Love and Fear

Love and Fear

What is love?”

“The total absence of fear,” said the Master.

“What is it we fear?”

“Love,” said the Master. (Anthony de Mello)

“…how few understand what love really is, and how it arises in the human heart.  It is so frequently equated with good feelings toward others, with benevolence or nonviolence or service.  But these things in themselves are not love.  Love springs from awareness.  It is only inasmuch as you see someone as he or she really is here and now, and not as they are in your memory or your desire or in your imagination or projection, that you can truly love them. Otherwise, it is not the person that you love but the idea that you have formed of this person, or this person as the object of your desire, not as he or she is in themselves.”

Father Anthony de Mello

“The first act of love is to see this person or this object, this reality, as it truly is.  And this involves the enormous discipline of dropping your desires, your prejudices, your memories, your projections, your selective way of looking… a discipline so great that most people would rather plunge headlong into good actions and service than submit to the burning fire of this asceticism.  When you set out to serve someone whom you have not taken the trouble to see, are you meeting that person’s need or your own?”

Father Anthony de Mello

The Sun Never Says

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.

-Hafiz

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I will meet you there.

-Rumi

Love is our most natural state, where all that is false in us has fallen away. It is simply awareness, without the attachment to beliefs or ideas or concepts or thoughts or memories. It is innocent and fresh.

Love is when the false is released, and this is why releasing is such an important part of my core practice.

There are times when I feel stuck, as I have in the last few weeks. This is a time of angst and doubt and frustration, and I want to effect change.

dervish
Creative Commons License photo credit: jasleen_kaur

Often in life when we want to effect change, we turn to discipline or some sort of self-improvement. This isn’t a bad thing—it works. Set a goal, create a habit, eliminate a bad habit, achieve something.  Set your mind to it, punch the gas, and it always works. The trouble is it works even if we’re going in the wrong direction.

We can allow, accept, and just let things be. There is wisdom in this. But if we’re honest about this, this isn’t always easy. “Just letting things be” feels wrong—we are trained and conditioned to do something. Allowing is not an easy practice to integrate, and that’s okay. We can start by acknowledging that.

What I do is renew my commitment to awakening. I go back to the basics. I go back to my core practice of awareness (meditating), releasing, self-honesty, allowing. I release whatever angst I am feeling—sometimes it’s the angst of changes I want to make, sometimes it’s fear, sometimes it’s regret or remorse.

With this renewal, sometimes there is clarity. Sometimes there is the realization that the change I have been wanting is not important. Sometimes the change becomes easy to effect. Sometimes nothing happens, but the angst is gone.

The secret ingredient is love.

14 thoughts on “Love and Fear

  1. Janice R.

    Dear Mr. K.,
    Oh my, you should have warned me that you were going to place such a beautiful poem on here. The Sun Never Says, took my breathe away. I felt deep stillness when I read and the lovely words floated into me.
    Love, the secret ingredient….. yes, I am a romantic at heart. I love the feeling, the word, the softness of love. When irritation is running through my system and I can’t seem to get settled into my groove, sometimes I stop and ask for patience. And for me love is patience.
    For me to acknowledge that I will feel this way until I am done feeling this way is a great relief. I cannot control time, I cannot control how I feel, but I can ask my Higher self to help me with some patience until the storm blows over. And, now through this site’s help I can sometimes have a storm screaming around me and I can get a settled spot in the middle, safe and away from the rain and wind.
    I thank you Mr. K. and everyone here for teaching me that. Let it storm around us, we will stay dry and loved together!!!
    Janice

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,

      I love your phrase “loved together”! How nice!

      What I’m saying in the article is hard to articulate. There is great wisdom in allowing and watching, and finding that innate love which we all already are. This is the love which is the love of being, and it follows joy and peace. This is the love prior to wanting and prior to discipline and effort and change. But allowing is hard for us to understand. As you say, we can practice, and let the storms weather, in love and patience.

      Here is a quote from Geneen Roth:
      “Rather than focusing on dieting and depriving yourself, which we all know does not work, turn your attention to what you love. Because if you love your life, you want to take care of your body. Even if you knew you only had six months to live, you might eat differently, you might even begin exercising every day, but it wouldn’t be because you were ashamed of your body. It wouldn’t be because your thighs weren’t thin enough or the stitches of your life weren’t good enough. It would be because you didn’t want to miss a minute of the time you had left. Why wait? Why not cherish every crooked stitch of your life before another moment passes?”

      I hope you are well, my friend!

      love and peace,
      k

  2. Jeff Lapointe

    What a wonderful timely post!! You are in sync!!

    I really associate with what you had to say about trying to achieve or improve. That at every corner my goal was to see and calculate how well I could be or make something become which often brought stress and difficulty but moreover brought huge amounts of work in trying to wrestle with perfection. It seems that when all the exercise was done then I would really start to look at things with clearer eyes and naturally want to adjust the details to making something better.

    Now I am beginning to see something new and I have a phrase for it. It’s called ‘let’s just see how it goes.’ Open my eyes, clear my mind and not worry about all the steps – just focus on the next. I can have an end goal in mind but somewhere I am letting things unfold to that place rather than me clearing and building a road through the forest to that place.

    Anthony De Mello is such a gem.

    Happy smiles to everyone.
    Love and light
    Jeff

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Jeff,
      Yes, Anthony de Mello is indeed a gem. His works have helped me understand what true love is.

      The ideas in this article are difficult to articulate. It is about allowing, finding the innate love that is already in us, but allowing often feels wrong. We are conditioned to take action, to do something, to power through–otherwise we think of ourselves as lazy. But this isn’t laziness, it’s connecting with awareness, it’s connecting with the love which already knows how to live life.

