The Course has a way of wrapping very lofty psychological and metaphysical truths inside very ordinary packages. This lesson is a perfect example of that. On the face of it, it's just about loving today; or rather, not being afraid to love, or be loved, today. Not a very complicated idea.
Yet of course, that implies that on days other than today, we usually are afraid of love. According to the Course, that fear dominates our lives. If we weren't actively recoiling from love, we would be "in" love, in a state of total immersion in it. Yet what an odd thing—to recoil from love. Love is the thing we want the most, the thing we are seeking all the time. Why would we pull away from it?
This is not only impractical; it also represents a deep confusion. For love and fear are opposites. Why on earth would we confuse the two, and associate love with fear? The Text captures just how backward this is. First, it says, "Everyone draws nigh unto what he loves, and recoils from what he fears." We all know that—the nature of love is to "draw nigh"; the nature of fear is to "recoil from." The passage then continues, pointing out how we reverse the two: "And you react with fear to love, and draw away from it. Yet fear attracts you, and believing it is love, you call it to yourself" (T-13.V.5:4-6). So we draw nigh (a love response) to fear, and recoil (a fear response) from love. How bizarre.
Clearly, to love fear and to fear love is insane. It makes no sense. It is as self-defeating and self-destructive as you can get.
Yet it goes further that. Not only is it a denial of happiness, it is also a denial of reality. For the truth is not a sour condemnation of all that is wrong out there; the real truth is love: "truth remains forever living in the joy of love" (1:3).
And our very nature is love. That is how God created us, as love. In our true state, existing is the same thing as loving. Think about that: Existing is the same thing as loving. Therefore, being afraid of love means being untrue to our nature. It means disconnecting from our being—which makes no sense whatsoever.
That is why so much is contained in the seemingly simple act of saying, "I will not be afraid of love today." First, let's just expand that statement a bit:
I will not be afraid of loving my brothers today.
I will not be afraid of being loved by God today.
I will stop recoiling from love altogether today.
Try to feel that statement be enacted inside you. Feel your recoil from love relax. Feel the walls come down. Feel the dike begin to fail, as the waters come rushing in. Now let's make it a bit more specific. Pick someone in your life and say:
I will not be afraid of loving [name] today.
Now let's see all that's contained in that decision. Please repeat the following lines to yourself:
This is the decision to stop being insane. (1:2)
This is the decision to accept myself as my Source created me. (1:2)
This is the determination to not be asleep to life, hiding in dreams of death. (1:3)
This is the determination to at last be in touch with truth, which forever lives in the joy of love. (1:3)
This is the choice to recognize my Self, Whom God created as His beloved Son. (1:4)
This is the choice to recognize my one Identity. (1:4)
So you see, a simple decision to simply love today is really a decision to accept all of transcendental reality back into our minds.
Now let's move on to the second paragraph, which says, in essence, that our true Name is love, as is God's. We have given ourselves the name of fear (2:4), but this is simply a mistake—we have not become fear. We are still love.
First, sign your name as you usually do, on the line below (or grab an extra piece of paper for this), and date it:
Signed, _____________________________ (Dated:_____________)
Look at your signature, and try to get in touch with your sense of whose name that is. What concept of that person are you holding as you sign the signature? Is it not a separate person? A person with a particular history? And a special station or place in the world? With special attributes?
Isn't this self trying to make its way through a perilous world? Isn't that why you sign your name to things? To protect yourself from something? Or to procure some needed thing for this endangered self? If, for instance, you sign a legal document, are you not often afraid of what it may bring into your life, even while you are hoping it will protect you?
In short, isn't the identity signified by your name filled with fear? What else would a separate self trying to make its way through a perilous world be filled with?
Therefore, sign your name again, and this time sign it simply as "Fear."
Signed, _____________________________ (Dated:_____________)
Once you sign it, try to see this signature and the first one as the same. Look back and forth between the first and second signatures and try to let them blend into one. Try to realize that when you sign your name in everyday life, you are signing "Fear." You are saying "This self who is separate, vulnerable, and beset by the dangers of a perilous world." Regardless of the specific words you write, the content of what you are writing is fear.
Now sign your name one more time. This time sign it as "Love."
Signed, ____________________________ (Dated:______________)
As you sign it, try to really mean it. Don't think of it as a given name like "Joy" which doesn't mean much. Think of it as a statement that you really are love. Love is your nature. You are not a being who can love, who can love at times and hate at other times, whose love is partial, selective, and intermittent. You are love. Love is your nature. You are a segment of Love Itself. In your true nature, you are incapable of any anger, any hatred, even any neutrality. Being love, all you can have in you is love.
Realize that this is not an aspiration of what you want to be. This is who you are now, beneath all appearances. You are love, a segment of God's Love, merely dreaming that you are a separate being filled with fear. You are love masquerading as something else.
Look at this final signature and try to identify with it. Think to yourself, "That's me. That's who I am." Does that make you see yourself differently? What feelings does it evoke?