The good news is that we give up nothing in the process of awakening from anxiety to love. The only thing we lose is fear. – Corinne Zupko
I’m so grateful to Corinne for having written this book. The first reason is obvious: it helps us not just deal, but completely heal anxiety. So I hope her message reaches as many people as possible, especially those who suffer from severe bouts of anxiety (Corinne says in America alone, there are about 40 million people).
Second, it’s based on A Course in Miracles (ACIM) so it served as my personal refresher of the course. If you haven’t gone through it yet, Corinne’s book is a great primer. She has thoughtfully handpicked the lessons and inserted them in the guided meditations, “mind-straightening” mantras, journal prompts, and other actions steps that you’ll find in between the chapters.
That said, it’s not exclusively tailored for anxiety. In fact, I applied her tips and practiced them in other challenging situations and they work just as well. It just works. That is if we’re willing to do the work.
But no worries. Having 30+ years of experience with anxiety, healing it, and ultimately finding what she calls “unstoppable peace,” Corinne is surely a trustworthy guide on your journey From Anxiety to Love.
Like her opening remarks on the website, Corinne says that if she found it, so can you!
The Ego and The Inner Therapist
You are not who you think you are — and this is glorious news. You are not your fear, your anxiety, or your worry. You may feel that these things define you, because they are really good at capturing and overpowering your attention. That is their purpose. But the fearful, freaked-out, anxious you is not the true you, despite how compellingly real that fear and anxiety seem. What you really are is way more awesome.
Corinne establishes the foundation for inner peace (as the subtitle of ACIM implies) so we can move from anxiety to love — and that is the recognition that you are not your body — the same knowing that Anita came into during her near-death experience (NDE).
This is an essential key to healing since being identified with the body is the root cause of anxiety, as well other forms of fear. Why? Because this body identity keeps us stuck in the illusion of separation.
Who’s in charge of this madness? The ego.
The ego is a belief in your mind that you are a body with a personality instead of an eternal being. It is a belief or idea that you are separate from God. The ego turns our perception upside down because it is a thought system that expresses traits that are the opposite of God. If God is eternal life, the ego believes in death. If God is unconditional love, the ego is an expert at judgment and giving love only to those it deems worthy. If God is perfect harmlessness, the ego calls forth pain. If God sees only what is true, the ego sees only what is false.
Okay, let’s just get one thing clear: the ego is not to be seen as an enemy, though it’s a tough obstacle to healing, for sure. But still, the ego is not an enemy, neither is your body. See them instead as your ally in finding your way back to peace, happiness, and love, which is your true nature.
And to have that insight, rather than plain eyesight that only sees the body, we’re going to need help. Enter the Inner Therapist, the name Corinne has given to the Holy Spirit — the still, small voice that speaks for God.
Corinne says the Inner Therapist holds the key to inner peace because it knows what we really are — that we are loved, we are safe, and we have done nothing wrong. Whatever the voice of the ego tells us, the Inner Therapist can transform it and use it for healing.
For that’s what a miracle is — a shift in perception — from anxiety to love.
Oh My Sleeping Child
How do we wake up from this nightmare of anxiety? First, we have to recognize that it is a nightmare.
The world we all see is a manifestation, a vivid dream, of a powerful mind that is asleep. Just as our sleeping dreams feel real, so does this waking dream of the world. This is because we have misused the power of God to make ourselves forget that we are the Children of God.
Corinne is telling us this literally, not figuratively — we are dreaming this life and our human experience is like a dream.
And just like a dream, it feels so real… Or so you thought, until you wake up and realize that it was just a dream.
For most people though, for anxiety sufferers, the dream has turned into a nightmare.
So Corinne is waking us up to that recognition. Recognize that it’s just a nightmare — a sleeping child having a nightmare.
More important to realize is that even though we’re asleep, we’re still safe in bed. We never left home, abiding in the ever-present love of God (or choose a name/label that you’re comfortable with).
Whenever you feel afraid or attacked by anxiety, call on your Inner Therapist for help. It’s always with you and has never left your side. It knows how to return you to that place where you’ll feel safe. And that place lies in remembering who you really are.
It doesn’t even have to wake you up because it knows the nightmare is not real. When you ask for help, what it does is guide you in turning it back to the beautiful dream that you originally intended to create — the life of your dreams.
Listen to Your Body
The Voice of our Inner Therapist is very quiet — so quiet that it is easily drowned out by the endless distractions of the world. This Voice is a loving and gentle teacher that I experience not as words or sound, but as a feeling — a lightness at the core of my being. Although the body is not our true reality, it can be used as a communication device once we give its purpose over to our Inner Therapist instead of to ego. That means we can actually sense the Voice of the Inner Therapist in our own body.
We have been unconsciously programmed to the ego’s voice in our heads. It’s those judgmental and fear-based thoughts that never seem to stop. They sound familiar to us so we think it’s normal when the truth is it’s not.
Corinne says the Inner Therapist speaks to us, too. She quotes from ACIM that it does not speak first, but it always answers. In Conversations with God, Neale’s Inner Therapist said God always talks, the question is who listens.
