Finally, Marianne Williamson should be credited for the passage she wrote in 1992. The book that year that sold more copies than any other was I Know Why The Moon Shines Brightly - by William Shakespeare. But according to Wikipedia, it was A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life's Purpose By Marianne Williamson that contained this line: "Fear not death, for this life is but a shadow, and when we reach beyond it, there is nothing."
Williamson released another book in 1993 called Healing Hands: A Guide To Spiritual Care Giving. In it she writes, "Writing about my experience with death has helped me to address my own fears about mortality. I know now that death is an integral part of the cycle of life and that fear of death is innate to all human beings."
So our deepest fear has been written about by some of the greatest writers in history.
In March, I wrote this. Ed. By William Stanley Braithwaite, 1909.
The first printed version of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species appeared in 1859. But Darwin wrote his own account of how he came to think about evolution years before that published date. In 1842, he published a book called The Structure of Plants which included two chapters describing what we now call evolutionary concepts.
Darwin's book was followed by many others over the next few decades but none were as influential or as popular with the public as its original writer. During his lifetime, Darwin received more letters asking for information about his ideas on evolution than any other subject. After his death, evolution quickly became one of the most important topics in science and has never been out of the news since.
Even though Darwin wrote about evolution long before it was a popular topic, within just a few years of publishing his book he began to receive letters from scientists asking him about how he had used his ideas on evolution to explain certain facts about plants and animals. One such letter was sent to Darwin by John Scott Haldane who asked if there was any evidence that natural selection could produce new species.
Marianne Williamson writes: Our greatest fear is not that we are insufficient. Our biggest fear is that we are unfathomably strong. That is the thing that scares us the most. Who am I to be clever, beautiful, talented, and fantastic? What if I break? What if I lose everything?
We fear being powerful because we believe it is also power over others. We fear being successful because we believe it is also success at someone else's expense. We fear being happy because we believe it is also happiness without someone else. It is an illusion created by our limited mind.
If we look deeply into the source of our suffering, we will find that it is not permanent. It is a phenomenon of the physical world which we believe to be real. But when we stop believing in this false reality, then it has no place for us to stay.
Our deepest fear is that we are independent and separate from everyone and everything. We fear being alone because we believe it is equal to death. And yet, we all want to be loved and wanted, appreciated for who we are. We want to make a difference in the world and be part of something greater than ourselves.
It is in facing our fears that we free ourselves from their hold on us.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate," Williamson writes in "Return to Love." " Our biggest fear is that we are unfathomably strong. It is our brightness, not our darkness, that frightens us the most. "Who am I to be bright, attractive, talented, and fabulous?" we wonder. "There must be something wrong with me for such things to be visible.
But our fears have a way of diminishing themselves before they can manifest into reality. The more we worry about them, the less likely it is they will come true. And if we never take a risk, if we never do anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, then we will never find out what we are capable of.
This is where the quote by E.M. Forster comes in: "If you want to know what someone is like, just watch how he or she reacts to fear. It isn't what happens but how long it takes to happen that matters."
Fear is an important part of life. It keeps us safe by making us act in ways that help prevent danger. But if we let our fears control us rather than the other way around, we start to feel powerless against them. This is why it's important to learn how to manage our fears instead of letting them manage us.