What would you do, or who would you become, if you had no fear?
There is an old teaching from the great African Savannahs (Run to the Roar: Coaching to overcome Fear, by Paul Assaiante and James Zug) which tells a story about facing fear. It helped me understand that while I ignore my fears or keep running from them, I will never feel safe or move forward.
The story begins with a herd of animals eating their way across the plains of Africa. The lions wait in the tall grass nearby, and anticipate the chance to prey upon the grazing animals.
The lions prepare by sending the oldest and weakest members of the pride away from the rest of the hunting pack. They were the ones that had lost much of their strength, and most of their teeth, but their roar was, by far, the loudest.
The old lions settled in the grass, directly across from where the strong and hungry lions waited and watched. The herd they preyed on entered the area between the hunting pack and the old lions.
The old ones roared mightily.
At the sound of the roar, the herd panicked. Blinded by fear, they turned and fled from the source of danger. They rushed wildly in the opposite direction, and ran to the place where the strongest lions were waiting, in the tall grass. Here they faced their death.
“Run towards the roar,” the elders would tell the young ones.
When we are blinded by our fear, we turn and flee towards the source of danger. Fear keeps us trapped and unable to live fully.
When I am caught in my fear, I am unable to see clearly. Fear creates panic and uncertainty. Facing my fears, and running towards them is not what I feel like doing when I am afraid, but is exactly what will destroy the illusion, and the power I believe fear has.
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh
You must do the thing, you think you cannot do…..”Run towards the Roar.”