Mastering Fear of the Unknown

It is possible for us to overcome fear of the unknown and approach our daily activities in confident expectation of good.

Fear of the unknown can take many forms, such as fear of not being able to measure up to new demands in one's work, fear of becoming ill or having an accident, fear that, without one's being aware of it, others may be acting in a way perhaps injurious to him.

Jesus, the great Exemplar, must have been freer from fear than any other man who ever lived. The New Testament contains a great many instances of the way he faced up to problems and emerged the victor. Through the writings of Mrs. Eddy, particularly the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, we can all learn how to follow Christ Jesus' example. We can learn to make practical use of the lessons he taught and work out our problems through inspired, scientific prayer. In the textbook Mrs. Eddy writes, "If you succeed in wholly removing the fear, your patient is healed." Science and Health, pp. 411–412; It may therefore be very helpful, as the first step in destroying fear in some form, to use our innate faculty of spiritual discernment to identify in our thinking the specific cause of our fear.

During several months my wife and I received anonymous, unpleasant telephone calls. As students of Christian Science, we worked to overcome fear, as well as resentment against the caller, by identifying him and ourselves with the spiritual man God creates in His likeness. The perfect, real man expresses brotherly love, intelligence, and harmony. Also, we endeavored to understand and put into practice the spiritual qualities of a true sense of home, such as assurance, joy, peacefulness, integrity, so that we would not be able to believe in or express anything unlike them.

However, because the phone calls continued at irregular intervals, we began to unplug our telephone each evening. The teachings of Science make it very clear we experience only what we accept into our thinking; therefore it was quite obvious that unplugging the phone would not provide a basic solution. We needed to do some mental unplugging: we had to uncover and remove from our consciousness whatever illusory, material thoughts required eradicating.

One evening as I was endeavoring to pray scientifically about the problem, I realized I had not clearly identified the fear troubling me and had not been able to remove it. This inspiration led me along entirely new lines. My apprehension and feelings of insecurity were basically due, I quickly saw, not to fear of the calls or of the one making the calls but simply to fear induced by the fact that the caller was anonymous, unknown. Mrs. Eddy gives us a definition of "unknown" in the Glossary of Science and Health, I remembered. The first paragraph reads, "That which spiritual sense alone comprehends, and which is unknown to the material senses." ibid., p. 596;

From this I caught a glimpse of the fact that God and His spiritual creation, which included me and mine in our real being, were unknown to the material senses. Consequently, they were unknown to, and unaffected by, the anonymous caller insofar as he allowed himself to be duped by these material senses in the form of suggestions of disturbed thinking, ill will, and obscenity. This understanding that, far from fearing an unknown person or event, I could rejoice in the knowledge of my secure place in God's creation, in the spiritual realm unknown to mortals, was completely satisfying. All fear of the anonymous caller was eradicated.

However, although I knew that my problem had been solved, I knew I would have to increase my spiritual understanding to include all individuals in God's creation. I would have to be equally sure that in their real being all were just as much "unknown to the material senses," and therefore as unassailable by mortal suggestions of any kind, as I knew I was. I studied the definition in the Glossary more fully, and was struck by the second paragraph. It reads, "Paganism and agnosticism may define Deity as 'the great unknowable;' but Christian Science brings God much nearer to man, and makes Him better known as the All-in-all, forever near."

Whether we realize it or not, all individuals, I also saw, are constantly receiving the abundance of God's loving care and are endowed with the same spiritual satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment God continuously imparts. This spiritual fact made the caller appear to me completely lovable and identifiable as God's son and no longer unpleasantly anonymous. All the irritation, disgust, and hate I had previously felt was dispelled. I felt a deep and compassionate desire for him to be aware of his true immunity, as part of God's spiritual creation, from the unpleasant suggestions causing his wrong behavior. There were no further anonymous telephone calls.

God, who is the entirely good and all-powerful Maker of the true "unknown"—"that which spiritual sense alone comprehends"—fills all space and eternity and possesses all knowledge, even where the human dimensions of time and space appear to be. Therefore no harmful or frightening unknown experience can await us. On the contrary, our real experience, past, present, and future, is known to God. "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." Acts 15:18.

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What Are We Cherishing?
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