Artist: Michael McDyer
Fear is a problem that plagues many, many people. I want to make a distinction between the feeling of fear and the decision to let our fear exercise authority over our choices. Please do not fret about the feeling itself; that is something to be healed, not condemned. Simply have compassion for yourself in your fear and care for your fear tenderly as if it were a small child. The fear, rather, that we need to renouce is the kind exercised by the ego, the fear that insists on playing itself as some kind of trump card. I really like what Marianne Williamson has to say about this:
The ego has a pseudo-life of it’s own, and like all life forms, fights hard for survival. As uncomfortable as our life might be, as painful or even desperate at times, the life we are living is the life we know, and we cling to the old rather than try something new. Most of us are so sick of ourselves, in one way or another. It’s unbelievable how tenaciously we cling to what we’ve prayed to be released from.
The ego is like a gravitational force-field, built up over eons of fearful thinking, which draws us away from the love in our hearts. The ego is mental power turned against ourselves. It is clever, like we are, and smooth-talking, like we are, and manipulative, like we are. Remember all the talk about the silver-tongued devil? The ego doesn’t come up to us and say, “ Hi, I’m your self-loathing.” It’s not stupid, because we’re not. Rather, it says thing like, “Hi, I’m your adult, mature, rational self. I’ll help you look out for number one.” Then it proceeds to counsel us to look out for ourselves, at the expense of others. It teaches us selfishness, greed, judgment, and small-mindedness. But remember there is only one of us here: What we give to others, we give to ourselves. What we withhold from others, we withhold from ourselves. In any moment when we choose fear instead of love, we deny ourselves the experience of paradise. To the extent that we abandon love, we will feel it has abandoned us.