Ajahn Brahm wrote:
“The possibilities for the future are infinite. When we focus on the unfortunate possibilities, that’s called fear. When we remember the other possibilities, which are usually more likely, that’s called freedom from fear.”
People are blinded by fear. Brahm recounted a story about a speech he was to give in Singapore. At the time there was an epidemic rampant in that country. The authorities wanted to cancel the event in order to avoid the illness. Bram calmly calculated the odds against contracting the illness, which were about four million to one, he said that with those odds, it would be foolish to cancel.
At each lecture, more and more people arrived and there were no cases reported through an entire week of lectures.
We do not think when we panic. We do not calculate when we let fear rob us of reason. In Ajahn Brahm’s reasoning fear is foolish as well as out of place in human endeavor.
Brahm is a Buddhist, yet his reasoned argument has application beyond religion.
Let’s look at the politics of fear in the United States. As a clergyman I have to be non-partisan and I am, (publicly). But the issue is how we participate as an electorate. Political candidates pander to our baser instincts and our fears tell us that we are threatened as a nation by immigrants and the unfamiliar, by things we cannot control. Yet, reason tells us that the odds are against fear.
Our faiths tell us the same thing.
Of the readings in sacred texts of a variety of religions, we can read the words, “Do not be afraid”, more times than I can count.
If we are consistent as faithful people, we will not et fears decide our future, s individuals or as a people.
What do you think?