say. Yet the main thing is that I accept this overall function of “messenger” for my life; if I accept that, the specifics will follow.

There is a three step process clearly delineated in this lesson:

* Receive — Give — Recognize

First, I receive the message for myself, accept it and apply it to my own life. I accept the Atonement for myself, seeing that the appearance of guilt within me is an illusion, and recognizing the innocence it hides. I accept my acceptance with God. I let go of my false and guilty self-concept.

Second, I give this message to those to whom the Holy Spirit sends me. This can be with words, with actions, or simply with the attitude of mercy and acceptance I show to those I meet. I give the message I have received. I show them the mercy God has shown to me. I see in them what I have begun to see in myself.

Third, as a result of giving, I recognize the reality of what I have received. “No one can receive and understand he has received until he gives” (8:6). Giving away the message cements it and validates it in my own mind. “We will not recognize what we receive until we give it” (12:1).

The second step is an essential part of the whole process. Without giving away the message, the cycle cannot be completed; my own recognition of salvation cannot become complete. It is not enough simply to receive the messages of God. “Yet another part of your appointed task is yet to be accomplished” (9:4). The messages must be given away, shared, in order to be fully received. I must take up my function as the messenger of God if I am to understand what I have been given.

Notice that the practice instructions are adapted from Lesson 153, where we were told “we practice in a form we will maintain for quite a while” (W-pI.153.15:1). These instructions will be followed until new ones are given in Lesson 171 (Review V).

LESSON 155
June 4

“I will step back and let Him lead the way.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes—at least; 10—better; 15 even better; 30 or more—best

Practice gladly with this thought: “I will step back and let Him lead the way, for I would walk along the road to Him.” Think of Him a while and let Him tell you of His limitless Love and trust in you.

Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)

Practice gladly with this thought: “I will step back and let Him lead the way, for I would walk along the road to Him.” Think of Him a while and let Him tell you of His limitless Love and trust in you.

Frequent Reminder: Repeat: “I will step back and let Him lead the way, for I would walk along the road to Him.”

Response To Temptation: Whenever you feel tempted, say: “I will step back and let Him lead the way, for I would walk along the road to Him.”

COMMENTARY

“There is a way of living in this world that is not here, although it sems to be” (1:1). And to this way of living we all aspire. The remarkable thing about the Course is that it offers what might be called a middle way between renouncing the world and diving into it. Many, perhaps the majority of, spiritual seekers make the mistake of thinking that a spiritual life must somehow look different. Some dress differently; some abjure the modern conveniences; some find spirituality in vegetables; some fill their homes with incense; some live in poverty, or apart from normal worldly concourse.

This lesson is one of the clearest statements in the Course that a good Course student does not change appearance—except that perhaps he smiles more frequently. There are spiritual paths that demand a changed appearance—a shaved head, difference in dress—and this is not to put down these other paths. But they are not the way of the Course. One of the more difficult lessons for students of the Course, in my observation, seems to be learning to be normal. A true student of the Course is like anyone else, so much so that “those who have not yet perceived the way will…believe that you are like them, as you were before” (1:5).

Yet we are different. The difference is inward; we have stepped back, taken our hands off the controls of our lives, and we are letting our Inner Guide lead the way to God. Everyone, including ourselves, came to this world by choice, “seeking for a place where they can be illusions, and avoid their own reality” (2:2). But we have discovered that we cannot escape our reality, and we have chosen to place diminishing importance on the illusions, and to follow the truth. We have taken up our function, and we recognize that we are here now, not for ourselves alone, but to serve those around us as we serve ourselves (5:4). We walk to God, and we lead the world to God with us (12:1; 13:1). We step back, and let Him lead the way.

LESSON 156
June 5

“I walk with God in perfect holiness.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes—at least; 10—better; 15 even better; 30 or more—best

Repeat today’s idea, and reflect on it as long as possible. Be aware that you spend the time in the Presence of your Companion.

Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)

Sit quietly and wait on God. Thank Him for His gifts in the previous hour. And let His Voice tell you what He wants you to do in the coming hour.

Remarks: At times the business of the world will allow you only a minute or less, or no time at all. At other times you will forget. Yet whenever you can, do your hourly remembrance.

Frequent Reminder: Through the day, remind yourself God remains beside you, supporting your weakness with His strength.

Remarks: In time you will never cease to think of God, not even for a moment, not even while busy giving salvation to the world.

