Fiction helping with Real Life

So I was having a stressed situation at work, over the course of a few days. Something that could have turned major and been not good.

I wasn’t thinking of the situation, not consciously at least, just going about my work when I heard a sentence in my head.

Fear is the mind-killer.

If you are a sci-fi reader, then you recognize that line. If not, an explanation.

Dune by Frank Herbert. Published in 1965 and one of the great novels of the genre.

Within the universe Herbert created, there is a religious sisterhood known as The Bene Gesserit. One of the things taught to the sisters is the Litany against Fear. Its purpose is to bring focus to the mind.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Now, you must understand. The last time I could’ve given any thought to the litany would have been last year when the Game of Thrones cast was on the Conan O’Brian show during San Diego Comicon. I heard of a video clip where Natalie Dormer mentioned she had a Dune tattoo. I most likely googled to see what it was, then forgot about it.

Til last week.

When I looked up the full litany and memorized it. When the stress was again a focus and I found myself reciting it like a mental mantra. And it did the trick. I calmed the fuck down and set about the task at hand.

The stress has lessened and may indeed have passed. I have made an adjustment to my procedure and it is working to my benefit.

Remember when I said I was thinking of what other tattoo to get, so I can get that period added to my previous one? I may very have found it, in that line.

I’m one of those people who will get too wound up about a situation and end up unable to pick a plan of action. To have something that can get me on track is rather nice.

I have sought inspiration in fiction before. But for it to come unbidden like that is something special. Makes me listen harder. Especially when it’s a piece that fits into a lot of personal puzzles.

Official Dune Site.

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