I know it is not accurate or maybe even helpful to create simple dichotomies but as I look back over my life and think of all the wonderful people I have come to know, I am beginning to wonder if people either live their lives primarily motivated by love or by fear. This statement of course requires some qualifiers. When I refer to love, I am not thinking of romantic or addictive love here, but rather a love for life which probably includes a love for self as well as for others. Likewise when I refer to someone primarily motivated by fear, I am not referring to someone who is necessarily paralyzed by fear but rather someone who gravitates toward all of the things that could go wrong before taking an action, if indeed they take action.
I also do not mean to suggest that people who are primarily motivated fear do not experience love or people primarily motivated by love do not experience fear. I have come to wonder if these are just two different perspectives or lenses through which we humans view our reality-either something very scary or something very interesting, exciting or even wonderful.
I was guest lecturer one time in a college class on religion. I asked the students, ages 18-55, if they either saw themselves in a world that was full of dark forces and obstacles over which they had no power. Therefore a big part of their life would be devoted to avoiding these forces and obstacles. Or did they see their life as one exciting journey full of opportunities and whatever obstacles they encountered they saw them as an opportunity to learn.
I tried very hard to disguise my own bias, but was surprised to learn that the class was actually split approximately in half. Age seemed to have very little to do with their relative perspective. I wondered what kind of religious perspective someone would have who saw the world full of dark forces would have and what kind of spiritual or religious expression someone who saw life as a journey full of opportunities would be attracted to. I have my own suspicions but no scientific evidence to support them.
What I do know is that fear is a powerful energy. It creates isolation, separation, anger, judgment, and disease. And it is the one thing that most consistently stops us from en-joying life. Fear gives you something to be against. Fear gives one an identity. It is always easier to be against something than it is to be open to the unknown and yet no matter how careful, how secluded, or religious we become, life is full of unknowns including our own death.
So what is our greatest fear? I believe it is discovering who we really are, at the deepest level. Maybe it means slowly taking off all of the different masks we have created for ourselves and looking in the divine mirror that honestly tells us that we are precious, beautiful and perfect just the way we are…without the mask, without the makeup, without the costumes.
Marriane Williamson once wrote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”
Why not let your light shine brightly and fearlessly during this season of darkness?