Thursday, June 18, 2009

Glenn's Book of Quotes, Number Twelve

“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” -- Dorothy Thompson

Sometimes fear is a good thing. When it tells us to stay away from the edge of the cliff or not to bother the bear, fear is our friend. Most of the time though, fear is our foe. It is an evolutionary necessity that preserves our existence while ruining our lives.

Joy, peace, harmony; these can only exist in the absence of fear. But fear is always with us. Any time we try something new, we invite fear. Any time we strive to do something special, something beyond the mundane, we risk fear. And when we dare to invite love into our lives, we give birth to the biggest fear of all; losing that loved one. Fear is powerful, oppressive, and always with us.

Fear is sometimes a learned behavior triggered as Pavlovian reaction to stimuli that echo childhood terror. Fear is also a vestige of our primitive history woven into our complex cognitive systems. It is the shadow of the saber tooth tiger cast upon the modern mind. Fear can never be utterly banished. It is part of what defines us as human beings. But we can, fearful creatures that we are, choose to no longer be afraid. We can face our fears, examine them, see them for what they are, and free ourselves from them. It's not easy, but it's important, because only then can we dare to strive, to make, to do, to love, and to live.

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