Free Yourself from Fear
World peace begins with inner peace.
What is reflected on the outer is merely a mirror
of what is on the inner.
As we begin to experience inner peace,
it will be reflected in our outer experience.
—By Carol Hansen Grey
A Course in Miracles teaches that only LOVE is real. It tells us that fear is merely an illusion, something we made up. However at this time of global uncertainty and unrest, when fear appears to be everywhere, how do we keep ourselves centered in Love? How do we bring ourselves to a place of inner peace when every day we hear reports of another threat to our safety? How do we, as spiritually conscious people, acknowledging our oneness with all life, open our hearts to embrace those who are filled with very focused anger?
The truth is, when we allow ourselves to harbor fear, whether or not we acknowledge it, we actually add energy and power to those who see us as the enemy. The most important thing we can do to dispel our fears is to acknowledge those fears and to transform them at the cause level.
The Free Yourself from Fear process is a tool that transforms fear because it works at the cause level. Victor and I have been successfully using this process in our own lives and with clients for several years. The results are always amazing.
As our way of helping visitors to our website utilize this process we have decided to publish the text of our Free Yourself from Fear booklet in this space for you to print out for your own personal use. Please respect the copyright notice at the bottom.
FREE YOURSELF FROM FEAR
A Spiritual Process of Empowerment
Carol Hansen Grey
Since 1995 Victor and I have been meditating each morning with A Course in Miracles (The Course). The time we spend together in meditation has become the most important part of the day for us, personally and as a couple. It gives us an opportunity not only to connect with our Source (we call it “tuning in”) but also to connect with each other on a level that would not be tapped in the normal course of our day.
Our meditation period has a four-part structure: Learning, Listening, Sharing and Giving Thanks. We begin by taking turns reading to each other out of The Course (learning) and then we go into a silent meditation where we let what we have just read sink in, instruct and inspire us (listening). After a period of silent “connecting” we then share with each other any inspiration that came up during our silent time (sharing). This sharing can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more. We end our meditation time by verbalizing what it is we are grateful for in that moment (giving thanks).
We did not always meditate together—we started about a year into the relationship. We had entered into a conscious relationship and it has been wonderful since the beginning. However, once we began our daily meditation our relationship took on a new energy. It became co-creative. Barbara Marx Hubbard describes a co-creative couple as combining their genius with Spirit to birth and liberate their full creative potential selves. We feel that is what has happened to us since we began meditating together. It was as if our creative abilities were unleashed and we found we were able to accomplish more in one year than either one of us had been able independently to accomplish in 10 years!
While reading The Course during our meditations, I find that Jesus often speaks to me directly, expanding my awareness into areas of my life that need attention. The following process came directly out of one of our meditations.
Jesus and other masters have told us that “there are no idle thoughts.” Every thought creates and Jesus says emphatically, “I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to guard your thoughts.” St. Germain on the same topic says, “Governing your thoughts takes determined watchfulness; but it must be done. If strangers began to open the door and pass through one’s home unannounced and unwelcomed, I am sure it would not be long until the individual locked the door and, if necessary, placed a notice outside that only those invited might enter, and none without being announced.” He goes on to explain that we allow “uninvited and unwelcomed” thoughts to pass through the chambers of our minds where they create havoc in our lives, but we continue to leave the door open. Close the door!
In The Course, Jesus says that we all have fears and that many of us ask him to take away our fears. But, he says, he cannot do that because our fears are something that we have made up. They are not real. And he cannot help us dispel something that is not real. That would be trying to make change at the “effect” level where permanent change can never occur. He says, however, that he can help us at the “cause” level, and the cause of our fear is our thoughts.
An analogy that might help you understand that principle is as follows: If you are typing on the computer with your fingers on the wrong keys, when you look up at the monitor you will see “garbage.” Trying to change what has just happened at the “effect’ level would be like putting “white-out” on the monitor screen to correct the error; or printing out the file and putting white-out on the paper; or a more drastic step would be to throw out the monitor and get a new one. Of course, none of these solutions will work because the file needs to be changed at the input or “cause” level. Many of us go through our lives trying to “fix” things at the effect level and we wonder why things don’t change.
