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In the April 2, 2001 issue of Time Magazine, there is an article listing over 4,000 different types of fear.  

But it all boils down to just 2 things:  Will I be OK, and what will people think of me?

 

Will I Be OK?

What will People Think of Me?

Money

Friends

Health, Injury, Pain

Bosses

Children

Parents

Environment

Baha’i Community

Schedules

God

Cars

Education

Food

Criticism

Safety

Acceptance

Pets

Failure

Phobias

Looking silly or stupid and being laughed at

Tomorrow

Bullying

The Unknown

Divorce

 

The Baha’i Writings give us a glimmer into some of the things we’re afraid of, and how to understand the reality of our fears so that we can look at them differently.

Will I be OK?

Annihilation:

The conception of annihilation is a factor in human degradation, a cause of human debasement and lowliness, a source of human fear and abjection. It has been conducive to the dispersion and weakening of human thought . . . If he dwells upon the thought of non-existence he will become utterly incompetent; with weakened will-power his ambition for progress will be lessened and the acquisition of human virtues will cease.  (Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 265-266)

Danger:

Bahá’ís should make it absolutely clear that we do not fear being placed in danger, and are not asking to be given a safe berth in hours of national crisis — quite the contrary — any dangerous service the Bahá’ís can render their fellow-men during the agonies of war, they should be anxious to accept.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha’i Community, p. 259)

If thou didst hear the Call yet fear and the desire to preserve thy life prompted thee to remain heedless to it, thou art such a person as hath never been nor is worthy of mention; if thou hast not heard it, then thou art bereft of the sense of hearing.’ In brief, such men are they whose words are the pride of the world, and whose deeds are the shame of the nations.  (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 61)

 Death:

In the path of their Lord they shall not fear for their lives; rather will they sacrifice their all in their eagerness to behold the face of their Well-Beloved when once He hath appeared in this Name, the Almighty, the All-Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Most Holy.  (Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 8)

All men are in God’s hands, and even if they do get killed we know there is another life beyond this that can hold great hope and happiness for the soul.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 237)

Thou art My dominion and My dominion perisheth not; wherefore fearest thou thy perishing? Thou art My light and My light shall never be extinguished; why dost thou dread extinction? Thou art My glory and My glory fadeth not; thou art My robe and My robe shall never be outworn. Abide then in thy love for Me, that thou mayest find Me in the realm of glory.  (Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, Arabic 14)

Through his ignorance, man fears death; but the death he shrinks from is imaginary and absolutely unreal; it is only human imagination.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 264)

Economic downturns:

He hopes that the friends will display a certain amount of faith and courage and not fear present economic conditions. We should not let financial considerations hamper our work and discourage us in rendering our services. (Shoghi Effendi, Extracts from the USBN)

Evil:

Fear not the manifestations of the Evil One.  (Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 9)

Future:

The Bahá’ís all over the world are subject sometimes to suffering, along with their fellow-men. Whatever vicissitudes befall their country, they will be protected though, and watched over by Bahá’u’lláh, and should not fear the future but rather fear any failure on their part to carry out the work of His Cause.   (Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 202)

God’s Laws:

Were His law to be such as to strike terror into the hearts of all that are in heaven and on earth, that law is naught but manifest justice. The fears and agitation which the revelation of this law provoke in men’s hearts should indeed be likened to the cries of the sucking babe weaned from his mother’s milk, if ye be of them that perceive.  (Baha’u’llah, Principles of Bahá’í Administration, p. 6)

Happenings of the World:

O sincere servant of the True One! I hear thou art grieved and distressed at the happenings of the world and the vicissitudes of fortune. Wherefore this fear and sorrow? The true lovers of the Abha Beauty, and they that have quaffed the Cup of the Covenant fear no calamity, nor feel depressed in the hour of trial. They regard the fire of adversity as their garden of delight, and the depth of the sea the expanse of heaven.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 309)

Ignorance:

Fear not the ignorant.  (Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 16)

Materialism:

In earthly riches fear is hidden and peril is concealed. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 219)

Poor people:

Fear the sighs of the poor and of the upright in heart who, at every break of day, bewail their plight, and be unto them a benignant sovereign. They, verily, are thy treasures on earth. It behoveth thee, therefore, to safeguard thy treasures from the assaults of them who wish to rob thee. Inquire into their affairs, and ascertain, every year, nay every month, their condition, and be not of them that are careless of their duty.    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 236)

Poverty:

The fear of poverty should not deter them from sacrificing for the Fund, and that the assistance and bounty of the Source of all good and of all wealth are unfailing and assured.  (Universal House of Justice, NSA USA – Developing Distinctive Baha’i Communities)

 Separation from God:

Thou seest, O Lord my God, the tears of Thy favored ones, shed because of their separation from Thee, and the fears of Thy devoted ones in their remoteness from Thy Holy Court.  (Baha’u’llah, Baha’i Prayers, p. 145)

 

What will Others think of Me?

