Here are some selections from Wilfred A. Peterson's book Art of Living from the chapter from with this same name.

"Fear is a wild horse that needs a tight rein, for it is both friend and foe, both good and evil, and to live effectively a man must learn to master it...

By utilizing the intuitive warning system of fear as a shield against real danger.

By harnessing the energizing power of fear for flight or fight when an emergency strikes.

By using the fear of insecurity, defeat and failure as a lash and spur to high achievement.

By guarding against fear's power to destroy through recalling the ancient legend of the Plague that went to Baghdad to kill five thousand people. Fifty thousand died instead and when the Plague was questioned, it replied: "I have killed five thousand  as I said I would, the others died of fright!"

By flooding the dark corners of fear and superstition with bright  light of reason and knowledge, thus mapping the unknown, overcoming fancy with fact, dispersing hobgoblins of the imagination and revealing the truth that sets men free.

By accepting the fact that old age and death are natural and inevitable, that to fear them is futile, and that hey can best be faced with calm and quiet mind by ignoring them and gallantly living a day at a time."

Do you agree or disagree with these comments?  Can you add your own advice of dealing with fear?

Views: 446

Replies to This Discussion

More from Peterson:

By finding inspiration in the words of Cardinal Newman: "Fear not that your life shall come to an end but rather that is shall never have a beginning.

Well said, very well said.  In the Havamal Odin says, "A coward thinks he may live forever if he avoids the fight, Yet old age will not spare him though he be spared by spears".  Fear must be faced to be overcome.  If we hold on too tight to our "comfort zone" we do not grow or evolve but we stagnate, which is another form of death all by itself.  What should we fear more, stagnation and entropy or physical death?

What a wonderful way of putting it. Staying in one place, not growing is what needs to be avoided.  I think it is interesting to ask what or who is afraid?  I think the more we seek to secure a sense of self outside the manifest world, outside a personal history, the more we begin to see fear as coming from a particular place within us.  Fear forces us to see what we have identified with.

The creative moment requires two opposing forces The article Margreet submitted indicates that we are the sustaining force So with fear and courage firmly in hand we create the forms of our future There is no reason to have courage if there is no fear and without both there is no chance to create

That is a good point.  Without fear we could not develop courage.  Courage is a virtue or strength that comes from facing fear down.

Can we ask the basic question:  What is fear?  I find it is not easy to define.

Wikipedia on Fear:

Fear is an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events. Fear may occur in response to a specific stimulus happening in the present, or to a future situation, which is perceived as risk to health or life, status, power, security, or in the case of humans wealth or anything held valuable. The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis.

This invites the question:  Theosophically what are emotions?  Where do they come from?

All action requires a feeling. Where do these feelings come from? It is said that Desire first arose in IT. I have read that fear is the easiest force to conquer as fear is based in ignorance and with knowledge we can overcome fear

Where does the feeling of fear come from?

The feeling of fear comes from either and/or direct experience (including prior life experiences), reason even if faulty , and testimony.

How does fear come from experience, reason and testimony?  Can you explain further please?

May I please suggest reading or posting Yoga sutra part 1 , verse
Our body / mind are interconnected. At the same time asking where does fear come from is like asking how do we know what we know.
Verse 7 basically says The valid means of judgment are direct perception, inference, and verbal testimony. This to me says we know what we know based upon our direct experience, our VIRTUES AND BLINDSPOTS. Oct 20, 2014

Is the virtue in winning the game or playing the game. Is the victory the only goal or doing our best and trying to better our best , our goal? (This doesn't mean if you're a pro you aren't paid to win) Does this matter in the "ART OF LIVING"?
My granddaughter has never seen me swim long distances across wide-open lakes. She's only presently seven years old. She naïvely said to me one day while outside at their families' pool. "I can swim better than you can!" I thought to myself how competitive thinking can lead to arrogant thinking but I kept my mouth shut realizing that when I point the finger at someone else there also 3 or 4 pointing back at me, usually at my own Blindspots.

Is the virtue the walking away from the fights or is it going to battle. The answers are not always simple. For example some battles, including battles that are within ourselves, are worth struggling about and fighting and sometimes the hardest thing to struggle with are within me ,....within ourselves. I call our vices our "BLINDSPOTS".

To paraphrase , page 16 in the voice of silence tells us Woe then to thee disciple, if there is one single blind spot we have behind. Page 16 tells us, make our Blindspots impotent. That infers we have to somehow recognize them. Sometimes looking and studying opposites of virtues helps us recognize our Blindspots.

