Where There is War, There Will Be Casualties
For so many of us, war is the default setting. Toughen up. Make a go of it. Do what it takes. We are, so often, the unwitting victims of our own war-like approach. Our culture applauds war heros, even or even especially, the everyday ones, the ones who “win” the war on their own bodies and lives, by charging forward even when the body says no. We live in a culture that idolizes control in every way; control of the body, control of emotions, control of animals, plants and other people. I know this is a huge assertion, but think about it. We govern where plants grow. We govern work hours. We have implicit rules for what emotions are freely expressed and which should be kept to yourself. We are afraid. Afraid we will lose control.
Fear constricts, separates us, cutting us off both from others and from our own knowing. We can only make war when we agree to harbor and nourish fear. This we can see in every government. The alternative is to find the love that will connect us, warm us, transform us. In many ways we do not have to love others, but we have to love ourselves enough not to perpetrate harm on our own persons through making war on others. Love means we take responsibility for our own knowing, our own experience. Love means we find the place inside that knows what is true for us at a given moment. This is not a static state. We can’t love today and hope for the same love tomorrow. Love has to be renewed each day. Just like the sun coming up each day.
In contrast, fear is clinging to an idea, hiding in concept, believing something we were told, rather than something we experienced personally. Love means we investigate what is actually happening for us. When fear occurs, we can hold it gently, right with our love, our light and curiosity. Fear is important to our survival. When something fearful is actually happening, we won’t have to ask “should I be afraid?” or think about it at all. When something fearful is actually happening, your body will simply give you the energy and movement to respond immediately, to save your life.
When, however, something fearful isn’t actually happening, when we are generating fear by way of thoughts about the past or the future, you’ll notice that you feel stuck, unable to respond. When that happens you can use your love, your care for yourself to unstick, to free your own knowing. This is a crucial moment, where you and the fear are together side by side. It can feel like a thunderstorm or an earthquake from the inside, but from the outside no one can see anything happening most of the time.
How can we love ourselves through our fear? How can we stop making war on what is true for us? Fear is a part of life, one that will always show up sometimes, but love is also right there, a part of us. And we can choose to use that love to care for our fear, our vulnerability. Where there is war, there will be casualties. Where there is fear, there is also love. Where there is love, why make war?