Day 14: Fear

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
― Marie Curie

It would appear that no sooner has one insight come and punched you in the nose than another, while your hands are cupped around your face, swipes you around the back of the head… I speak, mostly, with my tongue in my cheek.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pretty anxious for as long as I can remember. Anxiety takes so many forms, there are so many things we are afraid of in our daily lives, but today it was put to me that it is pretty much the biggest obstacle to peace and happiness (along with forgiveness, of course, as previously discussed).

What are you afraid of?

Disapproval?
Rejection?
Running out of money?
Ill health?
Death?
Hidden costs?
Your children’s safety?
Being hurt?
The unknown?

Every day, every minute of every day, there lurks potential fear. What if you did run out of money? What if you do meet disapproval? I mean, really, what if? Won’t you just find a way through it? Clearly some fears are of things far more beyond our control than others, and we have to face them anyway. But so much is just a ‘what if’?

Jack Kornfield (yes, I’m still with him, though I’m onto his “Your Buddha Nature” talks just now) made this following very good point. I sat stunned. Literally. Well… you know.. no one actually hit me over the head, but they might just as well have done.

You’re walking in the woods and you’re afraid of being chased by a bear (the fear is not of walking in the woods, so your fear is not realised now)
You’re being chased by a bear and you’re afraid it’ll catch you (the fear is not of being chased, but of being caught, so your fear is not realised now)
The bear has caught you and you’re afraid of being mauled (the fear is not of being caught, but of being mauled, so your fear is not realised now)…

… you see the point? The fear is never in the moment, it is always based on a potential future reality…

But more than that – the things we fear sometimes do come to pass (though they often don’t), and we fear them until they happen, until they are the now, at which point we survive them, and somewhere the other side of them, we’re fine. It’s still now. And, ironically, we have found something new to fear.

So, as radical as it may seem, what about giving up fear?

I’ve lived through some experiences I would never have imagined possible. But it’s now. Right now, and here I sit writing this with nothing to fear. I know I could give you a long list of things I could fear, but what’s the point? If now is all we have, if the future is a total unknown, why waste now fearing then?

What if we just made the most of now?

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
― Nelson Mandela

Or, I suppose, feel the fear and do it anyway?

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2 responses to “Day 14: Fear

  • Lin Cook

    My father controlled us, especially me as the eldest (and naughtiest) by fear. Every damned thing was dangerous and not allowed, from playing with other children to riding a bike…and disobedience would result in threats of being sent to a children’s home (yes really!) This doesn’t actually bode well for a secure adult but I have found what you say to be quite true – ‘Now’ is all there is! (Poor Dad really had a job on with a sick wife and three children to support – we could so easily have ended up in homes and it’s thanks to him we didn’t but even so…)

    • RightMotherhood

      I identify with much of what you say. Fear is a powerful means of control, and of stunting growth, and can be very easily disguised as ‘concern’…
      Your compassion for your dad, though… *squeeze* ❤

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