Monday, 7 March 2011

a Moment for Wisdom…



“Fear is not the natural state of civilized people.”

Aung San Suu Kyi

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to
understand more, so that we may fear less.”

Marie Curie

Personal Wisdom:

What would you do if you were not afraid?

What is it about the object of your fear that you may not understand?

How has your fear become part of your identity? Who do you become by giving it

Societal Wisdom:

What are the policies of our society that are motivated by fear? (Consider the fear-based policies of the Left as well as the Right.)

How much of our societal energy is taken up by fear?

What do we need to understand as a society, so that we can fear less?

a Moment with Sharif…


Quotes from two powerful women set the theme for this week’s “Moments for Wisdom” – fear.

I think Aung San Suu Kyi’s short statement sums it all up: if we intend to be “civilized people”, we will not be primarily motivated by fear. If we intend to create a civilized society, our society will not be so motivated, either. A world without fear… this is the goal of so many of our wisdom traditions — and our goal as Praxien.

But we are motivated by fear, at least to some extent. The car companies sell overlarge vehicles to people on the premise (very mistaken) that they are “safer”; the police and military protect us from the hordes of “Others” who want all our “stuff”; we live in self-imposed exile in gated communities because we are afraid of our neighbors.  We bury our awareness in our iPods because we are afraid of interacting with others.

What would happen if we simply stopped being so afraid? (Well, Hollywood tells us that hordes of zombie-mutant-alien-suicide bombers will engulf us the second we let our
guard down. They are probably mistaken about that…) What would happen is that we would live more relaxed, and in some ways more exciting, lives. And what’s wrong with

But, of course, it’s not that simple. Because much of our fear (personal and societal) stems from our fear of being confronted with the responsibility of our own behaviors, the reality of who we truly are. We don’t have to look at the world-wide devastation that our American drug addictions produce. We don’t have to confront the physical, emotional and economic pain caused by our oil addiction – all we have to do is fill up our cars and drive away.

If we intend to live authentic lives, if we intend to create an authentic society, we must courageously face our deepest fear… the fear of ourselves.



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Sharif Abdullah photo: Lisa Norton

All other photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

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