a distinction between fear of death and fear of powerlessness inthe face of death.

I have read, and answered a few blog entries and it is interesting to me that there is a common thread running through many of the reactions to my thoughts. Oftentimes, the ‘fear of powerlessness’ becomes the fear of ‘death’ in many of the blogs.

I believe it is an important distinction. Animal and human equally share/experience the fear of death. The ANIMAL’S reaction is all about survival. The HUMAN reaction involves both our ego/mind’s experience of being HELPLESS  in the face of death, no matter what we build, own, believe, destroy, and our experience of our consciousness of our own existence at any point, (like right now, your ability to see yourself reading this).

While the experience of being powerless is an anathema to our mind/ego that experiences itself in its ability to create the illusion of being power-full…by what it can do, judge…yes, even deny , our ability to be conscious, to be able see this reaction in ourselves and choose to honor our struggle and choose compassion for ourselves in the face of this seemingly irreconcilable predicament/threat to our existence, gives us the experience of being one with all that is.

If we considers that everything that is, is made up of thought, and that consciousness is also thought. Then, in the act of acknowledging our consciousness, we are experiencing our ‘one-ness’ with all thought, with all that is…call it God, truth, beauty….or love.

When we experience our primal fear of being helpless, there is the opportunity to choose to employ that consciousness, to identify it and from that place choose to love ourselves rather than condemn our selves or others for experiencing and/or denying our  helplessness.


We have a choice

A friend was talking to me today about how he is looking for something he can be passionate about at this point in his life, and he was concerned that he wouldn’t find it. I replied that his concern was his passion and that his act of searching was something not to be judged in terms of whether he found or didn’t find, but rather his creative process which he could embrace along with his fear of not finding anything. The two can co-exist. The trick is allowing them to co-exist.

Imagine you are standing on the top of a double black diamond ski run. Are you scared? You bet. Do  you ski down it? When you choose to do so, you are acknowledging your fear and your ability to co-exist with it.  Your mind would have you believe that  you have defeated your fear, over come it. Rather,  your choice to acknowledge it and choose to ski down that slope with that fear, is your integrity; your sense of worth. ‘Who’  you are.

I find fear to be a very allusive thing. Often we don’t want to acknowledge it. We call it anger, or depression, (anger at ourselves for being powerless), or boredom, (a form of depression), or obsession, ( a grasping at control with the subconscious belief that what if we’re in control there will be no fear). Our minds/egos go to great lengths to deny the existence of fear for fear that fear will destroy us. Why? Because there is a real fear: that we have no control over our mortality. We have no power over the fact that we are going to die, (read: change). Actually, this is the only fear and it is an anathema to our mind which believes it should and has to be avoided at all costs.

‘The only thing to fear is fear itself,’ we tell ourselves. There is another reality.

When we can acknowledge this primal fear and the fact that there is nothing we can do to get rid of it, we then are given the opportunity to discover its purpose. Why is it in our lives? What did we do to deserve this? Have we been ‘bad?’ Are we being punished with this hellish feeling? Is there something we can take(food, drugs, alcohol) ? Someone who can make it go away, (Daddy, Mommy, religion, a lot of money, success, fame, power)? Is there a mantra, a prayer that we can say over and over?

If we are able to acknowledge the existence of our fear in all its subtle and not so subtle manifestations, and acknowledge that we are powerless to affect our mortality…if we are able to see that a part of us is scared, but just as with the ski run, that there’s another part of us that can choose to act, not in spite of our fear but in recognition of it,then from that same place of ‘knowing,’ we can honor our struggle as human beings, honor our courage and find compassion for ourselves in this seemingly irreconcilable predicament. We can find compassion for ourselves in our fear and by extension, compassion for others. We can find our hearts. We can find our capacity for love.

The purpose of our fear is to lead us to our hearts. It gives us the power to love. It’s what makes us human. It is not the anathema that our minds/egos and our conditioning would have us believe. It won’t kill us. It makes us stronger in our act of acknowledgment and our ‘knowing’ that we are all afraid, we all have courage, we all want love, we all are love.

It’s that time of year again.


It’s that time of year again. The leaves have fallen into the delicious childhood memory of rustling and crisp mountains piled so high that you just had to jump into them. Leaves that are offered up to the Gods of Fire and Winter.

Nights in Massachusetts were long, dark and cold. I remember walking back from my friend’s house, past all those houses whose lights made the falling snow dance on its way down to the white blanket that squeaked beneath my feet as I trudged home.

I remember that time; the cold nips of snowflakes on my nose and cheeks, my breath exploding in puffs of steam, the distant headlights of a car piercing the woods, the soft sound of steel chains. I liked walking home at that time. I felt at one with the world.

I wondered about the lives in ‘those houses,’ how much like mine, how different. I would imagine them having everything I wanted plus what already I had and I’d walk steadily through the crunching snow with every hope and dream keeping me company. Everything was possible. Hope made all the difficulties of my youth seem manageable.

I look back on that and my hope has stayed with me. It has drawn me forward in my yearning, my seeking. It has picked me up when I thought I was all the way down. It has brought me a life full of learning, rich, succulent, and fullfilling and I am the richer for it.

This is our moment. There is no other. The remembered moment is only an echo heard through our desire and need.

This is our moment. Here, now as I write this. This is my life, right here, right now. This is my mantra. When I can remember this, everything else becomes insignificant and I only want to know this moment, and the next and the next, never lifting my eyes to an imagined horizon, but being here, on my own horizon.

In this moment, I wish all of us a healthy New Year and the blessing to realize that the death of this year is here for a reason…so that we may experience our love and oneness with each other.

A boy making his way home through night snow will always know that.







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