There was once a family living on a large farm, growing corn crops. As the children grew up and the older ones would leave home, the younger ones would get to take better rooms in the house. One boy lived on the east side of the house until one of his brothers left and he was old enough to get his own room on the west side that looked out onto the corn field.
The first night in the new room went by, and the next morning the father was looking around the table at the children, not asking, but waiting inwardly to know how his children were. He could see something was wrong with the boy who had just moved into his new room. So he asked, "How did you sleep last night, son?" The son said, "Oh... pretty good..." but the father knew that he hadn't slept very well. Each subsequent morning it was the same story until the fourth day, it was better.
Thirty days go by, and it starts happening again. The father notices this pattern over a few months, so he decides to sleep in the boy's room himself to see what is bothering his son.
That night, the father is laying in the bunk bed next to his son, and as he looks around to try to figure out what's going on, he sees an ominous looking shape outside the window, literally growing in size and moving its arms... and he almost gets scared himself. Then he realized what it was. He remembered that in the west field they had put up a large scarecrow. When the full moon would come up -- on that thirtieth day and then for several days afterwards -- it would pick up the image of the scarecrow and cast it across the field. He realized then what was scaring his son.
The next morning the father said, "Come here boy, I want to show you something." So they went out to the field and the father said, "See this scarecrow? Watch this." He reached inside and took out some of the straw. The boy didn't understand. The father said, "You know that scary thing that's about fifteen feet tall and has arms that wave around that you see out the window once a month? This is it! When the moon comes up, it casts a long shadow, and the wind is moving the scarecrow arms."
The father reached in and took some more straw out of the arm, threw it in the wind, and said, "Here... you do that, too." The boy did likewise and his father said, "See? There's nothing to it!"
What are your scarecrows? What you haven't been able to do in your life... what you think you won't be able to do... the fact that you're going to die one day? Fearful thoughts like these become obstacles, and if you run into a blockage, it seems to get bigger and bigger. It gets bigger only because you fuel it; you make it bigger. Why would you want to make it bigger? Because it makes you bigger. It makes you more important. "Look at what I have to deal with -- it's huge!"
When you feel blocked, when something scares you, understand that what you see is nothing more than a form that has been congealed by a process inside of you that occurs whenever you think inside of yourself about yourself. Stop resisting and let go. Let the light pass through you. How? Risk it. Go out into the field at night, and whatever it is that scares you, walk up to it, and pull the stuffing out of it. Take the stuffing out of the scarecrow and take the stuffing out of what scares you! That frightening thought has no scary life apart from the fear you inject into it in order to be the person frightened.
This article is adapted from a classroom talk.