I’m reading a great book, a classic in spirituality—Autobiography of a Yogi. Growing up in a Christian home and going to a parochial school, I was discouraged from reading things outside of what others determined was the correct way of thinking. So I didn’t read things that they told me might pollute my understanding of God. I was young. Who was I to argue? The fear of eternal damnation hovered over me like a judge’s gavel.
Ignorance is bliss is the old adage. But now I believe ignorance is misery, and misery loves company.
The ignorance of religion is that it tells you that God is inconceivable but then proposes it knows the truth about God, what God is, what God wants, and what God has in store for you if you don’t do as you are told.
Sometimes ignorance can be blissful. To have concrete answers when you don’t even know if you’re asking the right questions gives one a false sense of security. We like things to be solid and concrete. We like facts. We like truth. We like what is known, even if it isn’t totally true. The unknown, like the darkness is fearful.
People who are the most fearful are those who cling so tightly to concrete things that they are unreasonable to the point of ridiculous. The first two things that come to mind are guns and the Bible. “The only way you’re going to get my gun is to pry it out of my cold dead hand.” Or, “You’d better believe my Bible is right or I’ll beat you to death with it.” I have a couple of guns and I have more Bibles than most. But I’ll gladly and openly communicate about the good and bad aspects of having either of them. You don’t have to worry about guns or the Bible in the hands of people who are not living in constant fear or anger.
The unknown. The darkness. Fear. How do you conquer it?
(1) Educate yourself. If you are afraid of something, it’s because you don’t know enough about it. Choose to eliminate fear by identifying what you think is being threatened. I was afraid of things outside Christianity because I didn’t know anything about the teachings of others. The people who taught me were ignorant about things outside the box. Fear kept us all inside a box. Learn from the wisdom of others that guides them toward reaching their potential. You may find you share more in common than you realize. Is the potential threat immediate, future, or imaginary?
(2) Know yourself. Learn the difference between the Ego and the ego. Ego is the “I AM” while ego is the “i am.” The Ego lives in the heart while the ego lives in the head. Meditate. Spend time listening. Listen more than you speak. Elijah could only hear God in the stillness, when he was in the crevice of a mountainside, between a rock and a hard place.
(3) Believe that you have all the answers you need today to do what is good and right. Trust that the Universe is advancing toward goodness and harmony in spite of the media’s attempts to prove it’s all falling apart. Work with the Universe. As Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
(4) Work on improving yourself. The world around you will change as you become the best you that you can be. Recognize that what you do today will change your world tomorrow. Use today to sow positive energy in each person and situation you face. You will reap what you sow. It’s the law of the Universe. Trust it. Be grateful for it. Use it to build a brighter future.
(5) Exercise faith. Notice that I said ‘exercise’ faith, not ‘have’ faith. Faith is not knowledge you possess. Faith is trust that empowers action. Faith is confidence. Faith is determination. Faith is commitment. Real faith is seen by the action that is exerted. That’s why Jesus said faith can move mountains. If you have trust that empowers action, confidence, determination, commitment—you can move a mountain, even if it’s only as big as a mustard seed. That’s all the faith you need to take the first step.
If fear is one of your mountains, exercise faith and do something about it. Educate yourself, take the time to determine what it is you really fear, decide if your desires coincide with peace/harmony/love, be the best you can be, sow love and goodness, take the first step. The darkness will subside, the unknown will become known, and you will have been the light that overcame the darkness and conquered the unknown.