Monday, May 22, 2017

The Fable of THE FEAR

"There's one thing that humans do better than any species we've met. When we're faced with a common threat, we put our differences aside and try to cooperate." Jonathan Archer, Star Trek, Enterprise, "United"
"So first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inauguration Speech, March 4 1933
They knew it was coming. They saw it looming, or perhaps as so many would later admit, they should have. The town would soon be besieged, their peaceful existence would become a nightmare of darkness they had witnessed occur in so many neighboring communities.

Some had already been touched or besieged by the affliction. THE FEAR would soon overtake the seemingly tiny little hamlet. Although not an insignificant dot on the map - the town was actually a small city - it was large enough to be a target of the attack yet small enough that word would spread quickly as more and more of the population would be afflicted.

One by one the townspeople began to isolate. They isolated from each other, they isolated from the neighboring towns and villages and even began to withdraw from themselves, from their lives. They had been existing in a state of fear for so long many of them had forgotten what they were afraid of, exactly. They knew it was something terrible. It had to be.

It had all begun with a plague, or a similar menace. At first it afflicted the young adults, in equal measure among the boys and girls. There had been rumors about some of the youth coming back from traveling far off to unknown lands to experience something different from what they had known in their little city, only to be racked upon their return by something nobody in the town could explain.

They had been warned about venturing out to experience experiences, live lives and face their worst fears and demons the elders had told them would destroy them.

Others said it began with THEM, a group of outsiders bringing with them the NEW. They seemed to look different, talk differently, even dress differently. They tried to fit in and when the NEW realized the town was too full of THE FEAR the NEW became fearful. The NEW isolated from the townspeople who had already begun to retrench after noticing the effect the NEW was having on the youth. The youth were changing. The youth and even some of the elders were drifting away from everything the community held true and dear.

But it wasn't the NEW, it wasn't even the needs of youth to experience, to live life and sometimes in doing so to stumble desperately and despairingly into hellish vortices sometimes impossible to escape.

It wasn't actually any one thing that contributed to the crumbling of the town's culture and cohesion but once the divide began, THE FEAR saw an opportunity to pounce.

Many of them had forgotten what they were afraid of, exactly.

Now those who were directly affected saw the other townspeople moving away from them, friends would reach out but would soon grow tired of the drama THE FEAR brought with it. The families struck down were the first to feel the brunt of the effects of THE FEAR.

The rest of the city dwellers were committed to fighting the scourge. They decided they would begin an attack of everything unknown, anything odd and mostly things that would threaten what they would consider important to their values.

Even though many of them had forgotten what they were afraid of, exactly.

So they fought what they were perceiving. They began by increasing the commitment to isolation. They built walls - walls around the town, around their homes, businesses, schools. These were the walls of brick and mortar and of thought and mind and soul. And as the walls continued to rise these constructs fed THE FEAR.

Soon, on the coattails of all this, THE ANGER entered the small city and that moment, as many of the townspeople would later remember, marked the point of no return - or so they thought.

All the isolation led to disconnectedness, division, further divides and distrust among the dwellers. A dark cloud settled above the city and refused to leave. The sun never shone, the moon no longer blanketed the town with its ethereal comfort. Ideas were forgotten, imagination gave way to constant dread and consternation. The safe way became the only way - the status quo, maintaining one's current station was the only goal.

THE FEAR was winning. The townspeople became united in self interest.

This continued for months until one day one of the children of the small city began to cry. Nobody had cried since even before the dark cloud's arrival, nobody dared to. Crying meant that you cared. Crying would signal discontent regarding the current state of affairs. This would be anarchic and rebellious. Crying would signal a desire for something different than the current existence was allowing. Crying would signal a profound longing for something NEW.

Then, the crying of the child stopped. There was a silence upon the silence forced upon the city for many months, perhaps even years. This silence was one of those deafening stillnesses portending a momentous change. The wind even seemed to take a breath. The air stopped, chilled a bit. A small sliver of sunlight seemed to pierce the seemingly never-ending cloud canopy. Everyone in the town listened for what they knew would be a sign of a worsening of the darkness. They listened, and from the tallest bell tower in the town's center, they heard the words of the small child whose crying had stopped just hours before.

"I can't live like this anymore!" she called out in a low yet piercing voice that projected throughout the town.

The sight of this young soul and her courageous outpouring of a truth nobody had dared to voice began to have an effect on the people of the small city. Some too, began to cry. Some buckled in their tracks, both exhausted and relieved that someone had finally given voice to a truth most were afraid to even think about. Some smiled for the first time in many months, perhaps even years. The people of the town began to emerge from their homes, from their isolation. They began to wander, to enjoy the town's sites, the parks, beautiful still though in disrepair after the long neglect. Almost mindlessly they began to see each other for the first time in anyone's recent recollection. The NEW apprehensively peered out from their homes and saw the townspeople beckoning to join them.

You see, many of them had forgotten what they had been afraid of, exactly.

On that day there was a joining of souls for the soul purpose of living life, experiencing what is out there to be experienced, not to be avoided. The cloud lifted, and THE FEAR, with nobody engaged in devoting energy to hate, prejudice and intolerance, THE FEAR left the town.

Slowly, with not a little trepidation, the townspeople began to embrace THE NEW and a new life devoted to learning and yearning for the adventures that living life to its fullest brings. They began to trust that without depending on THE FEAR to control their lives they could survive, missteps and all. They took plunges into the unknown, leapt into new ventures and adventures, took chances, smiled, laughed and cried. They experienced victories, defeats, setbacks and breakthroughs.

They trusted in life and in each other, yet they knew THE FEAR could re-emerge at any time if they did not remain vigilant in their desire for joy, life and happiness.

In the town square stands to this day a statue commemorating the little girl who had the courage to cry out and declare she wanted more from life than any dark energy would allow. The Statue of the Crying Girl with the one tear descending her left cheek stands as a reminder for the townspeople to remain steadfast in their pursuit of both life's joys and desperations.

And with its new-found courage and commitment to embracing THE NEW, the unknown and unfamiliar, the small city never again witnessed THE FEAR enveloping their lives. The dark cloud never settled above the city and refused to leave. The daytime sun always shone with its comforting warmth and the nighttime moon forever blanketed the town with its ethereal, loving comfort.

. . . keep coming back

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less." ~ Madame Marie Curie 
"Although we have been made to believe that if we let go we will end up with nothing, life reveals just the opposite: that letting go is the real path to freedom." ~ Sogyal Rinpoche