This is Part One of a series examining the nature of fearful thinking, how we become fervently devoted to it, and how to conquer fear. Using the art and skill of inquiry, mindfulness, and awareness, I have helped many students and clients to do this.
This perspective on fear as a religion was inspired by a client in a recent hypnotherapy session. Once he realized his attachment to fearful thinking was devotional in nature, the absurdity of this allegiance to fear motivated him to renounce it. He came to his next session with many examples of how he had rejected fearful choices in favor of courageous ones.
Whoever put together the doctrine of this religion was very astute because people join without even realizing it, support it without even realizing it, spread it without even realizing it. (Of course there are those who do realize they are promoting it, but there are so many unwitting volunteers, that their work is really easy) In fact, even when some think they hate it and want to leave the “church” it seems almost impossible to figure out how, even though there are no enforcers at the door.
Not only that, but this religion is so permissive and all embracing, that it doesn’t care if you belong to another religion, or to no religion. You still are welcome to worship fear at any time, regardless of whatever other beliefs you may hold! It is absolutely permissible to inject fearfulness into any other kind of worship or ritual you may be doing. The Religion of Fear does not try to keep its doctrine pure — you are allowed to inject it into any other doctrine, debate or life circumstance you wish.
The only requirement is that you believe that fear is a necessary part of the process you are addressing. After all, that is only fair. If you didn’t think fearful thinking was necessary to the challenge at hand, how could you be expected to so passionately engage in promoting fearful thinking in regard to thinking about anything else at all?
Plus the Religion of Fear never asks for dues or tithing of any kind. No bothersome calls or letter, no bake sales, no guilt tripping.
And you can self-ordain as a proponent of the Religion of Fear at any level of involvement you wish. The Religion guarantees never to challenge your credentials or suitability for whatever level of participation you wish.
What is not allowed by the Religion of Fear is a careful examination of the logic of fearful thinking. The major sin is to notice and point out to others how fearful thinking does not fit with the actual universal laws of cause and effect.
For those who engage in such activities the experience of being excommunicated is strange and unexpected. Nothing bad happens! They may feel disoriented for a time, a little shaky in the legs, but they soon discover that they are in an open space with a sense of ease and delight and freshness.
This open space intensifies the senses — everything looks, smells, and feels more alive and interesting. People seem more interesting! Doing things in a collaborative way (because fearful thinking is no longer getting in the way) with new and interesting people is a hoot!
The thing is, however, the Religion of Fear is very forgiving of wayward members. One fearful thought and you are immediately welcomed back and supplied with a rapid stream of fearful thoughts to get you back up to speed…to make up for lost time.
Therefore, if you want to stay out of the Religion of Fear, you have to stay alert to the thinking you engage in. You have to make a persevering effort to cultivate thinking that is free from fear. It is crucial to understand that thinking free from fear is generous, patient, encouraging, kind, inquisitive, humorous, and brave. Brave enough to practice collaborative effort, rejecting the logic of zero sum, “look out for number one” thinking.
The challenge is literally a thought by thought affair. Thought by thought, you can be in and out and in the Religion of Fear…and out!
May we all prosper with enhanced compassion and wisdom!
Jack Elias, CHT is the founder and director of The Institute for
Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West. Jack offers private sessions as well as live trainings and distance learning trainings for hypnotherapy certification.