Friday, November 5, 2010

Fear is the Mind Killer

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.

Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, “Dune

Perhaps the Yummish Council should consider Frank Herbert as a candidate for future Yummish Sainthood. In addition to the concept of The Spice (to which we've long been attracted as fun a way of getting our long-dreamt-of blue eyes), he has given us the above mantra. Put aside, for a moment, the fact it is a quote from a science fiction novel featuring giant sandworms. We think it is a beautiful meditation on and exercise for addressing fear.

“Fear” is defined by our All Purpose Authority Wikipedia as “an emotional response to a perceived threat.” Fear triggers our Fight/Flight response. We feel a surge of adrenaline and anxiety that pushes us to react quickly to either avoid or ameliorate the source of the fear. The fear response is very useful when the perceived threat is of an immediate nature, like a mountain lion or mugger.

Sometimes, though, that which causes us fear is less tangible and/or more long term. Unable to fight or to flee, we're left paralyzed, trapped by our own fear. Fear robs us of our judgment and our perspective and, in that way, robs us of ourselves.

The truth is, often what you find most daunting is actually what you most need to do.*

The fact that such strong emotion has built up around the subject shows just how deeply you actually care about it. The intensity of your fear is an indication of just how much you feel you stand to lose... or to gain. It is that sign you've been asking for, and while it may say “Rough Road Ahead,” it is still an indication that you're on the right path.

Pass through your fear and you will find yourself.

Today's Exercise: Face your fears.

Next: The Strange Ubiquity of Bananas (More funny! Less preachy! We promise!)

*On that note, the proof copy of "Homecoming", the novella we're self-publishing, arrived yesterday...

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