The only thing we have to fear is fear itself
American President Franklin D Roosevelt during his campaign in 1932
But why should we fear fear since this too is fear? Maybe it would have been better to use some other word rather than fear, but I can’t think of anything quite as catchy. Saying the only thing we have to be concerned about is worry doesn't do it... and so Roosevelt made his point most convincingly.
In this post, I have featured Disney's depiction of the Headless Horseman from Washington Irving's Legent of Sleepy Hollow as an analogy for the fears and terror we often experience in life. Sometimes these seem major, but often we make more of what's happening with the sensationalized fear we read in the daily paper or see on television. After all, bad news and analysis is what the media does best to maximize viewership... when we seem to be drawn to the flame like a moth.
In fact, we don't even have to look for fear when worrisome thoughts have a way of finding their way to us whether we want them or not. Sometimes, we feel these are justified like when repacking our parachute over and over again or timidly ramping up on the freeway for the first time. I suppose if we were always blissed out, we may not be so mindful of potential dangers such as crossing the street without first looking both ways.
But how many of our fears are actually necessary? Overall, I would say very few or perhaps none at all. Just think of all the things we worry about that are relatively meaningless because we think we are alone and separate. And is it not also true that we seem to have a way of attracting whatever fear we dwell on. And think about what stress does to your body while fearing a disease. Does fear make your body more resilient or vulnerable?
I sometimes think of how my mother responded to her cancer at the age of 82. It seemed the doctor took a perverse delight in telling her after the operation that she only had a 15 percent chance of survival. (I still don't understand why they think it's necessary to do that. Maybe they don't know better. So what else don't they know?) But she didn't believe any of it for a moment. She just smiled and went on to live a very healthy life, even today at the age of 95.
She now looks forward to moving on towards something that's more interesting than what this mortal life has to offer. There is no concern about death, but mostly joy, which can be a bit of a problem when such detachment from fear keeps her strong, holding her body back from allowing her spirit to transition to where she wants like to go.
When feeling vulnerable, I too wish I could feel as detached from fearful thoughts as her. I have often been confronted by the Headless Horseman while writing the Elysium’s Passage series over these last five years. Mainly this was because there was no time ore energy left to earn an income while composing these all-consuming novels. I still have no way of knowing what might happen as I invest more borrowed money to publish the first book. I‘ve never done this before and so I find it's very easy to fret and worry about whether anyone will want to read them.
Also, I get a little concerned when I think of how, based on my past earnings, I’ve probably lost well over a half million dollars (net) by not continuing my work in commercial real estate over these last years while writing. And then, added to that, during this time I've had certain real estate investments taking huge loses due to the government reneging on a project. And so my peace of mind has often been jolted in the middle of the night when the Headless Horseman enters, brandishing his sword. I suspect many or most of us have experienced our share of these attacks as we fret through the night when we should be soundly sleeping.
And yet I was once told by a prophetic source, even before I thought of writing a novel that "there are more readers waiting for your words than you can even imagine. This has not been shown to you as there is some concern of your doubt as to whether you are the one to do this." (But that's another story you can read about in my eBook, How It Came.)
I realize my perceived problems can be rather petty compared to the circumstances of many and that I have much to be grateful for in life... I just need to remind myself of that. Yet my fears can feel just as real as anyone else's when I let my guard down and don't trust the spiritual resources that are available to all of us.
So is there a way to not fear these Headless Horsemen that we keep imagining? As I've sought to rise above fear, sometimes with success and sometimes with failure, I’ve come to understand and experience more about the nature of fear and love which I've sought to share through my novels. Perhaps these experiences will make my novels more authentic in portraying the angst much of the world feels, including my hero James, who often feels caught between two worlds.
Whenever we experience fear, it is wise to remember: Perfect love casts out fear. Fear and love really are polarities; fear being the darkness of love's absence, while love is the presence of light. Actually, there's no comparison. Fear is nothing, love is everything. Fear is a result of believing in the illusion of separation from our divine connection; love results from being in union with our divine Christ. Only love is real -- quite the contrary to how the world operates in the illusion of its fears -- or should I say how the ego operates in its deceitful self-authenticating delusions.
Where we position ourselves on this continuum of darkness and light is largely up to us, once we become aware that with practice and the grace of God, we are able to choose what thoughts we allow to take residence in our minds. The question is, do I want to indulge and tolerate these fearful thoughts or do I wish to displace them with feelings of gratitude and appreciation for all life has to offer? Do I prefer to be a victim by occupying myself with dark fears of disempowerment or do I turn to happy thoughts that lighten my spirit? Believe me, I understand it's not always that easy to do... until it is.
