“No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” – Edmund Burke
I know that there is a widespread, global outbreak of not just a virus, but of fear. And I know that telling people not to fear is not what a lot of people want to hear when the emotion is driving their lives right now but let’s break down fear and see what it really helps and if it is worth living in at all, let alone 24/7 or for most of our days, which make up our lives.
What is fear? One dictionary defines fear as, an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Or, a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone. Fear is synonymous with torment, terror, apprehension, dread, horror, discomposure, doubt, unrest, and panic, all of which keep us stuck and trap us in paralysis.
I have put two important words of the above definition in bold lettering to highlight the fact that what we fear is not a present, here and now reality. There is no tangible, real life monster about to eat us, no, not in physical reality but only in our minds, as a monster that we in fact have either created, or allowed to enter our mind. When we fear we are projecting into the future and imagining what could be. How crazy is this, really? Especially when we could instead imagine so many beautiful, loving, peaceful, positive, uplifting, healing, unifying and helpful possible realities.
As per the dictionary definitions, fear seems perfectly natural given the times that we are in. We certainly have ample reason to be fearful, feel those feelings and project these maybe possible, maybe not possible scenarios.
Now, I know the spiritual perspective is not as popular, widespread or acceptable as the mainstream, media-fed perspective but I will risk being unpopular and disregarded, even disrespected when I share the view of Jesus Christ and other spiritual teachers who remind and advise us to NOT FEAR.
We are commanded and advised not to fear by Christ multiple times. He tells us, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” And, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Fear and worry, as Joyce Meyer states, “Is like a rocking chair. It keeps us busy going nowhere.” We may feel that by worrying and living with fear present in our lives that it means that we care and if we didn’t worry, it would mean we don’t care. We may think that by holding onto fear we are protecting ourselves from something bad happening to us, when in actuality, “worrying, is like praying for what you do not want”. We may justify fear by even thinking that God would be angry with us for not fearing because we are told in scripture to have a fear of the Lord. But this fear of the Lord is not one of torment but of reverential awe.
Worrying and fearing actually draw the imagined, terrifying, and unwanted things or realities closer to you. Whether or not you believe in energy and manifesting with your thoughts, creating your reality with your mind, you have to admit that being tormented with fear day and night, at the bare minimum of the negative effects, is the affect that your paralysing fear has on your mind which will and does indeed affect how you show up and are able to handle the simple tasks of your life. It wreaks havoc and destroys any iota of peace, productivity, fruitful activity, and especially enjoyment of life itself.
Fear has also been defined as false evidence appearing real. False, because the thing that you fear is not actually happening in your life but you anticipate it coming, you fear the possibility of x,y,z. This is akin to wrapping yourself up in a big blanket of dread and expectation of inevitable, impending doom.
Sometimes our fears are of something that has happened to us in the past and we fear that same scenario or experience happening again. This is where we lack faith, which is in a sense a trusting in God to protect and guide us and belief in a new possibility, a new outlook, not based solely on what has happened before. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. Hebrews 11:1
The Bible teaches us of the importance of guarding our minds. We know that our thought world is where the adversary first and foremost wields his power over us. If he can get into our mind, he can take over our lives and prevent us from doing and living life the way we were meant to. We cannot shine our light or be representatives of God on earth if we constantly live in fear, it just doesn’t gel. The two cannot exist in our mind at the same time. At any point where we fall into fear, we have made a choice, albeit, I am sure a mainly unconscious choice to choose to forgo faith and listen to the voice of ego, negativity, the devil, whatever you prefer to term it. Fear, anxiety and torment are not of God.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Phillipians 4:8
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2
We are advised to set our minds, change our minds, think on certain positive, loving, pure, good and true things. Not to allow our minds to be muddied with fear and confused about truth when we fall into false imaginations and fantasies.
Being told to “set our minds” indicates that it is not a natural default of our human nature, it is a choice that we have to make in our full consciousness. It is something that we have to decide to do. And not just one time, but continuously.
Other spiritual viewpoints also magnify the importance of faith over fear and being rooted and grounded in loving thoughts over egoic thoughts, which are in conflict with truth.
~ “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” – Japanese Proverb
~ “The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.” – Gandhi
~ “People living deeply have no fear of death.” – Amais Nin
~ “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
~ “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” – Bertrand Russell
~ “Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.” – Aristotle
~ “Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” – Karl Augustus Menninger
~ “Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.” – Unknown
~ “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?” – Confucius
“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.” – Rudyard Kipling
~ “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” – Seneca
~ “Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.”- Usman B. Asif
Fear is related to the ego, the enemy of our spirit and true nature, which is in God. Living in fear means we have forgone faith in our creator, knowing that we are looked after, even if we can’t see a light and a purpose to things beyond the ever present darkness. And many spiritual texts view fear as the enemy to spiritual growth or enlightenment.
It is clear from these many texts and viewpoints that conclusively, fear is a waste of time and thus, a waste of our lives, profiting us and anybody else in our lives nothing, other than learning or remembering once again that true power, true peace of mind and soul and spiritual development can only become a reality for us if and when we acknowledge its falsity, fruitlessness and choose faith over fear.
“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.”
— Frank Herbert