The Lessons of Fear

How many times have you been afraid? And when you have been afraid, what action did you take?

My hope is that you’ve been afraid more times than you can think, and while you may not be able to say this of every occasion more often than not you took action to overcome the fear rather than avoid it.

Fear is something that is simply part of our human experience. If we’re living life, fear is a familiar friend. If we claim we have no fear, then we’re not living life – we’re avoiding it.

Nelson Mandela, that spiritual leader who led the world to understand the colour of our skin has nothing to do with the value of our heart, our mind, and our soul, said “courage is 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.”

What’s interesting about fear is that we are not born with it. Children can run down a rocky embankment without a fear in the world. But even the most agile senior will choose to slow down, in part because with time comes knowledge – in this case that one might fall.

Fear arrives when we bump up against the reality of our world. So the child that falls off his or her bike has a fear to overcome. When we remove obstacles from our children’s experience, we remove the opportunities for them to overcome fear.

As more and more people choose to protect themselves from fear, the actual amount of fear in the world grows, rather than shrinks. And this affects everything in our lives – from the decisions made by politicians, to the most basic of decisions we make in our own personal lives. When we are driven by fear, by scarcity, by lack, by want, by need – we are expanding the expression of that experience all around us.

We telegraph to others all the time whether we are led by fear or by faith. Being led by faith requires us to be courageous in our approach to life. It requires us to be conscious of our motivations, and how we might choose to do things differently.

The power, as with anything, lies in awareness. It is awareness that allows us to grow in our ability to make strong choices that support our intention.

It’s been nearly seven months since Nelson Mandela made his transition, and people still talk about the impact his life had on the world, and I’m confident they will continue to talk for decades to come.

He was a brave and courageous man, who changed the world because he dared to show compassion rather than fear.

He said as well: “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.”

Don’t worry about fear. Embrace it. It is that thing that reminds us of what we need to do, what we need to overcome. As we do, we become the wayshowers through that valley of death, and our light shines so much more brightly.



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