What About Fear?

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On Sunday March 7, 2010, Rev. Vincent Fuqua addressed the congregation of the Community Miracles Center. What follows is a lightly edited transcription of that lecture.

As always it’s great to be able to speak here at the Community Miracles Center. It’s an honor for us to come up here and share our thoughts on how we see A Course In Miracles and how the Course itself impacts our lives in so many different ways.

What About Fear?Today, I am going to share with you my thoughts on fear. As we are all aware, fear is something that we all deal with everyday of our lives and in every aspect of our lives. It’s part of this world that we live in and it’s a part of what we always all have to deal with. I am going to talk about a couple of different ways that fear has impacted my life. I am going to talk about a couple of different aspects of my life, how fear has impacted them. I am going to continue to use A Course In Miracles to help me deal with fear as much as I possibly can. I’m going to talk how, hopefully, the Course can help each and everyone of us as much as it possibly can.

It was interesting when I decided to talk about fear. It was about a month before I knew I was going to talk. Rev. Tony calls us and asks us when it’s good for us to talk. I’ve had a month to think about what I am going to talk on. Well, what happen is on Monday nights, I have a class where we go through the A Course In Miracles Original Edition book and we read a paragraph and then talk about it. Then, out of the blue, we were reading Chapter Six where it was talking about attacking and fear and then suddenly I heard a voice that said, “This is what your going to talk about, fear.” It was a month before I had to talk, so I thought maybe that was a sign, so I wrote fear down on a piece of paper so I could remember, that’s what I am going to talk about. Then, this week, when I again saw it I thought about what it was that I had gotten the sign for – that I knew I was going to talk about fear a month before I had to talk. Holy Spirit, or God, knew something was going to be happening in this next month that I may need to look at or learn about. I thought, “Okay, so that’s the way Holy Spirit tends to work.”

In my talk you will find out some things that I found out this week, that I am dealing with and some challenging times that I am going through right now. It’s going to be important for me to use A Course In Miracles as much as possible. So Holy Spirit was speaking to me a month before I knew what was going to be happening and He is definitely bringing up some challenging times right now.

I decided to look up the word “fear” in Webster’s dictionary just to get a sense on how it defines fear. There are three different definitions. The first one the Webster’s dictionary says is, “... an agitated feeling aroused by awareness of danger and trouble.” The second one is, “... an uneasy feeling that something might happen contrary to want, desire.” And the third one is, “... to be frightened.” That’s the way the dictionary defines “fear.” I thought about these to see what they actually meant for me – these definitions of fear. I got the whole idea of this feeling of uneasiness. A lot of times we have our gut reaction that something does not feel right. It’s something that we definitely feel. At least I know I feel it. Also there are times when I have some awareness that there might be some danger happening for me. Then I think, “Okay. When I’m feeling fear what’s happening? What goes through my mind? What is my process?” The normal things may happen to us. We may start feeling shaky. We may start feeling sweaty. Our palms may begin to sweat. Then our minds tend to race a thousand times at once. We think, “What’s going to happen?” There’s uncertainty. All these things tend to happen when we feel fear. Okay. That makes sense. I understand that. I can get that. Then I also thought about times when I may be alone and when some thoughts of fear may come with that. It made me think of the movie that I saw last year, Paranormal Activity. It was about a couple and it took place in southern California, San Diego. This couple, every night when they would fall asleep, kept hearing noises in their house and these noises frightened them and they kept getting more and more scared.

Through out the movie you see what transpires and it freaked me out, because sometimes I hear noises at home also. There may be something in our home that is creating havoc. So this made me think about how powerful our minds can be if we allow ourselves to buy into that. We buy into the idea that the noises we are hearing are something scary, something that is actually fearful. In reality they may be a spirit who is there to protect us.

These are some things I am starting to think about, started to realize. Instead of hearing noises as a bad thing, as you sleep alone as I used to do sometimes, as I sometimes still do – I really don’t like being alone – I realize and recognize that these noises being bad really might not be the case.

The other thing that we think about when we think about fear, is we remember when we were kids. Some of us may have been picked on when we were kids because there were bullies there, because of that we were afraid to go to school. We were afraid of going to school because of getting teased or being afraid of getting our money taken from us or our lunch taken from us. Fear started very young when we were kids. That’s something else that I realized. For me, I know its hard to believe, I was not the most popular kid. I was very shy when I was a kid and I did get picked on a lot when I was young. I got called all kinds of names and I was always scared and frightened to go to school because of that. As I got older I learned how to deal with that and move forward.

The other big thing that I thought about regarding fear is how our whole society also integrates fear into each and every one of us all the time. I was thinking about the whole thing that happen with 9/11. That totally shifted and changed a paradigm of our world now, because of 9/11, because of the fear of people thinking there are going to be terrorists. Every little thing that is happening now, is people thinking that we’re going to get attacked again. This fear is slowly starting to mess around in our minds and I was thinking about that and realizing that it’s up to us to figure out a way not to buy into that. We realize that things will happen but we don’t have to live in fear in order to continue to live the life that we’re actually supposed to live.

