Playing the “Afraid” Card.
I wanted to do a series that embraced all 20 cards from mood-measuring Moodscope (see http://www.moodscope.com). Today, it’s the turn of the “Afraid” card, which Moodscope defines as, “feeling frightened about something.”
I remember a turning point in my relationship to ‘fear’. Whilst Science Fiction isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea, like all imaginative art, it can provoke insight. I was watching the film “Dune” for the first time. In the film, the hero is put to the test – a test of fear. I was fascinated to hear him recite what is called the “Litany against fear” in the book and film.
“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.”
[Quoted from http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Litany_Against_Fear ]
There are many aspects of this ritual that I like, but I’ll highlight just two: “I will face my fear” and the fact that fear passes. Fear should not be ignored – it should be faced. It may carry a message of genuine danger and so should be confronted, face on, to test its validity. I really like the idea of putting fear to the test rather than fear testing me! If the fear reveals a genuine danger, the danger can then be faced. If the fear is exaggerated, I have confidence that it will pass – but only after it has been dragged into the light of full inspection.
As soon as fear is faced it is inevitably perceived in a different way and can be acted upon. It is only while it remains in the shadows (or under the bed?) that it can continue to cast its strange power over us. I will face my fear.