“A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.” ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Isn’t it strange how fear has shaped our lives? There are times when we want something, yet fear holds us back. Maybe we have always dreamed of something else, yet our fears said no.
And we listened.
Why is fear such a guiding principle? Why is it so powerful that it will stop us in our tracks and we will choose something else? Even though, there is only one truth.
And so, we make a different choice and soon realize that we are on the “wrong” path. We have not chosen our true path because of fear… and now we feel like we are in nowhere land. We have no real passion here. We have no conviction here. We just feel numb and unable to make the next step.
Or perhaps all the steps we take here seem irrelevant. There is just no life in them.
This is the danger of letting fears control us. We end up lost in the forest… because although following our truth might have required us to dig deep and find new parts of ourselves, we at least would have been on our own path. We would have been walking in the sunshine understanding where we were going.
The Dangerous Goal of Comfort
So, why are these fears allowed to take us there? Because we have been sold a strange idea — that the goal of life is comfort. The goal is to not have to try, to strive, to put effort out into the world any longer.
The goal is our eternal easy-chair — physically and metaphorically.
But what happens in that easy chair? Initially, perhaps we get the rest we need from being overworked and exhausted. But beyond that, when sitting in our chair becomes the goal above all else, we begin to atrophy. We stop being alive. We begin a decline into true and complete rest.
Within this goal of total comfort, our fears get to be our masters. They tell us that things will change if do something different. They tell us that it might hurt so we shouldn’t do it. They say that it will be uncomfortable and we may not get back to our easy chair for a while.
Our fears effortlessly convince us that easy rest is the answer.
But is this really why we are here?
Being Fully Alive
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” ~ Victor Frankl
I am imagining a young boy who would like to learn to ride a bike. Maybe there are fears. What if he can’t do it right away? What if he looks stupid? What if he falls and scrapes his knee? What if… What if?
There has to be something inside of him — a desire for a new experience — that allows him to overcome these fears to step forward and try anyway. The desire to ride the bike must be greater than the fears.
As we all know, if he chooses to get over his fears, he will learn to ride the bike perhaps with a couple of scraped knees and difficult starts. But soon, he will ride the bike with ease and have the incredible freedom to ride to his friend’s house all by himself.
In many ways, everything that stands before us is very similar to the inner battle between the desire and the fear to ride that bike.
But we must value the truth we hear inside of us. When we can hear that truth and we can see ourselves riding that bike down the street in our minds, something magical happens. It’s like our feet simply start walking in the direction of what we desire. The fears just disappear.
Even if they still exist, they are now on the sidelines. Their presence is not guiding my choices. They are a possibility but are now irrelevant.
We Feel Alive
This is when we truly start feeling alive again. We are stretching ourselves and taking risks. We are listening within and following that calling regardless of the naysayers (inside and outside).
We are excited and scared at the same time. We are digging deep within to find all the resources we have to make it happen.
And, when we begin taking steps in the directions that we have always feared, our life becomes a great exploration. We are 12-years-old out with our friends in the forest discovering new things, climbing boulders, skinning our knees, and having great adventures.
Just so much fun!
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