Fearlessness

Fearlessness is not like a wild tiger or brown bear that is locked up in a cage and growls every time you open the door. Fearlessness is powerful, but it also contains gentleness and constant loneliness and sadness.

from Chögyam Trungpa, “Smile At Fear”

I love this quote because it is so counter-intuitive and challenging.

Why would fearlessness not be like a wild tiger? Why would it contain sadness?

There is a certain kind of fearlessness that disconnects from our own and other’s pain. Usually a result of a painful experience in early childhood, and a subsequent denial of that pain as a protective mechanism.

We may feel fearful and timid. Timidity may manifest as a lack of boundaries. When those have been violated enough, when we have not been brave enough to stand up for ourselves, we might finally become fearless. We might desire to be like the tiger or the bear in that moment.

But to access a state of fearlessness, we do not have to resort to anger, or wait until we have been tread upon so many times that we no longer care what anyone thinks.

We can access a genuine sense of wholeness, of self connected to the natural universe, of strength like the seed growing, and of the gentle yet powerful shining of the sun.

Be fearless today, but do it softly. Even tigers can be soft.

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