Fear Passes

I wrote a few weeks ago about wisdom from the science fiction classic “Dune” and the famous quote about fear.

I’m not sure that the fear which inspired those comments has passed so much as it was always there and I’m passing through it.

It’s not a trivial distinction.

The former concept is passive – just endure, hold on, survive, and the fear will pass through you. The latter is active – move yourself through the fear, one step at a time, until you come out the other side.

The former leaves you with little agency or control. The latter is empowering.

The former can leave you feeling like a victim or survivor. The latter can lift you up to feeling like a conqueror.

I’m not through it yet – many adventures lie ahead. But I’m finally to a place where I can start to embrace the coming adventures instead of dreading the perceived ordeal to get through it.

I also hope the next time (there’s always a next time) I can remember that the anticipation of that perceived ordeal turned out to be much worse than the actual ordeal. And having come through what I hope is the worst of it, that I’ll remember the feeling of success and accomplishment that can be waiting on the other side.

Ideally it would be best to somehow have that memory of success (let’s call it “confidence”) deeply ingrained at a cellular level. But I’ll settle for having my head remember it, even when my gut doesn’t.

It’s sort of like a colonoscopy these days. In practice, the procedure itself is a piece of cake compared to the day of prep leading up to it. And the anticipation of the prep once you’ve done it once is far worse than the actual prep. (Which is not to say that the prep doesn’t totally, 100,000% suck.)

Lesson noted. Possibly learned.

Time will tell


Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul

3 responses to “Fear Passes

  1. wcroth55

    I’ve personally found the mantra about fear in Dune to be too much like denial and repression.

    I think Ged’s story in LeGuin’s “A Wizard of Earthsea”, where he learns that he must (literally) turn about and face, even embrace, his fear… is much more effective.

    Easier said than done, of course, but I’ve had occasion to practice it. (Including walking into my 1st colonscopy! πŸ™‚ )

    FWIW, my own blog is named after Ged’s boat: http://lookfar.caucus.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do like the idea of being proactive, of having to do something to face the fear, of being forced to EARN the passage through to the other side. The β€œDune” thing does seem passive.


  2. I can’t remember much about Dune, since I read it when it was ‘amazing’ and now it just seems to be ‘cult’. I know I got bored with the sequels.

    But the thing about anticipation of the fear being worse also holds true when someone you love is dying. It is so easier to fear their death, and grieve far too much while they are still here. I think Dr Seuss is the one who said make the most of them while they’re here, or something like that.

    But it’s the same thing – our imagination is a potent thing, and can drive us mad fearing something that just… is.


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