If the ego’s space is in our heads, then we must tune out from it and tune in to a different part of our body where we can listen better — our hearts. In The Path to Awesomeness book, you can find the heart-space meditation to help you with it.
Or if you’re not yet familiar with your heart-space, Corinne tells us to ask for help from your Inner Therapist. You can ask, ”Inner Therapist, please direct my attention to the place in my body where I can most easily attune myself to your guidance.” Then pause and notice where your attention goes, on what part of your body are you drawn, and tune into it.
Check out her podcast interview with John Mark where they talk about how to listen to your Inner Therapist.
Fixing vs. Healing
Healing anxiety begins with not being afraid to look deeply into our minds to see where the anxiety is coming from. In true healing, the anxiety goes away because we experience a fundamental shift in understanding who we really are. Healing is a gradual process, however, so we can view any recurrences of anxiety as opportunities to work with our Inner Therapist.
Simply put, fixing is not the same as healing. Fixing is only a cover-up strategy by the ego, a coping mechanism. It only deals with the symptoms, but never really addresses the root cause.
One of the ego’s clever disguises is becoming “spiritual” by doing what a spiritual person does. But what it’s trying to do is bypass the actual inner work required for true healing. It’s known as “spiritual bypassing.”
Corinne says most of us get caught in this trap. We want anxiety to go away, but we also want to hold on to old habits of thinking and feeling. We want to fix the problem without healing the mind that created it.
As James pointed out in his classic As a Man Thinketh, a change in diet will not help without a change in thinking.
“Split mind” is the term given to it by ACIM. The course calls this conflicted state “wrong-mindedness” and the Inner Therapist is our aid in returning to having the correct perception, or “right-mindedness.”
Healing anxiety is not a quick fix, which most of us would want. It’s a process that we have to commit ourselves to if we desire true healing to occur.
Three-Step Recipe for Healing
Offering our feelings, obligations, and judgments to the Inner Therapist for sorting may feel like we’re losing something, but there is no loss at all. Instead, it is an exchange. When we give our trouble to the Inner Therapist, we gain a miracle — that is, a shift in perception and a restored awareness of love. We step into right-mindedness. This is the recipe for inner peace.
Corinne likens the healing process to peeling away the layers of an onion. It involves uncovering all the layers of fear until we get to its core, the root cause, which is the ego’s illusion of separation.
She shares a simple three-step process for healing:
- Be willing to see the problem differently.
- Give your willingness to see the problem differently over to your Inner Therapist and ask for the miracle.
- Rest in trust that it is done.
Healing is a process. Whether it’s three steps or a thousand steps, it’s simple. We just have to take the first step and the rest will be done for us.
And that first step only requires a little willingness. Rumi captured it perfectly in his poem, Soul Houses, as if the Inner Therapist is speaking along the lines of: “Please, give just a little, so I can give you a kingdom.”
Fear is an illusion, and therefore, it’s nothing in and of itself. Love, on the other hand, is everything.
In healing anxiety, we’re exchanging nothing for everything. And all that is asked from us is our little willingness.
We’re only a step away from anxiety to love!
Hand It Over
We need to look at it in every manner we can, because the ego doesn’t want to be examined. The ego will always shy away from the light of Love, because if we see it through the eyes of Love, we’ll see it for what it really is — nothing!
For complete healing to occur, no stones must be left unturned. We’ve got to hand it all over to our Inner Therapist, especially those issues we don’t want to face.
So Corinne also dives deeper into the healing process. There are 5 steps she shares in the book:
- Find Your Willingness – same step that Maria Felipe tells us in Live Your Happy (also adapted from ACIM). Corinne says willingness is the key to happiness. Again, it only requires a little. Simply ask yourself, “Am I willing to see this (whatever your situation may be) differently?” If not, are you willing to be willing to see it differently?
- Commit to an Attitude of Radical Self-Honesty – denying something won’t make it go away. Being honest about it and acknowledging it will. Uncover your deepest darkest secrets to your Inner Therapist.
- Look Directly at What Is Coming Up for You – Next questions to ask: (1) What am I feeling right now? (2) What thoughts are going through my mind? Corinne advises making a laundry list so you can examine them better. Question each, “What does this fear show that I believe?”
- Acknowledge That The Fear Is Coming from Your Split Mind – What we see “out there” in the world is a projection of what is in our mind, Corinne tells us. It’s not that the world is a scary place, but that we have fear-based thoughts and so the world reflects it back to us.
- Give It to Your Inner Therapist and Ask for a Miracle Instead – if handing over seems daunting to you, try “looking with” instead. Whatever you’re looking at, look with your Inner Therapist so your false perception may be exchanged for true perception. Corinne calls it “thought swapping”. You lay out a fear-based thought, your Inner Therapist swaps it for a miracle.
Question the Fear
The second way that we can become aware of our unconscious fear and guilt is through deeply questioning our beliefs and fears.
By peeling away the layers of the onion, we progressively uncover and heal all the mistaken thoughts our ego has made until all that’s left is our awareness of Love.
