Fear

Love, happiness, excitement are few examples of good emotions by any definition. What about a very familiar and powerful emotion- fear. Would you agree to place it in the same category as the ones mentioned? Hear me out here.
At a very basic and scientific level, fear keeps you alive. It is in the very core of any living being’s need to survive. Animals that are not scared, perish.
As per Osho the opposite of love is not hate, its fear. Hate is just a degree of love but you can never truly love someone you fear. I’d say love and fear are two sides of the same coin like life and death, light and darkness. One doesn’t exist without the other. As beautiful as love might seem, it will be irrelevant if there was no fear. Fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of the unknown are the driving forces behind our love for success, for holding on, for aspiring to live a full life.
It is such an intriguing emotion. And it’s even more interesting to see how humans have learnt to manipulate it.
As much as I am all for gentle parenting and baby centric crisis management, like any mother, I too am guilty of instilling fear in my children, for their own safety of course and ahem…. sometimes just to make my life a tiny bit easier. Judge away if you must!
What’s interesting to see is the difference in the level of fear that my 4 and 1yr olds display. As newborns and infants they knew no fear but year by year it increases. It’s easier to scare my older one than the younger. So it appears that this unique emotion is part of growth. And I don’t mean only physical growth but every kind of growth. The more you grow financially you are scared of someone taking your possessions, the more you love the more you are scared of losing, the more fame you have the more fear of public opinion you live in.
It is crucial even in my profession. Every six months, pilots have to go for training in a simulator. And in this training we are made to realise the responsibility that rests on us. We are put under any number of things that can go wrong in our everyday flights and we are taught and trained to deal with the situation. Fear of what all can go wrong makes you aware of the hard realities that could strike anytime but it also makes you appreciate the machine aka aircraft that does not bring you to that point so easily. And overcoming every simulated scenario makes you realise that you have it in you to make it right.

If you ask me, there is only one true fear that trumps it all, the fear of harm to your children. Just the thought messes with your head like no other. And it’s astonishing to see how the collective greed of mankind has been exploiting this emotion of parents and made it into thriving businesses. Off the top of my head are business of child birth, insurance industry and vaccination business and many similar ones. These all feed on the fear of “what ifs?” Things that might or might not happen are the determining factors of them and we will always choose what we think is the lesser evil.
Fear can be a beautiful emotion as long as it makes us better people. Say for example- fear of consequences keeps our primal destructive nature in check. But when it is used for exploitation, it can quickly turn ugly at so many levels. Using someone else’s fear for your own advantage is an act of cowardice.

Leaving you with this thought – recent studies have shown that overcoming your fears actually makes you happier. So we first admit that yes there is fear in the undercurrent of life itself and that it’s a good thing because it keeps us alive and drives us to be better.

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Present

There are so many things you forget by the time you are a grown up. The harsh realities of life take away the magic one piece at a time. Continuity of species aside, this is the one important reason why I would say every one should experience parenthood, preferably from the scratch but alright wherever you begin the journey. By watching your little child’s approach towards life, you are reminded of the simpler times and simpler ways. The forgotten ways of finding smaller joys in everyday moments.
My younger one has this habit of taking a morsel of food and walking away for few steps. At first I didn’t make much of it. As time passed and I observed this habit of her’s closely it started to make sense. She would walk away with the bite in her mouth and not respond for few seconds till she swallows it and comes again for the next. I figured she really loves the taste of food so she does it to enjoy the morsel uninterrupted. So, like most of the things my kids love doing, I incorporated this action.
What I found was something lost a long ago. While I chewed on my food real slow, I tried being there. Present in my mouth. Present in every particle of the food that was filling my stomach and as I suspected, “kaboom” I felt the freshness and flavours manifold.
It might seem a little childish to find this rediscovery worth talking about. Unless like me you believe there is a spiritual connection with food, well not all the foods or all the time but you know what I’m talking about. The concept of food does have a soul connection. Evidence can be found in practices like- saying grace, offering of food at temples and celebrations or funerals to name just a few. But today’s topic is not about food, it is about being ‘present.’ Is it a coincidence that the tense ‘present’ and the verb ‘present’ as in being right here right now are the same words? May be not, may be some philosopher somewhere figured out that the only way your present will make any sense is when you are present in this moment. The only way to awaken each and every cell of your body and mind is by being present. The only way we’ll find joy in almost everything we do is by being present. And like the famous tortoise Oogway says “Present is a gift.” Well folks, right there is another hint.