      Some good examples of awakened change are:

      Rational Recovery, by Jack Trippey, about how to give up addictions.
      Geneen Roth, Charles Eisenstein, and Thich Naht Hanh’s books on mindful eating.
      The Sedona Method, a book about releasing the angst and confusion around change.

      I hope you are well, Jeff!

      love and peace,
      k

  3. Yvonne

    Hello Kaushik,

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now, and agree with Janice that it is a wonderful place to learn! I love so much about it – I love that you invite us not to be fooled by the trappings of spirituality, but to find the truth within it.
    And I love this post. I also agree with Janice that the poem ‘The Sun Never Says’ is beautiful and brings inner stillness.

    I absolutely love what you’ve written here about allowing. I’ve been practicing inquiry for several years, using The Work of Byron Katie – one of the things that really helped me in the early days was realising that I could ALLOW my thoughts. LIke most people I had believed that I shouldn’t think certain things, and this allowing was such a relief.

    Then reading what you and Albert at Urban Monk write about releasing, I eventually decided to buy ‘The Sedona Method’. I still do The Work, and now that is combined with releasing, I find that the rate of change in how I respond to life has speeded up massively. What I find by far the most effective aspect of releasing is the welcoming and allowing. When I feel in resistance to life now, I look for whatever I can welcome. Last week my daughter was ill and I had been fighting a belief that it was somehow my fault. With a combination of inquiry and release I came to accept and allow my feelings about it, including all the feelings that would generally be regarded as ‘selfish’ by most of our society – wanting sympathy, attention etc. I was also then able to support my daughter to some acceptance of her feelings about her illness, again accepting what conventional wisdom would say should be stopped – for example I invited her to welcome how much she wanted to feel special because of her illnesses. What I experienced with this welcoming was a deep love, and it probably won’t surprise you to hear that the next day my daughter’s health began to improve.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog, and for your openness and compassion, and I wish you well in your own challenges.

    Yvonne

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Yvonne,

      Thank you so much for expressing your kind words and appreciation. It’s always very encouraging to hear directly from people how find my experience and words helpful.

      My experience is similar to yours. I think we have to stay open and try various methods. Some will resonate, some will not, some will not resonate and then resonate at a later time. It’s important to be alert to traps, as you point out. It’s important acknowledge and allow that awakening can often feel like it’s going three steps forward and two back.

      I recommend both the Sedona Method and The Work. I resonate more with the releasing. Using The Work, I had a tendency to get caught up in intellectual analysis. Nevertheless I see the value of it and recommend it.

      Acceptance and allowing, as you point out, are not always easy to integrate. A release method like Sedona or the one I use or EFT or The Work, gives us some structure, an actual method, which the mind can grasp. After some practice, we realize that it’s not about the method at all. Releasing (accepting, allowing) is just very natural.

      Again, thanks for visiting and commenting. I look forward to hearing more from you.

      love and peace,
      k

  4. Evita

    Hi Kaushik

    Thank you for this and what great timing. I have felt stuck myself in the past few weeks. It is an odd feeling I must say as I haven’t felt it to this degree in at least a few years now. So reading these words from you is sooooo good.

    And I have more great news that I wanted to share with you, speaking of the perfection of timing my husband and I just found out last week that we got into the Vipasanna course that is starting for us on Sept 29 (we were on a waiting list). We are both so excited about this opportunity and both cannot thank you enough just for being a part of it yourself and sharing your thoughts about it with others. But that is the divine perfection of the synchronicities of it all.

    I will share my personal journey when we come back…

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Evita,

      That’s great news; you will find the Vipasanna course very valuable. I was feeling stuck as well in the past few weeks and an opening happened when I decided to renew my commitment to meditation and releasing.

      I look forward to hearing about your Vipsasanna experience.

      love and peace,
      k

  5. Liara Covert

    To realize one fears nothing is to open to infinite possibilities that are temporarily blocked by mind.
    To sense love offers messages through everything is an opportunity ot transform fear and expand.

  6. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    Kaushik – this was beautiful to read. I had been busy for a couple weeks, but held onto this post because I knew it would have gems in it. Sure enough, it did. I’m glad I waited.

    I had the pleasure of spending a week with someone who met me halfway in that field Rumi spoke about. He let me be ME: naked, vulnerable, afraid of being rejected. Rather than match my fears, though, he enveloped them – and me – in his arms and thanked me for sharing more of who I really am… Or more of who I think myself to be.

    We are but our thoughts. And I keep saying I don’t really know what love is, but I do know how I feel when someone has truly loved me.

    And Kaushik, I love you, and thank you for being who and what you are.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Megan,

      So good to hear from you, and great to know that you’re feeling happy!

      I can’t pretend to know exactly what love is, but Anthony de Mello’s “love is the complete absence of fear” comes very close to the innate, uncaused, natural feeling of love. It is when we are being, rather than thinking, that we find Rumi’s field.

      Thank you for the encouragement and sentiment. We are all in this together!

      love and peace,
      k

  7. Simon

    Hi Kaushik,

    I agree with you, that real love involves the complete absence of fear. However to experience the fullness of love and to learn about its deeper meanings, we all have to appreciate that the most valuable thing in life is love. Nothing can work without it!

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Well, I wrote this article some time ago, and my experience has deepened considerably ever since. It feels right to say love is the complete absence of fear. But I haven’t experienced the complete absence of fear so I can’t be completely sure of that.

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