''Fear is the mind-killer!' - Frank Herbert - 'Litany Against Fear'
Fear, or the Ego, is a uniquely human disability! It can be debilitating even, to the point of rendering one immobile. Much of what we know & either love or hate as Organized Religion is based in Fear; the fear of going to 'hell' if we believe, say, or do the wrong thing, the fear of what others may think or do if we don't follow the crowd, the fear of displeasing an already angry God..............
Ego, the root problem from which many Emotions like Fear come, seems to be fairly central to the human psyche & though many are plagued by this evil their whole lives, some seem to have totally bypassed this emotion or at least have been able to conquer, or overcome this Root of All Kinds of Evil!
Scripture tells us that Jesus told His disciples, 'do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do' ( Luke 12:4 ) In context, He was comforting them concerning the coming Great Tribulation, but even today, we can find much consolation in this Word, knowing that we cannot die. This physicality will most certainly, sooner or later, pass away, whether it is killed or dies of 'natural' causes, but we ourselves, being spiritual beings, will never perish!
The apostle John, in the latter part of his first letter ( I John 4:18 ), wrote, 'There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment'. Earlier in this beautiful passage, John told his audience, the original recipients, that the love of God had been perfected in them. Perfect love, we must understand, is not love without fear, but rather, love that casts out fear, in other words, destroy it, overcomes it, so that we may conquer our fear & love as we have been given. In the same vein, or manner of speaking, is bravery: bravery doesn't mean one has no fears; bravery is simply pushing through that fear, triumphing over it & doing what must be done!
When we are faced with an obstacle, two choices present themselves; we can believe that, through whatever Strength lies Within us, we will leap over that wall, or hurdle, or we can doubt our ability to overcome any obstacle & in so doing, fail before we even begin!
A certain wise man once said something like, 'we have nothing to fear but fear itself': why then, do we fear? Well, one of the biggest reasons is that we learn to do so! Any swim teacher can tell you that the best time to teach someone how to swim is when they're young, even a baby. This is not the only reason, but mostly, it's because they have less fear, fewer ( if any ) inhibitions; inhibitions like, 'what will happen if I can't..........................?', even, 'I CAN'T do this; I'm not coordinated enough, I'm not...................!' Hatred, which is inextricably linked to Fear, is for instance, a learned emotion. One is not born with hatred in their heart; like Fear in a baby or child learning how to swim, or even make his or her way through life, one must be taught to hate!
Whether Hate becomes an issue because of Fear of the unknown ( or the known ), Fear of differences ( jealousy? ), or just insecurity; hatred is a direct result of Fear! As we have witnessed, one must be taught to hate; we are not incarnated, or born, into this world with a natural hatred for another. We must either bear witness ourselves to the pain that surrounds us, or learn from the reactions of others how to deal with it. We then must make a choice as to how we ourselves will deal with the pain. Too often, our choices are determined by this unnatural fear, but we can, through the strength of the Spirit Within, overcome that Fear & choose to Love, rather than to allow our emotions to be controlled by Fear!
The greatest obstacle that any human being must overcome is Fear! The different emotions that are caused by Fear are almost indescribable, but we must learn to overcome our fears, to surmount them, if we are ever to get anywhere in this, if we are ever to do anything of import.
Having Faith, whether in some Higher Power or our own Energy, enables us to see Beyond Ego, to realize that we are more than simple human beings: we are freed from our biological body, so to speak, to explore what is our spiritual nature, our true nature! The Ego torments us with Fear, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being normal. fear of being our own person. Moving past the emotions caused by these fears frees us to simply be ourselves, our true spiritual selves.
Much of our Fear is based on the fact of Biology! Much as Mary clung to the Body of Jesus in the Garden, we tend to cling to our biological existence as of the utmost importance. This is not to say that this biological life we have been granted is unimportant, but when we understand that Life is so much more than this Biology, it's like a breath of fresh air; windows & doors that had previously been closed, if we even realized they were there, will be opened to us & with our fears behind us, along with our ego, we can walk, even soar bravely through the opening, into the More that is Beyond!
Charles Haddon Shank