A conversation on the difference between Fear and fear.

I capitalise Fear to indicate that it is in a sense an entity and that it has become in our world Fear, not simply fear. Obviously there are exceptions  and some people live their lives with what could be called normal fears but many, perhaps even most, have a lot of Fear/s in their lives.

I see Fear as the opposite of Love and that is why I capitalise both.  I see Love as the more powerful energy or entity or force. But, in this world, because of what we believe, and our belief will make anything less powerful or more powerful, Fear is the force which is most often, most powerfully at work.

I am struck by the connectedness of this world, as described by physics, science and spirituality and it seems to me that Love, in its purest spiritual essence is absolute connectedness. And this is why Fear is its opposite because Fear disconnects or separates us from ourselves and from others and from experiences – and from this life.

Love and hate are two ends of a continuum. We live in a world of opposites. On this basis love and hate or even Love and Fear are opposite expressions of the same thing. I have long thought that one cannot hate unless one also loves. Those who hate their ex-partners, or even parents, can only do so because there is also deep love. Where there is Love there is no Fear, and I suppose, one could use the word God instead of Love, except for the fact that the word has so many connotations which distort meaning. But if the source of this world is conscious connectedness; intelligence at work, then that is the ultimate in expression of connectedness and what we desire and seek to make manifest in this material world; and what we call love.

The concept of love and hate as being two opposites of the same thing fits with an ancient Hermetic teaching regarding The cosmic Law of Polarity – everything is one of a pair of opposites. This is well described in The Kybalion, by William Walker Atkinson, first published in the first half of last century. The teaching has been written about and published many times but Atkinson’s is one of the most lucid and concise. As he writes:

‘The Law of Polarity is expressed in the axiom that ‘Polarity is that condition of a body by virtue of which it exhibits contrasted powers or properties in opposite directions.’ Love and hate, life and death, health and disease are part of the same thing.  This system of pairs of opposites is a part of nature’s demand for balance. ‘Opposites’ are identical or ‘the pairs of opposites may be reconciled; ‘ extremes meet;’ ‘ everything is not at the same time;’ and, there are ‘two sides to everything.’

Hegel, the renowned philosopher said: ‘ the opposite of a thing must be known before the thing itself could be fully known. So you cannot know love without knowing hate.

And I would use lower case for love and hate as opposed to Love and Fear. And that is because there are varying forms of what we call love, and various expressions perhaps of what we call Love and the love we know gets mixed up with the Love which I perceive as the most powerful force in this world. It is all in essence, about connectedness and a matter of degree.

Love, as connectedness, as the source of all stands, as a power which is in all and Fear is something which we experience in this material world, in order to teach us about Love. In essence it equates with the most ancient spiritual/religious belief of all; that of the division been darkness and light, or what religions came to call Good and Evil. And in that magical way of words, in Good we have God and Evil is Live backwards, or the opposite of Life.

Love is absolute connectedness; love is partial connectedness; hate is partial connectedness at the other end of the spectrum,  and Fear is absolute disconnectedness. At least that is how I see it. Love and Fear are the same things in the way that love and hate are. Love has no fear and connects to all; Fear has no love and separates from all. What we call love is more passion and desire, and often demand, which believes it has connectedness but often does not. What we call hate is another way of remaining connected, as so many who divorce discover, and it too is about passion and desire.

Fear is only opposite to connectedness and certainly, when we feel connected with ourselves or with others or with our world then we do feel more sure, we do have more confidence and in that state we are without fear or Fear.

Fear isn’t just akin to excitement it is the same physiological reaction. We have no way of knowing if a baby, or small child reacts with ‘fear’ or ‘excitement’ to threat. There is little doubt that we teach children to fear certain things and we divide the two for them despite the fact that physiologically they are the same. The hunter facing the tiger has the same response as the climber facing the mountain except that the hunter has probably been taught to call what he or she feels is fear and the climber that what he or she feels is excitement. The body can provide the adrenalin and hormonal experiences we need without us ever being afraid of anything.