Our fears are created by our thoughts and it is at that level (the cause level) that Jesus can and will help us. He said to me, “If you are willing to get in touch with the thoughts that are beneath your fears and turn them over to me, I will transform them.”
I did not realize at the time what a powerful message had just been given me. However, its power soon became apparent as Victor and I began sharing. That morning we started on a journey of exploring areas where we had fear. But instead of dismissing our negative thoughts around our fears or saying an affirmation to “blanket” them (tactics we both had been in the habit of utilizing), we got in touch with them. And as each thought came up, we turned each of them over to Jesus, asking him to transform them. (We used the words, “Jesus, transform that thought.”)
The meditation that morning led me on a three day journey of getting in touch with my fears around money. I found that as I turned over one thought, hundreds began to pour in. It was like pulling a brick out of a foundation and watching the entire structure begin to collapse. It was almost overwhelming at first, appearing to be much too many thoughts to transform. And it would have been overwhelming if it had been up to me to transform them. But that was not my “job”—that was the job Jesus had promised to take on. My job was to have the willingness to get in touch with the thoughts and to turn them over to Jesus for transformation.
I found after three days of this process that I was finally able to get in touch with a “core” thought. If you were to ask me, “Carol, what is one of your virtues?” I would say to you, “I am a responsible person.” I truly believe that about myself. I was carrying around a thought, however, that I was not responsible with money. Well, how can I hold such opposing thoughts in my consciousness and still function in life? What is it that I create in my life to be able to function with two such opposing thoughts? I create not having any money! If I don’t have any money to be responsible for, I can continue believing that I am a responsible person! That morning a totally unexpected check for $450 arrived in the mail. I felt validated and free of a fear that had been running my life for many years.
Now I felt the process was over, but I soon realized that I had only accomplished Step One: Turning Over the Obvious Thoughts, the ones that stand out there and show themselves. Step Two is getting in touch with what I have come to call the “rodent” thoughts. Those are the thoughts that appear like mice in your house. If you’ve ever thought you had a mouse in your house, you know how every once in a while out of the corner of your eye you see a shadow dart across the kitchen floor. But when you turn your head to see it fully, it has disappeared into the dark corners of your cupboard where it lives and is probably breeding.
Well, rodent thoughts are thoughts that follow that pattern. They scamper across your consciousness so quickly that you are not even sure what they look like. And in an instant they are gone, into the cupboards of your mind, where they live and create.
I became aware of rodent thoughts the next morning in meditation when Victor said to me, “I can’t wait for the mail today to see how much money arrives!” As he said that, a thought “scampered” across my consciousness so quickly that I did not even know what it was. I had only a slight awareness of the “scampering” activity. My first inclination was to dismiss it. But because I had been “processing thoughts” for the past three days, I was very aware of the creativeness of all our thoughts and the importance of turning over any “negative” thought to be transformed. So instead of dismissing it, I closed my eyes and invited it to show itself. The thought looked something like this: “Why would you think money is going to show up in the mail today. Money doesn’t just show up.” Jesus, transform that thought!
What we have found in working with this process is that it takes a real vigilance to be aware of and recognize those ‘rodent’ thoughts that are creating havoc in our lives and to turn them over for transformation. Victor and I continually “prompt” each other whenever one of us says something that is in some way limiting or negative by lovingly commenting, “Well, that’s a thought!”
We have also found that there are certain thoughts that have become such a “comfortable” part of our lives, that sometimes, even though we know they are negative, we feel hesitant to give them up for transformation. They might be likened to old clothes in the closet that no longer fit, but we don’t get rid of them because we hold on to a memory of a time when they served us. When we clean out our closets, we make room for new clothes that can serve us now. When we clean out the closets of our mind, we make room for the new “invited” thoughts that will serve us now and be a positive energy in our lives.
I was counseling someone recently who was despondent about her work situation. She told me how awful it was, her boss was difficult, everyone around her was negative, it was unrewarding to be there. I asked her if she was willing to ask for those thoughts to be transformed. She said to me, “But you don’t understand, my job is terrible!” I said, “Are you willing to have that thought transformed?” Again, she said to me, “Carol, you’re not getting it. It’s not just a thought, it’s real!”