Page 33 in the Voice says, to live to benefit mankind is the first step. That to me means altruistic living. It also says that practicing the "glorious" virtues is the second.

This leads to a question. How do we know what we know? The yoga sutras address that in part one. Verse 7. It says what?nand what does that have to do with virtues? You tell me? It's loaded with advice in that simple verse! And just how many people have asked how you know what you know?

What's the advantages of learning, even memorizing virtues? Well... The Voice of Silence says that pain and suffering are lessened and obviates by the voice of virtues android to not leave one behind. In other words, make effort, practice, look for our Blindspots for correction and reflection and lessening of lousy karmic reactions.
The Voice didn't call these the "keys" for the fun of it. Rather don't they unlock the doors to the art of living?!!

What are your interpretations to these glorious keys? What other virtues would or might you add to those mentioned in the voice of silence fragment 3. List their opposites and look for my, our Blindspots. Enough said. Agree, disagree, give me better methods.
Looking forward to your listing and your input. Look at lousy Blindspots and then tell us what the virtue is for it!
For example the other day I asked myself, self what is the opposite of arrogance. I came up with a big dash of reasonable humbleness!
Even reasonable fear and doubt can be a virtue, especially in our rude and impolite alpha humans in our society. I wanted to shoot the legs out from underneath one the other day!....but there were just to many witnesses around! Good thing I'm not a concealed carrier!.... Pepper spay works wonder though! what we are told by others.
Thus fear arises from our direct experience , our correct or incorrect reasoning and what we are told by others.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Laura on October 14, 2014 at 9:41pm
That is a good question Dr Jill Bolte Taylor calls that part of the brain "the board of directors or the peanut gallery" She gives that energy 30 minutes a day, assesses it's value and then ignores it and moves past it Is it a memory of previous dangers encountered? Old impressions or the desire to stay put, frozen to the spot. A kind of don't look back or thou art lost?
Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 14, 2014 at 11:11pm

I am sure that is has something to do with what we identify with and our boundaries of what the individual defines as what is within and what is without, what is I and what is other. There are many mysteries here.  We do know this, the sages talk about fearlessness as one of the characteristics of an enlightened human being.

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 8, 2014 at 8:38am

In the Light of Theosophy


We live in a culture of fear and it is necessary that we learn to understand and even utilize this two-sided emotion. If we learn to face fear, it can save our lives. "Living in fear robs us of life," write Frances Moore Lappé and Jeffrey Perkins (Utne Reader,May-June 2004). Human progress so far may be attributed to the fact that by nature man loves to take risk and aspires to get what is beyond his reach. We are unable to follow our dreams for a better life because of our fear of being different and our fear of the unknown. Today, there is a need to be different, to do something different and be ready to walk into the unknown. Fear can shut us down, but it can also open us up, depending upon our reaction to it. Experience has shown that instead of freezing up in a crisis we can think or even rethink our way out.

French philosopher Patrick Viveret describes fear as the "emotional plague of our planet." Fear is a time-honoured form of control and we are made to fear by all sorts of agencies. In the process, we are continually being led away from finding solutions to real threats, viz., global warming, industrialization of key resources, etc. Lappé and Perkins write:

A first step toward freedom is to crack one driver of our fear: the myth of scarcity. The belief that there's never enough to go around keeps us on a competitive treadmill, afraid to listen to our own hearts. If we see ourselves as isolated egos competing against other egos, we can't seriously discuss a future that's good for all.

Thus, the reason many people feel trapped, even despairing, about the state of our world, is not...just a shaky economy or suicide bombers or ecological meltdown. It's that we've been forced to deny who we are. To reclaim our true natures, we have to be willing to step into the unknown, encounter conflict, and take the chance that we'll lose standing in the eyes of our peers.

We are required to bring a radical shift in our view of fear. Fear could also mean that we are doing precisely what is true to our deepest wisdom.

"Fear, O Disciple, kills the will and stays all action," saysThe Voice of the Silence.Fear belongs to personal consciousness. "'Fear is the same thing as frigidity on the earth, and always proceeds by the process of freezing.' Who can say in how many ways that 'freezing' prevents what would otherwise be" (The Friendly Philosopher,p. 84). Doubt arises from the personal uncertainty and fear of consequences.