Response To Temptation: Whenever you feel tempted to defend yourself, call upon God’s strength, pause a moment, and hear Him say: “I am here.”

Overall Remarks: Your practice will begin to be infused with the earnestness of love, keeping your mind from wandering. Do not be afraid, you will reach your goal. God’s Love and strength will make sure of it, for you are His minister.

COMMENTARY

“Ideas leave not their source” (1:3). When a mind thinks an idea, that idea stays in the mind; it does not become a separate thing, apart from the mind that thought it. And I am a thought of God; therefore, I cannot possibly be apart from Him. I have thought I was separate. Indeed, much of the time I still think and behave as though I were separate from God. But I am not; I cannot be.

To be apart from God is impossible. God is Being; He is Existence. Whatever exists is in Him. He is Life; whatever lives, lives in Him. “He is what your life is. Where you are He is. There is one life. That life you share with Him. Nothing can be apart from Him and live” (2:5–9).

God is also holy. If God is holy, and I am in him, I am holy, too. “What lives is holy as Himself” (3:3). Therefore, “I walk with God in perfect holiness.” I could “no more be sinful than the sun could choose to be of ice” (3:3). This is not a feeble hope; it is a fact. It is the truth about me, and about you, and about everyone who lives.

Yet we have taught ourselves that this truth is not true. It fascinates me to see what contradictory ideas arise in my mind when I repeat this statement. It would be a useful exercise to write today’s idea as an affirmation, ten times or more, and in a second column, write down the response of the mind to this idea. You might get things like this:

“I walk with God in perfect holiness.” “I’m not so holy.” “I walk with God in perfect holiness.” “I have a long way to go to be holy.” “I walk with God in perfect holiness.” “I don’t like being called holy.” “I walk with God in perfect holiness.” “Most of the time I walk alone.”

And so on. What’s interesting about such an exercise is that it reveals the train of thought that dominates my mind, that opposes today’s idea and constantly counteracts it. It is this chain of negative thought that blocks the light in me. All the responses are some form of the idea, “I am a sinner,” which I would probably vehemently deny that I believe, if anyone asked me. And yet, faced with the affirmation that I walk with God in perfect holiness, these forms of that idea arise “spontaneously.” Where are they coming from? Obviously from a backlog of very careful mind-training by the ego, very effective brain-washing, so well done that I don’t even realize my mind has been programmed.

Do I believe I am a sinner? “You have wasted many, many years on just this foolish thought” says the lesson (7:1). Yes, indeed I do. But when I am made aware of these negative thoughts about myself, I can let them go. I can “step back,” and stop accusing myself. When I do, “the light in you steps forward and encompasses the world” (6:2).

How can we counter the programming of the ego? One way, clearly recommended by this lesson, is explicit counter-programming. It recommends that one thousand times a day we ask ourselves the question, “Who walks with me?” And then, that we answer it by hearing the Voice for God, saying for us: “I walk with God in perfect holiness. I light the world, I light my mind and all the minds which God created one with me” (8:1–6). Certainty of our holiness does not come with a single repetition of today’s idea. We need thousands of repetitions. We need to keep repeating it until we are certain of it. If we took this literally, repeating the idea 1000 times would mean repeating it a little more often than once per minute, all day long, assuming we are awake sixteen hours. That’s a lot of repetition!

Let me today see the “quaint absurdity” (6:4) of the idea of sin, and laugh at the thought. Let me begin to absorb the wonderful teaching of the Course that sin “is a foolish thought, a silly dream, not frightening, ridiculous perhaps” (6:5). And let the wonder of it steal over me: “I walk with God in perfect holiness.”

LESSON 157
June 6

“Into His Presence would I enter now.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Purpose: To usher in the experience of Heaven. This will shed a light on what you have learned and prepare you for what you will learn. A holy day, a special time of promise, a crucial turning point in the curriculum, the beginning of a new journey. It will transform your mind, usher in your ministry and sanctify your body. Your only purpose now will be to bring to the world the vision that reflects your experience. And you will be given power to touch everyone with that vision.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes—at least; 10—better; 15 even better; 30 or more—best

Let your Self direct your practicing. Let today’s idea light your mind and bring it to a state of quiet anticipation and joy. Your mind will then go to the highest reaches of learning, to the vision of Christ’s shining face. And then you will transcend even that. You will forget the world and walk into eternity a while.

