LOVE or FEAR. Spiritual masters, philosophers, and psychologists concur that all of our feelings, both positive and negative, fundamentally emanate from these two emotions.
And right now, I’m sure you will agree, we are living in a time of tremendous FEAR.
Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Feeling fear, when attached to physical danger is a natural response and one that has undoubtedly helped human beings survive for millenia.
Fear tells us we are in danger.
At its best, when there are real reasons to be fearful, it’s an internal alarm system that protects us from harm.
Like that creepy feeling you get when you are walking down an unlit street, or when weird Uncle Charlie gets a bit too friendly.
And some fears actually bring us together: Tornadoes. Floods. Earthquakes.
Humanity is at its best when we are united, working together.
Do you remember how united we were as a country in the early days post 9/11? I do. It was as if we were all looking out for one another. Overnight, New York City became the friendliest, most helpful place to visit.
People everywhere were consoling, comforting and caring.
But fears can be imagined as well.
And when fed by constant news bites and sensational journalism, the fear escalates and serves only to divide us:
~I am afraid of white supremacists, you are afraid of Muslims.
~You are afraid of losing your job to an immigrant, I am afraid that refugees will not find a safe harbor.
~Aunt Eleanor is afraid her guns will be taken away from her, I fear my children getting shot at school.
The sad truth is fear begets fear.
Our overactive imaginations see a bogeyman around every corner.
The Story of Two Wolves
No doubt you have heard the Cherokee tale of the two wolves:
An Cherokee Grandfather is teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he says to the young boy.
“It is a terrible fight… between two wolves.
One wolf is ugly – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
While the other wolf is all beauty – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
Knowing he has the boy’s attention, he continues, “This same fight is going on inside you…and inside every other person you meet.”
The young brave sat silently for several moments, thinking. “ Grandfather, which wolf will win?”, he asks.
The old man wisely replies, “The one you feed.”
Which Wolf Do We Want to Feed?
In my humble opinion, right now we are feeding the wolf of fear.
With every headline we are stoking the flames of a bonfire: Fear of the other, fear of losing what we have , fear for our planet , fear for our very survival.
When it is self created, fear is destructive: we fear sharing our feelings because we may appear wrong or stupid, we hold back from loving another because we fear rejection, we hoard because we fear not having enough.
In its obsessive form, fear become a catalyst for isolation, anger and divisiveness.
Exactly what we are experiencing in our divided country right now.
And so we must ask, is this the wolf we want to feed?
Love is the one treasure that multiplies by division. It is the one gift that grows bigger the more you take from it.
It is the one business in which it pays to be an absolute spendthrift.
Give it away! Throw it away! Splash it over! Empty your pockets! Shake the basket! Turn the glass upside down!
~And tomorrow you will have more than ever.
If you are of the understanding that everything is energy, then you can further understand that our emotions are energy as well.
In his seminal book, Power vs Force, David R. Hawkins ascertains that certain levels of vibrations have emotions attached to them.
Not surprisingly, fear and love are attached to vibrations at two different ends of the scale.
Fear, with its cousins anger and resentment, at the low end of the vibrational scale, feels dense and heavy. Just saying those words aloud makes my chest constrict and a pit form in my stomach.
The converse is true of love, with its cousins joy and happiness. Hold those words in your mind and you feel uplifted, buoyed, with your heart opening to possibility.
Unconditional love is permanent state of being. It is not dependent on external factors, it simply is. Focusing on the positive, love is understanding, forgiving and encouraging.
Who doesn’t want to live in that heart space?
What Do We Value?
And so it seems we must become clear about what we truly value.
I strongly believe , as human beings, our predominant value is love.
We came into this world as love. As we grow, challenges we face allow fear to become part of the equation.
It becomes a matter of choice to remain in love.
Lately, I have been practicing to ground myself in the vibration of love. It is my conscious choice to control the energy I create versus allowing the energy of the outside world to control me.
It’s not always easy but practice makes perfect, right?
If you yourself are hankering for a bit of disengagement from from fear, here’s some ways I’m doing it:
First and foremost, disengaging from fear means taking long breaks from the news and social media, resisting the call to check in on the world’s happenings to only twice a day. Not surprisingly, this one change has freed my mind from fear’s near constant assault.
I have taken to subscribing to with uplifting newsletters, blogs and publications, giving preference to the positive actions that fill our world. Here’s a few to get you started : Upworthy, Yes! Magazine, Future Crunch, TED blog.
I take time to be do the things that bring me joy: writing, gardening, painting. Spending time at the beach. Playing with my dog. Talking with the trees. Spending time with friends. Dancing. Singing. Watching the Red Sox WIN. (heh, heh!)
What lights YOU up??
And choosing, moment by moment, over and over again, for as many times as necessary without any judgement of self, whenever feelings of hopelessness and despair for our world creep into my head, to consciously shift my racing, monkey mind of thought to one of love.
Simply press your hands to your heart, breathe into rhythm and power, focus on the love it provides and be still in the joy of your heart energy. Then send it to out to the world, one thought at a time.
We have to make a decision to be in one place or the other.
There is no neutrality in this.
If you don’t actively choose love, you will find yourself in a place of either fear or one of its component feelings.
Every moment offers the choice to choose one or the other.
And we must continually make these choices, especially in difficult circumstances when our commitment to love,
instead of fear, is challenged.
Here’s the amazing thing:
As we focus on love, we get to experience the Law of Attraction boomeranging the vibrations of love we send out come back to us.
What we focus on is actually expanding. This experience provides the affirmation we need to continue our practice.
And allows us to change our small corner of the world, for ourselves …and everyone who enters our sphere.
So in answer to the question: What does love have to do with it?
In my experience, everything.