Elaine called me one morning and said, “I woke up afraid.”
Before she could continue, I said, “And here come the monsters.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“When you get afraid, Elaine, your mind starts spinning at a hundred miles per hour. You’re desperate to come up with reasons for your fear—justifications—so you either manufacture them or create them out of thin air. You see danger coming from every direction. You categorize your fears, worry about them, cry bitter tears of frustration over them, and line up all your weapons to defend yourself.”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I do. But that’s natural. What else could I do?”
I have had nearly identical conversations with a great many other people. When we become afraid, we think faster and faster, all for the purpose of conjuring up ways to protect ourselves. The problem is, our fears are almost always beyond our understanding, so our thinking is useless.
We think we’re afraid of failing a particular test at school, for example, or of speaking in public. Never—yes, never—is any one thing like that the entire cause of our entire fear, and usually it’s not even a major component of our fear. Our greatest fears originated in childhood, with experiences we can’t even remember. In short, we don’t understand our real fears, nor their cause, so in the present exactly how—in complete ignorance—would we protect ourselves. No amount of thinking, with incomplete and wrong information, could possibly solve our problems.
So what is the solution? Oh, eliminating fear isn’t that complicated. Love does that, regardless of the cause. We need only to extend our hands and allow ourselves to be led—even embraced—by those who can love us and help us heal. As our wounds heal, our pain evaporates, along with the fear that always accompanies it. And then the monsters simply cease to exist. We don’t have to fight them or run from them.
Of course some people would suggest that this explanation and solution are simplistic, but I have seen love eliminate fear so many times that I have an absolute faith in its elegant power. Imagine, a solution within our grasp, a solution we don’t have to earn, a solution that connects us with the unifying power of the universe. Find love in your life, and allow it to melt the monsters around you.