By Brian Kane: 12/11/11
“Fear is an acronym for: False Evidence Appearing Real,” Gary Busey.
Why do we fear things, when there is nothing to be afraid of? I was lying in bed this Saturday, December 10, 2011, (right before this weekend’s Level II YiRen Qigong Seminar hosted by Brendan Thorson) and this inquiry came to my mind. Fear seems to motivate us in everything we do: Fear of being unemployed makes you work harder than you should at your job, fear of looking foolish might make you incredibly afraid to speak and/or perform in front of a crowd, fear of being single and being alone and lonely often makes individuals choose a partner that is not right for them. I think it was Robin Williams who jokingly quipped that he oftentimes finds himself with a girlfriend that he knows is not necessarily the “right” girl but the best “right now” girl. Although many of us have similar fears, some people’s fears might seem deranged and very esoteric. Believe me when I write that if you believe some of your fears are strange, you are certainly not alone. Even if no one in the entire world shares one of your darkest most secret fears, more people than you might think are afraid of some very peculiar things.
When I was meditating about fear an idea came to my mind. Instead of being motivated to do things by fear, perhaps it would be better to be motivated by seeking self-fulfillment. During this weekend’s Level II YiRen Qigong Seminar, after completing the Large Universe exercise, which is intended to circulate Qi, or Chi, throughout the 12 major meridians, I wrote down the following ideas:
Fear + Ego amounts to trying to garner praise which leads to competition. Altruism + Ego amounts to trying to spread peace and joy, which leads to cooperation. The latter is much more self-fulfilling in the long run and I am confident that if you lead your life by this design, you can be both happy and successful.
You might question: Well, is not the opposite of fear, courage? I would answer that courage is not the opposite of fear, but rather being afraid and acting with your best interest in mind regardless of your fear. Self-fulfillment is not the opposite of fear either, but it is a way to alleviate fear more effectively than say, being motivated to do something in order to impress other people.
Instead of trying to impress people, it is much healthier to think about how you can help both yourself and your fellow man or woman by your actions. For instance, let us say you are a painter and you have never sold one piece of art even though your paintings seem very similar to what another renowned artist has produced. You paint what you paint because you want to be praised and want to sell pieces, but in your mind, you know that very few painters share the same brush strokes. Your fear of what others think motivates you.
However, if you paint with the intention of being true to yourself, thus seeking self-fulfillment, more often than not your honesty will touch someone and enhance her life. That person will enjoy your art not because it is popular or “better” than someone else’s, but because it is a true representation of part of you: your soul.
Verse Three of the “Tao Te Ching” reads:
When praise is lavished upon the famous,
the people contend and compete with one another.
When exotic goods are traded and treasured,
the compulsion to steal is felt.
When desires are constantly stimulated,
people become disturbed and confused.
Therefore, the wise person sets an example by
Emptying her mind
Opening her heart,
Relaxing her ambitions,
Relinquishing her desires,
Cultivating her character.
Having conquering her own cunning an cravings,
she can’t be manipulated by anyone.
Do by not-doing.
Act with nonaction.
Allow order to arise of itself.
Part of Verse 15 of the “Tao Te Ching” states
Those who aspire to Tao don’t long
They selfishly allow the Tao to
use and deplete them;
They calmly allow the Tao to
renew and complete them.
To me this means that reaching complete self-fulfillment is not a goal one sets, but the pursuit of feeling fulfilled or satisfied that your actions have taken into the consideration of others as well as yourself, is imperative for your own health and well-being.
This week I am going to start being aware of my fears and accepting them. More importantly, I am going to try to be motivated not by fear, but, with courage, by the intention of feeling truly fulfilled that my actions are not controlled by what is seen through the eyes of others, but through the windows of my own soul.