Friday 2 September 2016

How not to fear: courage comes from an eternal perspective

A summary of the problem of Life might focus on the need to value our temporary, minute mortal exeriences; and also to frame them in eternity and the infinite.

If we focus only on mortal life it seems on the one hand that the present instant is of overwhelming - indeed crushing - importance, but on the other hand nothing really matters because death and decay will annihilate everything.

Yet if we try to take the perspective that only the eternal and infinite matter, then our earthly mortal life is rendered insignificant and pointless.

I believe that we need to regard the common state of chronic fear as an enemy; but saying not to be afraid is itself futile.

All positive change, all significant change, requires at least two changes - to live without fear requires hope - that is, requires a perspective that mortal life is both significant and also that eternity is primary.

In other words, the experiences of mortal life are why we are here and now and ourselves, but these exeriences are ultimately means to eternal ends.

Exeriences may be of permanent significance, but this significance relates to the fact that we are eternal souls engaged in a quest to become more fully divine.

Therefore to combat fear in our lives, it is not enough simply to try and suppress the emotion, because that emotion was created and sustained by the 'mortal' perspective - but we can  put that fear into a proper context when we recall the primary reality of the human condition.

Then we will see fear as merely a mortal phenomenon, and evaluate it from its eternal significance - at which point all negative and harmful fears will lose their sting, and we will achieve the virtue of courage.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Another way to reduce fear is the classic Christian way - to "die to Self", which is perhaps the central act required of us as Christians.

If you eliminate all self seeking and surrender yourself to God, you achieve true peace, and fearlessness.

For most of Christian history spiritual writers have wrote about this, and it remains the only really effective method, and in fact is the essence of the spiritual path.

Remembering the perspective of eternity is of course highly useful precisely because it reduces the importance of this world, and our self seeking within it. Eternity demolisted our petty concern with Self.