God holds you up

September 23, 2007 | 5 comments

I’ve always been leery of walking to the ledge of a deep canyon and peering over the edge. It’s a ridiculous fear, I know, but one I’ve never fully come to terms with until last month when walking the rim of the Yellowstone Canyon.

While approaching one viewing platform that sat 1500 feet above the bottom of the abyss on top of a small piece of rock jutting out from the canyon wall, I stopped to read a plaque that said a previous viewing platform had been 100 feet further out in the canyon. But in 1978 an earthquake crumbled the walk to the bottom of the hole.

“Oh, great,” I thought. “What if an earthquake hit today and the new platform went crumbling to the bottom with me standing on it?”

I looked up, and the destination ahead looked precarious indeed as if dangling out in the middle of space with no source of support.

I took this as a lesson on how mortal mind plants unwarranted fears and doubts into our thinking and holds us hostage to them if we don’t kick them out with spiritual truth.

For me, hovering over an incredibly deep hole in the ground may create some antsy feelings. For others, speaking in front of a thousand people may produce a few jitters, or getting on an airplane, or asking for a pay raise. But any fears come down to one lie, and that is, that God is not in control.

I was not going to shy away from this opportunity to conquer fear. I was going to look over the steep edge of the railing ahead. I knew.

As I approached the wide open space, I thought about how a few days previous I had absolutely no fear about entering the Lewis and Clark Caverns and walking into the heart of the earth through skinny narrow caves and very confined spaces. Evidently, some people fear the experience for the guide had made a big deal about how there was no turning back at one point. So, I thought, why should I have any less confidence and sense of security now?

There was no sound reason, I concluded.

Then I asked, “Why do I fear walking to the edge of this precipice?” The answer was simple. “What if the ground failed underneath?”

Suddenly the premise of my fear was unveiled, I felt.

I was afraid because I was depending upon rocks and earth, or matter, to hold me up, and of course, I would be nervous, because I had no trust in matter. I was spiritually programmed to not trust matter, and I didn’t.

But I had no fear in the cave, which mortal mind could have gone wild with “What ifs…” So, why should I have any more fear here? I pondered. Wasn’t the cave just as material as this canyon wall? I asked. Maybe not, I reasoned. In the cave, for whatever reason, I was not thinking of it as a material experience. I was so caught up into the beauty, wonder and surprise of it all, that the trip was much more a Mind-experience than a so-called matter experience.

There was no sound reason, for my canyon fear, I concluded. The concern was one of those unwarranted conjectures of mortal mind that seems real when believed, but had no logical basis to back it up.

So I changed the premise of my reasoning. As Christian Science explains so beautifully, we do not live in a universe of matter, but of Mind. It’s not matter that holds us up, but the forces of Spirit.

As I advanced down the path, I decided that I was not walking out onto a material ledge, but exploring in the universe of divine Mind.

Mary Baker Eddy astutely wrote,

Spirit is the life, substance, and continuity of all things. We tread on forces. Withdraw them, and creation must collapse. Human knowledge calls them forces of matter, but divine Science declares that they belong wholly to divine Mind, are inherent in this Mind, and so restores them to their rightful home and classification.”

I was going to rely upon the forces of Mind to hold me up, keep me safe and protected, not upon what mortal mind called matter. The forces of Love were ever-present, above, below, around and beneath. I could proceed with no fear.

The jitteriness disappeared as I went all the way to the ledge and enjoyed the view. And even more, celebrated a victory over an unwarranted fear!

5 thoughts on “God holds you up”

  1. Good for you Evan!

    I grew up in the mountains and enjoy heights, but still have a healthy respect for the edge if there is no guardrail. When I went to Grand Canyon that worked out great until I flew over the edge on a Grand Canyon mule and learned in short order that many of them (mine included) prefer to walk the outside edge of the trail and you can’t do anything about it. When they make the sharp turns on the switchbacks their heads and necks soar way out over the abyss which is all the rider can see for a few moments…hmmmm. It’s amazing how focused your prayers can get when there’s nothing but 600′ of air between you and the ground. Add to that a mule who thinks it’s hilarious to scare tourists at rest turnouts by inching up to the edge and kicking little rocks off that go pinging sown into the canyon, handling fear becomes a top priority.

    I thought I got those fears handled mentally pretty well until one sort of ugly turn into the inner gorge called the Devil’s Corkscrew and the lady behind yelled “don’t look down” (like that ever works… the minute they say that, you HAVE to look down to see what they are talking about). Big mistake.

    At that point I thought I am so sick and tired of being afraid and a small voice inside said “so stop”. I thought you are kidding right? Can I really just stop being afraid? The voice said ” yea, just stop. You are only thinking everyone else is safe and cared for and you are not which doesn’t even make sense in Mind’s universe”. So I did. I just stopped being afraid. It was very cool. There were a lot more precipices and perpendicular walls that day and the next, but no more terror. Maybe the occasional sweaty palm, but that was nothing. It turned out to be a great adventure after that.

    Freedom from fear of heights by the conviction of God’s ever-presence is an incomparable feeling. Glad you experienced it too!

  2. Good for you. Thank you for explaining so clearly how you relied on Spirit and not matter, and how you used CS to see you through. To me, your face expresses a combination of great joy at mastering fear and contentment at knowing once again, that Spirit IS all.

    Next up for you, rock climbing at a climbing gym?


  3. That’s a great example of:

    “False fears are foes, Truth tatters those when understood”

    From Mary Bake Eddy’s Hymn

  4. I’ve been to Grand Canyon, but never ridden into it on a mule! That must have been quite an experience. Sounds like something my kids would love to do.

    Rock climbing? Hmmm…I don’t know about that one. 🙂

  5. Thanks, Evan.

    I have exactly the same fear of heights as you described. “God holds you up” really sounds like the perfect counter to that claim. It was helpful to see how you worked through it and I guess one day I will have to try to master that fear, too. (Now that I know there IS a spiritual solution to it) 🙂

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.