Saying goodbye to fear
Posted by Simon Parke, 02 May 2017, 5.27am
I sat with someone recently and looked into the face of fear.
It’s an emotion I recognise in myself and it’s not one easily calmed.
Each struggle with fear is a struggle against layer upon layer of childhood learning in the art of survival.
As you know, the first part of the human brain to develop beyond the womb is the part that deals with fear, anger and satisfaction.
When we were at our most vulnerable, it was fear that alerted us to perceived danger.
It was fear that encouraged us to contort ourselves in order to survive.
In the hidden history of our past, we lived a thousand fears; and composed a thousand schemes in response to these fears.
Those schemes became our very texture.
Fear was important. We are alive now because we were fearful people.
But what helped us then does not help us now. What was true in the morning of our lives is not true in the afternoon.
So while fear is a foundational part of our personality, it is not presently an energy for our development.
Your essence, your substantial self, knows no fears because, unlike your personality, it is unscarred by life.
It remains hopeful, vibrant, strong.
And here lies the truth behind the contemplative claim that all is well in the world and that all is just as it should be.
For beneath the lacerating distortions of life, lies the perfect world in each human soul, and the truest identity of each.
There is nowhere else to go, for you are there already.
And so to14th century England…a century dominated by war, famine, oppressive religion and plague.
It was not a good century in which to be alive.
But after twenty years reflecting on a vision given to her, an English anchoress called Julian of Norwich wrote down these words:
‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.’
The kingdom of heaven is within, and all within is quite perfect… which is why when we lie down we will not be afraid and our sleep will be sweet.
Today, I walk in safety across the battlefield.
I may be hit - but I won’t be hurt. The bullet is busy, but I am at peace.
In fact, I would throw it back if I could be bothered.
(This is an extract from my book ‘The Journey Home’, published by Bloomsbury.)