Punishment is perceived as anything that happens to you, like someone saying something, judgements, perceived attack, physical attack, sickness, loss, whatever.
So certain is that that you will feel afraid if you first feel guilty, that you absolutely MUST experience fear if you believe that your guilt is real. Sooner or later fear is going to come from it.
If you're then in fear and struggling to try to battle the fear or do something about the fear, you're not going to get anywhere unless you can realize WHY you are really afraid.
You are not really afraid because of the potential that punishment is going to come (or has come). You are afraid because you are guilty. That's all. Period.
Guilt is the cause of fear. All the things you think fear is caused by are just the "sources of punishment" which you perceive as being the WAY by which punishment is going to happen. You are seemingly afraid that xyz will happen to you, i.e. that you'll be punished BY these things, and that therefore that's why you are afraid.
That's not WHY you are afraid, it's WHAT you are afraid of. You're only afraid because you're guilty and that therefore you deserve punishment.
What if you admit that you felt guilty first, and then undid that guilt, and then ask yourself where the basis for fear is? How can you be afraid if you don't believe you are guilty?
If you are guiltless, you have nothing to worry about. You're innocent.
The root of fear is guilt. And the root of guilt is sin. And the root of sin is separation. You have to look at the level that came before it, which has been made unconscious.
If you're predominantly experiencing fear, you have probably made your guilt unconscious, which is why you don't suspect that that's why you are afraid. You then think the cause of the fear is something else.
You must make the guilt conscious by realizing why you felt guilty. Really the reason you felt guilty ultimately is because you believed you really sinned, because you perceived a separation.
Always trace it back to its roots. Each level of experience is the EFFECT of a cause the happened on the level before it.
Fear is the EFFECT of believing in guilt. Guilt causes fear.
Guilt is the EFFECT of believing in sin. Sin causes guilt.
Sin is the EFFECT of believing in separation. Separation causes sin.
Death is the EFFECT of believing in punishment. Punishment causes death.
"I am never upset for the reason I think" - ACIM