Fear is the last of our negative emotions to go as we deepen our spiritual connection. That’s because fear is at the heart of all negative emotions. Its roots are deep.
Marianne Williamson wrote that “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts.” That’s pretty close to correct. Actually we’re born with one fear – loud noises. That fear, though, may be more of a startle reflex.
Over time, we develop other startle-like reflexes: fear of heights, fear of objects hurling toward us, fear of the dark. These are handy to keep the body intact, and they’re not usually the fears that darken our paths. The insidious and dark fears we learn are shame and the belief that we are not good enough. Those are the fears that need to be relieved so we can grow.
There are thousands of tiny fears that grow from these – fear of speaking in public and fear of standing up against the crowd for what’s right. Gandhi said “The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.”
The fear of death is nearly a universal fear, but it can be overcome as we deepen spiritually. Anais Nin said, “People living deeply have no fear of death.”
The concern about the corrosive nature of fear goes back a few centuries. Lao Tzu said, “Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success.”
My favorite comment on fear comes from the Hindu Scripture Isa Upanishad: “Who sees all beings in his own self, and his own self in all beings, loses all fear.”