I Must Not Fear
"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration."
‘Litany against fear’ from Frank Herbert’s Dune
It happened in a millisecond like some giant hand had slapped the bike from under him. But some part of his mind had already slowed the whole scene down. Stretching time like a rubber band, making a mockery of the ridiculous notion of linear metaphysics. And there, buried deep in his psyche, long forgotten, was a memory.
A memory riddled with fear that instantly leapt into his stomach and began stabbing him from the inside out.
Could it be true? He asked as his body plunged towards imminent contact with the wooden boardwalk. Could it really be true? Had he lived the last ten years in fear?
“I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.”
Before he had a chance to contemplate the answer he crashed hips first onto the boardwalk with a sickening thud.
His breath was smashed out of him and it was all he could do to protect his unhelmeted head. The memory vanished, replaced by pain and an accompanying breathlessness.
“Are you alright down there?”
The voice was strangely familiar, the young man shielded his eyes from the sunlight to see who had spoken to him.
Impossible! It was the old man from the café.
“Sometimes it takes a knock to the head before we start listening” he said.
“How the…” the young man began but before he could complete his sentence the old man was pulling him to his feet.
“The mystery” he said “Embrace the mystery, let go of your need to know”
The young man staggered to his feet, the pain shooting down his leg.
“Fear will send you running from the mystery to hide back in your box where it is safe. Where you know where the boundaries are, where you can sit in judgement of others. But then where does that leave you?”
The young man was still trying to grasp the fact that the mysterious old man had appeared out of nowhere and was now once again nailing him on his issues as if he had read his mind.
The old man laughed, “In a box of course!” and he laughed again, a deep belly laugh that rose up from within him. He slapped the young man on the back, “and who wants to live in a box?” he asked.
The young man felt the stabbing pain in his stomach again and the anger welled up within him. The silly old man was crazy and his words were nothing but clichés!
“You don’t understand” he said “my fears are real and I do need to protect myself”
The old man laughed again as if that was the funniest thing he had heard in a long time but it simply made the young man even angrier.
“It’s not funny!” he said “you wander the streets like a homeless person without a care in the world but I have responsibilities. I have to deal with possibilities. I have to deal with reality!”
“And has it actually happened yet?” The old man was suddenly calm and his stillness quietened the young man as his anger subsided.
“No” he admitted.
“In the future” began the old man “the fearful being – the demon, competes with the aspirational being – the dragon – for life. Which one will you feed?” he asked
“You are right that you have responsibilities. But what’s real is not what hasn’t happened yet. What’s real is that only you can save yourself. Only you can choose. Only you can claim your freedom by choosing to exercise your will.
Your intentions are within your control. The future is not. But the future is not written yet so will you feed your dragon or your demon?
Remember that fear cannot live in the same place as love. Choose to be in a space of love and there will be no fear. Choose to focus on your fears and they will grow. The choice is yours.”
“Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”
In peace and love always.
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