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Thinking Man on Couch

10. The Slavery of Fear.

The most common, yet most unknown, form of slavery is that where you are ruled by the thought about you. You may be in the employ of another person. You do your best to earn your money. You are conscientious, and desire to earn your wages. Yet you are troubled by a continual fear, that you do not give full satisfaction, or that you may be discharged. You live in continual fear of coming to want, if so discharged, or of being obliged to continue this mere struggle for the body’s existence under still harder conditions.

The reason for these unpleasant thoughts is, that some other mind is acting on your own. Some one is hostile to you. You feel that hostile thought. It is not on your part a “notion.” There are many persons to‑day, living under control of undecided minds, and dependent on them, as they think, for a livelihood. They may give that undecided mind much of their own inspiration, plan device, invention, and fertility of thought. They may give this unconsciously. Because, it is worth repeating many times, “Thought is substance, and is absorbed by one mind from another.”

The person so ruled may have the superior mind. Such a person may be indispensable to the fickle, and possibly unjust and tyrannical employer. If taken away, that employer would feel that a prop had been removed. Yet that superior mind may go on, year after year, in slavery; giving to the other idea, and seeing it but half carried out, or imperfectly carried out.

No shackles are so heavy as these. They fetter the spirit. In such position you are not doing your own work. You are not carrying out your own design. You may be trying to do the work of another, when that other person has no clear idea of the work he wants done for himself.

This is one of the heavy prices paid for dependency. If you have no other view in life, save that of being a servant, or an assistant on wages, you must pay more or less of this penalty. You will find it really less costly and less painful to start some business of your own, no matter how small the beginning. You will then be called upon to take responsibilities. If you fear taking them, you are always a slave. If you know that you are the brains of any business, though not the seeming head, demand a just price for your work. What do you fear? If you take the brains away, will the business go on successfully? If you feel that you are robbed, you are equally guilty with him who robs you, if you stand by tamely and see yourself robbed.

To work and live in fear of the poorhouse, is to be in the poorhouse. You would not feel so poor if you were actually there. To live in such continual fear, injures mind and body. Whatever troubles the mind, is certain in some way to injure the body.

You cannot think your clearest thought so long as you are in the slavery of any fear. Clear thought and plan have a value in dollars and cents.

If you come under the control of a whiffling, undecided weathercock order of mind, if you absorb the thought of such a mind, you will be whiffling and undecided yourself. You will affect those who come to you for orders, be the work what it may, as you are affected yourself. If your employer does not know exactly what he wants, you will not know exactly what you want of others. As those under you, or in some way dependent on you, are so affected, so will they affect in turn others with whom they deal. If the head of an organization or business or movement is whiffling, whimsical, and uncertain, there will be uncertainty and dissatisfaction all along his line of control. You can never satisfy such a person, because that person is never satisfied with himself.

If you cannot find out what is really wanted of you, say so. Don’t try to do for any when they do not know what is wanted or needed to be done, themselves.

Stick by your own plan. If you see a good reason for any step, any detail, in it, no matter how trivial, don’t allow yourself to be argued out of it by another. The kingdom of mind is full of tyrants. They want to have their own way, simply from love of power. Very possibly they are not aware of their own motive. To greater or less extent, all of us may be such tyrants.

You can ask with profit for information of many. You can ask with safety for opinion, especially regarding your own purposes, of very few. The most thoughtful, considerate, and just are the most careful in giving opinion. They will also take care to tell you that their utterance is but their opinion. Ignorance, conceit, and injustice are full of dogmatic utterance. Ignorance speaks as it feels at the moment. Don’t mistake utterance of this sort for information. If you do, you will absorb that conceited thought, that prejudice. You will then be ruled by that mind. You may be thereby led to abandon what would have been most profitable to you.

If you feel yourself the superior, and allow yourself to be thus over‑ruled, or influenced in any way, by an inferior mind, you are crippling your own success. You derange most seriously the plans for your welfare of that order of unseen intelligence which can do most for you. You set in motion an order of forces contrary to theirs. In so doing, you oblige them to stop aiding you. They will not work for you, when they see their work thrown away.

The moment you allow the thought of another to influence you, against your own conviction, feeling, or intuition, that moment you lose your own best thought. You commence thinking in part with the other person’s brains. You may then commence thinking with brains below yours in motive, in judgment, in far‑sightedness, in taste and discretion. You have muddied your own clearer intellect with a turbid stream.

