I am a huge fan of movies and how they use phrases that hold some form of deeper truth. Recently I went and saw Dune. (which I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys Sci-fi.) I don’t remember if this was in the movie, but the book has the following
Litany Against Fear.
"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."
There are certainly many things to be afraid of. There’s the pandemic; will things ever go back to normal, do I want things to return back to the way there were as well as politics, global warming, increased civil unrest, and will I ever be able to go to Disneyland without a mask? (That last one is a real concern I have.) In talking with many, it seems the amount of fear out there is paralyzing. Thus, the above phrase came to my mind. Upon some research I found this is one of several reiterations of a Litany Against Fear. To quote Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
So, that’s nice and all, but isn’t that simplistic in saying let go of your fear and you’ll be ok. It’s kind of like that Stop It video with Bob Newhart (Also something worth watching.) Let’s be honest, we are hardwired to have many emotions, to include fear. So, think on what fear is, and how in many ways fear lets us know when something we value is in danger. In that is the trick to seeing my path forward. The fear reveals to me what I truly value; and shows me what I need to work on to be congruent with myself. Disneyland and mask wearing for me represents my fear of being restricted from a pleasurable activity.(Yes, a total first world problem.) But parallel that to having heart disease, and the fear of how that will restrict me…all the way to death. But like the mask, instead of letting the fear control me, I let it show me what I want; and that is to go outside and find pleasurable things to do that satisfy my value system. If you would, I let my fear past through me to let it show me what I value. In the end who and what I am remain, and I can make decisions accordingly.
A side note for those of us who are theoretically oriented. Once we move through all our fears of survival, social, and self-esteem… all that remains is the self. Of if you would self-actualization. Makes me wonder if Maslow was a fan of Shakespeare.
-Jeffery Schmidt, Penny Lane Centers