So if Love in the cosmic sense is the opposite polarity to Fear in the sense of connectedness or disconnectedness, then perhaps in our world of Fear and fears, what we call love should have another name, and in fact there are many already, and its polarity is hate. In understanding hate we can reach a better understanding of love. In understanding Fear we can reach a better understanding of Love.

I am not sure, as some believe, that we do fear love per se: because there are many definitions of Love. I can believe that some of us fear connectedness in any absolute sense because that involves a relinquishing of power; a surrendering of Self and control whether it be to one’s Self, to another, or to what we would call God. Many if not most of us live with the illusion that we are in control of our world when the reality is that we are not and we only have some control over what we do with what happens to us, depending on our nature and the skills with which we have been born.

Why do we not revel, enjoy, embrace in Love?  I think because the first thing we must do, before we can do that, is love ourselves and that is the hardest thing of all and requires enormous courage, time and persistence to work through the layers of Self; to come to know the Me and the I, and to face the nastiest, darkest and most terrifying corners of psyche. Some have no choice and as an ancient maxim says: ‘those who will the Fates guide; those who won’t the Fates drag.’

But I do believe that some are called to be dragged and others are not. And the more we come to know ourselves the better we will be at knowing what our Path is meant to be. Some people are highly intuitive and know anyway. Some people have forgotten that they are highly intuitive. And some people seek ways which will guide them to this knowledge. But the truly crucial thing, to my mind, is accepting that none of us walk the same Path or walk in the same way.

If we are fortunate we find others who are heading in the same direction and taking the same route but we all see in our own way, hear in our own way, feel in our own way and can only offer and receive companionship. Someone to laugh with along the way. Someone who understands why you are on the journey. But as often or not it is a solitary journey and that makes the moments of connection, moments so precious because in truth, they are so rare.

Fear has pushed me to learn, to change, to know as much as I can about myself, others and the world in which we live. It has both driven and dragged me in fine Saturnian style. But that is my spiritual inheritance as my astrological chart so clearly shows and as my life has consistently demonstrated. I remember when I went to my second reading in Adelaide, with a woman who is one of the world’s top astrologers and she now teaches and practises in Bath, UK, Bernadette Brady, and I asked her if my life would get ‘easier’ as time went on – if the challenges would diminish – and she laughed and said, No. And she showed me why. It was up to me how much I learned from what I was destined to experience. But she also said that my learning would involve a healing and releasing not just for me but at karmic levels for my family – both past and future. I liked that idea and I still do. Everything is easier if we can find a sense of meaning or purpose in what we experience.

We must stare into the maw of Fear and fears in order to  change what we are or what we have. Sometimes we need the pain in order to change and to grow, not that I would ever want to see it inflicted on purpose – but by it’s nature, pain is a part of things whether we like it or not. It is not that we wish pain for ourselves or for others but when pain comes, it is important to remember that it can serve good purpose. It is also a reminder that as much as we focus on our own pain, we need to remember that we are not alone and if the source of the pain is seen as another, then that other will also find in us, consciously or unconsciously, the source of pain.

Marriage is one place where such pain seems almost inevitable.  And instinctively we want to take sides, our own, and want others to do the same, and put the blame out there, on the other. We quickly demand a victim and a villain. During my most painful time I was cast in the role of victim not villain although in the seven years it took me to work through it I learned that there are no such things – there are two people in every relationship and while one may ‘act out’ the role of villain, both are, in that way of the continuum, both victim and both villain.

In coming to understand the part I played in what happened and recognising and accepting that ‘blame’ belonged also to me, I found a place of freedom I had never known quite so clearly. I found the freedom of taking full responsibility for everything which happened to me and not putting the blame on others.  I was barely in my thirties at the time and those years were some of the deepest, blackest and most terrible I have known – and yet, as you say, out of it came the greatest treasures.

And those treasures remain with us permanently. They are gifts on the path of life and we may choose to carry them with us, or leave them behind.

About rosross

Editor, writer, poet.
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