Remarks: You have come far enough to experience this today. And, as you faithfully practice each daily lesson, you will learn to experience this more and more. As a result, all goals but this will fade away. Each time you return from this experience, the world will be closer to the light, and you will see the light more sure and distinct. Eventually, you will not return in your current form.

Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)

Sit quietly and wait on Christ.

Frequent Reminder: Repeat idea.

Response To Temptation: Whenever you feel tempted, repeat idea.

COMMENTARY

Thoughts on Lessons 157, 158: 

Experience and Vision

Today I’d like to share some thoughts based mainly on Lesson 157, but with some references to 158 also. This lesson introduces a series of lessons designed to lead us into the holy instant, which is a major goal of the Workbook. From this point on, “every lesson, faithfully rehearsed, brings you more swiftly to this holy place” (157.3:3).

The Course talks here of both an experience and of vision which results from the experience. The holy instant contains a moment of knowledge—something beyond all perception—from which we return with the vision of Christ in our minds, which we can offer to everyone.

The experience spoken of here is simply entering the Presence of God. It is “a different kind of feeling and awareness” (157.1:4) in which we “learn to feel the joy of life” (157.1:6). It is called elsewhere the holy instant. Lesson 157 also calls it “a touch of Heaven” (157.3:1) and a moment in which we are left to our Self. It is an instant in which “the world is quietly forgot, and Heaven is remembered for a while” (157.6:3). We leave time for a moment and walk into eternity (157.3:2). It is not something we do ourselves; the Holy Spirit, the “Giver of the happy dreams of life” and “Translator of perception into truth” will lead us (157.8:2).

The vision spoken of is the result of the experience. This is not “A vision,” something that is seen, but “vision,” a way of seeing. We are not talking of some trance state, some appearance within our minds of mystical sights. We are talking about a different way of seeing the world, a different mechanism of sight, something other than the physical senses. Eastern religion might talk about opening the Third Eye to indicate the same sort of thing.

When we have experienced the holy instant, we have awakened a different way of seeing. That new sort of vision does not disappear when we “come back to the world,” so to speak (157.7:1). It is only a figure of speech to say we come back. We never left. Or perhaps better, since Heaven is what is real and this world is the illusion, we never came here at all. What “comes back” with us, into the dream, is the remembrance of God and Heaven, the remembrance of what we saw in that holy instant. We continue to see glimpses of it beyond the sight of the world, seeing the “real world” beyond the world, and beyond that, Heaven.

Each (apparently separate) holy instant we experience strengthens this new vision, this new mechanism of seeing. This is the purpose of the workbook’s recommendations for daily morning and evening periods of meditation; they are practice sessions, exercises to develop our new vision. We are meant, of course, to exercise this vision constantly during the day, to have repeated holy instants all day long. If we compare this to learning a language, the meditation sessions are like language labs and grammar studies. The concentrated language exercises are not an end in themselves but are meant to prepare us and improve our speech and understanding as we go out and actually use the language. Likewise, meditation is not an end in itself. It is an exercise to strengthen spiritual vision, but the purpose is to go out into daily life and begin using that new vision as often as possible.

Lesson 157 says, “We cannot give experience like this directly. Yet it leaves a vision in our eyes which we can offer everyone” (157.6:2,3). I can’t give you a holy instant directly. I can tell you about it, but you have to do the work yourself and have the experience yourself.

What I can give you or offer to you is the new vision, the new way of seeing the world. The vision we can all teach, as fledgling teachers of God, is that of forgiveness and love within the world. I can teach you that it is possible to see the invisible beyond the visible, to see the undimmed Truth behind the clouds of doubt, fear and defense. I can teach you to “see no one as a body. Greet him as the Son of God he is, acknowledging that he is one with you in holiness” (158.8:3). By seeing you without guilt I teach you that seeing without guilt is possible.

And in willingness to practice the vision, williingness to ask to be shown a different way of seeing, the experience of the holy instant comes.

LESSON 158
June 7

“Today I learn to give as I receive.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Purpose: To practice seeing with the eyes of Christ. To give the knowledge you have received by giving Christ’s vision to your brothers, and thus letting that vision look on you as well.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes—at least; 10—better; 15 even better; 30 or more—best

Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)

Sit quietly and wait on God. Thank Him for His gifts in the previous hour. And let His Voice tell you what He wants you to do in the coming hour.

Frequent Reminder: See each brother you meet with the Christ’s vision and so let that vision shine on you. See no one as a body. Acknowledge him as God’s Son, at one with you.

