On Sunday, March 13, 2022 Rev. Tony Ponticello gave a talk for the Community Miracles Center's Sunday Gathering. A lightly edited transcription of the talk is presented here.
My talk, today, is "Fear — Nothing To It!" Okay. Fear is a big issue. It's a big issue for spiritual people. It was a big issue in the Bible. The most often repeated phrase or instruction in the Bible is some form of, "Fear not." Or, "Be not afraid." Or, "Have no fear." Something like that. It's frequently said that there are 365 occurrences of, "Fear not," or, "Be not afraid," or, "Have no fear," in the Bible, which means you could have a new one and study one for every day of the year.
Actually, there's probably way more than 365. I was having a little trouble finding a definitive number. There seemed to be some discrepancy about it, but there's certainly a lot of them. Let me remind you of some of the key ones that you may remember, or you may know of. When Mary, the mother of Jesus, realized she was with child (as they say), she had a little bit of fear. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, "Be not afraid," and gave her a little inkling as to what was in store, and the importance behind this pregnancy.
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Nine months later, or maybe about seven months later, or whatever, when Jesus was being born in that manger in Bethlehem, apparently there was this cosmic thing in the sky. There was light, and there was what they just call "glory," and the angels were out. The shepherds, who were with their flocks of sheep, saw all this and were afraid, but the angels said to the shepherds, "Be not afraid. We bring you tidings of great joy."
Another one was when Jesus walked on water, walked over to his disciples who were on a boat, worried about a storm, and being able to get back to shore safely. His disciples were all really spooked by seeing Jesus walk across the water, and he said, "Be not afraid." So, this idea of not being afraid, it's been around for a long time. It's certainly a big thing in A Course in Miracles, and it's a big thing in the Bible, as well. It's a big thing in many faiths, certainly in the Christian faith, but in many other faiths too.
In fact, one might say that the main purpose of all faiths is to help you get to a place where you can let fear go, or let fear flow through you. I mean, let's face it, fear doesn't feel good. Fear is a form of psychic pain, let's say. We all know, or studies certainly show, that people are very motivated to avoid pain. People are way more motivated to avoid pain than they are to seek pleasure. So, pain is a big deal.
A Course In Miracles would have us seek for our happiness. Maybe "pleasure" is a bad word, but seek for our happiness and seek for our joy. However a much stronger drive than that is seeking to avoid pain. Seeking to avoid fear is probably a big motivation for why people study things like A Course in Miracles. We are not people of panic. We are people of faith.
We know that "people of faith" is a Christian thing. We shouldn't be people of panic. We should be people of faith. I think that really applies to us A Course In Miracles people, too. We're not people of fear, or we're not people that should be motivated from fear. We're people of faith. We have faith that we will be delivered through our fears.
I'm sure all of the people who have asked us for healing help, who are on our prayer / healing list*1, from time to time, are dealing with the fear of their situation. They're reaching out in faith to the Community Miracle Center's, Healing Team. They're reaching out in faith to join with us, and to join with the healers at the CMC, as a way of letting go of the fear, and overcoming the fear, because we are all people of faith. They have faith that their fear can be overcome.
A Course in Miracles has a very powerful Workbook lesson. It was in today's reading. It's a very early lesson; it's a very short lesson. Very simple. "There is nothing to fear." "There is nothing to fear." (OrEd.WkBk.48) I love that lesson because of the simplicity that it calls us to, in the practice of the lesson, which is just repeat it a lot. Repeat it a lot! We A Course in Miracles students should be reminding ourselves all the time that there actually is nothing to fear, regardless of how it seems. Regardless of the seeming reality that appears in front of our eyes, it is just an appearance. It's just an illusion, as the Course says. There is nothing to it, and there really is nothing to fear.
The lesson itself said, "In truth, there is nothing to fear. It is very easy to recognize this. But it is very difficult to recognize for those who want illusions to be true." (OrEd.WkBk.48.1) There's a little bit of a teaching there. If your mind is going with the idea that something is a fearful situation — war in the Ukraine, it's fearful — you may think it's impossible to not be somewhat afraid of that. A Course In Miracles is saying that the only reason you think it's impossible is because you want the illusion to be true.
If you understand that reason why it seems impossible to be peaceful in the midst of war in the Ukraine or wherever, the reason will help you do what you need to do to offer it up to Holy Spirit and ask for guidance — to let go of the fear. As it says, "... it is very difficult to recognize for those who want illusions to be true." (OrEd.WkBk.48.1) So, the reason why it seems difficult is because you still want the illusion of an external world, with real external dangers, separation to be true.