Fearlessness is one of the essential qualities for a spiritual aspirant. In walking the spiritual path it is very important to learn to be a nonconformist. A spiritual man has to learn to rely on the judgement based on his own "inner voice" or intuition. AsLight on the Pathstates: "The would-be disciple has to arouse himself to the consciousness of it by a fierce and resolute and indomitable effort of will....Only he who is untameable, who cannot be dominated, who knows he has to play the lord over men, over facts, over all things save his own divinity, can arouse this faculty [of intuition]" (p. 49). We must be prepared to take the risk of being isolated and ostracized.

Man fears failure, death, destruction, disease, unemployment or loss of the loved ones. We can overcome fear by developing calmness and detachment. One who has acquired and to an extent realized the "universal ideas" is able to shed all fears. "Neither change nor death, nor things present or to come, can have any effect on that one," says Mr. Crosbie (The Friendly Philosopher,p. 337).

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 8, 2014 at 10:05am

Great selection of views on 'Fear', Magreet.  Thank you.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 9, 2014 at 10:10am

It seems as children we are constantly in circumstances that are new to us and attempting to do things we may not either have experience with or skill like riding a bike or presenting a paper before a class.   As adults we gravitate to things we are good at and avoid ones we are not. We tend towards the comfortable.  This dichotomy came to my attention when I was coaching youth sports.  I had taken up piano and was experiencing the feelings of inadequacy and trepidation of something new.  It occurred to me that this was the same feeling the children were experiencing in attempting to master the skills of the sport we were playing.  It helped to make me more patient.

I noticed that some children had an inherent belief that they could master the skill and others entertained more doubt.  The fear of failure weighted heavily on their minds.  So for some it was better not to try lest they fail.  Fear of failure is a powerful force in society and human psychology.

How do we overcome fear of failure?

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on October 10, 2014 at 10:57pm

When we worry about how others may think of us we are doubtful.  When we cast away regard for the evaluation of others that we might not trust, we are free to make mistakes and experiment.

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on October 10, 2014 at 11:00pm

Thank you very much Margareet for these passages.  Concerning the last passage from The Friendly Philosopher how do we develop calmness and detachment?  What role do "universal ideas" play in this development?

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 8, 2014 at 8:56pm

More from Peterson:

By willingly taking the risk of enriching adventures tinged with danger, knowing that the sheltered and protected life misses much and that as the Bar of Avon expressed it: "Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once."

By  facing fear boldly and practicing the precept of Emerson: "Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain." '

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on October 10, 2014 at 10:55pm

Fear must be based on what the Buddha would call "the dire heresy of separateness".  If we achieve identity with the One Life, with the Immortal Soul, with the SELF as pointed to in the Voice then all fear of loss would be dispelled.  But this is very easy to say and very hard to achieve.  There are many Jataka tales and stories of Gautama that show the Buddha willing to give his "life" for the sake of others.  This state of fearlessness would come with some level of enlightenment, Samadhi, perhaps.  We are fearful of pain, fearful of loss, fearful of what appears to be outside of us. What are practical steps to becoming more fearless?

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 14, 2014 at 10:15am

THE VIRTUOUS MIND                                                                                                                                                                                                   The integration of hands, head and heart is the central and fundamental teaching of the Voice of the Silence. Moral principles are not only to be acknowledged – all the world does that – they are to be applied. The value of the mental habit of looking for the underlying moral principle before any deed is done or any word spoken is not all recognized by the “educated and cultured.” Occultism demands the constant practice of bringing into moral juxtaposition moral principles with intellectual doctrines.

The general rule, the fundamental and foundational law to be always and ever kept in mind, is that of Brotherhood. If a thought or a feeling, a word or a deed, harms another soul it is wrong.

To the true practitioner H.P.B. gives this advice:                                                                                                                                                      All probationers are called upon to examine themselves by the light of their own Inner Ego and with the help of the divine virtues – the paramitas. Ordinarily, virtues are considered to be attributes of the heart; we do not usually speak of mind-feelings integration or yoga-union between mind and heart demands that the mind becomes virtues. We have to learn to think of virtues and to use our reason and our intelligence, our discrimination and our discernment, in practising the paramitas, with which deals the third fragment of our textbook, called “The Seven Portals.” It is from the point of view of the relation between mind and morals that we want to examine the golden Keys.”

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 14, 2014 at 10:40am

Hi Margreet,  Would you provide the reference for your last passage above.  Many thanks.

Permalink Reply by Gary Barnhart on October 21, 2014 at 8:16pm
Well said, thanks!!!!

