“We may see from all this that to attempt to seek a cure for fear in reason is foredoomed to failure, because fear lies in a region that is behind all reason. It exists in the depth of the spirit, as in the fallen gloom of the glimmering sea-deeps, and it can be touched by no activity of life and joy and sunlight on the surface, where the speeding sail moves past wind-swept headlands. We must follow it into those depths if we are to deal with it at all, and it must be vanquished in the region where it is born, and where it skulks unseen.”
– Arthur Christopher Benson
Darkly Bright Press offers this excellent study of Fear and its cure as a free, printable PDF. See Below.
Where No Fear Was begins with general observations of the phenomenon of fear, continues though a concentrated look into how fears develop and change over the course of a person’s life, followed with a series of case studies from historical personalities and concludes with a meditation on serenity, the opposite of this common malady. This classic volume is not a specialized study into psychology, nor is it a tome of philosophical abstractions. Rather, Benson presents the topic with simplicity and straightforwardness, and does so with a patient voice that exhibits both practicality in the face of fear and experience in the struggle with it. In its pages, we meet a man who is perceptive and sympathetic toward his reader as a fellow sufferer and laborer.
Concerning the importance of work and prayer as ongoing salves, Benson writes: “We may pray for courage, but we must practise it… The truth is that we are made for labour, and we have by no means got rid of the necessity for it.” And, again: “The old motto says, Orare est laborare: Prayer is work—and it is no less true that laborare est orare: work is prayer.”
In times of stress and anxiety, a careful look into how previous generations handled difficulty is in itself beneficial. Often, it produces gratitude, for we may often come to understand that our own circumstances, though unique, are not as dire as events from forefathers’ lives. Yet, for our own sakes, we have been placed in these times for an ineffable purpose. Our personal struggle against fear will lead us to salvation.
“The real basis for all deep-seated fear about life is the fear that one will not be dealt with either lovingly or justly. But we have to make a simple choice as to what we will believe, and the only hope is to believe that immediate harshness and injustice is not ultimately inconsistent with Love.”
Download Where No Fear Was by Arthur Christopher Benson (1914)
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