Fear is The Mind Killer
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
~ The Bene Gesserit litany against fear from Dune by Frank Herbert
Fear: the great saboteur.
Personally, I fear failure and the changes that usually accompany worldly success more than I fear death and public speaking. Mice don’t bother me, but heights and crawly things with more legs than spiders do.
You have your own fears. You know what they are.
I love the quote from Dune about dealing with fear. The first line, “I must not fear,” is non-sensical at face value. Fears arise of their own accord. However, I interpret it to mean that I must not be paralyzed by fear.
The rest is a great process for dealing with any problematic emotion: feel the emotion, let it pass through you and let it go. Hiding from emotion and getting caught up in emotion are both ways to get stuck.
For me, reciting “fear is the mind killer” in the face of fear lets me experience the fear without being trapped by it.
I ran into fear this evening. Our new house has a pool. After a rather long process of getting it open that involved failing to figure out how to get the pump working and growing an excellent algae culture and learning how to kill said algae culture, it was ready for swimming in. And I was first.
As I stood at the edge of the pool preparing to dive in, I found myself afraid. I took a deep breath and dove in. It was beautiful. As I swam, enjoying myself tremendously, I noticed that I had not put my face into the water since diving in. I played gently with getting my face wet, but my resistance was great. My long-standing fear of putting my face underwater has not faded.
I didn’t always have this fear. I remember the swim instructor whose instruction triggered the fear. I used to call her sadist, but I realize now she was merely not able to understand my problem. I used to be a fish – in the water, underwater, handstands at the bottom of the pool, diving, water polo – one with the water. And I still love swimming. As long as my face is above the surface
But I want to get past my issues with putting my face in the water.
I expect I’ll be reminding myself that fear is the mind-killer a lot this summer.
And that ‘s okay.
Fear isn’t stronger than I am. And it isn’t stronger than you are.
Is fear an issue in your life? Is so, how are you managing it?