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 14, 2014 at 10:22am

 THE VIRTOUS MIND                                                                                                                                                    The Integration of hands, head and heart is the central and fundamental teaching of the Voice of the Silence. Moral principles are not only to be acknowledged – all the world does that – they are to be applied. The value of the mental habit of looking for the underlying moral principle before any deed is done or any word spoken is not all recognized by the “educated and cultured.” Occultism demands the constant practice of bringing into moral juxtaposition moral principles with intellectual doctrines.

The general rule, the fundamental and foundational law to be always and ever kept in mind, is that of Brotherhood. If a thought or a feeling, a word or a deed, harms another soul it is wrong.

To the true practitioner H.P.B. gives this advice:                                                                                                                                       All probationers are called upon to examine themselves by the light of their own Inner Ego and with the help of the divine virtues – the paramitas. Ordinarily, virtues are considered to be attributes of the heart; we do not usually speak of mind-feelings integration or yoga-union between mind and heart demands that the mind becomes virtues. We have to learn to think of virtues and to use our reason and our intelligence, our discrimination and our discernment, in practicing the paramitas, with which deals the third fragment of our textbook, called “The Seven Portals.” It is from the point of view of the relation between mind and morals that we want to examine the golden Keys.”

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 14, 2014 at 10:55am

It is taken from STUDIES IN THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE  Chapter IV THE VIRTUES MIND

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 14, 2014 at 12:08pm

It's a very nice passage, Margreet.  Thanks for providing the reference.  It didn't sound like HPB's words, which is what led me to ask.  I think it's a good idea to provide a reference when we quote passages from books or articles.  That which follows "To the true practitioner H.P.B. give this advice" looks like it is a quote from HPB.  Actually it is B.P. Wadia's understanding of what HPB wrote in The Voice of the Silence, which as valuable as that is, it's not quite the same as it being HPB's own words on the subject.

 

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 14, 2014 at 12:30pm

Hi Peter, I will make sure to provide the references to the quotes from the articles or books so we don't create misunderstandings. Margreet

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 15, 2014 at 10:52am

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”   -John Lennon

“I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”   -Woody Allen

Permalink Reply by barbaram on October 15, 2014 at 6:25pm

“I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.”   -Woody Allen

This is funny.  He has such a good sense of humor. 

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 17, 2014 at 10:20am

I agree.  I wonder what role humor plays in conquering fear?  It must be an important part of it.

Permalink Reply by barbaram on October 18, 2014 at 12:52pm

In terms of conquering fear, I think we need to first study and become familiar with the source of the different types of fear - physical, psychic, mental, or others.  Some fear, like if I run too close to the edge of a cliff,   I may fall and hurt myself.  This fear is a good thing because it acts as a warning signal and it took many incarnations to develop this instinctual fear.  

The other one that you mentioned in your prior message, i.e. fear of success, this stems from the ego.  One of the many approaches, if we want to be free of any  negative "thought forms"  is to analyze its origin and unravel the imaginary illusory threads that we once created in this or previous lifetime. There are different ways to transform negative emotions into positive ones.  The approach is largely dependent on the type of personality, the stage of development, and the extent of negativity.

We may notice, as we focus and practice the teachings,  many personality defects and fears invariably dissolve on its own because darkness disappears as we bring light into our lives.

  

 

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 18, 2014 at 3:17pm

Good point, Barbara - there are different kinds of fear, some of which may play a useful role and some of which may play a hindering role in our well being.  We may also be fearful for the well being of others, rather than for ourselves, and this may cause us to put self concern aside in the interest of another person.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 20, 2014 at 11:50am

Thanks for this Barbaram.   Your post reminds me of the idea of countervailing forces.  We can have negative thoughts and emotions but we can counter them if we so choose.  How many times do we find that our first thought, feeling or emotion is not worthy of our attention and seek for a second or third alternative?

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 18, 2014 at 3:16pm

From Quotes for the Day  Oct. 20th  UT

"Our doubts are traitors,

and make us lose the good we oft might win,

By fearing to attempt."

William Shakespeare

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 18, 2014 at 5:00pm

Feelings and states of mind like ‘doubt’, ‘love’, ‘fear’, ‘courage’ & so on are often more complex and context dependent than we allow for.  The negative side of doubt that Shakespeare refers to may well be better understood in relation to the characters and circumstances in that specific play  before seeking to generalise it to all doubt.  Doubt also has a positive side, two of which HPB, for example, highlights in the Secret Doctrine.  

