Led by Professor Alastair.
Good morning, and peace to you this day in the Light. We give thanks for the breath in our lungs, the earth below our feet, and the stars above us. We give thanks for the life we have lived, the things we have learned, and we look with hopeful eyes toward the horizons we’ve yet to reach.
I want to speak today about fear. It is a personal subject, a darkness which brushes each of us indiscriminately. Fear is a tool of survival, and should be nothing more. Fear is one of the last remaining chains on humanity, what keeps us from “boldly going,” and from healing the open wounds in the world around us. Fear is what makes us distrustful of one another. Fear is what stokes war, and perpetuates prejudice. Fear is what keeps people silent when they should speak, keeps them home when they should take up the banner, keeps their heads down and their eyes blind.
All around us are reminders to fight fear. In ‘Dune,’ it’s, “Fear is the mind killer.” FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is Fear itself.” In Star Wars, fear is a path to the Dark Side. In the Bible, the most repeated phrase is, “Fear not.” Every great story involves the mastery of fear– because it is so important to becoming the powerful forces we are meant to be.
What is fear to us? Why does it hold such sway? The root of all fear, I believe, lies in the fear of death– either literally or the metaphorical loss of what one considers one’s life. While the means by which death might find us can be frightening, death itself is only frightening if you think it means the end of you. Death marks the end of the body– your atoms and borrowed energy will be returned to the Earth and recycled in the ongoing ecosystem of life– but death does not mark the end of the soul, merely the release of it. The part of you which is not of this world, the part capable of thinking beyond it, the part which feels the pull of the Light and the threat of Darkness, the part which longs for connection, knowledge, and meaning– this part of you was not born of the Earth. Therefore, what is fear to a soul of Light? Whatever this world may do to you, keep your heart turned toward the Light, and there is nothing that can touch your soul.
When we consciously work to put fear in its place, to remind ourselves it is a part of our survivalist brain, and not part of our greater being, we can become powerful forces for Light. There is a reason we are commanded not to fear, for fear is what keeps us from being the Light’s hand in the world. We are soldiers and peacemakers, seekers and teachers; there is no place for fear in a life of Light. Fear will keep us from reaching the ones who need the Light most. Fear will keep peace from taking root. Fear makes us distrust anything that is different, and in this wild and varied universe, everything is unique– to fear difference is to fear everything. The brilliant variety of Life is its strength, just as the diversity of humanity is what makes it enduringly beautiful, despite its pain. We are each part of this marvelous expanse. Let us reach for it with wondering and compassionate hands, lest fear be met with fear.
Amen and namaste.