Response To Temptation: Whenever you feel tempted, repeat idea.

COMMENTARY

This lesson has a lot of profound metaphysics in it, particularly the stuff about time. If you’d like to dig into the Course’s concept of time, a terrific starting place is Ken Wapnick’s book, “A Vast Illusion: Time in A Course in Miracles.” I can’t write a book tonight and you probably don’t want to read one right now! :-) So I’m going to skip over most of that stuff.

The practical point this lesson is trying to make is that “knowledge,” which lies in the sphere of Heaven, is outside the scope of this Course. We have all received knowledge when we were created; every living thing knows, inherently, that it is still connected to its Source: “a mind, in Mind and purely mind, sinless forever, wholly unafraid because you were created out of Love” (1:2). It may seem to us that this is something we do not have, and that it is this we are trying to give to others and to receive for ourselves. But we can’t give it because everyone already has it. It exists outside of time entirely. The point in time at which the experience of this knowledge reveals itself to us is already determined, by our own minds (2:9). When it happens, it will happen.

Within time—which is an illusion—what we can give, and receive, is forgiveness. Forgiveness is the gift that reflects true knowledge “in a way so accurate its image shares its unseen holiness” (11:1–2). What we can give is a vision of sinlessness, “Christ’s vision.” We can look past the body and see a light; look past what can be touched and see an idea; look past the mistakes and fears in our brothers and sisters, and see their inherent purity. We can greet one another and in each one, “see him as the Son of God he is, acknowledging that he is one with you in holiness” (8:4).

We are not giving knowledge. When we meet someone, we can give them our vision of themselves as sinless. In the way that we perceive them, they can find a new perception of themselves, one they have not found on their own. As they respond to our merciful vision, they will reflect that vision back to us, enabling us to perceive the Love of God within ourselves. When we forgive another, we have simultaneously forgiven our own sins, because “in your brother you but see yourself” (10:3).

We cannot know when revelation of truth, the experience of our reality, will come to us. The time is set; the drama is being played out; there is not one step we take only by chance (3:1–3). And yet, each act of forgiveness brings the day nearer. Our concern, then, is not with the final experience, but with the practice of vision, seeing with the eyes of Christ. This is something we can attain; this is something we can do something about. And we can do so today. Right now.

“This can be taught; and must be taught by all who would achieve it” (8:1). The way to learn the vision of Christ is to give it. The way to achieve the vision of ourselves as Christ sees us is to practice seeing others with His eyes. We give it to have it. This is the whole plan of the Course.

LESSON 159
June 8

“I give the miracles I have received.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Purpose: To receive the miracle of Christ’s vision by opening His storehouse in your mind, and then by giving His miracles and vision away.

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes—at least; 10—better; 15 even better; 30 or more—best

Open the storehouse of your mind and receive the miracle of Christ’s vision.

Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)

Sit quietly and receive Christ’s vision. Thank God for His gifts in the previous hour. And let His Voice tell you what He wants you to do in the coming hour.

Frequent Reminder: Repeat idea. Give the miracles you have received.

Response To Temptation: Whenever you feel tempted, repeat idea.

COMMENTARY

You might notice that today’s lesson title is almost the same as yesterday’s: “Today I learn to give as I received.” There is definitely a commonality of thought that runs through these two lessons, even extending two lessons back. They all talk of Christ’s vision. They are all presenting a picture of the holy instant as a key part of our spiritual practice, although that term is not specifically mentioned in every lesson.

The general picture being presented is of our ongoing spiritual practice. It is this: We enter frequently into a holy instant. There, we experience a touch of eternity or Heaven, a taste of the knowledge of the truth. While we cannot carry this experience back with us to the world, we can carry back what that experience is like, translated into perception; this is called “the vision of Christ,” which is manifested in forgiveness.

In this lesson, the holy instant is only hinted at by such phrases as, “Let us an instant dream with Him” (10:6), or, “Receive them now by opening the storehouse of your mind, where they are laid” (2:5). The Holy Instant is the “treasure house” we come to, the place in which we receive the gifts of Christ’s vision. We must receive before we can give.