“I’m not asking you if its real or not,” I said. “What I am asking you is whether or not you are willing to take the thought that your job is terrible and turn it over for transformation.” She began to cry and said, “Yes”. So I guided her to say, “Jesus transform the thought that my job is terrible.” Then I asked her, “What thought just came in to take its place?” She replied, “It won’t work.” I asked her if she was willing to turn that thought over also. She did. We began to work with each new thought that came in until she got the picture of the vigilance that is involved in this process.
She called me a week later to tell me that she had already begun to notice changes in her life. She said, until starting this process, she had never been aware of how many negative thoughts she was carrying around. Within just a few months this woman’s work environment changed completely. Her boss retired, her co-workers began appreciating her and it became a pleasure for her to go to her job each day.
A couple on the verge of divorce wrote to me to say that they had used the process to save their marriage and as a bonus the husband had found a new job which turned his life around.
In another instance, I helped a professional singer get in touch with her thoughts that “she was invisible.” (Of course, she didn’t know she had that core thought until we uncovered several layers of other negative thoughts.) For years she has been praying for a meaningful relationship in her life as well as an opportunity to travel worldwide with her music. Within two weeks of working this process she met the man of her dreams, is now married to him, living in England and singing internationally.
Another woman came to me who was experiencing a tremendous amount of fear in her life. I shared the process with her and she said to me, “Yeah, I know the mind does crazy things. I try not to pay attention to it.” I grabbed her by the arm and said intensely, “That is exactly what I am trying to tell you. YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION!” She gasped and said, “Oh my God, I get it!”
This process is different from “canceling” your thoughts or “affirming” a positive thought to counteract a negative thought. This process takes the “energy” of a negative thought and transforms that energy into a positive force in your life.
A particular man came to mind as I started analyzing how this process works. This man took a creature that everyone universally dislikes and transformed that creature into a symbol of happiness and joy that is recognized the world over. The man: Walt Disney. The symbol: A Mouse.
I invite you to begin this very rewarding process. Share it with those around you who are supportive. Start a buddy system where you give permission to your “buddy” to ask you if you have any rodent thoughts. Sometimes we all need to be reminded and/or encouraged to use this process. Especially when we are having thoughts we might know are negative and yet on some level we feel “justified” in holding on to them. Thoughts where we judge ourselves to be “right,” especially if we feel we have been “wronged”. I recently found myself enveloped in that particular thought energy. And even though I was familiar with this process and knew its power, I needed Victor to gently guide me into asking that my judgmental thoughts be transformed. I was locked into that negative energy field and felt powerless to process by myself. I even strongly resisted Victor’s gentle nudging. But he was persistent and finally I asked to have the thoughts transformed. Within a minute, I was at peace. POWERFUL!
This is another one of those processes, like “Lighten Up” and the “World Peace Experiment” that can change not only you, but bring peace to the planet through a change in consciousness. It all begins with each of us attaining a state of inner peace.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
The mind is everything. What we think, we become.
Don’t Shoot the Messenger
by Victor Grey
Thoughts… In order for us to become conscious and aware of them, they must express themselves in some form that is available to our senses. Some thoughts express as words, phrases and sentences. Other thoughts may express as mental imagery. Other thoughts express themselves as what we call feelings or emotions. Of course, more often than not, a thought will express in many of these modes together.
Feelings are the most primal mode of expressing our thoughts, the very first way we had available to us when we were newborn infants. They remain a direct avenue to our most basic and often closely guarded thinking processes. When we become aware that we are having a feeling, that feeling is a messenger to our awareness — that we are having a thought about something. Very often that thought represents the accessing of a memory: “What’s happening now is just like something that happened to me before.”
There are five basic categories of feelings: happiness, sadness, anger, fear and shame. We have many words for different shades of these feelings. “Annoyed” is a shade of angry. “Concerned” is a shade of fear. Then we have words by which we mean a certain combination of feelings. For example, when we say we are feeling guilty we probably mean some combination of shame, fear and sadness. We talk about a combination of happiness and sadness as a bittersweet feeling.
