Litany Against Fear

Fear Really Is the Mind Killer

There’s wisdom everywhere, if you are ready for it. Late science-fiction author Frank Herbert definitely tapped into a large store of it when he wrote his masterpiece Dune. One particular passage from that book has stood the test of time better than any other bit, even to the point of becoming part of popular culture—the “Litany Against Fear”. It’s message is as practical and relevant in our current times as it has been since humans became conscious….

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 me I will turn to see fear’s path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

There is so much fear in the world today, even though our world is more peaceful and prosperous and offers greater potential for happiness and greatness than ever before. We’ve forgotten that “there is nothing to fear but fear itself,” as one of our wiser former presidents tried to remind us. And it’s easy to forget the many Biblical exhortations to “fear not” and “be not afraid” as well.

There’s good reason for such wisdom to be repeated by many leaders and writers throughout our history…Fear destroys that which makes us human. I mean this in a literal sense—fear gears us up for the fight-or-flight response, and completely shuts down our higher reasoning functions. It lobotomizes us. Admittedly, we evolved this way for our own survival, but even back when being wary of crocodiles and leopards was a big deal, becoming paralyzed by fear was equally unhelpful.

So I implore you, dear reader, to pay no attention to politicians and public figures who advocate hate and fear. (Yes, I am particularly talking about Trump, although he’s certainly neither the first nor the only blowhard to capitalize on the effects of fear on the public). Instead, have pity for them–they’re trapped in their own inner ruts of fear, inadequacy, anger, and uncertainty, and are only praying on others to make themselves feel better and fill the gaps in their own lives.

Remind yourself with the Litany above, and many other sources of wisdom written down through the ages, that fear is only ever “False Evidence Appearing Real”. It’s only in our heads, and rarely reflects reality. And even when things are going to shit, remember that fear only prevents us from using our natural intelligence to creatively come up with solutions, solve problems, grow, and make things better for ourselves and everyone else.

Let us all remember that we always have Choice—to change our perspective, to change our perceptions, to change our attitude, to change our expectations, and to change our lives, for the better. And also remember…

Yoda's quote about fear

Fear not!

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