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Day 92: Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real

“The wise man in the storm prays God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear is the most basic of emotional responses. It is an experience that universally defines life, in most all its forms, from tiny insect to full grown men. Animals of all sizes are wired first through their fears. Humans are perhaps the only species that has the potential and insight to get close to fear, to look at it up close and transform the experience with our attention. We fear the unknown, we fear the edge of our own experiences, of not knowing whether we will be enough to face our own life.

The myriad faces of fear and the millions of ways that it inhibits our lives come together in the groundless, nothing-to-hold-onto, nowhere-to-turn moment of facing ourselves.

Fear is one of the most primary and immediate gateways we are offered to seeing, tasting and feeling the present moment. Usually we don’t take the invitation, we spin off and panic, telling stories, or intoxicating ourselves to avoid the vulnerability and the raw truth of the moment.

Courage is the act of moving towards our fears. Embracing the unknown places that make us want to run. Becoming intimate with our fear eliminates the storyline and all the things that we simultaneously try to prove and believe about ourselves falls away. Looking at fear from this place is a new meeting with our own heart. The tenderness that is right behind our worst most terrifying fears surprises us. Over and over again we have to move through the fear, to find out what we are made of.

Love isn’t just the opposite of fear, it is also where we get to when we go through our fears. The tender heart leads any act of true bravery, it is the place that we can hold onto when there is no ground beneath our feet. It is the constant beating in our chest that will not fail us, even at our most desperate moments, it is the truth in the face of False Evidence Appearing Real.