A Most Complex FearYes, my spirit was bitter, and my insides felt sharp pain. I was ignorant and lacked insight; I was as senseless as an animal before you. But I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me by your wise advice, and then you will lead me to a position of honor.
· Psalm 73:21-24 (A psalm by Asaph)
In Love, Medicine and Miracles, Dr. Bernie Siegel says, “Getting well is not the only goal. Even more important is learning to live without fear, to be at peace with life, and ultimately death. Then healing can occur and one is no longer set up for failure (by believing one can cure all physical problems and never die).
“To unblock the fountain of love and enter on the path of creative, spiritual growth, we must let go of our fears. But this is very hard, particularly when it looks as though we’re not going to die tomorrow. When we don’t have that time limit, it’s often harder to let go. To accomplish this ‘simple’ change, we must work through our negative emotions and transcend them. This is impossible until we realize that no one makes us happy or sad. Our emotions don’t happen to us so much as we choose them. In fact, our own thoughts, emotions and actions are the only things we really do control.”
Fear of life is perhaps the most complex fear we face. Many people are not happy with themselves or the circumstances of their lives. They do not want to live life as it has been for them; therefore, they do not want to continue to live.
There are many causes of this, but in virtually every case, it is caused by limiting belief patterns that a person has. The limiting beliefs cause patterns of emotions such as fear, sadness and anxiety. For example, you may fear that you are not worthy of being loved, of being understood, of being successful, or not meant to be happy. There is a reason for this fear, and if you suffer from this, you would be wise to seek counseling to identify the reason and learn to develop new and positive belief patterns about yourself. The first step is to accept the fact that you have a limitation and then have the desire to find a way to release this limitation. The answer can be found, but you must make the personal effort to understand and correct the situation. You should never feel shame because of this, since everyone has limiting beliefs about himself – everyone! Each one of us could benefit from examining our beliefs.
When meeting someone who fears life, I have wanted to give him the reassurance of what I know his life can be. We cannot actually give this vision to others, but perhaps we can assist them in beginning to open up to a new way of believing. In my workshops, I say again and again that each person is Soul and is a divine spiritual Being. There is a purpose to the madness of this world and that is to cause you to realize who you are, grow through the choices presented in conflict, to express your divine essence in all of life, and to take balanced steps on your own personal path to Self and God-realization. I realize that to tell someone that he is Soul and that he has amazing powers within, does not always register when he is struggling to find a reason to live each day. It’s much like telling a starving man that God loves him and will provide for him. It would be wiser to address his immediate need and give him food, and perhaps when his confidence in eating regularly is regained, he will begin to consider the possibility of a loving God. The immediate concern is to identify the limitation. Once we are free of the restriction, we can begin to take total charge of our lives.
- Eliott James, Living a Balanced Life – Applying Timeless Spiritual Teachings To Your Everyday Life, © 1990, Dhamma Books
The love of the beautiful calls man to fresh exertions, and awakens him to a more noble life; and the glory of it is, that as painters imitate, and poets sing, and statuaries carve, and architects rear up the gorgeous trophies of their skill, - as everything becomes beautiful, and orderly, and magnificent, - the activity of the mind rises to still greater, and to better, objects.
· Sydney Smith - 1771–1845, English clergyman, writer, and wit.
I can know the beauty of the fields bursting into bloom in early spring; I can be content to hunt animals without the use of a weapon; and I can feel, all over again, the joy of youth heard in the laugh of a little child. Knowing and feeling these few things, and so much more, I can be conscious amidst the drudgeries of the day. I can look out over the mountains, the valleys, the rivers, the great horizon beyond all, and grasp - in a most profound sense - my own smallness in the Grand Scheme of Things, and yet remain firm in my faith, my hope, and courage – this gives me the fortitude I need to stop fearing life and start living it.
I am no more or less noble, vile, courageous, divine, diabolic or lonely than my fellow man; aren’t we all treading the same road? And on that road, I can learn how to understand, love and forgive others by first practicing those arts upon myself. I can try my best to understand that others need me to sympathize with them in their sorrow and their error, for all those who live fight a hard battle against terrible odds, just like me. They may not show it, but they know it. I am not alone on that treacherous journey. They would also like me to share in their joy and accomplishment, to appreciate their successes, because conquering and overcoming and mastering is as important to them as my own triumphs are to me. I can learn, full well, how to make friends and keep them - but above all, I can be my own best friend – then I can learn how to quit dreading my life and commence living it.
No mention of another’s distress should ever go unheard, nor any requests for aid ever remain unanswered. Where my resources permit, I may give liberally to ease the pain, to soften the blow, to help correct the error. The day will surely come which finds myself repaying this debt of opportunity, for that is what it is! I have found that giving is much easier than receiving: I have had to make myself, on occasion, stand fast while another discharges this debt of theirs to me, this obligation of receiving another’s kindness or generosity rather than giving, with me as the object of the gift. I can learn to look kindly upon those who are in need, and find a way to help: time, money, understanding or hard work right alongside them, it matters not – this puts me in touch with what it feels like to live without the fear of thinking that no one cares, because I care, and that is sufficient.
I get the idea that the Universe is much more generous to me than the other way ‘round, and if I should choose to hoard all my blessings and abundance and just keep them for my own benefit, there would eventually be no room in my life for new blessings, for new opportunities. I am obligated to pass such abundance on, and let others incur this debt, not to me but on to someone else, or to Spirit and the Universe itself. As I give up my fear of giving and receiving, I comprehend the part which I play in this process of understanding and kindness and forgiveness and sharing of abundance – not alone, but in universal partnership with all my fellow beings. I can give up my fear of being a conduit for the Universe’s expression of life and become an example of consciously living it.
I find good in all faiths that help the individual to see greatness in that which is small, to focus upon majestic meaning in the common and the ordinary. I look into puddles and see more than mud, I gaze into the face of my fellow creatures and see more than faults and shortcomings. I know how to pray, how to hope, how to love; I am glad to live and not afraid to die.
In my heart is a song; in my hand rests the sword of Truth and Justice; in my eye is trust in God, myself and in my Plan. I have declared my freedom from anxiety and struggle, placing my destiny into the loving hands of the Universe and depending upon Spirit for guidance toward the perfect solution. Dismissing fear and uncertainty because they have no power over me, I am able to turn my attention to other things. Higher things. Greater things. Beautiful things.
When I truly comprehend who and what I am - that I am a divine child of Divine parentage, that I am a small part of The Great Unfoldment of the Universe, and that my interactions with all others help that process become real and valuable and vital within me, and through me to so many others who have been dealing with this most complex fear - just like me – then without fear of life, I will find my own joy in living it.
As the ordinary and the everyday become beautiful, reaching for ever higher thoughts and greater achievements, my place of honor will be found – within!