From Used with permission.

Fear is a very potent emotion. Since the September 11 attacks, every aspect of daily life seems to be polluted by it. Through its power of suggestion, we find ourselves running various scenarios of death and destruction in our minds.

Fear plays upon our natural feelings of vulnerability and turns them into expectations that another terrorist attack is about to happen. The concerns first voiced by children on the day of the attacks--Is my house safe? Will something bad happen to me and those I love?--are now coming out of the mouths of people of all ages.

Every day news stories about real and rumored terrorist threats feed our paranoia. The President warns that the country is still in danger. Law enforcement officers are on "high alert," and citizens are being asked to go about their daily business but to watch out for "suspicious behavior." The Al Qaeda terrorist network tells Muslims not to fly or live in tall buildings. Anthrax shows up in the mail in Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, reports about the bombing of Afghanistan and anti-war demonstrations around the world make us fearful of where the "war on terrorism" might take us. The feelings of empathy, unity, and compassion, so strong in the days after the attacks, are gradually being subsumed by the addictive nature of fear.

Recovery programs say that it takes three weeks--21 days--to break a bad habit or to start a new practice. To help you cope with runaway fears, we have collected 21 "Fear Busters," nuggets of spiritual wisdom coupled with simple exercises that you can do to work with any fears you may be wrestling with. We encourage you to check in daily and break the fear habit.

Fear Buster #1

When we are in fear, we focus all our attention on the point of danger and lose our capacity to find any courage, sanity, or peace within ourselves.... Perhaps this is why, in the Christian New Testament, the phrase "be not afraid" is found more than three hundred times.

— Wayne Muller

Legacy of the Heart

To Practice:

Repeat "be not afraid" to yourself as you are walking around town.

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