On Fear

Mary H/ September 10, 2019/ Paul Brenner, MD, PhD

Of all the statements of the sixties and seventies that I use
practically everyday, one is the title of Gerald Jampolski’s book,
“Love is Letting Go of Fear.” The other day on seeing a patient, I
used that phrase for the umpteenth time; and thought to myself:
‘What is fear?.’ It is an emotional experience, not unlike love, and
as difficult to wrap one’s mind around as love. I realized that I
needed a word to help me understand fear in a practical way. That
night ‘fear’ became my meditation.

In the silence of meditating on ‘fear,’ the word ‘loss’ came to mind.
Could fear simply be a result of loss of life, a loved one, finances,
control, the known, peace, certainty, freedom, all those things that
can never be guaranteed? The ego revolves around ownership. To
a significant degree, the ego represents what we have
obtained— knowledge, position, wealth, power, status— all of which
can be taken away from an individual.

When we are born we are given the gift of life, having nothing and
without fear. What if ownership as ego is an illusion? Then it
makes sense what Buddha stated: “The three marks of existence
are impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-selfhood.” If Love
is indeed letting go of fear of loss, would we then live in love with
far less suffering and ego? If we could accept that all of life is

simply a gift of love, and that our existence is service to eternal
life; would we be happier? Would this stop our ‘warring,’ our
insanity to have or be anything more then who we are? Could we be
even more accepting that death is part of life?