Chapter 8

The Need for Love and Fear

A life well lived is based on a healthy balance between love and fear.  The nourishing power of love energizes our lives and the protective power of fear leads us away from harm.  While excessive fear can be debilitating, both love and fear help us create the sense of well-being we seek in our lives.

Love is the force which embraces.  It draws us toward what is beautiful.  Love of learning, of accomplishment, of our fellow beings—all keep us moving in a direction that makes life worthwhile.  Loving is felt as excitement, determination and satisfaction.  It causes us to draw on what is best in ourselves.  This is why we long to have love in our lives.

On the other hand, a complete attitude of love would open the individual to all experience and invite disaster.  What if we had no fear of burning stoves or of mean-spirited people?  What if we welcomed our own character flaws?  We need more than the attraction of loving, positive forces to make good choices and to take responsibility for our lives.

Fear is the energy which closes off what we perceive as dangerous.  Both children and adults learn to control behavior from a combination of love and fear.  Children say thank you and study for tests.  Adults work long hours and do not drink and drive.  Fear is uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but it can lead us to a better self.

While fear can be helpful, too much of it can cripple our ability to move ahead.  Yet many people find themselves more drawn to fearfulness than to a positive attitude.  Tell someone you expect the economy to decline and a sympathetic response will almost surely come.  Say the opposite and you will likely encounter hostility.

This is true because positive and loving energies challenge the individual.  They essentially represent openness, commitment, achievement.  Negativity indicates that what is needed is inaction.  It feels safe to withdraw because only when we try can we fail.

In seeking the best for ourselves, we first turn to the energizing force of love.  And we avoid a fearfulness which paralyzes us.  But we also need to keep in mind that love and fear are both necessary to a life well lived.


Sparks of self ignite
what has long lain
snatches of mind-thought,
dreams, heart’s hope
for the beautiful
unashamedly enflamed
to reach to soul’s end
peaceful private glow.

Love warms and curls the
edges of my sleep
lest I fall
into others’ fears
finding my heart’s longing.


 I am naturally drawn to the beauty, accomplishment and satisfaction I desire.  The inspiration I need to live life well lies within.

Recognizing both the positive energies of love and the protective aspects of fear, I open myself to the hopes and desires that lead me to all I can be.

I have the power to direct my own path, to protect myself from harm, to move toward my own well-being.  And there I find peace.


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