The person so swaying you has an invisible following of minds like his own. When, unconsciously perhaps, you surrender your thought to him, you let in all his following likewise, to hang around, sway, and influence you. Worse, still; they will bar from you your own better, unseen counsellors. Because these can by this means easily be driven away. They are not driven away willingly, but their power with you may be limited. That power depends on the attitude of mind you keep toward them. If you, desiring to be all yourself, demand the wisest and best counsel in this endeavor to be yourself, you will get it. Keep up this demand. It will at last drive off any inferior unseen following.

Your own highest invisible friends can and will aid you in your endeavor to be yourself. They can and will throw chances in your way, in whatever field of effort you wish to work. They cannot work for you in this way, so long as you are to‑day absorbing the thought of some inferior mind, and acting it out, and perhaps to‑morrow the thought of another and acting that out.

If you want a ship built for you, you don’t give it in charge of a ship‑builder to‑day, and the builder of a scow to‑morrow. Yet such, as to effect, is the condition of many impressional minds. Ignorantly taking in, or ruled by the thought of others, they are building after one plan to‑day, and another one to‑morrow.

You cannot speak out an unwelcome opinion in a circle of friends, so long as you fear such speaking will cost you a friend. So long as you have such a fear (and it be the time and place to speak that truth), and you are prevented by such fear from speaking it, so long are you under the rule of that friend’s mind. You value a friendship more than a truth. You barter a truth for the good‑will of a person. Then you are no longer free or independent. Unconsciously, perhaps, that person is then ruling you. Yet, so ruling you, he neither respects nor values you so much for being under his dominion. There is in human nature an inherent love and respect for whatever is free.

Fear cripples the spirit, and diseases the body. Fear is everywhere,—fear of want, fear of starvation, fear of public opinion, fear of private opinion, fear that what we own to‑day may not be ours to‑morrow, fear of sickness, fear of death. Fear has become with millions a fixed habit. The thought is everywhere. The thought is thrown on us from every direction. Fear makes the tyrant. It makes the merciless master the inexorable creditor. “I fear,” says the man of millions, “that unless I exact my rents or dues, that I can no longer enjoy the mania for heaping up millions, which do me no good but the thought of owning them.”—“I fear,” says his agent, “that unless I obey my master’s rigid orders, and collect his rents and dues, that I cannot live.” Because the agent has the rich man’s fear thrown on him. He absorbs that thought from him. He thinks the fear in and of the rich man’s brain. The agent must collect rent of the editor or the minister. He hands to them the fear he has caught of the rich man. They take the infection. “I cannot print this truth,” says the editor. “I cannot preach that,” says ‘the minister, “because readers and hearers would leave, and then where would be the money to pay our rents?” This thought of fear and actual unseen substance, as real as any other element in nature, in this way dribbles and drains from the rich man’s mind, way down to the miserable tenant in garret or cellar. It ends with the thief. “I fear,” he says, “starvation also.” He puts his hand directly in his neighbor’s pocket, and pulls out a sixpence. There is no difference, save in method, between his act and that of the ruling spirit.

“I fear,” says some one commencing to learn an art, “the criticism of others on my imperfect methods in that art. I fear their ridicule.” Then you are ruled by them. You will never advance so fast as when you do not care for what they say. It is most desirable, then, to get rid of fear. It is the actual source of poverty of wealth, and poverty of health. To live in continual dread, continual cringing, continual fear of any thing, be it loss of love, loss of money, loss of position or situation, is to take the readiest means to lose what we fear we shall.

Does it help you pay a debt, to fear the creditor when there is no money in your purse? Does it help you make a living, to be ever in fear of want? Does it help you to health, to fear disease? No. It weakens in every way.

How shall we get rid of fear, and the rule over us of other minds crippled by fear? Attack in mind whatever you fear. Commence by seeing yourself in mind as brave. See yourself, in what you call imagination, as calmly defying whatever you fear, be it a man or a woman, be it a debt or a dreaded possibility. What so you figure to yourself in mind is a reality. Such thinking will give you strength. Demand for yourself more courage. Ask for it. Pray for it, and the quality of courage will come to you more and more, and what so comes can never be lost.

Q's note:

Free Your Mind.  Free Your Life!


Image Credit:


Jetsetter (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved June 30, 2021, from


Mulford, P. (1886-1887). The slavery of fear. Your forces and how to use them (pp.93-98). Hollister, Missouri: YOGeBooks by Roger L. Cole. doi: 2015:01:16:10:43:09

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