Then I decided, okay that’s the Webster’s definition of fear. I thought, “What does A Course In Miracles say about fear?” I am aware the Course mentions fear over nine hundred times. That’s a lot (laughter). That must be a really important part of what were supposed to pay attention to. I remembered in the back of the book there is the Glossary of Course Terms by Robert Perry that describes certain things. (This is in the first printing of the *Original Edition*.) I wondered, does it describe what fear is in this Glossary. This is what it says, “The feeling that stems from the belief of approaching danger, from the expectation of attack. The Course teaches that we only expect to be attacked because we secretly believe that we are sinful and thus deserving attack. Fear is the essential mood of the ego.” (Or.Ed.1st.pg.620) “Wow!” The Glossary puts it right out there for you, so let’s take a second and look at the definition. For me, the thing that comes up, is about me figuring out how to let go of my belief. How do we let go of the danger that we may experience or that may appear to be happening to us. Its about learning how to really recognize that it’s us who intentionally manifest the things that actually exists with in our lives.

It brought me back to my childhood. I grew up in a neighborhood where there was a lot of drugs and a lot violence. There were a lot of drive by shootings and things like that. I knew there was a reality of danger. Was that reality, or was that me manifesting all that was happening? Was that me being afraid that someday that would actually happen to my family, that my family’s house may be one of the houses that got shot at?

It actually did happen. One day our house did get shot at by a drive by shooting. Now, I am able to think back, as Rev. Larry would say, “Rewind the tape.” Let’s figure out what was going on. What was I thinking that may have manifested this drive by shooting to happen in our neighborhood.

In essence we always were fearful. We always had these negative thoughts, always being afraid of what we were going to wear, always being afraid of going out at night. We were buying into this whole thing that was happening at that time instead of just trusting that, you know what, we are going to be safe. We were going to be okay. We did not have to worry about the drive by shootings. That was a lesson that I had to go back and learn about. A Course In Miracles tells us this, there is actually nothing to fear, nothing at all. Think about that. We really don’t have to fear anything, but unfortunately we do. It is a part of our nature. It’s a part of this world that we live in right now. It is integrated with fear.

The other thing that is interesting, and integrated with fear, is the whole idea of how when we were growing up the messages we got regarding sin. All the things that we might do in our life that would be sinful. If we smoke it’s considered a sin. If we drink it’s considered a sin. If you lie, if you cheat, all these messages are negative messages because they are automatically put on us already, from the get go, from growing up. The question is how do we deal with that? How do we deal with all of these negative things that we have gotten all through our lives and how are we able to find that sense of peacefulness that we actually want in our minds. That is a goal that it is important for us to start looking at and to start paying attention to. We start to realize how we can get to that.

I think about all these stars, actors that we all know, and realize all the judgment that we put on them. We set them on pedestals. I am thinking of Tiger Woods, this great golfer, but the minute he does something wrong, immediately we’re judging him. Our society is bringing him down because he did something. Where in reality, wouldn’t it be great just to love a person for who he is and realize that each and every one of us make mistakes.

We are human, but the beauty of it is we can correct those mistakes. Unfortunately, a lot of times, our society does not see it that way. Society constantly puts pressure on us to succeed and if you don’t meet that expectation immediately you’re no good. Those are things that we have to deal with all the time and figure out how we can not allow that to bring us down. A Course In Miracles also goes on and says this, “No one who lives in fear is really alive.” (Tx.Or.Ed.2.110) No one. So if we allow fear to take over our lives were really not living. We are buying into all of the sins that we have been taught when we were growing up. We are buying into the idea of being attacked in different aspects of our lives. We are buying into the fear that is not necessary for us to buy into.

As I mentioned before, you are not alive when you are in fear. For me, I am slowly starting to begin to see how to not allow this to hinder me as I move forward in my life. I want all of us to keep in mind, think about all of the different aspects in our lives, when we did not move forward because we were afraid. We were afraid to move in our careers. We were afraid to change a job that wasn’t meant for us. We were afraid to commit to a relationship. All of these things – we were afraid to go back to school. We were afraid to get an education. All those things hold us back. We don’t take the time to believe and trust that our path has already been set for us. The Holy Spirit is there to guide us if we truly, truly allow that to happen, but we are aware that we have these blocks that we need to work on to get to that point. It can take us a long time to get to that point, but I think each time we practice A Course In Miracles and use the tools that we already have, we slowly start breaking down those barriers and we are able to move forward.

