Defeating Fear with Kindness. The Authors Collection.

Fear should not be our motivation. Kindness offers the greatest reward.
Fear should not be our motivation. Kindness offers the greatest reward.

I suppose you could say this blog grew out of an experience last evening when I spent a few minutes reading a friend’s blog on nasty book reviews, one directed at him in fact. Then I read through the exchange that followed the review on Amazon. All the while, I watched what went on inside of me as I read.

Christina Carson
Christina Carson

First there was the recognition that still makes me squirm, the memory of the extent of my own righteousness in my youth, for the reviewer was suffering from similar tendencies, which justify in the minds of the righteous all manner of insensitivity. What we don’t get in that moment is that we are responding from fear—fear of not being taken seriously, fear of not being recognized for our seeming greater insight, etcetera, and using the most readily available soul to blame it on. Fear is so integral to all of us, thanks to how we’ve been conditioned to understand the world, few people ever tease it out enough to see how deeply it owns them and how unfounded it is.

I think back to my corporate consulting days where we really wanted to show people how possible it is to work together effectively, but were usually called in to end a war or take down conflict. I remember the first time I asked a group of upper management why there was so much fear about the project in question and was promptly told, “We’re not afraid.” I had to bite my tongue not to laugh, so instead I merely asked, “Then what’s all this fighting about?”

We are creatures of possibilities so vast and so extraordinary that to get stuck on fear like a fly to flypaper is a terrible loss. We can, however, start wherever we find ourselves to take a different run at it. It’s not like if you missed the first 50 lessons in Life 101, it’s too late. All we need do is determine that in the next issue that assails us, we will get to the center of it, for there is only one center—period. That center is called the truth of things. Life lived rightly is not lived linearly. We have Newtonian science to thank for that silly notion. Rather, it’s as if we are a big ball and as long as we travel a radial line to the center, we will have lived one moment truly.

DyingToKnow-3dLeftThere once was a student of meditation that was desperate to meditate more effectively. Every time he came into the presence of his teacher, he would ask the same question until the teacher was weary of seeing him. Having failed to impact the student with all the various explanations he’d offered, one day the teacher merely said, “You know that space between one thought and the next?” The student nodded his head eagerly. “Make it longer.”

So I say to us all, live one true moment. Feel its exquisite peace, its indescribable beauty, its total lack of fear. Then go for another one.

Then listen to Rumi from his poem Zero Circle:

…When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,

We shall be a mighty kindness.

            Most anything said with a tad more kindness will be more instructive, more useful and more effective for everyone, for Fear won’t be its motivation and Beauty will be its reward.

Please click the book cover image to read more about Christina Carson and her novels.

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Christina, I often think that FDR was right. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Yet, for writers, fear is the one motivation that keeps them going. Probably the two greatest themes that run through every novel is fear and love. Sometimes one wins. Sometimes the other does.

    • Christina Carson

      FDR was bang on. And were we to examine fear in any moment it arose, we would see that it reflects nothing of the reality of that moment, as hard as that is to imagine. I call this planet a lovely insane asylum for we literally live here responding hundreds of times a day to fears that are nothing more than ambient thoughts that run through our minds that are not even reflective of that moment. If that’s not insane, I don’t know what is.

  • Darlene Jones

    Unfortunately, fear rules too much of our lives. Is it a function of our society or our reactions to the world around us? I’m never sure, but I do wish we could all live with less fear.

    • Christina Carson

      Unless you are being presently threatened with loss of your life, for example, any fear we experience is merely our emotional response to OUR OWN THOUGHTS. And the sad thing is that those thoughts, if you were to grab hold of them in that moment, you would see have nothing to do with what is happening in that moment. They are in truth habituated responses from our long ago past as children, carried into adulthood because we have never stopped to examine them. Our true problem is living an unexamined life.

      You always ask useful and interesting questions. I am sure your were a powerful teacher.

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