67 QUESTION: In the last lecture [Lecture #66 Shame of the Higher Self] you said in connection with raised consciousness that we will no longer be frightened of bad people. But how can I not be frightened of murders, hold-ups, and all such doings? This is still reality. We still feel the effect of all this.
ANSWER: I realize that the answer to this question is not easily understood for anyone living in such fear. Whatever can be said will be heard as mere words. But when you arrive at the core of your inner conflicts, the causes of this fear, you will see the way and gain the understanding of how and why you need not fear anything, even before you are actually free of the fear. At least, you will see the way.
Whenever you find your wrong conclusions in connection with a particular fear, you see that the Path clearly indicates that you need not fear. Whenever you shall have gained the full understanding of what self-responsibility means, fear dissolves because you know without a doubt that you are never dependent on the whim of other people; you are never exposed to chaotic coincidence. Until such time, all that can be said about this matter will be theory. But to fear does not make sense.
The freedom and safety gained from complete self-responsibility is something that cannot be conveyed through words. It has to be experienced. The healthy soul will not call forth adversity because it has the inner will to be happy and does not wish to escape from life in any way. Adversity in any form is in reality a response to your destructive impulses, no matter how hidden and unconscious they are.
To have caused a mishap or tragedy should be understood not only in the sense of retribution, of deserved fate, but in the sense of the inner will functioning self-destructively in some manner. Once you find the reason why you unconsciously harbor destructive tendencies and wishes, you will alter them with the understanding that they are no solution, and as a consequence you will feel safe. Whenever you feel unsafe, this is so because of yourself, never because of others. The latter is one of the greatest illusions of humankind.
Some of my friends who have gained sufficient insight into themselves do have some understanding of these words.
Let me also say this: an insane person will have fears the sane person does not have. To the former, these fears are very real. The healthier and sounder a person is, spiritually and emotionally, the less fear that person will have. This is because of the absence of self-destructive tendencies or the negative functioning of the inner will. The more confidence you have in yourself, the more you will trust in life as a whole. But this self-confidence can only come with the solution of inner conflicts and deviations.
I would like to suggest to whoever has such fears that you examine exactly why you fear only such happenings and not so many other possible mishaps in life. Put these thoughts or feelings into concise words. You will find a more specific and more personal reason than the general fear you mentioned here.
When you find your specific reason you will lose this fear. Without this personal search you may, at best, understand my explanations in your intellect, but the fear will remain, or manifest in another way.
QUESTION: In this connection, I would like to ask: suppose I should be attacked by a murderer and were to survive. In that moment, however, would I not experience a terrible fear and shock, even if right now I’m not afraid?
ANSWER: Yes, of course. Whenever something happens to pain or shock you, you cannot help being in some sort of disharmony. This is human. No human being can be far enough developed to be free of this. But this was not my point. I was talking about the irrational fear of being murdered.
You can approach freedom only in stages. The first stage you can hope to reach is to free yourself of the fear that something might happen, although there is no particular reason or indication that it will. But when something is happening or probably will happen, then you cannot expect to take this with equanimity.
Let us consider now what the attitude of a relatively healthy person would be. He or she knows that occasionally life brings unhappiness and pain. It is also bound to bring physical death. Part of the acceptance of life is the acceptance of inevitable pain and death. The healthy person will not unduly fear them, because that person has accepted this. These things lose their terror once acceptance has taken place due to understanding.
Now, if there is a particular terror with regard to being murdered, but no such fear or very little fear exists of death in any other way, there must be a particular reason. Death can be more painful in a slow consuming disease or in an accident. Murder may be a quicker and less painful death than other forms. If other forms of death are more or less accepted and not unduly feared, while being murdered is, the clue may lie in the factor of being forced into something against one’s will, against God’s will, against all order and justice.
Thus, the fear is actually about being helplessly exposed to an evil force and not so much about pain and death. If the infant in you matures, you inevitably realize that you are your own master, that you do not have to give in to a stronger person. You may have had to while you were a child, but, as an adult, the childhood situation is no longer valid.
Once you realize this and apply it to your emotional life, you may find that what you actually feared was not being murdered, but that you have no right to govern yourself. Once you realize your right to self-government, others lose their power over you.
Once this psychological conflict is straightened out and you have gained inner maturity in this respect, your attitude would be somewhat like this: “Death and pain are unwelcome. One day death will come to me. I do not think about it now. In what way it will come, I do not know. I do not even want to know. But I trust enough in myself, in my emotional health, that when the time comes I will be able to go through anything that life brings to me, for I know that it is impossible that I will have to bear more than I am able to bear.” That is the healthy inner attitude, without even thinking about it.