Of all that we notice in our lives, we relate to in one of two qualitatively different ways: fear or love. It's easy (instinctive?) to relate with fear towards a snarling dog off its leash. For many it's equally easy (instinctive?) to relate with love towards a golden retriever puppy.

Very often, sometimes several times per hour (even in the absence of snarling feral animals) we feel uneasy, uncomfortable, lacking, incompetent, threatened. Aren't these all nuanced manifestations of fear? So how do we tend to handle constantly recurring manifestations of fear?

Don't we take it very personally? When we say "I am afraid" don't we often mean "I am fear"? Whoever 'I' was, seems to leave, leaving only fear. So fight, flight or freeze remain the only options. When we act out of fear, we really are "not ourselves" - we clearly feel that. Those around us are even more clearly aware of this.

So when fear (anxiety, anger, hatred, jealousy, ... all related negative emotions) takes over, we no longer feel like ourselves. We clearly don't like this shift.

How can we avoid being sucked into it & becoming something we're not? A deep way is by prioritizing authenticity. We all know the unmistakable feeling of centeredness: peace, silence, stillness, kind awareness, openness, warmth, joy: It's who / what we are, yet our authenticity is easily overshadowed by our noisy, fearful ego - "our conditioned self".

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

As we intentionally practice returning to the felt sense of centeredness - returning, returning, returning, returning ... ever so patiently, peacefully, seamlessly, with endless, timeless perseverance, we're gently, progressively nurturing our authentic "wolf", and by being centeredness, taming our conditioned "wolf". Then at some point ... no wolves, only freedom.

It is a fundamental error trying to tame our fear-based conditioning by embodying fear-based conditioning. "Waging war" on violence, just makes us violent. A quality is strengthened through repeated use; weakened by non-use. Only by trusting, prioritizing, and embodying centeredness, does conditioning become progressively quieter, and less & less intrusive.

Photo by: Gideon Knight

Gideon Knight -

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