When it comes down to our choices day-to-day, we have two options. We can act out of love, or we can act out of fear. I know it sounds strange, but think about it: every interaction with another human being, or every action we perform that has potential consequence to either ourselves or others (e.g., the things we do for a living), can either be motivated by love (compassion/kindheartedness/a desire to do no harm) or by fear (to avoid loss or injury).
For example: why didn’t I give the homeless man on the corner a few dollars…because I was afraid he’d waste it on booze? What kind of person am I if my giving is conditional? Am I not saying through my actions that love is dependent upon my judgment of others’ worthiness?
Framed this way, I sound like a shallow, self-concerned asshole. But this is the truth. We are always making choices, and at least some of our choices are driven by a fear of “squandering what little we have”. We don’t recognize the many ways we are culturally – and perhaps biologically – programmed to choose fear because we’ve already bought-in to the concept of scarcity.
At some level, we’re afraid we are not enough, that we don’t have enough. We are continually trying to fill this perceived gap; with possessions, with mindless and meaningless activity, with food, with drugs, with any number of distractions to keep us from realizing the simple truth: we’re perfect just as we are, and we have everything we need.
In fact, if we began to understand the abundance within and around us, we might give more freely those things we once hoarded for fear of loss; our love, our time, our selves. We might see that living from a place of abundant love – for ourselves and for others – is not so much an act of courage as it is an act of privilege. Somewhere along the line we’ve forgotten that joy and love, spontaneity and healing, purpose and wholeness are our birthright, and our legacy.
We’ve traded our inner strength for conformity, and fallen into the trap of approval-seeking, (which is just another denomination in the currency of fear). We deny our authentic selves or let them become buried in pop-culture’s subliminal dung-heap; beneath all those messages that we need a full head of hair, white teeth, designer clothes, and a great ass to be “someone”, to be happy.
We’ve forgotten the beauty of individuality and diversity and allowed our minds to be clouded by mistrust for people and situations we don’t understand. Instead of remaining open and curious – like children – we become divisive, critical, judgmental. And these are the seeds of discrimination, racism, ageism…any behavior where fear becomes an act of violence against another, even if that violence exists only in our thoughts.
We’ve forgotten to draw a grateful breath when we wake each morning, to be filled with joy at the wonder of being alive. We’ve forgotten to gaze at the trees and flowers, to listen to the hum and chirping of birds, to soak in the sun’s radiant warmth, or delight in a fresh breeze against our skin. We’ve forgotten how absolutely beautiful and precious each moment of our life can be, if only we stopped trying to be someone else or somewhere else, and just allowed ourselves to be.
When we can lean into the abundance of life in the present moment, with love for ourselves and love for others, we discover a whole new world, one we shape by the pure, positive intent of our thoughts and actions. We begin to grasp the power we have to shape our reality. We begin to see how with each loving choice we make, we help this world become a better place.
My wish for you, dear reader, is that you find this wellspring of abundance; that you find the deep, boundless love secreted away within your own heart. And when you find it, may it serve you well, all the days of your life.