I’ve been reading again. Today I read a chapter in Florence Scovel Shinn’s “The Game Of Life (And How To Play It)” (1925). In it is a passage I want to quote directly that treats the subject of Fear:
“I have a friend who said nothing could induce her to walk under a ladder. I said, “If you are afraid, you are giving in to a belief in two powers, Good and Evil, instead of one. As God is absolute, there can be no opposing power, unless man makes the false of evil for himself. To show you believe in only One Power, God, and that there is no power or reality in evil, walk under the next ladder you see.” Soon after, she went to her bank. She wished to open her box in the safety-deposit vault, and there stood a ladder on her pathway. It was impossible to reach the box without passing under the ladder. She quailed with fear and turned back. She could not face the lion on her pathway. However, when she reached the street, my words rang in her ears and she decided to return and walk under it. It was a big moment in her life, for ladders had held her in bondage for years. She retraced her steps to the vault, and the ladder was no longer there! This so often happens! If one is willing to do a thing he is afraid to do, he does not have to.
“It is the law of nonresistance, which is so little understood.
“Someone has said that courage contains genius and magic. Face a situation fearlessly, and there is no situation to face; it falls away of its own weight.
“The explanation is, that fear attracted the ladder on the woman’s pathway, and fearlessness removed it.
“Thus the invisible forces are ever working for man who is always ‘pulling the strings” himself, though he does not know it. Owing to the vibratory power of words, whatever man voices, he begins to attract. People who continually speak of disease, invariably attract it.”
I have often heard that fear is an acronym for “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Our imagination creates scary situations based on false reality, and when we add real facts, real reality to the situation, it no longer seems so scary. In fact, the scary situation seems to disappear altogether.
Regardless of whether the situation one is afraid of is real or not, confronting it head on always seems to minimize the actual fear. If you don’t confront or face your fears, the imagination feeds the fear and makes it more intense, often debilitating.
I’d be interested in knowing how you have dealt with fear in your life. What have you discovered that works for you?