This morning I was at Starbucks and ran into one of my favorite couples, Ben and Debbie Edwards.
Ben is our longest running client at US CrossFit, and together they run mindfulness based stress reduction seminars in San Diego (if you have the opportunity to attend one of these I highly recommend it). We discussed love and fear. Fascinating, as they are the only two emotions that we are born with as a child. All other emotions evolve from these two. Debbie went on to say that fear only had three true manifestations:
Fear of being alone
Fear of being unworthy
Fear of being unsafe
It is not hard to see why a child would act out of fear of these three. However, it’s crippling for a mature adult to continue to act out in mutated, immature aspects of these manifestations.
Fear of being alone can cause clinging and control to ensure certainty, which leads to pushing away and being alone. Fear of being unworthy may cause one to show the opposite, and be boastful and loud, in a need to be seen and feel significant; again the opposite results. Finally, fear of being unsafe often leads to a cloistered, unadventurous life, which is the most unsafe life to live. Predators feed off of this energy and know exactly who to target.
The fears are deeply programmed into our psyche. No doubt fear has a place in the survival of humans and is hard-coded into our DNA. Our ancestors rightly feared the neighboring tribe because they were literally out to kill them and take their food and women. In modern times it is right to fear the intruder in your home. Fear activates our defense mechanisms, which allow us to take more powerful action. However, fear must be understood, controlled, and used to our advantage. Courage and offensiveness training, used in both the martial arts and SEALFIT, allows students and teachers alike to practice fear management; participating in contact sports and living close to the earth, where survival relies on controlling fear, are also both terrific ways to tame fear.
A healthy approach to learning about the three fears would have you face the fear and replace it with courage. Courage is a stepping stone to love. So:
Fear of being alone is replaced with the courage to learn intimacy
Fear of being unworthy is replaced with the courage to serve others, and to be worthy of their love
Fear of being unsafe is replaced with the courage to learn to defend yourself
What about love? Could we say that love is in contrast to those things we most fear:
Love of being safe
Love of feeling worthy
Love of being intimately connected
This doesn’t feel right to me. We certainly desire those to exist in contrast to the three fears, but love is an entirely different energy. The absence of fear is not love, but courage. The absence of love is not fear, but emptiness.
And finally, what about hate? Hate sucks, that’s what. Hate is when all three fears exist in the same space and time, in their most mutated form. To hate another is to hate yourself, and all of life. I leave you with a stanza from a poem written in 1807 by Shadow Walker, an Apache Scout. Thanks to Tom Brown the Tracker for this gem:
“Forgive me Grandfather, for now I must pick up the lance. Direct my mind, direct my heart so that there is no hatred, rage or revenge.”
Even when we have so-called enemies, we can act out of love for them, and not hate. Oh will our world be a different place when all of us can learn this truth. Hooyah!
–Coach Mark Divine, founder SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind