Monday, March 28, 2022

March 28--What is Your Fear Level?

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.  --Joseph Campbell

    To be bravely "who you are" is not easy in a culture that tries constantly to motivate with fear and control. Here are words about that by Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation:

    Fear unites the disparate parts of our false selves very quickly. The ego moves forward by contraction, self-protection, and refusal, by saying no. Contraction gives us focus, purpose, direction, superiority, and a strange kind of security. It takes our aimless anxiety, covers it up, and tries to turn it into purposefulness and urgency, which results in a kind of drivenness. But this drive is not peaceful or happy. It is filled with fear and locates all its problems as “out there,” never “in here.”
    The soul or the True Self does not proceed by contraction but by expansion. It moves forward, not by exclusion, but by inclusion. It sees things deeply and broadly not by saying no but by saying yes, at least on some level, to whatever comes its way. Can you distinguish between those two very different movements within yourself?
    Fear and contraction allow us to eliminate other people, write them off, exclude them, and somehow expel them, at least in our minds. This immediately gives us a sense of being in control and having a secure set of boundaries—even holy boundaries. But people who are controlling are usually afraid of losing something. If we go deeper into ourselves, we will see that there is both a rebel and a dictator in all of us, two different ends of the same spectrum. It is almost always fear that justifies our knee-jerk rebellion or our need to dominate—a fear that is hardly ever recognized as such because we are acting out and trying to control the situation.

    My mother was the poster child for control freaks, and I learned that behavior well. She was terrified of losing a multitude of things. While it's a work-in-progress, I have made great strides in leaving the fear-and-control realm behind. Love is the alternative, and loving is "the privilege of a lifetime." 


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