I’ve lived in fear all my life, or so I believed. Now I realize that I was never that fearful person I thought I was. When I saw how afraid I believed myself to be, I wanted to be the opposite, to be courageous. So I spent many years facing my fears and building up my courage, but no matter what I did, no matter how strong and confident I became, there was still an undercurrent of fear.
Fear has a way of warping itself into worry, doubt, and anxiety once the mind gets hold of it. It’s the stories and beliefs about the fear that causes problems. How common is it for people to have fear about fear? But fear can be a powerful catalyst, first to mobilize the mind, then to transcend the mind. Fear gets our minds to work on a way to prevent the fear. We create tools and technologies to keep away the things we fear. Except the very thing we use to fight fear is a double edged sword, and becomes a source of fear. Our walls become our prison.
Do you want to live in fear, or do you want to be free? The mind will conjure up protestations. “We need some fear, after all, it’s a healthy thing”, says the mind. But it’s been my experience that any fear in the mind is a false kind of fear. Mental fears have the smell of worry and anxiety about them. We must be mindful of our thoughts, especially of the fears that grow there like weeds. There’s no need to uproot each and every fear. Trying to get rid of all your fears is an exercise in futility. The key is to shine the light of awareness on them, and see the fears for what they are; illusions.
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
~ The Litany Against Fear, from Dune by Frank Herbert