This reminded me of an exam that I took about three months ago. I went to school. I got my masters in counseling psychology, I finished up all the three thousand hours of supervised counseling. It took forever to get that, but the other part of it was that I had to take an exam so I could actually practice on my own. Right now I can practice therapy, but I have to practice it under someone else’s license. My goal was to practice on my own. So I studied, practiced on the practice exams and felt like I was ready. A lot of people prayed and sent good energy my way. I went and took the test. I missed it by one. I’m going to have to retake it later, but then I decided to go back and realize what was going on for me at that time. I realized, I know that I had the skills, and I knew the questions because I had studied. I had done the practice exams. I was getting high marks on all the practice exams that they had. So deep down, I did not believe in myself. Deep down, I did not think that I deserved to move on to the next level of my life. That would have meant that I would actually have to follow through what I wanted to do and open up my own practice. I think that fear was in me and that I was not aware of it. When I got there and took the exam I had so much anxiety. I was so nervous when I got stuck on a question. I was so flustered that I just went blank. I felt like I had to rush. I was not able to calm down and those were things that I realize now that I didn’t realize then. I was trying to rationalize. It was because of this; it was because that, and all of this other stuff. Then I realized it was because I didn’t trust in myself. I allowed all of those negative thoughts, all of those doubts, to enter into my mind in that moment and that didn’t help me in staying focused on what I was suppose to do. Just to be there and trust that I had the knowledge already. It was already there, but I let that little ego come and say. “You don’t know this. You don’t deserve this. You’re a failure” and all of that.

So I am learning from this now. I am learning that when I take it the next time that I will be able to have A Course In Miracles with me and to use the Course as much as possible during that moment to help me shift that perception quickly. As Rev. Larry used to say, “The red flag comes up.” Trust within myself. Say, “Wait a minute. I do know this.” I don’t have to stay stuck and feel afraid. The Course also goes on and says, “When everything he retains is lovable, there is no reason for fear to remain with him.” (Tx.Or.Ed.2.110) So I will do my best not to allow fear to remain with me as I continue to prepare for when I take the exam again next month. I am going to trust in the Holy Spirit and trust that God will lead me in the way that is meant for me to live. It’s going to be a challenge, because I know those doubts are going to come up. Those insecurities are going to come up as much as possible. I am going to learn how to put that aside as much as I possibly can.

The other thing I realize that I am working on right now is a big challenge that I am going to have to deal with. Several people know that I work for the city and county of San Francisco. As some of you probably heard in the news, in the newspapers, the mayor decided to send lay off notices to the city workers. That’s his plan. The plan is on May 7th, we’re to by laid off and then offered to be rehired for a 37.5 hours per week job which is considered part time instead of our regular 40 hours a week of work. I heard about it but I kept putting it off, “Yea, Yea. I’m not too worried about it.” Then my supervisor came to each one of us and let us know what was going to happen for everyone who was going to get a lay off notice, pretty soon, in regards to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s idea. On Thursday it happened, all of our stuff came together and we all got lay off notices. On May 7th we’re all supposed to be laid off from the city and then there may be a chance that we may be offered our positions back at 37.5 hours.

This is a scary thing. This is very frightening, the uncertainty of what’s going to happen. What does this mean for me now? There’s a chance that I may be laid off in 60 days and what am I going to do? Hopefully I will be able to stay there but there are no guaranties. There is no guaranty that it will be 37.5 hours because once it goes to part time, they can decrease it any time after that. It can go down to 30 hours a week. I can go down to 25 hours a week. I am realizing and recognizing it’s not in my control. All I can do, and all we can do in a situations like that, is to turn it over. Turn it over to the Holy Spirit. Turn it over to whoever your higher power is to you, and try not – for me I’m really trying – not to buy into the fear and insecurities regarding finances and insecurities of what type of work I am I going to do next. I need to learn how to not let that hold me back. I need to move forward.

I’ve been thinking this is another motivation for me to move on in my path to go ahead and officially get my therapy license, so I don’t have to worry about relying on the city so much. I do have some control on what it is I can do and not rely on an outside source to help me get through this. It is going to be a challenging time but as A Course In Miracles says, “Fear arises from lack of love.” (Tx.Or.Ed.2.83) As long as I continue to find ways to love myself and to love others around me that is putting out an energy for healing. That is taking away all of the fears and doubts that everyone has. I can demonstrate that in my office while everyone is very nervous and unsure, but if I come with a sense of peacefulness within me, it spreads and everyone will be able to to have a better sense of peace with it and try not to worry and be fearful about what can happen next.

As I said earlier, our path is already set. It is up for us to trust in that path and to listen to the guidance that comes our way and to move forward because this is an opportunity for me, instead of being in woe, misery, and feeling like a victim to say, “Okay, what do you have next for me Holy Spirit? What do you want me to do?” I must trust in that and move forward regarding that. A Course In Miracles says, “The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, not necessarily in a place which you recognize as yet, you have remembered God and let His strength take the place of yours. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.” (Wk.Or.Ed.48.3)

That’s my talk. (applause) Y


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This article appeared in the April 2010 (Vol. 24 No.2) issue of Miracles MonthlyMiracles 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.