“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.” -Frank Herbert
I first read this quote when I was about 11. I bought the book Dune while on our annual trip to Yosemite. It interested me after coloring a coloring page (yes, I was 11) from the story of Dune. It featured a Freman sitting out, staring across a desert landscape. I fell in love with the image and had to get the book.
We arrived at Yosemite by about noon and quickly set up camp. It was raining bad. We then all went inside to wait out the storm. I began reading Dune and remember this quote vividly. I got through the section about the Gom Jabbar before doing something unusual for me. I fell asleep and took a nap. Probably the only nap I can remember in my childhood. I could never see the point.
But it was a fateful nap. My older brother snatched up my copy of Dune and began reading it. I did not see the book again the whole week. And it was a long week because it rained the entire time.
And I did not return to the book Dune until about 12 years later. I think I was a little afraid of it. I was not a strong reader and there were a lot of weird words. And if you have read it, then you understand how disjointed the story is presented. But when I picked it up again, it was the same book I had picked up off a rack in a tourist shop all those years ago. I swiped it from my brother’s coveted collection of books – something he has never let me forget. And I took it for good.
Now that I am rereading the story for about the 10th time, I bought a “new” copy from a used bookstore. The original is held together with duct tape and half the pages are falling out.
Back to Fear . . . and some of our favorite stories
Dune, like Harry Potter, is a coming of age story. Young boy must face uncertainty, evil people and death. They have friends, but pretty much must accomplish it with their own wits (oh, and some magic and genetic superiority). And along the way, us faithful readers see ourselves in these characters. We experience their ups, their downs, their loves, their heartbreaks. And we also live with their fears.
How many times have you watched an action, adventure or horror movie and asked yourself, WHY after experiencing ANY of what they present (car crashes, falling out a window, shootings, muggings, being punched out of nowhere) is the main character not crouched and shivering in a corner from fear? Most action adventure movies do not even touch the subject.
Every once in a while, they do. Consider The Hunger Games, where 26 children are placed in an arena and forced to kill each other. Seeing the horror acted out before during and after the action in that movie really show the faces of fear caused by trauma.
And these examples get to the heart of what I want to discuss . . .
How do we deal with fear?
Directly and indirectly, this is the core of the entire world of psychology today. People get to a really bad place and need to talk it out. So, they go to a therapist. Or a religious leader. Or someone who will listen to them. Unfortunately, the person suffering from the low point usually has no idea how to get out of it. And it is up to the “professional” to lead them there.
But what if these “professionals” have no idea themselves how to lead you out? Therapy is not an exact science. And we may never know how much snake oil has been involved. What we do know is how prevalent the use of medications, drugs, alcohol and anything else that people are using to dull the senses.
Are these the answer? Maybe. Maybe not.
But be sure that whether they are or whether they are not, someone is making money from the process.
And this also brings up another inconvenient truth. And that is about the amount of stimulus out there specifically designed to pump up the volume of fear and anxiety.
When you put it all together, it speaks highly to the idea that society is directing us into paths and markets we do not even know we are being ushered into. It’s like Russian workers who left work and got into the first line they found, not knowing what it was that they would get at the end but figuring that it would be all they could get. Is it bread? Vodka? Underwear?
stimulus – response
stimulus – response
eat, drink, smoke, pop, sleep
These can be a treadmill. A never-ending cycle.
What we must ask ourselves is if such thing as a “CURE” exists. I think that if we look deep inside ourselves, we know there has to be. Are we waiting for someone to dream it up? Are we hoping that one of the allopathic options may work?
To me, it all screams that there probably are some actual “cures” out there. And the industry known as mental health will do everything in its power to make sure you can’t find it. Is that me being like Alex Jones? A bit of cynicism? Hell yes.
Finding the Secret
As with so many things, I believe there are secrets that have been hidden from us about how to resolve these issues of the mind. We would like to believe that there are genius’s out there waiting to come up with a new solution to our problems. Names like Freud and Jung are well known and have offered us insight into the mind’s workings.
But to look at society today one questions whether it is worse now than any time in our history? Have all of the mental diseases and disorders that are being worked on today always existed? Are they different sides of the same coin? Have we created new names (and subsequently new drugs to deal with them) for the same things?
Or has the shock treatment we receive in our daily dosages of lamestream news and toxic life really messed us up and pushed us over the PTSD edge. Some people manage it better than others?
Consider a Couple Classics
Since this is a blog about comparative fiction in our everyday life, let’s consider for a few minutes, a couple examples.
Harry Potter – With all the trauma in Harry’s life, it’s a wonder that it took until the 3rd book, Prisoner of Azkaban, to address fear. It appeared in the guise of boggarts and dementors. And to me, one of the most poignant story lines in the entire series is Professor Lupin teaching Harry Potter about dealing with his own fears.
Boggarts were magical pests who take the form of whatever scares someone the most. It’s their own magical defense mechanism that works like a skunk’s spray. Once you can recognize it for what it is, dispelling the creature is not that difficult. The problem arises when you are faced with that which scares you the most. And can you mentally look beyond it to see that it is really innocuous?
The teaching of this lesson begins innocently, as the professor has each student face the boggart and come face to face with their worst fears. There are snakes, spiders, clowns and even people that the students face down. It’s done humorously in order to show that it can be light-hearted. But as Harry faces the boggart, what appears is something much more sinister – a dementor. One of the must vile and horrible creatures of all.
Dementors are evil creatures who feed off of the fears and emotions of others. Their affinity for evil made them quick allies of the dark forces in the book. At the time of the teaching, however, they offer their services as guards of the wizards’ prison. They are both effective guards to the worst criminals of the wizarding world. But also add an element of torture to the convicted – feeding off all their fears.
