“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.”
– from the book Dune, by author Frank Herbert
Fear gets center stage a lot – we have books, articles and songs, workshops and retreats that teach us how to deal with our fear. How to engage it, how to master it, how to quash it, how to battle it, overcome it, ignore it. Or maybe you take the route of attempting to humor it, buy it off or put it through surgery in hopes of cutting it out, removing it or making it pretty.
In times like these – when the world as we know it seems to be unraveling at the seams – people can feel consumed by it. I don’t need to give you more than a moment or two in order for you to come up with a list of fears you grapple with privately, in addition to what is occurring in the larger world.
But I have come to believe that it is not fear that is the real “mind-killer” in our midst. Fear is a mighty opponent, certainly. But there is something far more insidious, far more effective and frightening in its scope and stealth. And it loves that we all spend our time focusing on its minion, Fear.
If fear is the mind-killer, the doubt of one’s Self is the soul-slayer. Fear may be a reckless blossom that spreads a dark and engulfing miasma, but what of its seed? (Heady stuff, I know. I like painting pictures with words.) While you focus on eradicating the superficial bloom, the seed of self-doubt festers below the surface and stretches its roots into your heart, deep into your core. Doubt will lie in wait, quietly feeding on your hopes and dreams. On your very sense of Self, once it settles in. Doubt relies on fear to do it’s dirty work.
And what is fear? I’ve found that fear is not always negative – fear means you are alive; our bodies naturally work with fear, and through means of incredible processes between our brain, cells and hormones, it serves you by giving ample warning to get out of harm’s way, to scream “no more!,” to use necessary caution. But doubt? Doubt causes you to twist inward on yourself, to question everything that you do, to deny things you cherish, to turn away from what you most need or want. Doubt will convince you that there is no way out, that nothing can be done, that you are not worthy. Doubt will cause you to dismiss hope and ridicule faith. Doubt will lead you to ignore personal Truth, to question your innate Wisdom. Doubt is the tunnel through which fear merely travels.
People assume that successful, heroic persons don’t have fear. And this just isn’t true – throughout the ages our heroes and heroines, successful business people, activists and creators of change have all expressed their struggle with fear. They ignored it, leapt over it or walked through it, regardless. They invoked courage, or out of sheer ignorance carried on. In the wake of this, they discovered that fear is a state of mind, a charge in the body to be used. Fear is a tool, fuel for the spiritual warrior, to ignite that courage and take action in one’s life.
It is doubt that can cause one to falter. Doubt will nestle in between your Truth and Will, and drive a wedge so deep that you no longer know what to fear or how to harness it for good. You question every action, every feeling; every breath is beholden to Doubt’s tariff. It feeds on itself until you no longer recognize Who You Are without it.
I’m saying that it is time to own your doubt and master your fear. Let the rise of doubt within become a sign that your unique fire, your personal Truth is being challenged at the crossroads of your awakening – tested by your own Self, nothing more and no less. It is not a sign that you are wrong, weak, or confused. Can you instead see the face of doubt as a sacred champion of your Truth – a key towards awareness instead of an excuse for denial? It is not fear that you need to struggle with – if you can satiate Doubt, transform it, then that seed of stealth becomes one more tool to fuel your inner fire, your unique Illumination. Each one of us that awakens to this only serves to pass the torch to others, that we may all burn Bright and True.
How do you prevail over doubt? Fear is overcome with courage, Doubt with Self-Awareness. With deep self-awareness comes a personal trust; the kind of Trust that enables you to be present and clear in any situation, no matter how small or how great. Doubt cannot lead here, in such a place. When we are holy present to this kind of trust – a state that I call passionate equanimity – that place where worlds are born and wisdom equals strength is not only dreamed of but set into motion. Created. Known by all.
Are we living in times of great change? Yes; certainly. And you are alive in such auspicious times – the times of the Great Unraveling, an era of heightened evolution — because you have something, no matter how small it may seem, to contribute to the greater beauty of this world…to create our future. Now.
* special gratitude and blessings to Karina Blackheart, who once gave me a much needed pep talk that set me off, exploring my doubts.