There’s legitimate fear and there’s illegitimate fear, in my view. Legitimate fear is your mind, or even Knowledge, alerting you to the presence of danger. It’s a natural response. If in reality, it’s occurring, it’s appropriate response.
So never think that fear is something that you have to overcome or shouldn’t have because you’ll become really dishonest and disassociated with yourself if you say that. Because fear is really—if it’s legitimate, if it’s dealing with something real and authentic—then is serving you and you need it.
Illegitimate fear, which accounts for probably 95% of our fear, is the fear of our imagining, imagined fear, the fear of: This could happen to me; that could happen. What if this happens? What if that happens?
That’s all self created, okay? You’re not dealing with the situation that is presenting that to you directly.
And then there’s the fear of not having. Will I ever have a relationship? Will I ever get out of this situation? Well, some of that is practical and authentic, and some of it is not.
So never think that you have to replace fear with love because that love will be nothing more than fear in disguise. People get into that state of mind and underneath them, they’re terribly afraid of losing whatever it is they have or think they want to have. It’s corrupt; it’s not the real thing.
So better to be honest, but also to look at fear and say, “Is there something I really need to be concerned about here for myself, either now or in the future? Or my friend? Or the person I love? Or my children, or anyone?”
I listen to my fear. And if it persists, then I think, “Ah, okay, this is not just a moment of, you know, fearful imagination. Am I really feeling something I need to pay attention to?”
And so you know, you’re getting signs on the inside of problems that will emerge within you or for you, and you’re getting them even as you approach this, okay?
So you listen to those signs, I mean, objectively. You can write them down, walk around them—maybe come back and see if they get bigger or smaller. If they get…if they’re just a momentary kind of feeling you had, or if there’s really something there you need to pay attention to. This is watching your own experience in a very objective way. And I think the times really call for this, extraordinarily.
But this is kind of how you learn to be with yourself. You know your personal mind is easily upset, easily frightened, and carries a great deal of persistent fear—mostly the fear of not having or the fear of losing what you have or the fear of never having what you want. And when you boil all fears down that are imaginative, they all come down to those elements.
So the mind does that—the personal mind. So you have to step back from that and just examine that and see “Okay, is this a flutter in my mind? Is this my mind going into it a momentary spiral? Or is there something there I need to really pay attention to?”
And one of the keys to that is if something is persistent—a persistent anxiety or persistent concern—definitely pay attention to that. Write it down. Patricia [Marshall’s wife] calls that a “truer list.” You write it down. And as you look at it frequently, it either becomes more true or less true. And that’s one of the ways you can objectify your experience without just keeping it in your own mind. Because I think writing things down and looking at them is very important.
You know, our mind is a swirl of all kinds of different forces and thoughts and influences. So when you write things down and look at them impassively, you can often see what you need to see from them. So that’s a good practice.
Marshall Vian Summers discusses here legitimate versus illegitimate fears during this time of pandemic illness and how to acknowledge and work with fears as they arise. Hear or read the Revelation “Fear and Fearlessness”.