Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fear versus Love

We do not remember what it was like to be born. I for one am rather grateful for that. Birth must have been an absolutely terrifying experience. I have been thinking a lot about the problems that our society is facing right now and my thoughts turned to birth, so I wanted to share a few of those thoughts on the subject. To help with my understanding I first examined what would be the ideal experience. The safest place for a child is within the mother’s womb. Their every need, ideally, should be met. There are no concerns or fears to face. There is a steady stream of nourishment to aid in the growth experience. There is constantly a familiar heart beat and the familiar voices of mom and dad and other loved ones. At birth a child is suddenly thrust out of the safety of the womb into an unfamiliar world, and the senses explode with new and frightening experiences. Taking a first breath for instance, how must that have felt? A child is born with a will to live, and along with that a fear of death. Imagine feeling hungry for the first time. No wonder they cry like they are going to die, they feel like they will. Fear of death, that is a condition of humanity. But, there is a way to quell that fear and it should occur at birth. Amongst all the noise and other sensations that the baby experiences there should ideally be at least one, and hopefully more voices that they recognize. Mom and Dad are both hopefully there. The love of their parents calms what felt like overwhelming fear for the newborn child. Love casts out fear. That experience of being afraid and then having love overcome the fear happens repeatedly in the life of a baby. Every time they feel hungry or uncomfortable or just out of sorts, the loving arms of their parents envelop their child and casts out the fear. That is what the ideal experience should be like.

If we do not experience a loving relationship than we are left with a fear of death and a will to live. Our focus then becomes survival rather than connection. Now, no one has experienced a perfectly ideal situation in life. We face trials, that is another condition of humanity. So, we all have times when we focus more on survival than we do on relationships. But, our emotional and spiritual health is dependent on our love being more powerful than our fear.

The natural state of mortality, this temporal world of ours, is decay. A while back I felt the need to purchase a new car. My old one just was not going to cut it for long in a snowy mountain area. So, I drove home in this shiny new car parked it in the garage and thought about how cool it is. The next morning I go out to the garage open it up and see how dirty it got during the drive home. I just laughed as I realized that is just the way it goes in mortality. Mankind makes all sorts of shiny new things and then nature gets it dirty, pretty quickly. That is the way it is with everything that is manmade. It starts to decay as soon as it is made. Then we start the battle of trying to stop the decay. I put it through several car washes the first several weeks. But, it just got dirty again. Because of this natural decay there is that tendency to become fearful, that we we are going to lose all of this mortal stuff including eventually our lives. Its true, but we need not be afraid of it.

The natural state of the soul, the spirit is growth. However, if we are caught up only in survival, the fear of death, than we stunt our ability to connect with the spiritual side and the growth that should come with that. To focus on the soul is to recognize who we really are, children of God, and who everybody else is, children of God. If we could see ourselves and others that way that would change everything. We would focus on our relationships and really love each other. We would also love our Creator and be able to feel His love for us. Can you imagine the difference that would make?

If we stay focused on mortality, fear and decay then we will be constantly trying to stop the decay, and trying to do it in man made ways. If instead we focused on the spiritual, on relationship and bond we would face each trial that mortality presents us with gratitude and a desire to learn something from the experience. We would turn to God, our greatest bond and be able to find His purpose for us and have our experiences sanctified for the benefit of ourselves and others.

My thoughts turned to some examples. I was thinking about this in terms of war, a rather drastic example. In war there is usually an aggressor and and a defender. The aggressor seeks power, which is driven by fear, the fear of not having enough to survive the way they want to. The defender could also be driven by fear, losing power, losing lands, life, freedom etc. Or the defender could be driven by love, love of God, country, family etc. I was recently reading in The Book of Mormon about a fierce battle between the two major sides of the Book, the Lamanites and the Nephites. The Lamanites were driven by a desire for power, the Nephites, led by Captain Moroni, were driven out of love and to defend their rights, families, and lands. Let me share a bit of what is written in
Alma 43
:39 And it came to pass that the Lamanites became frightened, because of the great destruction among them, even until they began to flee…
:42 And the Lamanites did flee again before them, towards the land of Manti; and they were met again by the armies of Moroni.
:43 Now in this case the Lamanites did fight exceedingly; yea, never had the Lamanites been known to fight with such exceedingly great strength and courage, no, not even from the beginning.
:44 …yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands, yea , for they did smite in two many of their head-plates, and they did pierce many of their breastplates, and they did smite off many of their arms; and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger.
:45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their Church.
:48 And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee from them. And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired their hearts with these thoughts-yea, the thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea their freedom from bondage.
:49 And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage.
:50 And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them.

Love wins. Not that it is not a struggle. But, love will win, it casts out the fear and changes our focus so that we can grow. And while fear did bring the Lamanites to fight like dragons and with great courage, it still lost out to the love the Nephites were fighting for.

Another thought I had about war is in the many wars this country has fought. The last time we actually won a war was World War II. The other wars since then have just ended without The United States being a clear victor. What drove us in World War II, sure there was a strong element of survival there. But, it really was love. We loved our freedom and fought to defend our freedom and our families. There was a mutual focus on prayer and beseeching the help of Our Creator. It was a horrible war, and so very many paid an ultimate price. But, the love won. Since then we have been battling out of fear. Fear of communism, fear of terrorism. I will always honor our soldiers, I believe that the majority of them do fight out of a sense of love for their country and for their families. But, while they fight, what are the people at home doing? There is not that united purpose, that connection to our soldiers and causes and mutual love of God, family and country.

When we get caught up in mortality, survival mode than we tend to just look for mortal answers. All of the problems that we face as a society can really be chalked up to this perspective. The more we look to ourselves for the answers the more man messes it up. We can certainly look at government interference to see that reality. This desire to “do something” and look to the government to do it has caused so many unintended consequences.

The Progressive mentality is one in which there is a desire to perfect man, a man made utopia. It is driven by fear, the fear that man as is, is just not good enough. There is a fear of pain and suffering and yes of death. Progressive politicians play on the fear of man, telling us we must do something to stop all the wrongs that occur. In a way I agree with them, something must be done. But, to continually look to imperfect fear driven
mortally minded mankind for answers is ridiculous.

To stop horrendous violence we look to the government. To improve education we look to government. To improve our health care system we look to government. And it gets worse and worse and we keep looking to them over and over again expecting some different result. One day the decay will be too much to overcome and collapse will occur.

The answers are staring us in the face and always have been . We need to love. I know that may sound cheesy and unrealistic. But, its reality, we need to let our love be in charge of how we respond to trials. We need to let the love of God fill our country again. If we truly did that, if we truly felt His love for us it would conquer the fear. And if we truly loved Him back we would trust Him and start living the way He has asked us to. He did not give us commandments as a way of trying to control us. He gave them to us because they provide the best way for happiness and bond and love. We would feel connected again to our families. Wouldn't that be amazing. The family would be in charge and kids wouldn't have to feel so damaged and trapped in survival mode so much so that they shut off their humanity and are willing to cause harm to others.

The answer is love and bond and family and God. Choose love.