Though I don’t agree with Roosevelt that we must fear fear, I understand that fear gives us the contrast we need to surrender to the power of divine love, and that if we stand up to fear, we find there never was much to be concerned about once we realize we live in a Benevolent Universe whether we live or die. To do such, though, we must live from our hearts as we practise gratitude and appreciation rather than allowing the fears of our minds to torment us.
Perhaps that’s what Joseph Campbell meant when he said, The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. By facing our fears of being eaten alive by what's lurking within the dark cave, we enter in with the light of gratitude and the wonderment of adventure. In doing this, we are able to change our reality by discovering what treasures await us within the dark cave. I know... easier said than done.
This is what I wish to find as I continue with the series. So far I have found several miracles within the cave that at times feel stranger and more exciting than the fiction I write. Though the cave at times seems rather scary inside, especially when I forget to bring my light, still I have found many treasures there, one being my book Elysium's Passage.
But I've also found several other treasures inside that I regard as miracles, perhaps too unbelievable for many to accept. In fact, I'd like to believe I have discovered in the cave some of what Nietzsche spoke of in Thus Spake Zarathustra: Of all that is written, I love only what a man hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.
But rather than ramble on more, since I don't want this to be just about me, I’d prefer to examine this topic from the perspective of a few passages I’ve selected from the second unpublished book.
Although I've barely scrapped the surface of this topic, I trust you will find something in these few short dialogues below that is helpful if you are confronted by your own Headless Horsemen.
Excepts taken from Book Two of the Elysium's Passage series: Surreal Adventures.
‘I’m sorry, I said, ‘but I’m not sure I understood that last part.’
‘Then let me put it this way,’ Mo continued, ‘feelings that emerge from thoughts of guilt, shame and fear in the world have very low calibrations of conscious awareness. If one doesn’t remain vigilant on the earth plane, the separated ego-mind will foist whatever suffering it can use to poison the soul. That’s how the ego survives; so the only thing that can hurt us is our thoughts. They are what keep us trapped in the illusions of our nightmares. What you think imprisons you may not be what imprisons you at all. What you think is what imprisons you.
'That’s why the mind always needs the divine firewall of the heart. Pain can have no meaning, import or relevance in the higher realms of consciousness as the soul moves towards the pure awareness of its divine Source which knows only love. Any experience that replaces fear with love moves in the direction of the divine Source.
'In other words, any thought, sensation or experience that takes you towards healing and wholeness is infused by love and light as it becomes progressively embellished with ever expanding depths of divine awareness.’
‘Even when there’s great material abundance,' Eli said, 'still the fear of scarcity haunts even the wealthiest, robbing them of their peace and happiness. That’s why so many seem to think they need just a little bit more, even after acquiring great wealth, as did John D. Rockefeller who always wanted just a little bit more. Do you think it was because he was greedy or afraid he might not have enough? This helps demonstrate that true wealth is not external to the soul, but of the soul.’
 From A Course of Love
 John D. Rockefeller, considered the richest man in the world in the early 1900’s, was once asked by a reporter, ‘How much money is enough?’ His response: ‘Just a little bit more.’
‘To suggest our lives are simply determined by what we have caused ourselves to think sounds rather deterministic to me,’ I said. ‘The Skinnerian behaviourists and determinists in our psychology department would most eagerly agree with you on that.'
‘Except that there’s another crucial step to this,’ Mo said, 'that being the prior affections you have chosen to assimilate into your being. That’s why you always have a choice, because your thoughts are a reflection of these affections and all you have chosen to embrace. What you think about isn’t predetermined when you are aware of the thoughts you have consciously chosen to entertain or reject. The thoughts you allow, will express themselves through your words and deeds.’
‘But what most on earth often don’t seem to realize,' Eli said, ‘is that you can change what you think about by examining what you believe and so you might become aware of why you believe it. Then you may reconsider what you chose to base your decisions upon. Did they come from the wellspring of love or fear? Are these thoughts about giving or getting; about building or tearing down; about esteeming or being esteemed; about serving or being served? Each decision consolidates the soul into what it's becoming, for better or worse.’
‘I’m not sure many give a lot of thought to their thoughts,’ I said. 'To me, it seems that thoughts just happen.’
