Today, I want to talk a bit about fear.
All emotions of life fall under two parents – Fear and Love. As you can imagine, all the positive emotions fall under Love – happiness, confidence, compassion, comfort. Being in a state of pure love is always the goal of any spiritually in-tune person.
On the flip side, there’s Fear with all of that pesky baggage – anger, irritation, frustration, insecurity. Your Ego uses Fear to keep you self-minded, not spirit-minded. And it’s through our spiritual practice that we begin to expose and recognize Fear for what it is – a useless life partner.
But here’s the distinction, and why I wanted to write about this topic today: Fear is a useless life partner. To put it another way, pretend you’re driving the car called Life. Fear is a terrible driver, and it’s not a good navigator either. Fear keeps you from going after that job; fear talks down to you when you’re wondering why you continued that relationship way too long. Fear looks at the road map Love has given you, and whispers in your ear that this is a bad idea – just stay on the current route that we know is safe.
So now we know we should never let Fear drive the car of Life. But one thing I’ve noticed is the tendency to want to label Fear as bad, useless and something to be avoided entirely. Not only is this impossible – we’re humans living a human experience, fear creeps in – but I don’t think Fear is completely bad or useless. In fact, while it’s a useless life partner, I would say Fear is a pretty darn useful life tool.
At its most basic level, Fear is what keeps you from walking in front of a bus. Fear keeps you from going up to that Grizzly and kissing it right on the nose.
But more subtly, when you can truly expose and recognize Fear, it begins to work more effectively with Love … which, I think, should be the ultimate goal. The goal shouldn’t be to live in a state of Love; the goal should be to awaken to a marriage of the two.
While Fear can lead you into a bad relationship, it is what initially leads you to recognize you’re in a toxic/abusive relationship. Love gives you the self-esteem and confidence to remove yourself from the situation.
While Fear can lead you into poor financial decisions, it can also look at that empty bank balance and sound the alarm. Love is what gets you to the place where you pay yourself first.
While Fear can lead you into poor health decisions, it can also look at the scale and sound the alarm. Love begins the work of self-love with nutrition, exercise and stress-relief.
Fear is still kind of a bad guy – after all, maybe some of the above scenarios could have been avoided entirely had it not been for Fear. But Fear also is the guy that tapped on the driver’s side of the Life car and said, “Whoa … that turn back there? Why did you listen to me? That turn back there was a bad turn!”
The idea is to get a point in your spiritual work where you can expose Fear, recognize him, and instead of saying “No room for you in this Life car, Fear!,” you allow him to ride along in the backseat.
But remember … he’s never allowed in the front, nor is he allowed to dictate the way forward. And when you do listen to Fear? Turn to Love and simply request:
“Show me the way.”