Friday, August 23, 2013

Leaving Fear Behind

An 8/14/2013 posting on my companion blog “Thoughts From The Mountain” discussed “Where Fear Takes Us.”  These are the deep fears we have that drive us to disconnect ourselves from friends and loved ones simply due to “failed expectations.”  That pass up reasonable risks for career and personal advancement.  That avoid traveling to new places out of fear of an unknown danger in an unfamiliar setting.  That avoids the insight into our deeper self that we need to do in order to grow spiritually and mentally.  That posting illustrated that the real tragedy of the Trayvon Martin killing was how a growing surrender to one’s darkest fears can lead one into an ultimate and unanticipated course of negative action.  Action that damages not only the fearful perpetrator, but also potentially those innocents in surrounding proximity and beyond.  In response to this posting, a reader wrote to me to ask, “So what is the opposite of fear, in your opinion?  Faith?  Love?  Peace?”

Each of those suggested words (as well as others) has valid elements towards keeping our fears in check, if not dissipated.  Hope gives us motivation and direction, but it is a transitory state.  Love and Peace are outcomes of a non-fearful state of being, but they are not in and of themselves vehicles for arriving there.  Faith helps to move us away from fear, but something more is required to be in place for Faith to be effective.  That extra something is the certainty of absolute Trust.

I have written about Trust before, most particularly in a 12/10/2011 posting as part of a series on “The 7 Virtues of a Spiritual Life.”*  When we are looking to turn away from the door that leads to our deepest fears, it is through the door of Trust that we walk.  A door that leads not to a dark alley of confusion and harm, but to a bright staircase that leads us to our higher and truer self.

This is not a blind Trust that is given to ourselves or others at face value.  It is a Trust built upon a full knowing of Truth.  It is not a Trust built upon what we would like our friends, institutions and life itself to be or how we would like them to perform, but a fully informed and fully realistic understanding of how these things truly are.  We see Life not through a cloudy fog of misperception, but through acute and clear lenses.  We do not need to create fearful images of things as they are not, because we can Trust things to be as they intrinsically already are.  And what they are always has elements of good, and a catalyst for spiritual growth and learning.

We experience fear when we close our eyes and minds to the Truth of “what is.”  We experience disappointment when we build our expectations based upon our fears instead of that Truth.  We build Trust when we align our expectations with realities.  For real Trust is not just Hope, it is a deep Knowing of what life – people, nature, God – is truly about.  And a knowing that every thing that comes to us comes in multiple layers.  In my home, the whole Universe appears to be centered about me; in the Universe I am but a small, minor spec from a distant star.

“Through Trust, the Spiritual Person does not live in phobic anxiety about all the presumed dangers waiting to befall, but lives confidently and openly knowing that all that comes to us is right in that moment – a rightness perhaps not apparent except in retrospect.”*

How we decide to apply these ideas to our fears is ultimately how we decide to live our life.  It is from passing through the door of Trust that we can then appropriately move through the next door to Love.  Where there is not Trust – in ourselves, in others, in nature, in God – there cannot be genuine Love.  Love without judgment, conditioning, or restrictions.  When we can Trust that the object of our love is exactly as it is, only then can we give that inclusive and unbounded Love toward all things that is as God loves.

*(Complete series available as free digital document from McKee Learning Foundation.)
© 2013 by Randy Bell