It’s everywhere, soaking everything and everyone in its ugly, toxic, noxious gas. It’s probably the most prevalent thing I see in my own life and in the life of most everyone else. If we are those fish in that cave in Mexico, the poisonous plant is definitely fear.
People are afraid of church, afraid of God, afraid of Hell, afraid of standing out, afraid of not standing out, afraid of old ideas and new ideas, afraid of bad theology, or any theology, afraid of large groups of people they have never met, afraid of people they have met who are not like themselves, afraid of failure and thus risk, afraid of not being enough, of not doing enough, of not measuring up, afraid of not knowing enough, or knowing the right things, afraid of new paths, new direction, new thoughts, new people, new wineskins, and afraid of not being afraid. We are afraid of freedom, mystery, and of wide open expanses of awe and wonder.
It all reminds me of my favorite Pixar short “Day and Night” which quotes Wayne Dyer and is maybe, during this time in our country, should be read daily.
Fear of the unknown.
They are afraid of new ideas.
They are loaded with prejudices, not based upon anything in reality, but based on… if something is new, I reject it immediately because it’s frightening to me. What they do instead is just stay with the familiar.
You know, to me, the most beautiful things in all the universe, are the most mysterious.
We’re actually afraid of change, which to go back those fish, is the only way we can survive.
Is there anything more evil than that?
There is a great little parable, from Anthony DeMello, we had on our church wall for a while. It should be on everyone’s wall.
What is love?
The absence of fear.
What is it that people fear?
We’re even afraid of not being afraid. How messed up is that? Maybe even more evil than being afraid to change to survive and not be afraid...
Sometimes I think this whole spiritual life is only about one thing: stop being afraid. Jesus repeated this pretty often. As did angels. As did God.
Elizabeth Gilbert, among many, talk about putting fear in its place. Not being afraid doesn’t mean we never have fear, it just means we know what to do with it and we don’t let it drag us around the world by its leash.
And we do that by not being afraid of real, unconditional, love. And knowing we’re enough and worthy and loved.