WELL, how about being on a narrow steel beam with nothing to hold on to, fifty or sixty stories above the ground? Wouldn't that be a good reason for fear? It surely might seem so to you or me! But I recall watching some ironworkers putting up a new building in Boston a few years ago. As the girders went up, you couldn't help being in awe of what those tiny figures were accomplishing up there on the narrow beams. Even on a blustery winter day they would move around with no rope, no net, nothing to hold on to.
How often our fears come with ``good reasons'' attached. But we can begin to learn, as in this example of the ironworkers, that fear isn't actually the simple product of the situation being faced. It arises because we participate in agreeing that the circumstances constitute a good reason for feeling fear.
When we think about it, we see that examples are numerous. I have a friend who, because of an experience some years ago, felt she had reason to be afraid of speaking, or even standing, in front of groups. Her recurring fear was so intense it sometimes resulted in her losing consciousness. But through the help of Christian Science something entirely new happened. The circumstances she had once been sure were a reason for anxiety became an opportunity she wouldn't want to miss to express her love.
Much more was involved than trying to substitute one mental attitude for another. Her growing spiritual understanding of divine Love's thoroughgoing presence in every situation took away the fear. A Bible verse that meant much to her was one from Isaiah describing God's promise: ``Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.''1
There is a rule about fear in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.2 It says that every Christian Science treatment -- that is, specific healing prayer -- should begin with obedience to Christ Jesus' command ``Be not afraid.''3
In attempting persistently to be obedient to this rule, many have found they have done better than they imagined they could. Fear isn't irresistible, after all. And this has been proved even in severe emergencies and life-threatening circumstances by those who were willing to turn to God's substantial presence and His governing law, instead of taking at face value the situation they seemed to be in. Since fear is a basic element of the false mentality that would ignore God's allness, when fear goes a lot goes with it. Often health improves, and ``impossible situations'' may seem much less impossible.
But what if we're trying not to be afraid and yet can't help ourselves -- can't even think clearly? Still, there is an undisturbed source of thought, and that is God.
Anyone who is earnestly pursuing the study of Christian Science is moving toward the conclusion that God is the one and only Mind, or true intelligence, of all creation. It becomes evident that spiritual intuition really indicates a scientific fact: true intelligence is entirely from God. This isn't confined in separate mortal minds, and it exists apart from matter and brain. Therefore when we give up trying to use a fearful human mind, and accept God's omnipresent intelligence and love, we discover we can think cogently even in the most pressing circumstances. No matter how fearful we might have been a moment before, we can have coherence and clarity because the knowing of the one divine Mind is always available. Fear may sometimes contend it is more ingrained and difficult to get rid of than a physical illness or injury. It may be considered psychological, part of our very psyche, or makeup. The truth is, however, that there is only one Soul, or divine Spirit, which is individualized in man. This means that fear never really has become part of our true individuality, since we are actually the expression of Soul.
From this standpoint we can see that fear never actually gets into, or becomes, ``our'' thought. It remains an outside suggestion -- an imposition or overlay. When we seem to be afraid, the Christianly scientific fact is that we are not. The God-created man isn't afraid and would have no reason to be afraid in the all-presence of Love. Persisting in this scientific fact, we will get healing, strengthening glimpses of the infinite spiritual reality underlying those words so frequently repeated in the Bible: ``Fear not.''
1Isaiah 26:3. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3See Mark 5:36; Science and Health 410:29-30; 411:27-32. This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the June 22 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. Psalms 118:6