Whenever asked how we can become aware of our unconscious beliefs, Bashar (higher consciousness channeled by Darryl Anka) always returns the question: “What are you afraid will happen if you… for example, don’t get vaccinated?” (This would reveal your belief that you are a body)
By questioning your fear, your beliefs will come up to the surface. And that becomes an opportunity to undo them by becoming aware of them and replacing them with the correct perception.
In the book, Corinne presents a similar exercise. You write down the things that are important to you — your relationship, your health, your money, your career, your current situation, or any other thing.
Next to each item on your list, ask yourself, “If I fully surrender to Love and release my own independent desire and sense of control surrounding this thing, what do I fear happening as a result?”
Whatever comes up, invite your Inner Therapist to look at them with you. You could say, “Inner Therapist, I admit that I have this fear in my mind. I am willing to give it to you for reinterpretation. I want the miracle, a shift in perception, instead of the fear.”
Finally, rest in trust (I was about to write in peace, hah! — let’s stick with trust since Corinne stresses its importance) that the undoing process is underway and the outcome is guaranteed — you’ll be at peace.
Be Where You Are
We can come to recognize the unreality of the world only through experiences, not through intellectual understanding. Those experiences come in the form of miracles as we allow ourselves to be where we are, and as we take everything to our Inner Therapist.
The “miracle” we talk about here is the shift in perception. And though it happens instantaneously, it doesn’t mean we get rid of all worldly and bodily matters right away. That would be another form of “spiritual bypassing” the issues we have to address.
This is particularly important if you’re taking medication or undergoing treatment. No drastic changes need to be done. Do what you have to do. Corinne says take your medicines as prescribed.
What she’s suggesting is you do it with your Inner Therapist this time. Ask that your belief in the sickness of your body, and that its cure will come from these external things, may be exchanged for a miracle — that you may perceive it differently.
As implied in ACIM, we’re not being asked to renounce the world. We’re only to renounce our beliefs about it. It’s the miracle that comes with a shift in the perception that we are in this world, but not of it.
Anxiety is a call to awaken. Can you allow it then, to be your teacher? To gain the freedom to move through a current challenge, you have to be willing to let go of how things used to be. We can’t go back, but we can go through and come out the other side with a new awareness. Looking at this process as growth can prevent us from having to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” Anxiety is happening because it is your perfect teacher, giving you an opportunity to grow.
Love love love this statement! ACIM teaches us that everything is either an expression of love or a call for love. As for anxiety, Corinne invites us to consider it as a call to awaken. She says it can be our perfect teacher if we allow it to be.
There are 5 shifts in perception that anxiety can teach you:
- This Is Happening Because It Is an Opportunity for Me to Grow – anxiety serves as an indicator of how identified you are with your ego. When it “attacks,” it is presenting itself in your awareness as an opportunity to expand your consciousness
- I Am Not a Body – your mind is not in your body; your body is in your mind. You are not who you think you are. It’s a mistaken identity. The ego is nothing but “a mad idea,” as ACIM calls it, that convinces your identification with your body. Your body has a purpose, but not the purpose the ego has for it.
- The Ego Has the Issues, Not Me – you are not that small me, having all those “me-issues” – it’s your ego. The “problem” is not the challenging experiences you’re having, but the ego that labels them as such. Drop all labels and set aside the judgments that block your awareness of who you really are
- Sickness Is of the Mind, Not the Body – this is personally one of my most insightful AWE-ha moments from ACIM, realizing that it’s not the body that can get sick – it’s the mind. The body does nothing but manifests the symptoms of the sickness of the mind
- Sickness Is a Defense Against the Truth – sickness is the slickest strategy the ego uses to defend itself from your awareness of the truth. What could be more convincing than the pains of your body? Pain can keep your attention away from your true nature – the knowing of which leads you from anxiety to love.
We can waste a lot of time trying to work on our fears, but in truth we don’t have to “clean up shop” and conquer anxiety on our own. All we have to do is learn mastery through love, and then the anxiety falls away.
The crusade “conquer fear” is a futile attempt. Conquering or fighting fear only keeps you in that state — that’s what anxiety is.
And we have mastered it enough already. We’ve done a great job as masters of illusion. Now, it’s time to master the truth!
As we learn to ascend to love, anxiety naturally falls away. What a relief to know that our greatest work requires the least effort!
Corinne reminds us that we’re here to be a miracle worker. Our job is not much about “doing,” but more of an undoing — that is undoing the fear in our own minds so that our awareness of love be restored.
Nothing will be lost except your fear.
In exchange, peace returns to you. Or more aptly, you return to peace.
This return is the journey we all take from anxiety to love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CORINNE ZUPKO was diagnosed with her first anxiety disorder at a very young age and struggled with debilitating anxiety for nearly three decades. Determined not to let the anxiety run her life, she has since become an expert in undoing anxiety through living the principles of the psychological and spiritual text A Course in Miracles. With the Course and mindfulness meditation as tools on her journey, she has found inner peace to be unstoppable and now teaches others to discover it in themselves.
Visit her at fromanxietytolove.com