Philosopher Michel de Montaigne once confessed: "The thing I fear most is fear." Fear casts its dark shadow over our lives at one time or another. We are prone to fear almost instinctively. We are afraid of the future, afraid of poverty, afraid of unemployment, afraid of dishonour and disgrace, afraid of disease and death — it seems to me we are afraid of life itself!
Fear is the starting point for all evil. Fear gives rise to all our misfortunes. Living in constant fear saps our vital energies, leaving us too drained and exhausted to savour the joy of life. Fear paralyses the mind, even as a stroke paralyses the body. It strikes at the nervous system; it causes stress and tension. It undermines our well-being. Worst of all, it robs us of happiness and destroys our peace of mind. Do you wish to overcome your fears and phobias? There are two options open to you. One is to submit to your fears, allow yourself to be overwhelmed by them, making your life miserable in the process.
The other option — the wiser alternative — is to conquer your fears, with God's help. When you do this, you achieve a remarkable victory that can change your life. This victory is not the prerogative of the holy, the mighty and the brave. All of us have the potential to achieve it.
How can you free yourself from the clutches of fear? The first step is to become aware that fear, like all other human weaknesses, is removable. You acquired it somewhere along the way. Whatever it was, fear is removable.
Are you prone to anger and irritation? These can be removed. Are you given to bouts of depression and despair? These are removable. Do you suffer from inferiority complex? It is also removable! The important thing is for you to realise that you are not condemned to live with fear all your life. Once you realise this fact, you can begin to work on the process of actually removing it. This is possible through faith in God and self-discipline. Therefore, cultivate the will to be unafraid — create your own mental sunshine!
(Dada J.P. Vaswani is humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader.)