Fear is the Mind Killer

by Zachary A. Horn

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
-Frank Herbert, Dune

Our life can be summed up as the culmination of our aversions and affinities. Aversion to poverty makes us toil and work. Affinity for meaningful and interesting work pushes us towards enjoyable vocation. This dialectic determines the trajectory of our lives.

When necessity is balanced with joy our lives are harmonious. When we do things that are necessary by ways and means that make us happy, life is good and balanced. Distortion and unhappiness creep in when affinity turns into obsession, and aversion becomes fear.

Fear is the mind killer. The truth of the above quote has always resonated with me. When we fear we cease to conceive of all that is possible, and become obsessed with that which we do not want to happen. This leads to paralysis of both thought and action.

In time I realized affinity is its own sort of aversion, and is a category of fear. When affinity becomes obsession or addiction we suffer from attachment to a desire to possess or achieve something, which is fear of dispossession or disappointment. Once fear creeps in worlds become small, and ones path to happiness becomes a knife’s edge, with fear and despair on either side.

It is better to be fearless. Do what is necessary in ways that make you happy. This is the totality of happiness. Be fearless. Accept the present as it comes, and do what you must to meet it. But do not become so attached to the present that you mourn its passing. This is fear, and fear is the mind killer. When you meet the present without attachment or fear – your world returns to its primal infinite nature. When you reside in infinite being, you abide in joy and harmony.

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