Fear is present when we forget that we are a part of God’s divine design. Learning to experience authentic love means abandoning ego’s insistence that you have much to fear and that you are in an unfriendly world.” — Wayne Dyer
Wayne Dyer’s quotes always strike at the heart of the matter.
But this one makes me pause.
After all, we do live in an unfriendly world, do we not?
With its wars, greed, hatred, theft, cruelness and disregard for life, it is a stretch to pretend that this is a safe, friendly world where benevolence and kindness outweighs selfishness and meanness.
In a friendly world, minor traffic violations would not turn deadly based on the color of someone’s skin. In a friendly world, 43 percent of the American population would not feel the need to live with a gun in their home. In a friendly world, the chances of a woman being sexually assaulted would not be one in six.
Personally, willing ourselves to believe we live in a friendly world is not only a naïve act, it is a dangerous one.
This is not a friendly world, nor are we an overwhelmingly friendly species. At best, it is a world in which the forces of good and evil continue to do battle each day, as they have for millennia — and sometimes goodness wins.
And yet, we cannot live our lives looking over our shoulder every day, narrow-eyed and suspicious. I’ve done that before. It only made me more afraid.
But neither can we live holed up in our homes. Our isolation and loneliness would damage our hearts, which thrive on connection and belonging, as well as our souls, which crave meaning.
To live without fear in today’s world, one of three things must occur:
• We tell ourselves, despite all evidence of our eyes and ears, that this is a friendly world, and we are safe. This option demands some degree of delusion and escapism. In choosing this option, we have to limit what we see, hear, and get curious about. Thus, we can’t fully participate in the world, nor can we make it better. We cannot be a catalyst for change if we have our fingers in our ears.
• We trust some higher power, angels, fate, or our own good intentions to keep us safe. Option two requires an amount of self-importance, even arrogance. To believe that there is an ultimate being that is looking out for our well-being — ours personally, over others who experience horrible fates at the hands of a cruel world — must be the epitome of spiritual narcissism. To believe that angels (or God) focus on who wins the football game, who gets the prime parking place, or who lives and dies in a car crash — can we not see the self-importance we’re assigning to ourselves? We are not blessed if we beat cancer, nor cursed if it kills us. God is not “watching over us” any more than anyone else.
• We awaken our conscience and let it guide us. We trust that we have the capacity, the strength, the courage, the patience and the resiliency to face whatever friendly and unfriendly forces we might meet as we go about our days.
With this option, there is no delusion. Nor is there any need to hide away.
With this option, we can accept the truth that “bad guys” don’t just live in books, movies and in other countries but live among and with us. Caroline Myss defines evil as what happens when people “consciously choose to disconnect from their conscience.” When defined like this, it is difficult to deny the presence of evil in our society, and suddenly there is plenty of reason to be fearful.
But, by living life with our conscience awake and working for us, we do not need to outsource our safety. Though we can lean on the spirit world for guidance and even protection, it’s as a friend or guide rather than a parent/disciplinarian/authoritarian.
When our conscience is awake, we own our choices and responses. We admit our shortcomings and cease blaming others. We have faith in ourselves, in our truth, in our integrity. Ultimately, we live from our power — even in an unsafe, unfriendly world.