Coastal Post Online

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November 2001

Living Without Fear Today

As a smog of fear drifts over the world today from the exhausts of sovereign nations and their flags, how can an individual go on with his/her life free of fear?

How many of us feel that we and our children are under constant threat from some form of terrorism, sneak attacks of biological and chemical weapons, possibly a suitcase delivered nuclear weapon?

Our cities, airports, reservoirs, electric generating plants, oil refineries, shipping ports, sports arenas, the list goes on, may be the next targets. As our minds go over these scenarios, we tend to feel our lives darkened by constant threat. Where can we go without fear?

What do we mean by fear? Isn't fear a survival emotion, helping us escape danger? Indeed, if we are suddenly confronted with a clear and present threat, we are well advised to avoid it. Even a likely danger, although not clear and present, is reasonably evaded.

The fear I refer to here is a very unpleasant feeling that haunts us, one we associate with a possible, but not likely, threat. One example is the fear of flying in a commercial aircraft because planes have crashed, killing all on board. The odds of dying in a plane crash are infinitely smaller than dying in our car on a trip to the next town. Our worst fears usually relate to some possible, but highly unlikely, threat. Can we live without any of such fears. If so, how?

1. Decide that you intend to live without fear, not just want to.

2. Death is nothing to fear. Although we do intend to cling to life, we all must die some time. What we face after death is a matter of personal belief.

3. We are already used to living with and ignoring most of the possible but improbable causes of death: accidents of all kinds, earthquakes, armed madmen, heart failure. We do not live in constant fear of these; then why do we live in fear of terrorist attacks-even less likely?

4. Perfect security is impossible. The government cannot possibly seal all cracks in security. In following the government's relentless pursuit of perfect security our minds keep alive the fears of terrorism. Isn't it enough to just glance at some headlines without focusing on new threats?

5. We must rid our minds of all hate for anyone. Hate and fear are different aspects of the same divisive emotion and easily change from one to the other. As Gandhi said, "Hate the sin but not the sinner." Human beings are capable of stopping hateful behavior and taking on new, kinder ways. By trying to understand why a person acts in an unpleasant way, we learn to separate the actions from the person, who has the possibility to change.

6. We need not be afraid of any nation, religion, culture, or race. We need have no fear of Fascism, Communism, or terrorism. Not one of these can harm us. All these are no more than ideas in our minds. We call them "abstractions." One who has not heard of a nation is not concerned about one. His mind is free of such fears. Human beings, not nations, religions, etc., can bring harm or help to the Human Family.

7. Avoiding fear of a nation is related to bringing faith in, or loyalty to a nation. The "nation" is unable to provide us with protection or help of any kind. There are people in every nation or religion who act to promote the well-being of their fellow-humans. It is these people, not the "nation," that are the sources of security and well-being.

8. Remembering that such caring people exist in every nation, our faith in and loyalty to such people, and to the Spirit of Caring Love that moves them, becomes a source of comfort, especially as we act to become one of them. To eliminate fear from our minds we must eliminate the useless fear of dying, eliminate the need for, and irrational faith in, the possibility of perfect security. We can live without the fear of abstractions that have no reality outside our minds.

To crowd out such fears we must gather in our minds the positive emotions of joy in (worship of ) the beautiful gift of our Earth Home. We can focus on its trees, fruits, blossoms, hills, streams, meadows, and all the myriad forms of life that inhabit them. See and hear the colors and songs of birds, the beauty and grace of creatures that swim, fly, crawl, and run.

Think of all our children in every nation, race, and creed-innocent, vulnerable, too often suffering from hunger, homelessness, loss of parents-yet hoping, reaching out, learning. Let's think of all people, of whatever age, as once children. What models can we be for our children? Are we defensive, vengeful, full of fear and hate, or are we models of caring, understanding, uplifting, healing, forgiving, embracing?

As we focus our concern on the beauty and potential harmony of all living things, and on the small part we may play in enhancing Life, where is the room for fear?

Your love for your children must be extended to your love for all children. Your opposition to harm to your children must encompass opposition to harm to any children, anywhere, for any reason.

How true the words of wisdom, "Perfect love casts out fear!"

Guy W. Meyer

 

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