For a long time I have thought I have understood the nature of fear, and yet these last few months have proven me to be misguided in that belief.
Do I fear? Yes. Fear is a necessity. It protects us, from what would hurt us, from what give us pain and would threaten us, from what would harm the sanctity of us.
But fear walks hand-in-hand with the mind, and the mind is a fickle thing, prone to misapprehension, apt to focus on the smallest detail, forgetting the whole, abandoning balance. The mind is irrational, and fear is rapacious. Fear gorges itself on the mind’s frailties, on its doubts, it crouches at the broken fractures of the soul and feeds, and its turn it births new fears, new doubts, it amplifies and distorts and becomes burdensome and savage in its self-absorption.
Do I fear? Yes I do. I fear the manner of my passing. I fear an endless trail of unchanging days. I fear the loss of passion, the loss of interest in the world, the loss of sight of self. I fear the lack of accomplishment. I fear the loss of friends and family. I fear that I may become threadbare and empty and lost. I fear much, not least the loss of something that has come to mean more than I could have ever expected, that has taken root at the centre of me and struggles yet to bloom.
I fear, and yet I am coming to terms with that fear, facing it, absorbing it, passing it through me. Whatever fear will do, whatever the doubts that are its daughters and the fears that are its sons will bring, they cannot hurt me.
Earlier I posted a mantra from the Bene Gesserit Order, from the book Dune by Frank Herbert. For all that it comes from fiction, it contains a kernel of truth, an approach and acknowledgement that many have undertaken as a personal philosophy. In fiction we have ever explored the limits of truth, of the human character, of the soul and all its flaws and virtues. In fiction we have always explored what it is to be human, with a savagery and a brutality and an unerring accuracy.
I must not fear. A truth perhaps, but I will fear, and I do.
I must not fear. I do, and yet I cannot allow it to burden me or guide me or deter me from what I believe to be important, and worthy.
Fear is a part of me, it ever will be. But in its passing, as each fear arises and forms and passes through me, I will understand it, challenge it, and ultimately, conquer it. Where there is nothing, it will pass. Where there is something, I will contend with what lies at the centre of it. The fear itself is irrelevant, a distraction, a wearisome burden.
Fear will pass. It must. Only I can remain.