Fearing Infinity: Ways to Overcome
#1
I have a confession to make in the tank: beginning a week ago in the midst of a marathon travel jaunt, I suddenly had an intense fear of infinity/eternity.  When I was very young this bothered me, though it went away and was essentially gone at the time of my conversion; suddenly it has slammed me back.

At the time, I prayed to St. Michael and Our Lady and it went away.  I mentioned this in Confession to our Canon; I believe that since I have recommitted to fighting impurity while making a real effort to make the Church a true center (learning to sign Vespers, charitably correctly fellow Catholics with incorrect beliefs, etc.), the enemy is trying a different tactic by exploiting my pride problem.

Over the past week, this 'fear' of the infinite has flared up at moments.  Does anyone else have a similar story or a suggestion?  Thank you all very much.
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#2
(12-30-2011, 07:22 PM)kingtheoden Wrote: I have a confession to make in the tank: beginning a week ago in the midst of a marathon travel jaunt, I suddenly had an intense fear of infinity/eternity.  When I was very young this bothered me, though it went away and was essentially gone at the time of my conversion; suddenly it has slammed me back.

At the time, I prayed to St. Michael and Our Lady and it went away.  I mentioned this in Confession to our Canon; I believe that since I have recommitted to fighting impurity while making a real effort to make the Church a true center (learning to sign Vespers, charitably correctly fellow Catholics with incorrect beliefs, etc.), the enemy is trying a different tactic by exploiting my pride problem.

Over the past week, this 'fear' of the infinite has flared up at moments.  Does anyone else have a similar story or a suggestion?  Thank you all very much.

Often in the back of my mind I think that infinity will be boring, I have no idea where the idea came from if I'm honest. It flares up every now and again but generally I push it to the back of my mind, I comfort myself with several thoughts:
1)The saints who were lucky to glimpse heaven on this earth and remarked how wonderful it was
2)A sermon I heard on All Saints Day on the glory of heaven which stated that the glory of even the least person in heaven will be infinitely greater than that of the greatest emperor of the greatest earthly empire
3)The promises of Christ and the bible itself i.e the beatitudes, and the passages in revelations describing heaven
4)The teaching of St Thomas on heaven, namely that the will, finally grapsing its true object i.e God will be entirely and perfectly satisfied for all eternity
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#3
Over the years I have had a fear of infinity too. Usually I will just start thinking about what things will be like should I get to heaven and then get sort of terrified by the notion of there never being an end to things. I can't fathom it it all and it can be scary. What has helped me is to either push it away immediately as it comes up in my thoughts or try to shift gears and remember that truly God's ways are not ours and that our limited intellects cannot possibly fathom something so deep as infinity this side of the Beatific Vision.

If you prayed to St. Michael and our Lady and it went away it may have been a temptation of the evil one. I have heard that if a temptation goes away right away after praying that it is diagnostic of a demonic attack, but by demonic attack I in no way mean that it is anything more than a temptation brought on by demons and not posession, oppression, etc. Anytime we make an effort to act on the graces we are given and put our Lord and His Church first in our lives satan and his minions will try to amp up the temptations to make us fall or bring us to despair or doubt. I have found that saying the Rosary and fostering a devotion to St. Michael and my Guardian Angel to be very helpful. Another prayer I love to use is this: "Precious Blood wash over me, protect me against the wickedness and snares of the devil." I'll say a decade of the Rosary for you kingtheodon.
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#4
[Image: FC_Infinity_41717_lg.gif]
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#5
The fear of infinity as you put it is a fear of change, of the unknown.

It is rather fruitless. We have anxiety for a new job, a new place to live, etc. We are human.

What fear is just is the appreciation of the danger of sin and living in accordance with truth. If we could keep in mind the "big picture", how would we act? Certainly we would act very differently from how we do.
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#6
FormerBuddhist,

Thank you very much for your prayers.  This could have been my own idle curiousity spurred by a great amount of traveling and having days off from work (which substantially threw off my rhythm.)  But I had to consider that this was something worse; obviously this is still bothering me, but I liken it to the power of a lie.  Even if something we know is manifestly untrue is told, that lie reverberates in our minds.

