Monday, November 15, 2010

Turn Fears to Hope

I often experience fear. Some of it is quite unjustified.  A sense of hope lifts me out of fear.

“The rose if fairest when it is budding new, hope is brightest when it dawns from fear,” wrote Walter Scott.  Similarly, U.S. President John Kennedy said in one of his inspiring addresses, “Hope shine brightly when it rises out of fear.” Whereas fear causes fatique and undermines out inner tranquility, hope gives us energy and strengthens us.

Fear is a universal emotion and manifests itself in many forms when our security is threatened.  Fear comes from uncertainty, and life itself is full of uncertainties.

Hope is a universal felling of optimism that diminishes our fears. When we are fearful of a harsh winter, hope for the coming spring, with blossoms of red, green and yellow, cheers us. When we are fearful of the future, hope provides us a vision of brighter days to come. As Ovid wrote, “our hopes are not always realistic but we must always have hope.”

Fear disturbs our inner tranquillity because it exaggerates nonexistent dangers. When one I afraid and alone in the jungle, a bush might appear like a bear and anything that rustles may cause panic.  Many of our fears are irrational.  As Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, “what begins in fear usually ends in folly.”  Rollo May cautioned that when people are fearsome, they become rigid in their thinking.

It is advantageous to be cheerful because misfortunes hardest to bear ar e those that never occurred.  A hopeful attitude is therefore soothing to the heart.  It elevates our spirits and helps us enjoy inner tranquillity.  Hope is a natural human feeling.  We look forward to a clear day though the morning is misty, and we plant perennials expecting them to flower again.  Even in a desolate place, stars still shine.  The Talmud suggests that we should hope for a miracle but not count on it.

It is best to hope for things that are possible and probable. Expecting a lovely baby is a realistic hope.  Expecting to win a lottery is an unrealistic hope.  We need hope particularly during difficult times when the whole world appears chaotic.  We need hope during sickness because impressive evidence reveals that it speeds recover.

Hope helps us to enjoy inner peace and calm; it also provides us flashes of wisdom and moments of delight.  Let us also remember that is it always morning somewhere in the world.

I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt from my book.  I will be posting more excerpts in future posts, so please come back.  Click here to buy your copy of A Book of Wisdom and Delight from Amazon today.

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