But we cannot recognize, or become fully aware, of what we have received until we give it away: “To give is how to recognize you have received. It is the proof that what you have is yours” (1:7–8). The extension of Christ’s vision is an integral part of the plan of salvation presented by the Course. It is what brings us to certainty. This is quite similar to the principle taught by AA, that you stay sober by helping someone else to stay sober. Here, “You understand that you are healed when you give healing. You accept forgiveness as accomplished in yourself when you forgive.” It is only as we bring the “lilies” of forgiveness from the holy instant, where we received them, and distribute them into the world that we truly know we are forgiven. It is in giving away miracles that we receive them.

Father, help me today to realize that I am rich. The storehouse of my mind is filled with miracles. I can come to this storehouse and, in this holy instant, receive them. You entrust them to me for the giving. Let me pause often today, to meet here with You, and then carry these treasures forth to offer them to the world. This is my whole purpose in life; this is why I am here.

LESSON 160
June 9

“I am at home. Fear is the stranger here.”

PRACTICE SUMMARY

Morning/Evening Quiet Time: 5 minutes—at least; 10—better; 15 even better; 30 or more—best

Ask your Father: “Who is the stranger here?”

Hear His Voice quietly assure you that you are not stranger to your Father nor He to you, that you will always remain at one with Him, that no stranger can separate whom God has joined as one. Welcome the Christ Who has come to search the world for you who belong to God. Offer thanks to Him.

Hourly Remembrance: as the hour strikes, for more than 1 minute (reduce if circumstances do not permit)

Sit quietly and wait on God. Thank Him for His gifts in the previous hour. And let His Voice tell you what He wants you to do in the coming hour.

Frequent Reminder: Repeat idea. See yourself as no stranger to God. See no one as stranger to you.

Response To Temptation:

1. When tempted to be afraid, repeat idea or say: “This is my home. Here I belong, and will not leave because a madman says I must.”

2. When tempted to deny a brother and see him as a stranger, remember you will thus see your Self as a stranger. Instead, accept the gift of Christ’s vision.

COMMENTARY

Fear in this lesson is virtually synonymous with “ego.” The picture being given is that we have invited fear, personified as a stranger, into our house, and the stranger has taken over and declared that he is us. He has taken over our identity almost completely. And the insane part of it all is that we have gone along with the stranger. We have accepted that this stranger is really us, and we have given our home over to him completely. We have been dispossessed.

Who is the stranger? You, or the ego? It is so easy, when thoughts of fear occupy our minds, to believe that the fear is us. The anger is us. The loneliness is us. The sense of helplessness is us. We have habituated ourselves to identifying with our thoughts and feelings of fear; we believe they are us. The thrust of this lesson is that all of these manifestations of fear are an interloper, not a genuine part of us at all. You are not the ego; the ego is not you.

Stephen Levine, in several of his books, talks about relating to our fear rather than relating from it. The distinction he is making is between identifying with the fear (relating from it) or distinguishing our self from it (relating to it). When I relate from my fear, I am in its grips. The fear runs me; the fear is me. When I relate to my fear, however, I can look on it with dispassionate mercy. I can react to it with mercy, and heal instead of go into panic. It is the difference between saying, “I am afraid,” and saying, “I am having thoughts of fear” or “I am experiencing fear.” My thoughts are not me. I am the thinker who is thinking the thoughts, but I am not the thoughts.

When we can separate ourselves from the fear we feel, we already have identified with our true Self. Our Self is certain of Itself, and it operates to heal our minds, to call us home. As we give this Self welcome in our minds, we remember who we are.

Yet this new vision of ourselves, of necessity, includes everyone. It is as though God were offering us a pair of glasses and saying, “If you put these on, you will see your true Self.” But when we discover that, in putting them on, we see not only ourselves in a new light, but everyone, we rebel. We want to see ourselves as innocent, but we are unwilling to see everyone that way. If we refuse to see those around us as innocent, we will put down the glasses, refuse the vision of Christ, and we will not be able to recognize ourselves (10:5). “You will not remember Him [God] until you look on all as He does” (10:4).

When thoughts of fear enter my mind today, let me recognize that they are the stranger, the interloper, and that I am the one who is at home—not fear. Fear does not belong. I do not need to accept it in my mind. But let me not fight against it; let me look on my own thoughts of fear with compassion and understanding, recognizing them as merely a mistake, and not a sin. There is no guilt in feeling fear, or there need not be. I can step back from these thoughts, step back into my Self, and see them as the illusions that they are. I can look upon myself with love. And from this same place of merciful awareness, I see all my brothers in the same light: caught in fear, mistaking the fear for themselves, and needing, not judgment and attack, but forgiveness, kindness, and mercy.