These days people often speak of how fearful they are. Some fear things like driving on our roads, flying, leaving the house or their health especially in regards to bugs and dirt. Then there are the more global fears: terrorism, nuclear war, environmental catastrophe, Brexit and the fear of Trump’s instability and ego.
Fear has a number of dimensions. Firstly, every fear is basically a fear of losing something, so every fear has a scenario attached to it. For instance, our fear of immigrants could be because we might lose our space, job or way of life. And every decision that is fear based, by its nature, creates further fear – so it is then understandable that anyone accusing others of fear is playing the fear card. So if every fear is at some level the fear of loss, then by transforming that story we transcend our fear and come to the deeper understanding that you can never lose what you truly value; anything we lose is because we value something else instead, most likely our ability to defend ourselves.
If we believe that we must defend ourselves we will also believe in the need to attack. When we feel fear we either attack or run away, which is also a form of attack. The part most of us miss is that our fear of attack comes from our own attack thoughts or deeds. Many times when working with people they will speak of their fear, for instance the fear of their father. In this case I would ask them, “when did you first start fearing your father?” Then the second question would be along the lines of, “when did you first judge your father as a bad father?” We mostly find that the age of that first judgment will be before the fear started.
As all judgment is a form of attack, our fear comes from our attack in whatever form, so whatever level of fear we live in is a reflection of how attacking we have been. The opposite is also true; the extent to which we are at peace with our world is a reflection of how benign, how harmless we are within ourselves.
Lastly all our fear comes from our separation. The extent to which we separate ourselves from our perceived source of fear is the extent to which we feel fearful. Often we try to distance ourselves further from the source of our fear, which only has the result of increasing it. The way out of fear is to end the separation. This ends the fear and, when we understand that at the heart of every problem is some form of separation, we will see that the answer to every problem is the willingness to be intimate, to close the distance with everyone in our world.
In my recent experience of having a stroke, I was thrown into the world of health and health care. Very early on I resolved to make my own decisions about how I would manage my health. This led me on an amazing journey of discovery and I believe I have overcome much of my illness. But the response of others has been interesting. Most people can’t believe I have not given myself to the mercy of the medical profession, but that response itself seems to be mostly driven by fear. Anyway I am getting to know my own body and will continue this path of learning and teaching.
So if not fear then what? Well the answer is easy and that is love. Fear paralyses us, and keeps us stuck; we don’t move forward and we become increasingly lonely and separated. Love draws us forward, inspires us, gives us courage, meaning and purpose. Fear comes from our imaginings and love comes from the heart, from our essence because in the end that is all there will be because that is who we are.
Today is an opportunity to start to replace all our fears with love, remembering that forgiveness is love on an earthly plane. Why not make a list of all our fears, great and small, to realise how present they are in our thoughts? And then, one by one, consciously make the choice for love instead. Love moves us in so many ways and it starts with us and it starts with a choice.