Do You Suffer From Paraskavedekatriaphobia?

By Anthony Gold

You might – it’s estimated that nearly 7% of people in the United States do. This “condition” is better known as fear of Friday the 13th.

If you have this phobia, you likely get anxious leading up to these occurrences and probably alter your travel plans accordingly. If you don’t have this fear, then it’s just another Friday – and you might even find it hard to imagine how others could be so fearful.

Ever had a fear of elevators? That’s typically a combination of claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) and agoraphobia (fear of being trapped and suffering from a panic attack). The most common phobias include arachnophobia (spiders), ophidiophobia (snakes), and acrophobia (heights).

Some phobias are mild; others are quite serious and debilitating. But one terror we all fear is the losing of our existence – whether we interpret that to be bodily death or the dissolution of our “soul”.

Our whole concept of “me-ness” is wrapped up in the notion of a body or soul. And to contemplate the non-existence of “me” is downright terrifying.

That is why studying any spiritual thought-system that points to the infinite oneness of truth is so challenging. Oneness implies no “two-ness”, no duality, no subject-object, and most poignantly, no “me”. To accept oneness requires a denial of the self, in any form (body, soul, etc.).

While there is no clinical term for the intense apprehension of nonexistence, stygiophobia and uranophobia represent the fear of hell and heaven respectively – both with underpinnings in the dread of anticipated punishment.

The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego. No one who follows the ego’s teaching is without the fear of death. (T.15.I.4)

But nonexistence transcends any form of judgment and punishment – there is nothing (no-thing) to be punished or rewarded. It is this state of existential angst that terrifies us to the core.

Join us in Monday’s class where we will explore our phobias, particularly our fear of nonexistence. Whether you suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th) or even hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (fear of long words … seriously), we’ll dig into the nature of fear and how we can we transcend their limitations to experience the “glorious gift” of infinite peace. I look forward to seeing you then.

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