Wednesday, 9 March 2011

a Moment for Wisdom…


Conquer your fear.

But, also realize that you can indeed be injured by the object of your fear.

Conquering fear does not mean taking foolish risks.”

Sharif Abdullah

Personal Wisdom:

What is the difference between “prudence” and “fear”?

Name a few of your fears that you have successfully “conquered” or “transcended”.

Name a few fears that you still have left to

Name the ones that are based on “prudence”, the ones that will remain in place. (Check this list with someone else, to see whether releasing the fear would entail a “foolish risk”.)

Societal Wisdom:

What do we fear as a society?

Which of our fears is reasonable and prudent? Which are based on irrationality
or illusion?

What must we release as a society in order to achieve our “highest potential”?

a Moment with Sharif…


Let’s talk about one of my fears.  (Just one…)

I have a fear of jumping out of an airplane in flight, regardless of what I’ve got strapped on my back.

This fear is at odds with the behavior of Zainab, my youngest daughter, who actually pays people money for the opportunity to jump out of an airplane in flight. (There is no amount of money I can imagine that will get me out of that plane door…)

So, I have a fear… so what? There are those who say that we have to “conquer” ALL fears in order to reach our highest potential. For those who have had the misfortune of seeing any of the “Jackass” movies, you know that one can engage in lots of foolishness, and get nowhere near one’s highest anything.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a fear… what matters is whether that fear holds you back from something meaningful in your life.  Now THAT is the question!  My fear of jumping out of an airplane in flight holds me back from exactly nothing. (Remember:  you have to PAY PEOPLE for that privilege!)

Compare that to a person who is afraid of the opposite sex. Unless they are living an amazingly narrow life, they are going to encounter the object of their fear pretty often. That’s one that should be transcended.

So, once we identify a fear or aversion, our questions should be:

  • How does this fear hold me back from my true potential?
  • Does this fear or aversion prevent me from connecting with others?
  • Is there some accommodation that can be made with the object of my fear?

In this way, we can release that which can never hurt us, while not taking any unreasonable risks.



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Sharif Abdullah photo: Lisa Norton

All other photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

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2 Responses to Wednesday, 9 March 2011

  1. Maja says:

    Similar to the difference between Judgment and Discernment, I think of Fear and Prudence as two very different ways of being with what is ….. For me, (in its ideal) Fear is a warning sign and Prudence is what helps me to navigate whatever is ahead. Fear tells me to pay attention and Prudence guides the way. If I allow Fear to rule, it offers only three choices ~ flight, fight, or freeze, Prudence is the voice that frees me to move, and to decide what that move might be ~ and it could even be one of those three, or it might be one of a million different options available in any given moment.

    Prudence is the voice that say “Sharif, you don’t even have to give the thought of jumping out the plane a second thought. You just aren’t going to go there.” There is no fear ruling that, just a knowing based on the nudge. That is the presense of Prudence.

    I think of Fear as being steeped in the not-knowing and spinning in it. Yes, there are things to fear, to listen to and pay heed, but to get caught in it, is to give the power to something outside, and perhaps what is of great importance is to come into our prudence and discernment and trust ourselves to “Know”, and to maintain that konwing and trust ~ through all that is before us.
    I “know”, (lol) easy to say, but not so easy to do!

    Blessings, Maja

  2. Susie says:

    I believe that everything is working for my highest good, whether I understand the big picture in the moment or not. If everything is working for my highest good, there is nothing to fear. As a single mother with the sole responsibility for two children, prudence is important because my children depend on me. I am aware of my surroundings and don’t take unnecessary risks. I do not fear but I am also not rash. I would love to pay someone to jump out of an airplane, but until my kids are out of college, I will not engage in that behavior out of prudence.

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