Some time ago, in my yoga study, I was given the assignment to journal and reflect on the connection between love and fear. Our homework began with the task of taking note of that which we are afraid of and compare and contrast it with that which we love.
Upon being given this assignment, my fellow students and I were encouraged to be mindful of the fact that our feelings of fear and love come in many forms: fear may be experienced as fright, anxiety, vulnerability, or insecurity, while love may be expressed as emotional investment, passion, fondness, or true love itself. After mindfully noting our emotions, we were instructed to carefully consider the triggers of these experiences, with the intention of deciphering where exactly our attachments lie.
This assignment is based on the theory that fear and love are the only basic emotions that we as humans feel, stating that all other emotions arise from the love of our attachments and the fear we have of losing them. Accordingly, greed is said to stem from a fear of going without, anger or stress from a fear of a perceived threat, humor stems from a love of the lighthearted, joy from fulfillment, and so on. As you can imagine, this assignment highlighted the fact that I experience some profound kind of love every single day. And, likewise, each and every day, I encounter something that I fear.
So, in the spirit of this yogic assignment, take just a moment to reflect on what this means for you personally. Where do your experiences of love and fear intertwine? What attachments of yours trigger these feelings? As you further analyze your emotions, notice if you are able to also see that fear is nothing more than an attachment to something you love and wish not to lose. If you are able to see this, then you will also see that what you fear may not be so frightening after all
Of course, I must concede that there are plenty of things in this life that legitimately inspire fear. And, that is natural and okay, because fear does have its purpose. After all, fear is always looking out for our best interest, demanding our attention, warning us of potential danger, and guiding us toward safety, security, and familiarity. And this is good.
That is, this is good until we realize that which we love lies beyond our fears. For it is then that we are required to really listen to what fear has to tell us. We must confront our fears and decide between two choices. We must decide whether it serves our higher purpose to listen to our fears, hold fast to our attachments, and do nothing. Or, we must call upon courage, take a risk, and “do it anyway”.