Pericla timidus etiam quae non sunt videt.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 452)
The fearful one even sees dangers that are not there.
(Pron = pehr-EEK-lah tih-mih-doos eh-tyam kwai nohn soont WIH-deht)
Comment: The person who is afraid has a history. The history includes events,
both remembered and lost in the subconscious, that leave him/her afraid.
He/she is afraid about life, and those things in particular that remind him/her
of the particular history that makes him/her afraid. Sound circuitous? It’s
the nightmare of the run-away merry-go-round that never ends—one fear after
another coming toward or past every day.
This has certainly been my experience, and as I look around and listen to people
and observe, it seems to be a common human experience as well—to varying degrees
for each person.
I watch students in my class. We approach new material, a new story in Latin,
and I call for responses to the story. And I see students who sit silently
with a response that turns out to be insightful, dead-on. “But, I was afraid
that I was wrong” the student will say.
I don’t even ask who taught them to be afraid of wrong answers. The list will
be too long, and most of them will be teachers. Why would teachers treat
students in such a way as to make them fearful of making a mistake? We do it
because . . . we are afraid that a student with mistakes means that we are not
doing our jobs and someone will think that we are bad teachers. And the
It’s an insidious ride. The longer we shrink back from the things we fear, the
larger they will get, and they will multiply. The mind is incredible and
creating more things for itself to fear.
There’s always that “golden ring” to grab, though. When the merry-go-round
spins, and we see that fear coming, we can grab it, hold it, look at it, see it
for what it is, and then let it go. It changes the ride.
(Used with permission)
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