One of the things that the world does, one of the things that governments do, is they frequently keep people in a perpetual state of panic. I've seen a lot of articles and things around, talking about how we went from being afraid of Covid, and the Covid pandemic, to suddenly being afraid of nuclear war. We didn't hardly miss a beat. We just went from one to the other, the revolving door of panic. Now, the media and the government is stoking that, because that's what it does a lot. That's what the world does a lot. It keeps people in a perpetual state of panic.
We can rise above that though, when we realize that panic is just something that's coming from our mind, as well. We are not the victim of the media and the government, and we don't have to fear them either, because it's all coming from our own minds, and it can all be overcome. However it does have to be dealt with at the level that it appears to have reality for us. At the level of the war in the Ukraine, I can tell something is off in the way the story is coming to us.
First of all, if you believe the media, President Putin is just evil incarnate. However President Zelenskyy from the Ukraine — could anybody be braver, more heroic, and better than that? And while all those things may be true at a surface level, I know that the absolute truth is probably way more nuanced than that. I want to step back from a narrative that paints one side as evil and the other side as good. It's a complex situation. I don't know what the immediate solution is, but I know that the good and evil thing, that's just the manipulation. That's just a manipulation by the government, and the media, to get us ready to go to war.
They want to prime the people to accept the idea that we need to go out there and kill our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, for whatever reason. This drive to war, it's been around of course, throughout the whole history of the human species. We got a little reprieve from it for a few years. Actually that's one thing I can say for the previous administration, which rarely gets any credit, but they didn't stoke war for four years. I appreciated that about them.
We're being manipulated. We're getting prepared for war. We're getting prepared to enter into the war. We're getting prepared to send our young men and women off to kill people and to set themselves up to be killed themselves. It's all part of a corporate narrative, a coalition, a "conspiracy." We're learning now, that not only does this come from government, it also comes from the media, big tech is in bed with it all too. Facebook censors things that don't agree with the narrative. YouTube will delete videos that don't agree with the narrative. Google manipulates it's search results to agree with the narrative.
Google — I've been learning about Google. You think when you put those words in the Google search engine, that you're actually getting unbiased results? "No." Google has algorithms that are manipulating the results that you get when you search. Google has values that it wants to promote and the algorithms manipulate search results to reflect these values. Google, of course, also wants to make money. Also Google, of course, understands the nature of what it does, and that it is important in terms of gathering intelligence, gathering criminal or military intelligence for the government or law enforcement agencies. Who has been searching for information of how to make bombs out of pressure cookers? Google will know.
Google is juggling all those values all the time, and literally manipulating how we think about things by what it will show us, when we put something in a search. Be aware of that. My eyes were opened to that this past week, and I've switched. I'm not searching with Google regularly anymore. I'm using a search engine that is supposed to not do that, called Brave. I'm not here to talk about that per se, but you might want to look it up. You might think twice about searching with Google in the future, because it's not benign. They have an agenda, and the agenda is strong.
We need to question all of these things that we believe are going on. We need to question everything. Like I said, I'm questioning the war. I'm questioning the rhetoric that I'm getting from the media and from government. I'm questioning all of those values, because A Course in Miracles tells us that's what we have to do. The Course says, "To learn this course requires willingness to question every value that you hold. Not one can be kept hidden and obscure but it will jeopardize your learning. No belief is neutral. Every one has the power to dictate each decision you make." (OrEd.Tx.24.2)
We have got to question those values, especially the good and evil ones, and other things that we're being manipulated into thinking — manipulated into war. I was the product of the 60s and the Vietnam War. We manipulated people into that war. We have manipulated people into every war that we've ever entered. There's the 5th commandment that says "Thou shall not kill," yet we find excuses to somehow justify killing frequently. We have all throughout the history of the human race. There is a strong movement with people who are against that, but we're are up against a very strong, agenda driven government with a cooperating news media, and now even big tech is in cahoots with it all. It takes a lot of us really holding true to our spiritual ideals to be able to go up against that. "Thou shall not kill."
Another thing that I've been exposed to and learning, is that the idea — going back to the previous panic that we had for two years about Covid — the idea that germs, microscopic pathogens cause disease. Then the idea is that in order to treat disease you've got to defeat the pathogen — that's germ theory. That's also just a value, and it was something that was promoted very early in the 1900s. It wasn't always the accepted way to think about disease, and there's still a lot of other currents, other ways to view disease, that might be a whole lot more effective.
