Jason Miller recently committed the blasphemy of suggesting that the Litany against fear has been over-done in most modern cultural references, and as much as I love my brother, I take offense at that particular implication, because my brothers and sisters, this one can never be over-done.
Can you say it with me? From memory?
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Why the fuck is this the thing it is? Why is it so important that it gets brought up by every would-be mystic god-king of their own lives? Why is it so damned important to us?
Well in point of fact, it addresses the most basic issue that stops all of y'all from doing the things that you're capable of accomplishing if you'd just get over that shit. And I'm saying that because I use it all the frickin' time, and it has LITERALLY changed the course of my life.
Before every interview for jobs I wasn't qualified to perform, I said that motherfucker.
Before every date I wasn't qualified to attend, I said that motherfucker.
Before rituals, before turning in tests for esoteric orders, before going into some scary-looking initiations, I said that motherfucker.
Because fear is the thing that stops everyone. It is the core of every problem every woman and every man upon the Earth faces.
And it's even worse than I ever thought it was when I was just using this litany thing for mundane tasks. I started meditating a couple years ago. I put my usual all into it, and I became a pro right away. That is, it took a couple of years to see the real fruit that comes from regular meditative practice.
I found the thing in my head that's always talking. The part that just. won't. shut. the. fuck. up.
And if you haven't found that part of yourself, start meditating. It's key to that whole "know thyself" thing that people pretend isn't Western Mystery Tradition.
So you know what that little thing is saying most of the time? It usually starts with "What if..."
What if she's sleeping with someone else? What if they're going to end your contract? What if your ex is abusing the kids? What if your choices are screwing up your kids lives? What if you screwed up that one kid forever? What if they figure out you're making this crap up as you go along? What if you're wrong?
What if you're wrong? What if you're wrong? What if you're totally and completely wrong?
It's not fear, even. It's just anxiety. And it's vital to humanity's existence. We need fear like we need to breathe. It keeps us alive. It focuses our awareness to the things we need to pay attention to so we don't fuck our lives up a lot more. We need fear. It is our first warning system. Fear is a tool.
But it triggers too big of a response, as anyone who's had to go through a panic attack, or lived with people prone to them can testify. Uncontrolled fear is crippling, and it's rarely in proportion to the crap we have to deal with. We're still evolving past the animal instincts, and it's a necessary thing to get over those aspects of what we are.
I like the idea that we're extensions of a cosmic consciousness, and we're all nodal consciousnesses plugged into some convenient monkey bodies who managed to contact our immortal spirits through the convenient interface of hallucinogenic fungus, but I don't talk about that a lot because it's cray-cray.
So to use fear as the tool it should be, we need things like the Litany. It friggin' works. It gives you something to do to calm down the monkey mind and let you think. It can get you out of bed in the morning. It can get you through the job interview. It can get you to talk pirate to the lover you want to bed. It can shut down all those "what ifs" the monkey mind throws at us, and gets us to a point where we can take a look at the actual situation without all the exaggerated crap that the triggered fear response tries to make of it.
It puts us in a place where we can take control of a situation in which we are otherwise victims.