For me, I am trusting in God, knowing that He is all good and I am a creature of His.  He loved us so much as to redeem us at the expense of His bodily existance.  I am praying that this concern will go away and I think it will when work begins again on Tuesday.  I think a big part of this is my tendancy to pride and subsequent loss in appreciation of mystery.

Thanks everyone for the comments!
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#7
kingtheoden Wrote:an intense fear of infinity/eternity.  When I was very young this bothered me

(12-30-2011, 07:53 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Over the years I have had a fear of infinity too. Usually I will just start thinking about what things will be like should I get to heaven and then get sort of terrified by the notion of there never being an end to things.

I thought I was the only one. Sorry, but I have no advice for you. I haven't suffered from it since I was 12, and I don't know why it went away. It used to distress me and keep me up for hours at night.



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#8
Something I was considering after having opened this thread, I think that a healthy appreciation for life and the created world is a good thing. 

After all, in Genesis, God says that His creation is good; so it serves us well not to retreat too much from the notion of the created.  This can quickly morph into a sort of Manichæism or something far worse.  Probably this stems from some other issue (such as complacency, loneliness, etc.)

For anyone else who wrestles with this concept, we should consider the converse: none of us wish not to exist!  And beyond this, we do still let God's nature take its course without protest (e.g., we let ourselves fall asleep every day.)

I wish everyone a happy new year and may God bless us all.
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#9
When thinking of Heaven, I tend to think of the description of The Imitation, about how there (heaven) will be no more trials or anxieties or sufferings.
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#10
I think what is being described is a fear from an experience of nothingness (no perception of diversity), not of eternity. Nothingness fully experienced is basically a state in which you say, There is nothing here. And you look somewhere else, and say, There is nothing here. And you may look at yourself and say, There is nothing here. Literally, no-thing. (This is a mental imaginary phenomena, usually not a visual one.) Eternity is not only something, but "all-thing" in the sense that you will be present with all-goodness, all-truth, all-life, all-peace, all-joy, all-security. Nothingness is like emptiness and desolation, the feeling of falling of a cliff, of having your security pulled out from under you. The feeling some may have had as they lept from the buildings on 9/11 in suicide. Being underwater without a breathing apparatus. This brand of fear. Believe it or not, this describes in some way the dark night of the soul, or a glimpse of it, in which the soul is plunged into desolation. As the soul rises, the soul must learn to look for security in the one true place of security -- God. Ultimately everything not God is going to fall short. Many aren't willing to enter into that level of trust with God, and so they are not purified to the extent that God would have them be. Continue to purify your thoughts, words, and deeds, and delve deeper into the trust God wants. Seek trusted counsel, and continue to foster your prayer life. Don't freak out! Eternity is not like looking into space and just going farther and farther. Eternity is outside of time and space and change. Unlimited space, or nothingness, is the only analogy we have, but that's not true eternity, especially since there is the experience of succession in our mental acts seeking a wholeness which is not present. Eternity is beyond that, and you pass through those states on the way there. And while you observe prudence, entertain the fear a bit. Step back mentally, and look at it, see why you fear, and see how God is beyond it. Beyond it in essence, and beyond it in his ability to allay all fears. If He allays spiritual fears, then what really is the purpose of this spiritual fear? You may too bound up in it to think you can step outside of it, but you can. Just note the fear as it comes up, and watch it as it rises, and watch your thoughts just as if you'd go whale watching or something, afar off. Be an impartial viewer. What can you learn from it? What keeps you bound here, so you are not rising up to Him? Does the fear have a good purpose? Once you start answering some of these questions, and getting a good overview of the process you're undergoing, then you can make some decisions about how to take the good from it, and move past it. + PAX.
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