I mean, let's face it, we haven't done that great. We're living longer, but as a whole, chronic illness is really on the rise. We haven't done that well, actually. What I learned is there was this counter theory to the germ theory. It was the miasma theory. Miasma actually means a bad atmosphere, maybe even a bad smell. It means basically a bad environment. The way to counteract disease becomes to clean the environment that a person lives in. So — sanitation, good nutrition, fortifying the immune system, teaching people good health habits of sleep, not abusing substances and maintaining a healthy body weight, all kinds of things like this.
Keeping the immune system strong is a much more effective way to stay healthy than identifying the pathogen and then finding a particular poison, medication, that will kill the pathogen. What the "miasmists" say, the ones who are still around in one form or another, is that these poisons further weaken the immune system, and that the greatest increases in our health and longevity have been caused by increased sanitation, not by medications or vaccines that were put out there to defeat the pathogens. We are living longer because we have a higher standard of living. People have better nutrition, and people have cleaner environments to live in. That's really what's caused the great increase in longevity.
I'm not saying that you have to be totally one or the other, but what I am saying is that we have to open our minds up to these different values that are there, and we have to be able to listen to the other side. We have to do whatever we're guided to do, to ratchet down the fear. For me, if I believe that there are these deathly pathogens out there that I can't do anything about, unless I have the right poison to kill them with, then it takes all the control out of my hands. It's just a further belief in separation.
I actually think A Course in Miracles is part of creating a healthy environment. The Course creates a healthy mental environment. Part of the miasma theory is to keep your mind in a healthy state, with less fear. The idea of external pathogens being strong enough to defeat you is a fearful idea that just is a self manifesting belief. The fear of the disease brings our health down.
I do want to acknowledge that the level of fear of disease, at least in my home city of San Francisco, hopefully went down a whole lot this week. For the first time in seven months, you no longer have to show proof of being vaccinated to go and eat inside in a restaurant in San Francisco. I talked about that a couple of times, especially when the mandates were first implemented. It felt like segregation to me. That segregation is over in San Francisco. It's been over for awhile in a lot of places, in other parts of the world, and in other parts of the country, but not San Francisco. I think San Francisco was the first city in the U.S.A., to require proof of vaccination to eat indoors in a restaurant. That has now lifted. I am a vaccine free person, so this really affected me. I celebrated on Friday night by going out to dinner at one of my favorite little Italian restaurants that I haven't been to in seven months, because I didn't want to have to confront them asking me if I was vaccinated or not.
If you read the press release from the government, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, you will read that we can lift all these things now because their mitigation policies were so effective that we've gotten our case rates so far down that we don't need them anymore. There's part of that probably is true, but there's a part that they're not talking about, which is they've really discovered — and it's common knowledge now — that even the fully vaccinated people can still get the virus and still transmit the virus. Actually, they transmit it at the same high rate as people who are unvaccinated.
So, there isn't truly any logical reason to restrict dining to just the vaccinated, if the vaccinated can catch the disease and spread the disease just as easily as the vaccine free people. There's that, too. That doesn't get mentioned by the government and health agencies, but that's there, too. I think we have to be able to hear all of these things, to open ourselves up and to question our values, because that will reduce the fear level, and we have to reduce the fear level. A Course in Miracles says, "Whenever anyone can listen fairly to both sides of any issue, he will make the right decision. This is because he has the answer." (OrEd.Tx.7.12) We have to be able to listen fairly to both sides of the issue.
A lot of people have a great deal of difficulty with that. I think I do that pretty well. Maybe I could be better, but I like to listen to both sides of the issue. I'm a Gemini. I don't just listen to what the mainstream media tells me. I want to hear what the Russian propaganda is too. Why are they justifying this invasion into Ukraine? I think war is terrible, regardless, and military violence is nothing I want to see in the world, but thinking somebody is evil isn't useful either. I have got to understand the other side. Hopefully the Russians and the Ukrainians have got another opportunity to do some negotiation — but if they're going to negotiate, they're both going to have to understand the other side of the issue. We have to be able to understand the other side of the issue. We have to understand the other side of the disease issue, the germ theory versus the miasma theory, the vaccine theory versus the vaccine free theory.
