I remember watching the TV as a kid when the Berlin Wall fell. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but I could feel the current of relief that ran through collective at that time. I was nine at the time, and now I have a nine-year old who asking me why a country would want to take over another country, and I can feel the current of fear flash over the globe. What do we do when we feel this wave rise within us and how do we learn to live fearlessly?
Fear takes many forms, it can come undisguised as anxiety, show up as anger, or even reveal itself as controlling behavior. It’s very primal and sets off all kinds of fight or flight chemistry which is helpful if you’re being chased by a lion but doesn’t help in the case of a lost pair of car keys, running late for an important meeting, or an existential threat based on an armed conflict happening on the other side of the world.
What does it mean then to live fearlessly? To understand this, we must first examine fear itself. No matter the form it takes, lasting fear comes from an absence of inner fulfillment. When we feel lacking inside, we try to fill that void with things, relationships, achievements, basically things that can be taken away. The more you go within, your sense of who you are comes from that Being you find there. That is the unchanging field so nothing can be taken from you. Things go your way–great, they go differently–how interesting. You are the source of fulfillment bringing it to the world, not an extractor of happiness. To the extent nothing can be taken from you, there is nothing to fear.
I say to the extent as fearlessness is cultivated in grades. It’s not an on/off switch. It is essential that we develop fearlessness as it has a cooling effect on the collective. No matter what the specific cause, wars are always started by fear. A fear of losing power, a fear of losing control of resources, a fear of “other.” Bullies are always very fearful, even when they are heads of state.
When we cultivate fearlessness in ourselves, we are having a significant effect on the whole, and motivating others to do the same. The Ukrainian people have shown an incredible display of fearlessness to the world, and it’s rousing a global wave of support and courage. We can inspire fearlessness too, and if there’s enough of us, that’s how peace begins.
My fearless daughter Delphine