‘She [HPB] has lived too long, and her experience has been too varied and personal, for her not to know at least something of human nature. “When you doubt, abstain,” says the wise Zoroaster, paradoxes of science. whose prudent aphorism is found corroborated in every case by daily life and experience. Yet, like St. John the Baptist, this sage of the past Ages is found preaching in the desert, in company with a more modern philosopher, namely Bacon, who offers the same priceless bit of practical Wisdom. “ In contemplation,” he says (in any question of Knowledge, we add), “ if a man begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts ; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”’

SD II 442

It’s the same with the John Lennon quote above, “If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others…”  Perhaps that is true for some people and not true for all people. Perhaps it’s not true at all.  It needs exploring.  We might note, for example, that there are people who demonstrate great love for others and have little regard for themselves.  There are also people who love themselves and have scant regard for others.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on October 19, 2014 at 5:22pm

“What developed in my early days was the attitude to start attacking the thing I was scared of”. –Will Smith

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.       - Plato

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 20, 2014 at 3:59am

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."      - Plato

A thought provoking statement.  Are these Plato's words?  I've never been able to find them in the Complete Works, whether on line or in published works.

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on October 25, 2014 at 12:18am

It looks very probable to be a false attribution.  See here:

http://www.mesacc.edu/~davpy35701/text/plato-things-not-said.html

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 20, 2014 at 8:42am

It’s the same with the John Lennon quote above, “If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others...”  The question is which self it is that we should love. We are all spiritual beings going through the human experience with its every changing thoughts, feelings and emotion, It is doubtful that it is the later that we love but the recognition of who we are and the struggles that each one encounters can and will expand the feeling of love, compassion and brotherhood.                                    

W.Q.JUDGE      STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:

"The pure object apart from consciousness is unknown to us, while living on the plane of our three dimensional World; as we know only the mental states it excites in the perceiving Ego. So long as the contrast of Subject and Object endures - to wit, as long as we enjoy our five senses and no more, and do not know how divorce our all-perceiving Ego (the Higher Self) from thralldom of these senses - so long will it be impossible for the personal Ego to break through the barrier which separates it from a knowledge of things in themselves (or Substance).

That Ego, progressing in an arc of ascending subjectivity, must exhaust the experience of every plane. The divine spark in man being one and identical in its essence with the Universal Spirit, our "spiritual Self" is practically omniscient, but cannot manifest its knowledge owing to the impediments of matter. Man is a correlation of spiritual powers, as well as a correlation of chemical and physical forces, brought into function by what we call "principles."

Permalink Reply by Peter on October 20, 2014 at 9:40am

Margreet - I think you've put that in a far richer way than John Lennon.  Yes, through a recognition of our own struggles and suffering we may learn to better appreciate the plight of others.  The empathy for others which this engenders may also be developed and expanded just as you say.

That's a wonderful second part to your post. It seems to suggest, at least in part, that a "knowledge of things in themselves" eventually includes the realisation that there is only one fundamental essence behind all forms and that what we truly are is One with That.  (BTW.  I think Judge is quoting HPB as these two paragraphs can be found in Secret Doctrine I, 329.)

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 20, 2014 at 11:26am

This article didn't point this out but indeed it is taken from the S.D., thank you for pointing this out.

Permalink Reply by Gary Barnhart on October 20, 2014 at 10:12pm
fear. Fear is what affects our minds, partly causing blood to the extremities, call the flightand or flight instinct into motion the emotion of survival.

I find some people who arrogantly ignore their fear can be prone to impulsive,rude, and in thoughtful, and even violent behavior. In Arizona where worn out so the cloven and most likely avoids or obviates a lot of ridiculous behavior by some people. So fear can be our friend just as much as love. Fear also produces memory, some good, some not good at all.

Love is a value statement. The word is used rather commonly and can be easily misunderstood.i tend to tell some people when I value them instead of using the word love.
Instead of using the words fear and love I rather tend to think of the two major motivating emotions as fear and joy. There are those who avoid love for fear from memory for relationships and experiences.
Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 21, 2014 at 9:54am

Interesting points Gary.  I really like your idea of using the word value for the worn out word "love".  If you can love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich how important or deep can the word love go?  To treasure something, to value it, to see it as precious is in some sense, is to glimpse the ever present divine in things.  I believe this is one of the central teachings of theosophy.  Look for the divine in everything.

Permalink Reply by Gary Barnhart on October 21, 2014 at 7:47pm
One of the questions was raised as to how one may deal with fear. If fear is holding us back from action then perhapsthat fear does need to be trained. For example when teaching my son to throw the baseball I had him back up to the garage and will use the tennis ball so that he could learn that the ball would not hurt him when he learned how to use his glove appropriately. He it went on to become quite the baseball player.

When in my early teens our road or rather Wildhorse that ran me under a tree, Throwing me off and scraping most all of the skin off of my back. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I told myself two things. First was to let the horse know that, that trick would not work with me. Secondly, the voice within myself told me to get back on the horse no matter what no matter how much I hurt.

There's another side to dealing with fear and that is use some common sense if there is such a thing. I've been told bymy son to be more cautious since I've walked up to peoplethat others simply would not. One party was holding a shotgun and another party was drunk and wanted to fight me on several occasions. A calm demeanor and sensible action goes a long way in overcoming fear.


What I really fear is out of control vehicle drivers and people who are brainwashed into being religious fanatics from childhood on. Those cases influence the environment of my life and there seems very little that can be done about it.

I personally found theosophy late in life. My only fear with it was when I saw that there were different Theosophical organizations and yet the original sources were BLVATASKY and Judge and their masters or teachers. I no longer have that fear because I studied the Theosophical history and made my own choices and I attempt to respect others choices though I may disagree about their sources and consequent actions and or beliefs. I also now see that every metaphysical grouping has struggles. That's karma for you. I also see that any governing body who may come after theosophy to harm it has earth-wide groups and organizations to contend with so having splits produced blessings -in- disguise.

My greatest fear is catastrophic earth climate change. HPB warns of this as well, however that's a subject for the science forum perhaps.

So fear on but with reason and verification if it's real!
Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on October 22, 2014 at 4:18pm

Your points about getting back on the horse is a perfect example of the facing fear head on recommendation.  This might be how we gain confidence, by overcoming fear. We do it once and we believe we can do it again.

Another idea your comments inspired is the idea of gradually overcoming fear step by step. Maybe we can't do the whole thing, but we can do part of the thing, and then the next. There is a wisdom to that.  The tennis ball example is a good one for that.  Training wheels on bikes and our folks in the passenger seat when we are learning to drive are other examples of the point.

As for all the organizational humbug, it makes for an interesting story, but theosophy is really about the ideas and the rest is just fluff. People are imperfect and we all need to improve.

Permalink Reply by Margreet Buitenhuis on October 23, 2014 at 11:49am

                                                   WORTHINES

My worst fear is not that I am inadequate, my deepest fear is that I am powerful beyond measure. It is my light, not my darkness that most frightens me. I ask myself, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" Actually, who am I not to be? I am a child of God. My playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around me. I was born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just some of us, it is in everyone and as I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As I am liberated from my own fear, my presence automatically liberates others.    Nelson Mandela.

Permalink Reply by Don Petros on October 23, 2014 at 12:59pm

Tamika says: 'Fear must be based on what the Buddha would call "the dire heresy of separateness".  If we achieve identity with the One Life, with the Immortal Soul, with the SELF as pointed to in the Voice then all fear of loss would be dispelled.  But this is very easy to say and very hard to achieve."

I think you've hit it on the head, Tamika.  Fear appears to be a condition of mind - in particular a condition of one of many forms of conciousness that we 'choose', in spite of the appearance that a fearful situation - has chosen us

If it is true that fear is a condition of mind that harbors separateness, as the Buddha says, then a question would be - can that type of condition of mind ever be free of fear?  Would any attempt in that condition of mind always be some kind of false escape or avoidance, rather than actual fearlessness?

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on November 11, 2014 at 8:30pm

Good question and thank you for the reply Don.  The description of the Sage in the Gita would lead one to believe that a fearless condition of mind is indeed possible.

Permalink Reply by Jeffrey Smart on November 23, 2014 at 7:26am

Know thyself.  The Stoics understood that any given situation or experience is only good or bad or to be feared based on our attitude towards it.  We must truly know ourselves, what we believe, and how we view the world to be able to deal with our fears which are sometimes un-warranted.  Take fire for instance.  One should be cautions and careful around fire to be sure, but one does not need to fear it, only respect it.  However, if one views fire as an absolute danger than one might miss the benefits of it (light and warmth).  Again, this is all based on the inner person's beliefs and attitudes, not only the reality itself.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on November 23, 2014 at 2:40pm

Thanks for this Jeffrey.  We might add "Trust thyself."

Permalink Reply by Jeffrey Smart on November 28, 2014 at 6:50am

Good point, though I would think if we knew ourselves and didn't trust ourselves that would be a serious problem.  This, I think, would spur a wise soul on towards higher evolution and a unwise soul to madness.