Hope & Fear

“The problem with hope is that it is a cover for fear.” When I first encountered this line in Steps to Knowledge by Marshall Vian Summers I was struck by the honesty of it and how contrary it is to how we typically hold hope as a very positive and desirable mental state. Hope is often held as the light at the end of the tunnel but is it really?

We’re aware of the problem of being in a state of fear – the anxiety and warped thinking it generates, the mental and emotional anguish, the irrational and destructive behavior that can ensue. Yet many of us clamor to get to a state of hope because it represents the possibility of something better. Yet hope is a response to fear and as such it keeps us mentally tied to fear, trying to hide it or hide from it.

Fear is like prison bars around the mind and hope is like lovely wallpaper we hang on those bars. It might make us feel better to be looking at wallpaper pictures of roses but when we’re in a state of hope we’re still mentally trapped in a prison of fear but now have hidden the prison bars from our view. It may look nice but really its a step back from escaping the prison of fear because now we don’t recognize the prison bars behind the pretty paper we’ve hung up in our minds.

So what’s the alternative to the fear hope mental state? Accessing the Knowing Mind or Knowledge – the deeper mind within that is not swayed by fear or preference. Many spiritual traditions speak to this inner knowing mind or mental state and there are many pathways to accessing it and being aligned with Knowledge as a way of being in the world. Yet Steps to Knowledge offers a direct and accessible pathway to cultivating awareness of this Knowing Mind and proves simple steps to walk away from the prison of fear into the light of true mental freedom.

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