Effacing Our Fears
Walking down the corridor of a hospital is not the only thing that demands valour. Every sunrise seems to bring new reasons to be afraid. If it is not an approaching tornado, then it is a letter from our employer telling us that we are being made redundant, the school principal’s phone call, or even a robbery in the neighbour’s house. Fear seems to have become a natural reaction in this perilous world we live in.
The truth is that aside from these valid and understandable fears, we also entertain, or rather indulge, in fears that are completely illogical and inexplicable. But whether logical or not, fear is definitely not productive; it is in fact debilitating, discouraging and extremely discomforting.
Philosophical writings are full of thought provoking remarks that celebrate a simple life that is better lived with courage over, say a prosperous life that is filled with fear. And we couldn’t agree more with them, but it is easier said than done.
To avoid fear, man has concocted many strategies, like insurance policies, wealth management, increased police security and regular medical check ups. But courage does not come from increased funds in our bank accounts or any other material safeguards; it is a result of spiritual maturity.
The Masters explain that spiritual maturity is a result of our efforts at meditation. Gradually, we begin to grow more aware of our true spiritual nature and are able to rise above the weaknesses and fears that result from our false sense of self. With meditation, we begin to appreciate that we are not merely human beings fending for ourselves in an intimidating world, but that we are in fact spiritual beings fathered, guided and constantly protected by the Lord as we make our way Home through the alleyways of this human existence.
With spiritual maturity, we develop more love for the Father. We all know how love raises people to extreme heights and gives them enormous courage. England was witness to an act of such fearless love: Princess Alice, Queen Victoria’s second daughter, had a young son who was quarantined due to a horrible affliction known as black diphtheria. The doctors repeatedly warned the mother to stay away from her son. But one night, while passing by outside his room, she heard her little boy tell the nurse, “I miss my mummy’s hugs.” Hearing these words, her heart melted and she ran to his room and wrapped him in her arms. A few days later, she was buried. Love for her child defied even the fear of death.
With spiritual maturity also comes more faith, which for all practical purposes could actually be an antidote for fear. Fear, at its centre, is a perceived loss of control. Now, if we believe that we are not in control to begin with, and that the Lord is the one who is orchestrating our entire lives, then wouldn’t losing that control be irrelevant? We know that He is the one in charge of our lives. In the Bible we read:
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
When the Lord is providing for the entire creation, why do we feel that we need to take control of our lives in order to survive? All we can do is to put in the effort, and remember that the result of our efforts is thankfully not in our control but in the much more capable and caring hands of our Father.
With spiritual maturity there is a greater awareness of the Lord’s presence in our lives. What could be more comforting than being able to rest our troubles upon his shoulders and feel his protection and guidance? With the beloved by our side, where is the room for fear?
When we are overwhelmed with the presence of God, our fear begins to dissolve. All helplessness disappears as he appears.
Vern A. Jensen, Unlimited Power
Fear cannot be resolved with pills, money or bodyguards; these things can camouflage the sting of fear for a certain time but they can never strike at its root. It is meditation and the ever-increasing spiritual maturity resulting from it that is the only effective antidote to fear.
For those of us who experience fear, the road to fearlessness may be a process a little too lengthy for our liking. But what we must remember is that during our weakest moments, the Master’s pull is strongest. Maharaj Sawan Singh, using illness as an example of such moments, says in Spiritual Gems:
In fact, during illness the blessing of the Supreme Father is extraordinary. The sound current becomes clearer.
Thus, it is actually during moments of fear that we are given the opportunity to choose whether to indulge that fear or to gather all our love, and faith and trust in his grace, and confront those fears head-on. Perhaps, at those times, we not only get to face our fears but also efface them once and for all.