There is more to fear than meets the eye. We often associate the symptoms of fear (the reactions fear initiates) as the fear itself. This can evokes mental images of fear as a screaming and fleeing experience.
As I see it, this is a reaction to feeling fear, not fear itself. The other most common reaction to feeling fear is the opposite of fleeing; it is attack and anger.
Here it helps to consider words that correlate to fear and reactions they can initiate. For example: Fear = silence = death = loss = weakness = Nothing. And here are some reactions these initiate: Need, sound, life, gain, strength, Something.
You can view this relationship as a proportion, i.e., fear is to silence as need is to sound. This can be displayed simply as:
Need = sound
Fear = silence
We can show all the words this way:
|Need =||sound =||life =||gain =||strength =||something|
|Fear =||silence =||death =||loss =||weakness =||nothing|
Put another way: From fear, silence, death, loss, weakness, and Nothing, arise (in due course) sound, life, gain, strength, Something.
Language has a way of distorting how we think, mainly by helping us mistake symptoms for causes. This cuts short consideration of the subtle underlying causes. We end up amplifying differences and over-reacting instead of noticing similarities and being more circumspect in our reactions. The result: short term fixes that often create problematic unintended consequences.
Correlations helps untangle the knots and soften the glare of difference. This opens the door to mysterious sameness. Consider these. They read in a clockwise direction. For example: Anger fights; fear flees. Need seeks, fear hides.
anger -> fights
FLEES <- FEAR
need -> seeks
HIDES <- FEAR
desire -> stirs
STILLS <- CONTENT
war -> attacks
SURRENDERS <- PEACE
Can you notice a subtle relationship between the words on the top line: anger, fights, need, seeks, desire, stirs, war, attacks? How about the bottom line: FLEES, FEAR, HIDES, FEAR, STILLS, CONTENT, SURRENDERS, PEACE?
For more on correlations see: Using Yin and Yang to Pop Preconceptions.
Looking Through The Yin Yang Lens
Yin Yang are thoughts last stop on the road to mysterious sameness. In other words, they are the simplest, most direct way to discern difference before ceasing to think. Being the simplest and most direct means of discernment limits your ability to dream up far flung rationalization, i.e., ‘sophisticated’ thought enables clever people to rationalize their needs and fears, giving rise to great hypocrisy.
The process goes something like this: we feel strong primal emotion (e.g., need, fear, anger, envy, etc.). These feelings initiate thoughts which mirror the feelings. If you feel anger, you’re likely to think angry thoughts. If you feel a need for something, you’re likely to think up all the reasons why you ‘should’ satisfy the need. These thoughts feed back into, and reinforce the initial emotions that got the thought-ball rolling. This makes it exceedingly difficult to be self honest and impartial in your thinking.
Pleasure’s the Bait…
The result is pain. It is one of nature’s finest hoodwinks. Pleasure attracts living things toward that which benefits survival. On the other hand, seeing beneath the attractive surface often reveals the ‘hook’ you may want to avoid. This is also a survival advantage. (see How The Hoodwink Hooks)
Valuing life for the experience, with a bit less regard for the pleasure or pain of the experience gives one a survival advantage. Being wary of pleasure as the object of life’s actions, even as instincts clamor for immediate satisfaction, is one of life’s greatest difficulty. “A peace that is ever the same”, as the Bhagavad Gita puts it, is only possible by increasing impartiality in regards to pleasure and pain. With a greater ‘take it or leave it’ attitude, life is more even, You suffer when its time comes; enjoy when its time comes.
One of the most helpful life-rules-of-thumb I’ve ever realized is: Short term pleasure (leads to) long term pain. Short term pain (leads to) long term pleasure. Of course, each must verify within one’s personal experiences that this rule holds water, and to what extent. Obviously not all short term pleasure leads to long term pain, or visa versa. A good parallel is the handling of guns. If you assume the gun is always loaded you will be more careful and avoid shooting yourself in the foot. Likewise, if you assume short term pleasure easily leads to long term pain, you’ll be more careful and avoid being ‘hooked’.