If Fear Is The Diagnosis, What Is The Prescription?

The Mechanism Of Fear

There seems to be a general consensus that fear disrupts people from acting as effectively as they would otherwise.  There seem to be different remedies for fear in different communities and traditions.

I recall being taught by certain Christian teachers to reject fear out of hand as an evil, ungodly spirit.  But they also spoke of the necessity of preparation, of feeding one’s faith.

I recall A Course in Miracles characterizing fear as but a illusory thought to be rejected.  Lesson 48 in the Workbook for Students is “There is nothing to fear.”

The book Das Energi by Paul Williams said to cultivate a reflex of wiping out fear.

Paul Atreides Is Tested

The Bene Gesserit sisterhood of the Dune books by Frank Herbert had a Litany Against Fear.

Steps to Knowledge teaches that while the experience of fear is real, there is a remedy of recognizing them, recognizing we don’t have to be stuck with them, and recognizing that they are not the complete story:

“In your two practice periods today, evaluate the existence of your fears and remind yourself that your reality is beyond them, but that you must recognize them to understand their damaging presence in your life. Close your eyes and repeat the idea for today; then consider each fear that arises in your mind. Remind yourself that the truth is beyond that specific fear. Allow all fears to arise and be evaluated in this way.”

Furthermore, part of the constraints of the mission we have in life to fulfill is that we live in a world full of people with different levels of susceptibility to fear.  We live in a world full of people different levels of effectiveness at dealing with fear.  We live in a world where some people make more and worse fear-driven errors than others.

“To be without fear, you must understand fear—its mechanism, its influence on people and its result in the world. You must recognize this without deception and without preference. You are a great being working in a limited context, in a limited environment. Understand the limitations of your environment and understand the limitations of your vehicle, and you will no longer hate yourself for being limited.”

The bit about being a great being in a limited context is a recap of Step 46, “I must be small to be great.”  Part of the Steps to Knowledge prescription is having compassion for people with fears.


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