Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fear—Who Cares?

I read the words of my title in a brilliant book entitled Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her prose is delicious, her insights better.

The words come from her unnamed guru who is, without doubt, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda of the Siddha Yoga lineage. I like the words because they encapsulate a freeing truth.

Human beings experience fear.

Stating the obvious has become an art these days, and Gurumayi got it in one. So okay, we are afraid. Does fear always matter? I don’t think so. Oh sure, in the Serengeti Desert facing a hungry mama lion, fear is an instinctual, natural human response to a life-threatening situation. Sure, in a dark alley hearing heavy anonymous footsteps in counterpoint to gunshots, of course there’s fear.

But what about our small, everyday fears? Fear of humiliation, fear of being wrong, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of the dark, fear of the monster under the bed. Who cares?

“Who cares?” is a good, healthy response to fears which can paralyze us but in the long run aren’t really important.

The next time you’re caught in the headlights of fear that is not life-threatening, ask yourself, “Who cares?” I think you’ll be delighted to find that you, for one, don’t.

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