Christmas time. The time of the year everybody is talking about peace, about love, about being good for each other. Sadly enough, it often stays by words only. By why? If everybody wants peace, wouldn’t there be peace? What’s holding us back? On this Christmas day I like to share with you a chapter of the book Sara and I wrote, Yoga della Felicita (Italian), Le Yoga du Bonheur (French). This chapter is about the only two powers that exist in this world: love and fear.
Love and fear
We have a lot of different emotions, but if you bring all those emotions back to their essence, only love and fear remain. If we act out of love we give, because we want to give. We don’t expect anything back. We don’t even need anything or anybody. We let our love flow freely.
If we act out of fear, we don’t give freely. We give, because we are afraid. We give because we want something back. For example; if I give a present out of fear, I expect a reward. That reward can be approval of the present I am giving, or another sign that I did good.
You probably know people around you, who give presents and demand to know what you think of it, instantly. They just give, because they want your approval. They want you to like them. These people will say things like: ‘I spent hours finding you the perfect gift’. Or: ‘I had to go all the way to another city to buy this for you’. And/or: ‘I really hope you like it’.
People who act out of love, will also try to find you the perfect gift. But they will just give it to you, without bragging. They spend hours on it, because they want to do it for you. They don’t expect anything in return.
Faces of fear
There is a lot of fear in this world. Fear for a different race, sex, religion, women (think of cultures suppressing them). Most people are afraid of the unknown. As soon as we are getting out of our comfort zone, we start acting like primates. Every reaction we have is a basic one: love or fear.
If we act out of love, we are open minded. We look at another culture, another race, another religion with a warm, curious, open mind. It might not be our way, but it is another way that works for other people. Maybe we can even learn something from it.
Rejecting the unknown
If we act out of fear, we don’t open our heart nor our mind. We reject the new, without getting familiar with it. We act superior, aggressive. Not because we dislike the other race or religion, but because we are afraid of it. We don’t know it and that scares us.
Yet, the problem is not the other person, not the other culture, not the other religion, sex or color. We are the problem. We let ourselves be led by fear.
Learn to love
Nelson Mandela already said it: ‘No one is born hating another person, because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’
To be able to love another, to be able to have an open mind, we first have to be able to love ourselves, and we have to study ourselves. We have to understand why we are afraid of things we don’t know. If we do that, we can conquer our fear, and let love be our compass in life.