I knew things were seriously changing about all this when I saw a Saturday Night Live's skit that aired just a couple of weeks ago, about six friends who are out to dinner at a restaurant for the first time in a long time, because you can dine in restaurants now. They were talking about the pandemic, and how things had suddenly shifted. It's a very funny skit. During the skit, every time somebody mentioned something like, "I read a study. Maybe masks really weren't effective and actually weren't needed" everybody else gets totally traumatized with fear and like they are demonically possessed by evil. However different people at the dinner table keep mentioning more things that are coming out now which break up that whole Covid narrative that drove us to do things that had dire consequences that many people weren't willing to even think about. So ... when Saturday Night Live has people making fun of themselves about the main stream Covid narrative, then I know things are changing, because Saturday Night Live usually reflects very leftist points of view.
Another thing I want to mention about fear is the idea that there is nothing to fear. There's two ways of interpreting that. It also means there's nothing to it. In other words, fear — nothing to it. It's vaporous. It isn't really there. If you really examine it closely, it dissolves. I'm a person who's had a lot of fear in his life. I have had very severe anxiety disorders, which is kind of fear and panic out of control, when you can't use a force of will to ratchet it down.
The one thing I know about that level of fear, if you just keep walking through, it eventually dissipates, because there's nothing to it, actually. "My mind holds only what I think with God." (OrEd.WkBk.RvIV.3) None of us are actually going to hold the fear indefinitely. Eventually, it flows through us. I think fear is part of the miasma itself. It's part of the toxic atmosphere that causes disease. A Course in Miracles says, "Are thoughts then dangerous? To bodies, yes! The thoughts that seem to kill are those which teach the thinker that he can be killed. And so he dies because of what he learned." (OrEd.Tx.21.85) The fearful thoughts that teach us that we are in danger are dangerous themselves, because they are teaching us that we can be ill, sick, killed.
When that doctor came into the emergency room when I was there on January 6th, 2022, and said, quite seriously, "I don't think you're going to make it," that was a dangerous act of murder on his part. That was him trying to instill all of his bad atmosphere and powerful authority into me, his miasma, telling me that he believed I was going to die, and thoughts are dangerous. Some people say, "Yeah, but you didn't listen to him and you left." Yes, but he was trying. Then, the second doctor came in and she was trying to convince me that I was probably going to die as well*2, especially if I didn't do what they wanted me to do.
That's part of the miasma. That's part of the bad atmosphere. That's part of the germ theory. Maybe there's another way to look at things. Fear always centers around the body and our body reality. A Course in Miracles is always challenging that, shifting away from body identification. The Course tells us, "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me." (OrEd.WkBk.Rv6.4)
The first step towards truly seeing that there's nothing to fear — or fear, nothing to it — is to recognize that we're not bodies. The danger is only to the body. Through the meditation exercises and through the other teaching in A Course in Miracles, we identify with our spiritual selves. We let go of our body identification. When we let go of our body identification, we let go of the fear. When we let go of the fear, that miasma, the bad fear thought atmosphere doesn't exist. We'll be healthier.
There's a second step too, of letting go of the fear. That second step is truly the miracle. It's the miracle that manifests in the world. A Course in Miracles says this. "The happy dream about him takes the form of the appearance of his perfect health, his perfect freedom from all forms of lack, and safety from disaster of all kinds. The miracle is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form because it can so easily be changed." (OrEd.Tx.30.90)
This is a very key core idea. It's talking about a happy dream. It's talking about form and appearance. It's not just talking about a shift in consciousness. It's talking about shifting the appearance, shifting the form. And then it tells us that's what miracles do. They shift the appearance; they shift the form. They're easily accomplished, and that's why we don't have to be in fear, as well.
That's the second level to truly mastering fear and realizing that there's nothing to it. Fear — nothing to it! It's vaporous. For one thing, we're not bodies. For another thing, even at the level of form, it's our mind that's controlling things, and we can grab control of that with the Holy Spirit's help. We can have miracles that manifest in form, that manifest healing and overcoming. Fear — nothing to it! That's my talk for today. Thank you very much. ♥
*1. The CMC is a healing ministry. Our Healing Team is currently 58 members who pray for a published list of people and situations sent to them every day
*2. See: "We Will Be Told Exactly What God Wills" Jan. 2022 Miracles Monthly (Vol. 35, No. 11)
Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC's 20 minister. He currently (06.27.22) serves on the CMC's Executive Minister and is President of CMC's Board of Directors. He was ordained by the CMC on Oct. 17, 1997.
c/o Community Miracles Center
San Francisco, CA 94147
This article appeared in the March 2022 (Vol. 36 No. 1) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.