By Chase Duffy
Fear. It seizes one’s heart, constricting their life. The brain is overrun with irrational yet terrifying thoughts while the body is shackled in place, too frightened to move. Fear is the drug of choice for many, a hasty and firm rejection of those sweet things the world has to offer as one cowers and roars not to come near. Fear is simultaneously loud and meek. Boasting and braggadocios words and actions obscure a venomous, crippling fear beneath the surface in some. Others can barely muster the strength to speak, much less scream. Fear of death drives many to lives of longevity and monotony as they reject experience after experience only to die anyway. Fear of love and life imprisons those who hold it in solitude; many doors of life remain eternally closed, opening only after this fear is released. Fear, valid or not, is a trap that catches many of us.
And yet, those who scoff at the afraid amongst us often indulge in a trap of their own, a trap that is equally, if not more, dangerous than fear. For fear’s twin sister poses as the antithesis, enticing its indulgents with the carrot rather than the stick. Yes, desire often appears far sweeter than fear, offering images of riches, fame and fortune which come to fruition with enough hard work. Desire offers the world to those who will hold her in their hearts. And yet, the world cannot belong to everyone. Many who let desire overtake them fail. Miserably. Others achieve their desires only to find more and more extravagant desires replacing their old ones. For desire is a positive feedback loop that only begets more desire, something those who commit their lives to the feeling quickly learn. The logical end point for many who desire is the strong and lasting desire for death. Death is the only thing one may desire in this world without begetting more desire. The options to end the path of desire are death or the release of all desires. Many who have made their life about desire cannot do the second, and so they desire the first.
Both those with fear and desire in their hearts, I speak to you: let them go. I have both feared and desired voraciously in my life. Success, failure, love and death have all been the subject of these two emotions. And yet, I attained the highest forms of success and love in my life without them. Failure has come for me whether I feared it or desired it. And death’s inevitability could not be changed with all the fear (or desire to live) in the world. The only thing we can do with these emotions is push that inevitability back or up a couple of insignificant millimeters in the long race that we call life. Fear of death did not keep him from taking my father from me, nor can desire of death give me the fulfillment I seek in life. No, all we can do as individuals is observe and accept our lives as they are. No fear, no desire, only acceptance and awareness.