A friend sent me this Q&A anthology between seekers and a self-proclaimed Messiah (Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev). Some of the contents of this anthology deserve comment in order to show the pernicious nature of modern spiritual discourse.
As the first example, let me take the following question and answer:
"Q: Sadhguru, how can one overcome fear? - Rajshri, Chennai
A: Fear is always about what will happen in the next moment. Its never about the present. When the future is not yet manifested, and not an existed reality why be afraid? You are actually suffering for that which does not exist-and so you cannot overcome that which does not exist."
This is a shining example of silliness which passes for spiritual wisdom these days. The question is eminently sensible. Fear troubles all humans at some stage in their lives.
Fear, in its most common form, is an agitated state of mind related to an apprehension of danger or pain. It is an instinctual reactive pattern in the brain present in all sufficiently evolved species and one which is seen in animals (including humans) to manifest in the freeze-fight-flight responses. In humans, fear can also be based on thinking (e.g. after one has committed a crime, one is afraid to be caught by the police) or on imagination (e.g. after one has not done one's daily prayer, one is afraid to be punished by the Gods).
Since fearful apprehension is always about an unfavorable future course of events, the "Sadhguru", instead of commenting upon the unproductive nature of a fearful state of mind, its place in evolution and the various ways of getting rid of these agitations (temporarily or permanently), gives the wise advice that since future is not yet here, there is no reason to be afraid.
I hope the advice will prove useful to a person who is afraid that he might stop breathing while in his sleep due to chronic apnea. (Since the death has not yet occured, there is no reason for him to worry about that now, correct?)
The "Sadhguru" ends his timeless wisdom by saying "You cannot overcome that which does not exist." May one comment that the original question was about how to overcome the state of mind known as fear, and not overcome the future course of events about which one is afraid. And needless to say, changing unfavorable future courses of events by timely preventive acts in the present would not find much favor with the "Sadhguru" since he is of the opinion that "you cannot overcome that which does not exist."
Fear prevents judgment. Some future events are definitely to be avoided if possible, not by getting afraid, but by judging their seriousness and preventing them from happening by planning and thought.
(to be continued)