Fear of Learning

“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” -1 John 5:12

Are you a person who in most of your waking hours feels quite happy, blessed, successful and at peace? If not, you probably don’t know who you are. If there is such an entity as God, who once had a teacher/manifestation on earth named Jesus, and if you understand and believe any of his teachings, you would see that happiness and peace are your Divine right. So many of us, however, remain either ignorant or asleep to this possibility.

There’s an ancient story about a caravan of camels trekking their way across the desert. There were twenty camels. The first night they made camp the herdsman staked and tied each of the camels to the sand. The herdsman reported back that one stand and rope were missing so how could he retain the camel? The owner replied, “Oh that camel is a very stupid animal. All you need do is go near him and go through the motions of tying him to a stake. He is so ignorant he would never move away.” Sure enough in the morning the camel was there with the others. But when the herdsman untied the others to resume the trek, the untied one wouldn’t move; he still felt bound to the imagined stake and rope! So the herdsman went through the motions of untying the camel and off it followed!

I once heard the late Anthony de Mello use this story to describe most of us human beings. We follow through life the normal illusions of routine and what is expected without ever questioning why we feel anger, guilt, fear and unhappiness. The fact is we are free, unbound, and given the ability to be happy and deeply satisfied with life as it is. How can this be?

We can feel and live happy and satisfied lives, regardless of outward circumstances of the world around us, because in our deepest selves, we are God! Not the One Creator God, Allah, Brahmin, Elohim, or whatever we might call It, but one of God’s creations. We are the “bucket of water from the ocean of Spirit.”

This was the intent of the earliest writings in the period leading up to the establishment of the “Official Roman Catholic Church” in the 4th Century. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12) It could well be translated, “Whoever has the awareness of the Son has life.” Earlier it reads, “This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with water only but with the water and the blood.” Then it says, “The Spirit and the water and the blood, all these three agree.” Some translations read, “There are three that testify in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth.” (1 John 6-8)

In the 4th Century, the church began teaching the water as meaning “baptism” and the blood meaning the “Eucharist” teaching that Jesus died for our sins on the cross. But this was not the original idea. Water and blood speak of that which is “unconscious and life awakening.” Water represents our unconscious state or unawareness of our Divine natures. It is the illusion of being staked to the deserts of misery. Blood symbolizes life and energy, the symbol of our awakening to that which is within us. Put the two together and you have an energized, awakened person who experiences eternal life and gained absolutely everything he or she truly wants! It’s the basis for the present book we are discussing by Wayne Dyer, “Wishes Fulfilled: The Art of Manifesting.”

Do you want it? Do you believe it? Are you hungry to learn it? Most don’t. It just seems unbelievable that life could be so good here on earth, a planet filled with death, hunger, gross inequality to say nothing of constant warfare. But freedom and joy is possible if you and I are but willing to learn how. However, the learning is difficult. Learning is a process of changing. Learning is fearful! Learning takes courage and determination.

Most people do not want to learn how to live happier and freer lives because they are frightened of the changes required. We become comfortable, secure, and quite accustomed to being angry, unhappy, unhealthy, judgmental and miserable. We would rather stay “right” than experience happiness. We’d rather stay “staked” to the desert of misery.

Is your marriage fulfilling all your dreams of happiness and freedom? No? Then learn how to change it by changing your thinking! For the majority of people, the courage needed to face reality will drive them right back into the misery they are accustomed to. Years ago we had a “marriage enrichment” program at the church. A couple came who had been married 25 years. One of the partners was very concerned about the sense of disappointment and dryness in the relationship. After a few weeks, the wife came to me and left all the notes and books she had gathered to help her marriage grow. She said one of the principles required was honesty and she just wasn’t going to try that one anymore! It was too difficult!

All learning for growth is fearful and intimidating. It punctures our preconceptions of reality. We discover we are not “staked to the dry sands of deserts” but can move freely. But the “comforts” of being miserable and a slave are too attractive for most.

Many Americans are learning more about sexuality, especially homosexuality. I grew up in a small town and our family never discussed it. I didn’t even know it existed. Once something happen in school between two males and I was told how they were sick and “queer”. Later in college it also was not discussed. But I learned more about it when with a load of college men I got lost one night and stopped at a bar to ask for directions. All the patrons I noticed were men with men and I told my passengers how strange it felt. They told me it was a “gay bar!” News to me!

Later on I learned about how many gay and lesbians were part of the church but often lived secret and tortured lives; choir members, pastors, elders, teachers and military veterans. I was shocked and scared but determined to learn more however scary and fearful it seemed. I feel today much more understanding and supported of friends and citizens of the church and world with different sexual orientations.

People often say they want to lose weight but are too frightened to learn how to live and navigate through the changes. One man told me he felt if he lost weight and became attractive to other women, he feared his marriage would break up! One of the biggest obstacles to people losing weight is often the pain and rejection they face from other family members. But most who stick with it discover a kind of renewed respect and freedom from others as well as for themselves.

I know golfers who are awful but have played for years. I suggest after hearing and seeing their frustration they get an instructor and take lessons. But they won’t. They find it scary and intimidating. They would rather be left in the sand traps without a stake and rope holding them there!

To me the biggest fear is to learn how to live in the awareness of our own personal divine natures. Try telling people that beneath your body you are in essence “God!” You are a divine Child of God, an eternal Spirit of love and peace! You may be taken to a psychiatrist or if a member of a church, banned from leadership or clergy privileges!

Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan monk who leads a retreat center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, claims the church destroyed the essence of Jesus’ teachings with the 4th century creeds and “perfect liturgies” which require people only to make confessions and keep forms rather learn experience in meditation and forgiveness. He calls the teaching of Jesus as the only Son of God who had to die for our sins a barbaric and sad, keeping people locked in guilt, servitude, misery, and dependency. To be free, we must accept ourselves as the Children of God, the Son or Daughter who is Spirit and Eternal.

The benefits to such a change of thinking? A growing freedom in self-forgiveness, relief from guilt and sharing such with others. The benefits are having our deepest wishes fulfilled. Listen to verse 14 in 1 John 5:14-15: “And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.”

What do we really want? More clothes, cares, a better job and bigger house? Oh those things in themselves may be okay and have a place for some, but mostly we must ask for and desire peace and happiness. John Harris once said, “After every wonderful new car, exotic trip, lottery winnings, beautiful sex with even a new partner or technique we come to the question, ‘But is this all there really is to it?’”

Do we want our deepest requests for peace, joy, happiness and well-being fulfilled? With boldness, courage, and wakefulness, accept yourself as a Divine Being within your mortal body. Come out of the water of unconsciousness, awaken to the life of the blood flowing through your veins, and accept yourself as a Christ being! It will satisfy your deepest longings for peace, justice, and fairness in a mortal world which always was, is now and will ever be a place of inequality, anger, judgment, and unending misery.


Summary of reflections offered at the 1st Presbyterian Church of West Seneca, 2085 Union Road, on May 20, 2012.

About David Persons

Retired minister who still writes, speaks some, hikes less, and golfs.
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