Are You Feeling Afraid?

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Sometimes I can find myself afraid of others.  Often times I do not really know the reason why I am afraid. Sometimes it can be because they are physically bigger than me.  Sometimes I can notice that they are smarter than me and so make take advantage of me.

Other times, I may pick up on impulses of aggression in the other.  There may even be deeper down harmful tendencies in the other which I am unconsciously picking up.

Whatever the reason for the fear, there is usually a chain to the whole thing.  Yoda’s maxim applies quite well here. “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”  What’s troubling is that I often miss the fear and immediately jump unconsciously to anger and hate.

But why though? Why does fear seem to lead to anger, anger to hate, and hate to violence?  Here was a moment of insight for me when I came to realize that my emotions always have a purpose attached to them.

Fear generally moves me to leave the environment or the object that is making me fearful.  Anger makes me lash out at what I fear.  Hate, when I pay really close attention to it, moves me to destroy and eradicate that which threatens my existence.  It is after this that violence ensues and suffering for me and others follow.

 Emotions are often tough to decipher, and part of being human involves oftentimes experiencing so many different emotions all at the same time in so many contradictory ways.

 Perhaps then the way forward is to sit with the contradictions.  Sit with the messiness and the haze that is our emotional life, while grace breathes order into the chaos.  Our emotions serve a purpose.  It is beautiful and at once adventurous to see what that purpose is.

Raj Vijayakumar is currently residing in Toronto and working as an assistant for L’Arche Canada.

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3 Comments
  • Peggy Spencer
    Posted at 02:39h, 17 May Reply

    A very thoughtful and insightful article on the fearful emotions many of us, unfortunately, have to deal with in our daily lives. Yes, sit with the emotions and share your feelings with the Lord. No matter how long it takes, there is always peace in the end within us.

  • Karen Arthurs
    Posted at 08:59h, 17 May Reply

    A beautiful insight that needs more attention with all of us in our fast paced world that is often a state of chaos. Slowing it down for oneself is a necessity to self awareness and understanding. Thank you for sharing.

  • Philip Shano
    Posted at 13:52h, 17 May Reply

    Raj, thanks for this very insightful post. Wonderful reflections!

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