You know how it goes. You think, If I can just get past this, then life will be good. Then, the moment that challenge is out of the way, what happens? Another comes to take its place.
I know what it’s like to live my life on that runaway train. One day I’m nervous about a deadline. Then I meet the deadline, everyone’s happy with my work, and I’m immediately anxious about money . . . or a conversation I need to have . . . or a hundred other things that are waiting in the wings to keep me in a constant state of anxiety.
In truth, I have a wonderful life. A loving husband, truly wonderful friends and family, a beautiful home, work I enjoy, good health. And yet, when I started really paying attention to my thoughts after CR-V day, I realized that I’ve been constantly drugged by fear. I think most of us are.
No wonder we’re tired, cranky, short-tempered, or difficult to get along with. Or, worse, violent, calculating, unforgiving. It’s because we live in fear and don’t even know it. Or if we do, we don’t know how to get out of it.
What's the Answer to Living in Fear?
So here’s the answer:
Say the prayer.
Say the prayer. Say the prayer.
All day long, say the prayer.
What's Your Focus and Your Premise in Life?
In May 2004, a story in Smithsonian magazine documented the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to the United States. Before he arrived, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) decided to study him and find out why he was so darn happy all the time. Clearly, they thought, there must be something wrong.
Embedded in the article is a fascinating statistic. It seems that, in a survey of thirty years of psychology publications, researchers counted 46,000 papers on depression—and 400 on joy.
Those numbers suggest a sacred truth: we get what we look for. If we’ve looked for depression 46,000 times and joy only 400, it says a lot about what we’re focused on and what we want to find.
We’re starting with the premise that life is a struggle and we have to fix it. But this is the fear-based ego trying to make a case for its existence. It looks for evidence every day that this world is a sick and dangerous place. And, of course, if that’s what you’re looking for, you don’t have to look far to find it.
But what if we started with a different premise? What if we began with the belief that, as children of God, our natural state is one of balance, harmony, and well-being? What if there were 46,000 articles on joy and only 400 on depression? People would say we’re ignoring the problem or living in denial. But A Course in Miracles, along with other spiritual texts, says that balance and harmony are our natural inheritance as children of God. This is not about positive thinking. It’s about being free from the fear-based ego. We simply cannot move forward while we’re in the negative spin cycle of fear-based thoughts.
Love Is Real and Fear Is Not
A Course in Miracles says that love is real and fear is not. But fear can seem mighty real when you’re carrying it around like an elephant on your back all day. When it fills up your cells and gives you a nervous stomach or headaches or heart problems or cancer. When it interferes with your ability to sleep, to have happy relationships, to pursue your dreams.
In light of how scary the world often seems, we may think we need to be fearless. But the prayer creates a new definition of that word. Instead of being brave in the face of danger, it means experiencing greater peace of mind. Every time you say the prayer, you become more fear-less.
The prayer shifts our focus from the outside world to our inner connection with our true Self and God. When you ask the Holy Spirit to heal your fear-based thoughts, you acknowledge that your happiness doesn’t depend on the chaotic world around you. Instead, it depends on the steadfast peace of God within you.
The Next Step In Spiritual Evolution
I believe our commitment to the healing of fear is the key to the next step in spiritual evolution. To bring about great change on this planet, we need to collaborate with Spirit on an individual level. In the past, this has been inhibited by teachings that only spiritual or religious leaders have a direct line to God. But in the past few decades, we’ve returned to an understanding that, as children of God, we are all connected directly to Spirit, and we can develop that relationship in community and in the privacy of our own contemplation.
If we are to truly create a different world for ourselves and others, we need to work with powers beyond our own hands. But when we’re governed by fear, that collaboration is crippled or, at best, slowed. Trying to arrive at a different destination using our egos as vehicles is like trying to paddle around the world in a canoe.
To work as co-creators and partners with the Divine, we need to be free to give and receive direct communication without the interfering static of fear. Just think of the woman who, on saying the prayer the first time, heard the words, “FINALLY! Now we can really get some things done!”
I believe that exuberant message is for all of us. Spirit is eager to heal our fears—not just because we’ll experience the abundance and joy of life, but because we’ll be better able to bring about positive changes, helping to shift the dynamics of the planet.
We all have an infinite loop of old tapes playing in our minds just like the anger and frustration I felt on CR-V day. I asked to let go of those tapes, I tried to ignore them, I attempted to understand them, I tried to shift my thoughts to something else. But until the prayer showed up, those thoughts were stuck on “play.”
Since then, I’ve seen that the prayer not only erases the tapes, it truly can help you experience everything you want in life: abundance, health, vitality, love, and peace of mind.
Healing of Fear Is The Key
Many things have shifted in my life in the months since I’ve been saying the prayer, but the overarching change is an ever-expanding capacity for joy. Fear no longer limits how much room there is for love in my life.
The ego, though, doesn’t want you to heal. It’s invested in keeping you stuck and unhappy, so it will shut you down and make you forget to do the simplest thing in the world: Say six words in your heart and mind that can change your life experience and make you feel free, happy and light. If you need to, write down the prayer and carry it with you, put it on your phone, do something to remind yourself of it until it becomes routine.
It took time to get where you are, so you have to give the prayer time and patience. This can be difficult some days when you find yourself constantly asking “Please heal my fear-based thoughts”. You start to realize how relentless the negative and fear-based thoughts really are. And it can seem overwhelming, as though you’re staring down an advancing army. How can you ever win? That’s when you remember, you can’t, but the Holy Spirit can.
Our two-year-old egos are not capable of being self-aware, or self-correcting enough to let go of the fear. We have to ask a power greater than ourselves to lift that burden from us—to truly change our minds, to bring us to right-mindedness. This is the real meaning of righteous thinking . . . to be aligned with the energy of love.
So keep asking. Be vigilant. This is spiritual practice. One request to heal your thoughts is not going to take care of everything. Be mindful. Practice this more than anything you’ve practiced in your whole life. But you won’t be practicing in vain, even if at times it feels that way. The rattles in your dashboard will start to go away, and many more may disappear completely.
Shifting the Balance
Using the prayer is not about never having another fear-based thought. This world is filled with them. Our minds are filled with them. But you can shift the balance. You can reach the point where you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night satisfied and content rather than stressed and fitful.
You can experience a life in which your relationships are harmonious and you feel supported and loved. You can find purpose in your work and balance your profession with pursuits that bring you joy. You can remove the barriers to abundance and well-being. You can show your kids the beauty of this world and see the light of God in the people you meet.
It’s all possible. And it’s what you deserve. It’s what everyone deserves.
So say the prayer. It takes only a second. It’s the simplest thing in the world. And results are 100 percent guaranteed. A good trade-off, I’d say, for saying six little words.
©2014 by Debra Landwehr Engle. All Rights Reserved.
This excerpt was reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Hampton Roads Publishing. www.redwheelweiser.com.
Subtitles by InnerSelf
About the Author
Debra Landwehr Engle has been a freelance writer for many years and her initial publishing credits appeared in such magazines as "Country Home," "Country Gardens" and "Better Homes and Gardens." Her first book, "Grace from the Garden: Changing the World One Garden at a Time," was published in 2003. Since then, she has contributed to several international collections of essays. Deb teaches classes in "A Course in Miracles" and is co-founder of Tending Your Inner Garden®, an international program of creativity and personal growth for women. She also teaches workshops that use journaling and writing as tools for self-discovery, as well as one-on-one and small-group sessions on creativity, writing, manuscript development and life skills. Through her company, GoldenTree Communications, she provides mentoring and publishing services to fellow writers.
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