The correction formula for fear (February 27, 2012)

I recently posted about a remarkable paragraph at the end of “Shadows of the Past” (T-17.III), in which Jesus says, “I would enter into all your relationships, and step between you and your fantasies.” This reminded me of a strikingly similar practice, perhaps the most important practice in the early part of the dictation.

This practice, given in the equivalent of Chapter 1, is a response from Jesus as to how “sexual impulses can be directly translated into miracle impulses.” A variation on it is given in Chapter 2 (see 2.VI.7). And then in the equivalent of Chapter 3, it is called “the correction formula for fear.” So it is clearly an important practice. Here it is, with the different steps numbered:

In a situation where you or another person, or both, experience inappropriate sex impulses:

    1. Know first that this is an expression of fear. Your love toward each other is not perfect and this is why the fear arose.
    2. Turn immediately to me by denying the power of the fear, and ask me to help you replace it with love. This shifts the sexual impulse immediately to the miracle impulse and places it at my disposal.
    3. Then acknowledge the true creative worth of both yourself and the other one. This places strength where it belongs.

Jesus stressed this so much—he revisits it two chapters later and calls it “the correction formula for fear”—it seemed like I should use it and let it be the transformative tool he intended it to be.

So what I did was take his three steps and turn it into a series of statements I could say to Jesus:

Jesus, I know this is fear.

I deny the power of the  fear,

and I turn instead to you.

Help me replace this fear with love.

I acknowledge the true creative worth of both myself and [name].

I give power to love and only to love.

This need not be limited to addressing inappropriate sexual impulses. As the later references to it make clear, it can be used for any form of fear. This includes anger, which seems strong in contrast to fear’s weakness, but ends up being just another way of feeling fear.

I’ve been using it for the last couple of days and getting a lot out of it. It moves from acknowledging the fear and denying its power, to asking for Jesus to be there and to help, to finally inviting love, affirming love, and giving power to love. On that last part, I first ask Jesus to bring in love (“Help me replace this fear with love”), then I actively invite love myself (“I acknowledge the true creative worth of both myself and [name]”), and finally I affirm what I’ve just done (“I give power to love and only to love”).

I also find it extremely interesting just how similar this is to the practice in Chapter 17:

  • Both are solutions to projecting your sexual fantasies onto someone (the “correction formula for fear” comes in a section about sexual fantasies).
  • Both involve inviting Jesus in.
  • In both, Jesus helps you dispel the illusion you have put on the other person.
  • And in both, he helps you into a true perception of that person.

Clearly, this seems to be his idea of how we deal with the typical attraction that sees another as just an object for the fulfillment of our pleasure drive. In fact, there is yet another variation on this basic pattern, this time with the Holy Spirit rather than Jesus:

The Holy Spirit asks only this little help of you: Whenever your thoughts wander to a special relationship which still attracts you, enter with Him into a holy instant, and there let Him release you. (T-16.VI.12:1)

I’m sure you can see the commonalities. We could call this core practice “the Course cold shower.”

Anyway, I really encourage you to use “the correction formula for fear.” Jesus wouldn’t have included something like that and returned to it again and again if he didn’t want us to use it and if it didn’t have power to help us.

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