I am at home. Fear is the stranger here.
I recently heard a lecture given by late A Course in Miracles teacher, Kenneth Wapnick, where he discussed the purpose of the Workbook for Students is not a course in going to the light but rather in going through the darkness. In summation, he stated that the Course is about going through the clouds of the mind, recognizing the ego, and realizing that in truth there is no obscurity really there, only a light that has always been there. Our lesson today, encourages us to see what “clouds” we have let linger around the mind and have mistaken them as rightful placeholders in our home, in our minds.
Any form of fear — suffering, sadness, anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy, etc.,– can often become a safety blanket to us. The uncomfortablness of fear, when lived with for an extended period of time, can begin to feel normal and like a cozy blanket. Any representation of fear can become second nature to us, leaving anything related to love, as the stranger to our existence and something to be leery of. As we can attest in our walk together, this could not be further from the Truth. Love is not the stranger but the rightful owner of the only Home we can ever truly inhabit.
“You are unable now to recognize this stranger in your midst, for you have given him your rightful place. Yet is your Self as certain of Its Own as God is of His Son” (ACIM Lesson 160 7:3-4).
Today, we are prompted to do a deep clean of our minds to ensure that we no longer harbor any fearful guests. Fear, in truth, is a perfect stranger in our homes. In the phrase, “perfect stranger,” the ‘perfect’ is added to emphasize the foreignness of an outsider. Fear is the outsider to our Inside. We have let her in. We have housed her, clothed, and fed her. As Kenneth mentions, this is what we recognize in order to see the light that is always around us. Thus, in our practice today, we ask ourselves, “Whom am I inviting into my home? And who is in charge here?”
The world does not make you a stranger to yourself. You do this. When you become unrecognizable to yourself in the mirror, it is you who have made the corresponding decisions. It is you who must clean house. It is you who must review the guest list of your mind. If you truly desire love, fear can no longer be a fixture in your home. Love and fear cannot cohabitate.
“There is no home can shelter love and fear” (ACIM Lesson 160 4:5).
The Home we speak of is one in which you have never left. It is one where you have played with the energy of fear, believing it your reality, when it has merely been a perfect stranger. Albeit, not the amusing, endearing eastern European type like Balki from the late eighties, early nineties show, Perfect Strangers. Yet, we can look upon our visitor with loving eyes as we claim the certainty of our home and its inhabitants of light. The brilliant part of recognizing our lingering stranger is that once we see it for what it is, there is no other step that need be taken. At that point, the miracle is waiting for us. It is waiting for our allowance to perform its miraculous duties.
When I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2014, I recall one particular day during my first week as a pilgrim when I was in my first bigger city for a day, Pamplona. On my journey there, and while in the city, I kept getting lost or losing my belongings. As with all astray adventures, I didn’t plan on having misfortune after misfortune for an entire day. At first I thought it funny that I got lost, but upon my third time in a single day, in addition to misplacing my socks and walking sticks, it was becoming a rather humbling lesson. Yet in each instance I always found one truth: I am never lost, but always found. I was never truly adrift that day or lacked any belonging. I was just astray for a moment to then have a passerby, of course sent by the Holy Spirit at just the right time, to guide me back on my path and to guide me to my misplaced items. It is the same with our Home, we are never lost and are always found by the miracle that has been searching for us, waiting to be discovered.
“His way is lost, except a miracle will search him out and show him that he is no stranger now. The miracle will come. For him his home his Self remains. It asked no stranger in, and took no alien thought to be Itself. And It will call Its Own until Itself in recognition of what is Its Own” (ACIM Lesson 160 6:4-8).
As we are graced with the miracle of love and the remembrance, we come to know that there are no strangers in our Home. We look out onto the world and see only the love that is woven in each glance we share with another. Even when we see a brother or sister wearing the costume of a “perfect stranger,” we see beyond the clouded, mistaken identity, to that Light which is always real and impossibly hidden. We see no strangers because we are no strangers. We are the caretakers of the light and recognize the light in all.
“His vision sees no strangers, but beholds His Own and joyously until with them. They see Him as a stranger, for they do not recognize themselves. Yet as they give Him welcome, the remember. And He leads them gently home again, where they belong” (ACIM Lesson 160 9:2-5).
This is the gift of sight, as we help guide our brothers and sisters home and as they do the same for us. We are in this together and could not do it without one another. I am so grateful those moments on the Camino when others helped guide me in the right direction. More times than not, I actually didn’t realize that I was lost, but it was a sweet bystander who saw that my light was in the wrong place and pointed me back on my path. We are all truly never lost but always found. It is the miracle that makes this so.
Notice, today, the real stranger in your home. No longer is fear our safety blanket but seen as it truly is, a perfect stranger. Claim the Light that is your Home and with certainty know you are the Queen of your Queendom, aware of all guests who come and go disguised as clouds. Knowing in your Home, there can only be love. Namaste.