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Fear, Understanding, and Compassion




If psychological fear occurs and one tries to avoid that fear by indulging in all kinds of escapes, then the fear is never understood.  If one tries to suppress or subjugate the fear, then the fear is never fully understood… one is too busy being in conflict with it.   If fear arises and one has ideals about oneself being fearless, then those mental ideations prevent one from actually seeing the fear completely (because ideals and learned principles are getting in the way).  So, when fear arises, merely labeling it as something negative, or merely judging it in a “thumbs down” kind of way, clouds the full perception of the fear with secondary, learned reactions concerning it or against it.  Fear can only be profoundly understood when it is seen without extraneous factors, without learned reactions “about it.”  

Additionally, if the fear is merely seen fragmentarily, from a (learned) mental distance, then it will not be fully dealt with without friction and conflict.  Fear may not at all be what you have; fear (when it occurs) is what one actually is.  When there is no crass distance between the fear and some accepted, supposed center, then (and only then) can there be understanding without friction, without conflict; that understanding can be whole and of great intelligence.   The perceiver is not, psychologically, separate from the perceived.   So, the next time fear,  jealousy,  greed, or indifference show up in (and “as”) consciousness, can they be observed without prejudice, without merely labeling them, without denying them, without merely categorizing them with additional reactions (positive or negative), including reactions involving a separative space between the perceiver and that which is perceived?  Only then can deep learning and understanding take place.

You can’t understand something fully if you have no true relationship with it.  A relationship based on shadow-like ideals, concocted distance, and a learned and admired (though false) center, is really no relationship at all.  True and lasting compassion can only take place when real relationship exists. 


[Note:  The following two photos are of early spring beginnings of mushrooms.  The lower photo is of the mycelium which is, by and far, the main body of the mushroom (which grows underground).  The mushrooms we see above ground are merely the small, fruiting parts of the organism.  Mycelium — much like a neural network — in some mushrooms can spread for miles and connect with tree roots and other plants, trading nutrients and communication signals with them.  (See the movie Avatar.)  My theory is that primitive lichen, as a combination of molds and algae working symbiotically with each other… may have later evolved over time into these seemingly separate (but very connected) mushrooms-trees-and-plants.  The diminutive Lemon Drop Fungi (Bisporella citrina) are fruiting body parts of the mushroom; the Mycelium pictured are from these Lemon Drops.  The Lemon Drops are very small, each being only 1mm to 2mm in diameter.  Refer to the following blog for further interesting information on Mushrooms: ]


Mushroom Primordia Caps… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018

Mushroom Mycelium… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018


22 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I can taste the lemon drops candy I loved as a kid, thanks to your photo. And the resemblance of the mycelium to neural networks is remarkable.


  2. You’re such a gifted writer. Do you have a degree in psychology? Insightful too! So appreciative we have met up together in this great big beautiful but complex world. Hello to Maria and your cats!


  3. Thank you! 🙂 I don’t have a degree in psychology but i do have a Master’s in Special Education (which includes a lot regarding psychology).
    Not sure what you mean by the last sentence. My wife’s name is Marla, and we do not have any cats. We do have two small dogs, two parrots (i used to breed them when i was younger), and tons of tropical fish/shrimp. I especially like the birds, who are very smart. The other night, when i was putting a Disney movie into their DVD player, one of the birds, Scarlet, said, “I already saw that one.” 🙂


  4. I’ve never seen such beautiful translucent mushrooms, beautiful image, Tom. I had an interesting encounter with fear, not mine but a friend who was dealing with a tough issue he kept avoiding, explaining he wasn’t afraid but he’d continually put off handling the issue until I reminded him that his enjoyment of life and his peace of mind were being disrupted until he addressed the issue, then I offered if he approached it quietly and sensibly, he would see a change in a positive way. It took a lot of talking before he finally decided to take action. After it was handled he thanked me for encouraging him to speak his mind, he felt much better. Great article, you write with such wisdom…thank you. Laura


    • So good, Laura, that you helped your friend like that. It’s unbelievable, i think, about the crude stage that modern psychology still is in at the present time. Truly Neanderthalic!… (which in no way means to put down the actual Neanderthals of the past).
      Thank you so much for the very kind words! Sometimes one wonders if any people (at all) are really seriously reading what i write (and getting anything out of it). 🙂


  5. Such clever imagery! Fear is an enemy we are taught to ignore instead of recognize, and it can actually cause physical problems that are rooted in anxiety and denial.


  6. Thank you, Esuriit! 🙂 Well, i wouldn’t just refer to it as an “enemy”; that labeling is part of the problem. There are a lot of very healthy fears too, ticks and tigers being part of them. Yes, certain fears can do a lot of immense psychological and physical damage. We need to understand fear better. We cannot understand fear better if we do not understand ourselves (our consciousness) better. Fear is not separate from consciousness’s content.


  7. Tom my friend, you went ‘deep’ into your topic about fear. 🙂 Very insightful, passionate and well said! Love your pics too! 😀


  8. Intriguing combination – fear and mushrooms. You gave us something to get our minds off the fear? I read with interest your wisdom on fear, wishing I had had such in hand a few years back when I went through several months of anxiety (which I labeled fear). Then again, had I not gone through that, could I now appreciate your wisdom? Life is very experiential.


  9. The photos certainly aren’t always meant to correlate with the writings; they are more an additional bonus of a snapshot of nature… that is all. I certainly would not want to put a photo of a spider or of a snake (with an article on fear), as too many people are far more afraid of those poor, little creatures than they need to be.
    Fear is really interesting. One thing is for sure, to really go profoundly deeply into where full enlightenment/nirvana is possible, one has to transcend a lot of deep, inherent, and crippling fears (including the fear of death). Most people aren’t passionate enough about this, so they go around carrying fears and remaining in the dark.
    Thank you much, Jazz! 🙂


  10. I face so much fear in life. My daughter almost died right after she was born from a freak incident. I’ve quickly realized life is too short and way to fragile. Thankfully she survived. And I have my faith in Jesus to lean on. But I struggle so much. Thanks for sharing. I do have my daughter story a few posts down if you would like to read it.


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