To combat these fear-mongering creatures, Professor Lupin teaches a couple of different spells. Riddikulus dispels the boggart, by transforming it into something funny. But for the Dementor the required spell is a Patronus Charm – which embodies a good spirit energy to fight it off.
Most important with each spell, however, is an element that is entirely non magical. And therefore an important lesson for all of us eager readers wanting to be warriors ourselves. That non magical element is Emotion. To make riddikulus work, the caster must think of something funny. This funny energy feeds the counter spell. Similarly with the patronus, the caster must recall a powerful happy emotion. And this emotion feeds the energy that will dispel the dementor.
Fiction or not, it tells of the importance of our emotions in fueling our own well-being. And being in control of our emotions and being able to feed our emotions helps in conquering our own fears.
Dune – I Must Not Fear – This article started with the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear. Young Paul Atreides invokes the rite early in the book as he faces the trial of the Gom Jabbar. He must face a fear of the unknown as he inserts his hand into a box that causes him pain. He is then faced with the dilemma. Remove his hand from the pain source or he would face death by poison. Which fear is worse? Paul faces the test be reciting the mantra “I must not Fear. Fear is the Mind Killer”. In the end he faces the fear and moves beyond it. The pain, and the memory of the pain, remained. Be he was the master.
He faces other trials later in the book. And many of them also involved the facing of fear and invoking the rite. To me, this kind of fear mantra is excellent teaching tool in facing fears in our own life.
Fantastic Fears and How to Dispel Them!
All of this leads us to consider how we face fears here in our own lives. What fears do you have? Are you afraid of Spiders? Snakes? Clowns? Heights? Enclosed Spaces? People?
We all have and hold onto our own core fears. Some of these may have been learned from experience. Myself, I have a fear of snakes. Why you may ask? I grew up in Southern California. I have been face-to-face with Rattlesnakes 4 different times. Each one scared the living shit out of me. They are a constant fear to this day. But this does not debilitate my life. I live in Pennsylvania now. Not so many snakes.
Through Astrology, we find that there are also fears that we are born with. And a great key to understanding them is explained in Laura Walker’s Book about the Black Moon. In her own words:
There has been a missing piece in astrology – the Black Moon. This mysterious astrological body has been hidden in the shadows and mired in misconception. The Black Moon pinpoints our shadow side – the fractured part of the psyche that harbors a primary fear and keeps us locked in repetitive, self-sabotaging cycles of behavior. When the shadow side is identified and healed, we become whole and our untapped potential is liberated.
When you study the black moon, you are looking at your own shadow side. You are delving into the core fears that were active at the time of your birth. These Black Moon Energies, as defined by the location of the Black Moon in the Zodiac when you were born, are imprinted on you. It is like other planetary aspects. However the effects are more personal. They are activated when The Moon or the Black Moon are either conjunct or oppose your natal signs. Being aware of them can help you to acknowledge the source of the energy you may be feeling and offer you suggestions on how to deal with them.
To understand this, it will help you to find out your natal Black Moon. You can look it up in Laura’s Book. Download it here:
The Black Moon: Guide to Healing the Shadow Side (2011)
The Shadow sides and fears are listed here.
|Aries||Shadow of Success||unworthiness||identity, self esteem|
|Taurus||Shadow of Security||scarcity||insecurity, consumption|
|Gemini||Shadow of Acceptance||rejection||liked/disliked by others|
|Cancer||Shadow of Support||abandonment||dependency, neediness|
|Leo||Shadow of Order||change||arrogance, self-centered|
|Virgo||Shadow of Ability||failure||self-criticism, overwork|
|Libra||Shadow of Perfection||loneliness/isolation||perfectionism, boundaries|
|Scorpio||Shadow of Death||loss||winning-losing, death, endings|
|Sagittarius||Shadow of Truth||meaninglessness||honesty, dishonesty|
|Capricorn||Shadow of Control||neglect||control, attention seeking behavior|
|Aquarius||Shadow of Power||powerlessness||power struggles, self-discipline|
|Pisces||Shadow of Trust||vulnerability||trust in others/God|
Understanding and working with your fears is a start. But I would like to finish with a note of encouragement and a short practice I have found a lot of success with.
Tap on That Shit!
I am a huge proponent of meridian tapping. Funny part about tapping is that it was developed by a psychologist, Dr. Roger Callahan, who was looking for a mode of healing that worked. He was a therapist who had worked for years with different clients with little to no success. He had researched and studies eastern medicine and happened upon a process of tapping on different meridian points on the body. By tapping in the right sequence and with the right intention, negative energies could be released. It’s funny because he found an actual cure for so many issues that he had been working around. And it was not written in the Medical journals.
Now, I am not a doctor or a therapist. But I have used this process to help rid myself of a l0t of emotional baggage. And I offer this basic technique for you to try.
The tapping is simple. Take your middle 3 fingers together and gently tap on your forehead – between your eyebrows. (If you read my previous article about the Curse Clearing, it is the same process).
Think about the fear or problem that you are having and start tapping. tap tap tap
- Acknowledge the fear (name it for what it is)
- Dispel that fear
- Replace it with something good
For this simple exercise, it may sound like this.
tap tap tap
- I acknowledge that snakes are there and they scare me.
2. They cannot hurt me. I stay away from them. I wish them well and my life to be better without them and without the thought of them.
3. I replace them with the weasel. The Weasel is good and furry and fluffy. It is my protector. It makes me happy. And weasels kill snakes.
Finish tapping and breath in deeply 3 times.
This is not necessarily the best example, but it gives you the idea of what to do. Acknowledge the fear, dispel it and replace it with something good. The tapping and the intention help to put that fear away in your head.
As I have been struggling with fears, mostly dealing with the corruption in all facets of our world, I appreciate this helpful article. Thank you Andrew. Linda