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THE FINAL FRONTIER: CONQUERING FEAR

- A Personal Tale of Self Discovery

 

As a child with an unusually large ego, and a tremendous sense of power, I had been quick to anger and eager to fight.  I saw myself as a champion of justice in my primary school yard, and if others couldn’t see things my way, I pummelled it into them.  “Do you know who I am?” I would thunder.  Where these grandiose notions of myself came from is a mystery to all but those who believe in reincarnation, but at the tender age of nine, I felt it was my duty to establish myself as a power to be reckoned with in order to subdue the rough, shield the gentle, and bring peace to our modest realm.

 

In high school, the nuns cleverly channelled my errant energies into music and social service, and taught me the way of the saint. I revelled in walks on the beach with young orphans, and lustily sang for the elderly in convalescent homes. For a while it seemed they had tamed me – until the world began to descend into chaos: marches and protests for independence and civil rights here, war there, rioting, looting, and burning everywhere. I knew it was also a time of hope – past wrongs being righted, the silent majority speaking out at last, taking control of its future – but I felt vulnerable.

 

It was around this time that I started watching Kung Fu Movies.  At first I recoiled at the raw violence, but by the second movie I was hooked, and in the fertile avenues of my mind, I began playing out scenes of bloody ends to those who threatened me, or anyone under my imaginary protection.

 

Then I saw The Godfather Part 1, and my hair stood on end.  Here was a man who knew how to bring about peace and order.  In him, I saw myself: benevolent towards assenters, and meeting violence with violence where dissent reared its head, but above all, an effective guardian.  Against the backdrop of barely contained regional conflicts and increasingly ferocious acts of global terrorism, The Godfather was, to me, an oasis in the desert of mayhem.

 

"Temper that aggression!" I was told when my career path led me into the diplomatic corps. "You are a mediator not a terminator. In matters involving conflict, you must consider both sides to any story."  But did we always?  Of course not!  Not when our respective governments feared threats to national interests. I saw regimes come and go; people, including some of my diplomat friends, exiled from their homelands.  I saw countries meet violence with violence and descend into the chaos of unending bloodshed.

 

But when I saw a certain look in the eyes of a young war-bred child, as he threw a Molotov cocktail at his enemy — other children — I was finally shaken to the core.  I recognized that look – it was the fear of powerlessness.  It had been in me in the schoolyard, causing me to go blind with rage, and in the war-torn areas of the world it was leading to the mutilation and death of children at the hands of other children.

 

I saw the monster on the horizon.  I realized then that if we were to allow — either by complicity or disregard — an entire generation to grow up knowing nothing but murder, mayhem, and the constant, overwhelming presence of fear, we might as well kiss goodbye to any chance of planetary peace.

 

But the kill-first-talk-later mindset was already in place, and had developed a will of its own.  I had no idea how to stop it, nor, it appeared, did world leaders.

 

Jaded, I shifted from government to the corporate world, thinking that the wild pursuit of money would shield me from the inevitable. It couldn’t. Fear lurked within the corporate walls too — fear of being bypassed, upstaged, or let go, and where fear is, violence is never far behind.  Masquerading as good business sense, acts of subterfuge, manipulation, and backstabbing were being perpetrated at an alarmingly increasing rate.

 

Volunteer work offered no relief.  The pleading faces of abandoned refugees haunted me.  Seeing children, who had played together blissfully as toddlers, discriminate against each other as teenagers, distressed me.  Watching idealistic student activists being run over by tanks, was the final straw.

 

At the height of my career, I stepped off the relentless carousel of modern life, and returned to nature.  There, among the birds and the butterflies, the squirrel and the deer, I learnt the extent to which fear had engrossed our planet, and I realized that to make our world a kinder place, we, as individuals, would have to tackle that final frontier between us and peaceful co-existence: we would have to conquer fear.

 

Armed with this knowledge, I proceeded to examine all the situations that could induce a fear-based response, and I found no end to the number issues humans lose sleep over. We live with fear every day from the fleeting “How do I look!” stab of nervousness, to the “Oh boy” panic as we flash past a partially obscured police car doing 140 in a 100 kilometre zone.  A beggar asks for money, and we worry for the rest of the day that we might have been duped out of a dollar; we allow a telemarketer to persuade us we’re winners in a contest we didn’t enter, then agonize over it for another month because we gave out personal information.

 

Gradually I came to realize that all negative acts were essentially fear-based, and positive acts, love-based.  Fear and unconditional love were actual waves of energy with frequencies that could alter my make-up. Courage, laughter, joy, compassion, all travelling on the love frequency, raised my vibration and expanded my horizon, while hatred, anger, envy, guilt, all travelling on the fear frequency, did the exact opposite.  As obvious as it may seem to some, I had to consciously acknowledge this fact before change could come about.

 

I started practicing mantras.  Every morning for months, I went through a routine of chanting stuff like: Today, I will not fear. However, I focused so much on eradicating that energy from every cell of my body, that in time I began to fear fear itself.  Finally it dawned on me: what we focus on we become.  I was going about it the wrong way.  The only way to reduce fear, and its accompanying energies, was to increase love, and its accompanying energies.

 

Doggedly, I set off down this new path. As I filled myself with love, my courage grew, and as my courage grew, acceptance of self, for better or worse, followed,  then acceptance of others.  Soon I was striding through life with a renewed sense of confidence based on inner strength rather than outer. Compromise came easier. I discovered a new world already in existence, one in which international communities with expanded awareness, were working together with ease for the advancement of all. Creative power unleashed, nothing was impossible. For a while, it was magical – until September 11, 2001.

 

When confronted with life-threatening situations, detachment from fear-based emotions becomes a luxury for most human beings.  Prior to 9/11, most of us in the West had never had to confront fear in such enormous proportions. Traumatized, even the best of us polarized and descended into violence: harsh words in homes, and skirmishes in the streets.  With one blow, anarchists had increased exponentially the amount of hatred and anger energies swirling around the planet. It took every ounce of courage for me to resist the flow, and keep my heart open.

 

The sight of the world apparently careening towards new levels of mass and personal violence, when at the turn of the century a global commitment to peace seemed almost possible, should fill me with deep pain, but it doesn’t.  I’ve been watching the awareness of other people expand, just as mine did; I’ve noted that children of today are speaking out for peace at younger and younger ages, and following through with action as well; and I’ve decided  that despite the tug of human emotions towards the macabre, the waves of higher consciousness are sweeping in.  When the number of people committed to conquering fear within themselves reaches critical mass, the collective tide will turn.

 

 

M.M.M.

Exploring Creative Power

 

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