‘And that’s why,’ he said, ‘it’s so important that one becomes conscious of what thoughts happen and take responsibility for which one to embrace and which to ignore. But that can only happen when you realize that you have a choice, even if you think you are a determinist. Without this awareness, there is little control over one’s thought, or even understanding why one thinks as they do.
‘As we often mention,’ Mo said, ‘the higher cosmic realms are not so much a place or material condition as an aggregation of thoughts. And yet, in principle, earth is no different, just experienced within the dense limitations of three dimensions. All that seems to be outwardly experienced in these states of consciousness are actually vibratory patterns of manifested thoughts. So whatever is seen and perceived is a projection of the inward thoughts that create one’s experience of reality, even in a wild flower. Speaking of which, William Blake wrote:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
‘If the kingdom of heaven is within you, then even in a wild flower you will see a heaven. Or again, in the words of the fabled Hermesianex: as within, so without. What you have created within is what you experience outwardly when it’s projected as a thought. The principle applies on all levels, from the heavens to the hells.'
‘So if I understand what Blake was trying to say in his own inimitable way,' I said, ‘everything we experience is a projection of the inner state we have constituted for ourselves. Even a wildflower, when fully appreciated, can make heaven visible to the soul.’
‘That would be another excellent expression of what Blake possibly had in mind,’ Mo said. 'However, what he said also applies to the lower domains, where there must be a hell or more correctly, a state of hell, as long as man continues to create these fearful states within his being.’
‘So if this principle is true,’ I said, ‘Dante may not have been far off with the insights he expressed in the metaphor of his epic Inferno.’
As we keep saying James, you must come to know yourself ,’ Mo said, ‘or always remain in the darkness of your fears. To do this you will have to first confront and conquer this fear that prevents you from finding the doorway to your heart’s true desire. Let me remind you again of what Aquinas said: "Whatever is received is received according to the nature of the recipient." In other words, that you perceive is perceived in accordance with your own internal state of being.
‘That’s why a state of heaven and a state of hell exist. It just naturally flows out from the affections we create within. All densities exist as collective manifestations of whatever inward qualities have been projected onto our screen of reality. The capacity for heaven or hell is latent with in each soul, giving expression to whatever affections it wills to manifest.
'Wherever we go in the world, what we see has been projected from within. Do we see through the eyes of heaven or hell? That will create the reality we have manifested for ourselves. And so, when the soul departs earth, it adheres to the reality it created for itself.’
‘Which is why,’ Eli said, ‘it’s important we make a choice to affix our heart to what’s most worthwhile. As the Proverb says, guard your heart more than any treasure, for it is the source of all life.’
‘"Source of all life" – that’s a rather sobering thought,’ I said. ‘All my life I’ve been more concerned about guarding my mind rather than my heart. I’m careful not to get taken in with specious arguments, which is why I gave you such a hard time when I first got here.’
‘And yet you eventually changed your mind,’ Mo said. ‘It’s very empowering when you understood you can change your mind’s reality by choosing what to think.
Though it may take some conscious effort to climb out of the illusory hell the ego-mind wishes to create,’ Eli said, ‘it can be done by practicing thoughts of love and gratitude, rather than fear and hate. For example, you caught glimmerings of the Mountain even back in the Lowlands when you started to change your old thought patterns. It may have taken a number of years, but once your vision began to work its magic, it was only a matter of time before you were on your way up here.’
If you have any quotes or comments on this theme you would like to share, please respond in the Comment section below.
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This blog is devoted to the Elysium's Passage book series and various ideas that relate to the content of the series. For more information see this blog's first introductory post: WECOME TO ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE.
The Summit is the first in a series of five Elysium’s Passage narrations regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.
After experiencing a near fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding about life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed, or could believe.
An engaging and sometime surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality and our ultimate destiny.
The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and many other poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes. As the title suggests, this is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium’s exciting realm of existence.
PENDING PUBLICATIONS IN THE SERIES
The Summit is now available for purchase through Amazon. With the exception of the last novel, the other three have been written but still require more editing before publication.
The following titles in the Elysium's Passage series are projected to be released as follows:
THE SUMMIT now available
SURREAL ADVENTURES fall 2018
MYSTICAL ROMANCE spring 2019
HE ELIXIR fall 2019
THE RETURN sometime in 2020
FEAR NOT AND BE AT PEACE