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SOUL ISSUES: Fear and Discernment 


Rev Liz Petipren

By Reverend Liz Petipren


Many of us have been taught that the opposite of love is fear, and we should not act out of fear. Yet, does fear not help us in a situation when we need to protect our self? 

I received a direct answer to this question when I was hiking with some friends on a forest trail. As we were walking along, I suddenly noticed a rattlesnake on the path a few feet in front of me. If I had not seen it, I might have stepped on it. The moment I saw the snake, I uttered a sharp “Whoa!” and jumped back to a safe distance, all in a matter of a second. The rattlesnake slithered into the forest, and fortunately that was the end of the interaction. 

What I noticed about my experience was that I felt no fear. The whole encounter happened so fast that I did not have time to think about it or be afraid. Some wise mechanism in my body recognized danger, and it took over before I could intellectualize the experience. Perhaps if I had seen the snake at more of a distance, I might have been afraid, but it all happened too quickly for that. 

From this I learned that fear is always a projection of the mind into the future. If you examine your fears, they have nothing to do with what is happening now. They are always about bad things that might happen. If something happened that was threatening to your well-being, you, like me, would be guided as to what to do in that moment without thinking about it much or feeling afraid. 

So I learned that the answer to the question “Don’t we need to be afraid to protect our self’s?”  is no. We just have to let our natural instinct for well-being take over, and that instinct has nothing to do with fear. 

Affirmation: “I am protected by wise guidance deep within me. I need not fear.” 

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