When we allow our feelings to fulfill their function as messengers — when we allow them to direct our awareness to what we are thinking — we are then at choice about where we stand with respect to that thought. We can choose to act on it or not to act on it. We can even decide that it is a thought that is not in alignment with our highest, most unlimited thought, and ask for Spiritual help to transform it.
But sometimes we resist receiving these messengers. There are two basic reasons we may not want to become aware: the process of addiction, and the desire to be in control of others.
Addictions all have their roots in a simple need — to replace one feeling with another, more pleasant one. It is a child’s strategy, understandable in a situation where the perception is that there is no personal power to change things. In such a situation, who wouldn’t be delighted to find a magic pill to feel better. So many messengers keep coming to tell us that something’s wrong — don’t we know it — but if there’s nothing we can do about it, wouldn’t we be better off silencing the messengers and at least having some peace?
Yet the basic message of Spiritual awareness is that we are never powerless or without choice. Indeed, the almighty power of God’s love and grace is in our hands . The only thing that stands in the way of our knowing and using that power, is the perception that we are powerless, which we are, or would be, without God’s love and grace. That being the case, are we not better off to hear the feeling-messengers that bring our thoughts to awareness, however unpleasant those thoughts may be, so that we can make choices about them?
If someone runs in and tells you that the house is on fire, you may find this an unpleasant prospect to contemplate. You will nevertheless recognize that you are better off knowing about it than not. The knowledge enables you to act — to get out, to call the fire department, to rescue loved ones. But if you have become rigid in your habit of not receiving unpleasant messengers — of not knowing what you’re really thinking — you may find yourself, as many addicts eventually do, with your life burning down around you, oblivious to the sirens and the people calling to you to save yourself.
There is another reason that our feeling-messengers may fail to fulfill their function, and it is the other side of the coin from addiction. It results in the attraction to “bad” feelings, and resistance to happiness. The reason is that we may bend the messengers to a purpose other than their original one of innocently expressing and directing our attention to our thoughts.
This arises from the discovery, which we all make as children, that we can manipulate others with our feelings. I can remember the first day (I was probably about three or four years old) when I woke up in the morning with the same anger that I went to sleep with the night before. Before that, my mother could count on the fact that whatever difficult state I was in the night before, if she could only get me to go to sleep, tomorrow would be a new day. I was a child, and would wake up innocent anew each morning.
I knew right away, although I couldn’t have then put my knowledge into words, that I had found new power. Still being angry in the morning meant that my mother had to deal with me in a new way. I had taken a significant step towards adulthood.
As we mature, we become more subtle and sophisticated in this strategy of generating feelings to influence others. It is possible at any moment to generate any given feeling, simply by thinking a thought calculated to do so. How many people are guided in their behavior at work, not by the desire to produce predictable consequences or achieve good results, but by the fear of their bosses’ anger? Does this not require of the boss that he be angry as necessary, if this system is to operate? And who has not at some time made themselves sad, in the hopes that someone would comply with their wishes?
Of course, as with anything we learned well long ago, these strategies are mostly unconscious. We don’t think about how to pick up a fork and eat, we just do it while our attention is elsewhere. Likewise, we don’t think about the fact that we’re generating an emotion in order to influence someone. In fact, strange as it may seem, the person we are trying to influence may be someone long gone from our lives.
These falsely created messengers drown out the real ones, the feeling-messengers that point us to what we really perceive, and allow us to be guided by Spirit. False messengers leave us in the end in the same boat as the addict, unable to hear what we desperately need to hear. Yet when we are asked to offer the thought that generated such a false messenger to Spirit for transformation, we may believe that to do so would leave us defenseless and vulnerable. That it would be giving up, making the other person right, a surrender of our power to change the situation.
In reality this is a child’s illusion of power, and in surrendering it we gain the only real power there is. The power of God’s love and grace brings every good thing we need and desire, and in a way that blesses everyone. It is yours for the asking.
©1999 Carol Hansen Grey and Victor Grey
The preceding text is copyrighted and has been published in booklet form by Open Heart Press. All rights reserved. It may be printed for personal use and shared freely for noncommercial purposes ONLY, but it may not be posted on websites or published in print, electronically, or in any other manner without the authors’ express permission. Click the link for more information about purchasing the Free Yourself from Fear CD.