Abasement:

Fear not abasement, for glory shall one day rest on thee.  (Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, Arabic 53)

Attacks to the Faith:

The recent articles attacking the Cause are a sign that its influence is sufficiently felt to be feared — a great compliment to the progress you are making in spreading the message!  (Shoghi Effendi, Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand, p. 59)

Blame:

The blame of the blamer shall they not fear.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 51)

Consultation:

They must also learn to really make use of the great principle of consultation. There is a time set aside at the Nineteen Day Feasts for the Community to express its views and make suggestions to its Assembly; the Assembly and the believers should look forward to this happy period of discussion, and neither fear it nor suppress it. (Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 452)

Discord:

Guard ye the Cause of God, protect His law and have the utmost fear of discord. This is the foundation of the belief of the people of Baha.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 172)

Ignorance:

Fear not the ignorant.  (Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 16)

Making mistakes:

It is indeed time for audacious action undeterred by a fear of mistakes, fired by the urgency of ministering to the pressing needs of humanity.  (Universal House of Justice, Unlocking the Power of Action)

Opposition:

There is no need to fear opposition from without if the life within be sound and vigorous. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 417)

Others:

. . . let the fear of no one dismay Thee, and be Thou not of them that waver. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Promised Day is Come, p. 24-25)

Punishment:

In the conduct of life, man is actuated by two main motives: ‘The Hope for Reward’ and ‘The Fear of Punishment’.    (Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 157)

See then how wide is the difference between material civilization and divine. With force and punishments, material civilization seeketh to restrain the people from mischief, from inflicting harm on society and committing crimes. But in a divine civilization, the individual is so conditioned that with no fear of punishment, he shunneth the perpetration of crimes, seeth the crime itself as the severest of torments, and with alacrity and joy, setteth himself to acquiring the virtues of humankind, to furthering human progress, and to spreading light across the world.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 132-33)

Rejection:

We must not allow the fear of rejection by our friends and neighbours to deter us from our goal to live the Bahá’í life.  (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 528)

Knowing our station:

Were We to reveal thy station, the hearts of men would be sorely agitated, their footsteps would slip, the embodiments of vain-glory would be dumbfounded, would fall down upon the ground, and would thrust the fingers of heedlessness into their ears, for fear of hearing.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 207)

Teaching:

Warn and acquaint the people, O Servant, with the things We have sent down unto Thee, and let the fear of no one dismay Thee, and be Thou not of them that waver. The day is approaching when God will have exalted His Cause and magnified His testimony in the eyes of all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth. Place, in all circumstances, Thy whole trust in Thy Lord, and fix Thy gaze upon Him, and turn away from all them that repudiate His truth. Let God, Thy Lord, be Thy sufficing succorer and helper. We have pledged Ourselves to secure Thy triumph upon earth and to exalt Our Cause above all men, though no king be found who would turn his face towards Thee.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 248-249)

Unpopularity:

Not by merely imitating the excesses and laxity of the extravagant age they live in; not by the idle neglect of the sacred responsibilities it is their privilege to shoulder; not by the silent compromise of the principles dearly cherished by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá; not by their fear of unpopularity or their dread of censure can they hope to rouse society from its spiritual lethargy, and serve as a model to a civilization the foundations of which the corrosion of prejudice has wellnigh undermined. By the sublimity of their principles, the warmth of their love, the spotless purity of their character, and the depth of their devoutness and piety, let them demonstrate to their fellow-countrymen the ennobling reality of a power that shall weld a disrupted world.  We can prove ourselves worthy of our Cause only if in our individual conduct and corporate life we sedulously imitate the example of our beloved Master, Whom the terrors of tyranny, the storms of incessant abuse, the oppressiveness of humiliation, never caused to deviate a hair’s breadth from the revealed Law of Bahá’u’lláh.  (Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, p. 131-32)

For More in this Series:

What is Fear? 

Reactions to Fear 

Fight, Flight or Freeze

Doubt and Fear  

What is the Purpose of Fear?

What about the Fear of God? 

What Makes us Susceptible to Fear?

Understanding the Link Between Fear and Sin 

Overcoming Fear – Introduction 

Overcoming Fear By Turning to God

Overcoming Fear with Prayer

Overcoming Fear By Reading the Writings

Overcoming Fear By Focusing on the Virtues 

Overcoming Fear Through Love

Overcoming Fear with Faith

Overcoming Fear with Patience

Overcoming Fear through Courage

Overcoming Fear through Teaching and Service

Overcoming Fear By Changing your Thoughts

Overcoming Fear through Forgiveness

Overcoming Fear through Using Role Models

Overcoming Fear through Tests and Difficulties

What Can Others Do, To Help Those Who Are Afraid?

 Prayers to Eliminate Fear

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