As I was growing up Grandfather would teach me what he called the litany of life. Things like: Truth has a way of repeating itself throughout history and contrary to the idea that history begins at breakfast, it actually started before you were born. The one that literally burned itself in my mind is the one on fear.
Fear is the Mind Killer
He taught me from a young age and part of the training was learning to tame and use the mind. This of course is one of the purposes of meditation. In the training series, when fear appears, we would repeat an incantation to help move their minds past the fear. The Litany goes as follows:
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.
Now this is a nice way to look fear in the face and to dissipate its effects when faced with a dangerous situation. It helps to focus the mind inward and to have courage. However, this incantation does not really get to the root of fear and how it arises…to get to that point you have to go much deeper.
Two Perspectives of Fear
When it comes to going beyond fear you can use two different methods. One is the method of hypnosis, which is offered in a lot of the self-help material these days. The other, which is very different, is the method of meditation.
The perspective of hypnosis, to a great degree, uses mind tricks for dealing with fear at a moment in time. Repeating “The Litany Against Fear” induces a hypnotic state, so as to allow fear to wash over you. That lasts for a few seconds but it doesn’t necessarily get you beyond fear. It is useful in the moment, but the change is not everlasting, for that we must dig deeper.
From the perspective of meditation, to get beyond fear you have to go to a place where the mind simply has the ability to stay open–allowing anything to flow through it. Anything occurring in your outer environment does not close down that space within your mind. Fear is essentially a closing down of the space at the center of the mind and spirit or soul.
It is impossible to go beyond fear permanently by only having this trick or that trick that can help you for a few minutes. To get beyond fear, you essentially must change your internal landscape. So when fear attempts to grab hold of you, you reside in a place where it can’t.
Real Fear and Fake Fear
If fear arises it may be a real fear, such as I’m going to walk over a cliff, then you just step back. Or, if a car is moving toward you at a high speed, you must be motivated to move out of the way. But that’s not really the kind of inner fear I’m discussing.
It’s the kind of fear that eats away at your insides. Real fear is nothing more than heightened awareness. That is awareness of a real situation and the fear that arises to protect you.
It is important to recognize that most fear has nothing to do with reality. Most of the time people are afraid of things that will never happen to them. This is an effect of the mainstream media and news constantly bombarding the public with negative images. This puts people in a weakened state of fear and decreases the immune system of the body. Often your mind picks up these pictures and replays them, creating a story about them. This is not useful nor is it good for the body.
So to go beyond fear, one of the first steps is to recognize that fear which is truly helpful: It makes you more aware, in real situations, in real time. Inside your fear is something that says, “Wait a minute, I think we have to do something sensible and prudent here,” rather than running around like a chicken with your head cut off, or becoming paralyzed and ducking under a chair, hoping that everything will pass one day.
Next, to really go beyond fear, you must summon the courage to look at all the fears that are inside you. Fears arise from childhood experiences and from terrible events that have happened to you or that you witnessed.
When you find these fears you can use meditation to get to a place where you simply can move to the space of awareness. As you move into the space of awareness, you can then release what is not real. This is the path to finding a peace place inside. This is a destination that can be achieved through mediation and prayer.
I offer this because we are being hit continuously with fear mongering by both the media and the politicians in Washington. Things are being so overblown by both that it appears they are starting to tell us what to believe. It is time to take a step back and determine for ourself what is real and what is fake. We cannot allow these folks to control our thoughts.
Let the peace of truth calm your mind!