I shared a picture on that someone else posted on a social network recently that had part of quote by Marianne Williamson, which said, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn.” A friend challenged the quote saying that we are born with fear and we have to learn how to love. I stood behind the quote and used metaphors to show how we are born fearless. But, the conversation made me think about how many people probably believe the same thing as my friend.
In my response, I talked about a baby. When children are born, they are merely love. They know nothing about the world. They don’t even know their parents as people. The baby is born with trust that the person that they feel bonded to and close with will love and take care of them. I have yet to hear about a baby that looked at his parents and said, “I don’t want to go home with these strangers.” The fact that babies can’t talk might be part of it, but this is just an illustration. Children are trusting and loving to a fault. All they know how to do is eat, sleep, poop and love for their first years of life.
They are fearless when they explore their world. They don’t know fire, electricity, sharp edges or even the danger of stairs. They walk towards it and are willing to try it out. I can remember watching my friend’s child running full speed heading towards a grill with his hand out as she screamed in fear. He looked delighted and giggled with glee as she snatched him away within inches of him touching it. I can even remember grabbing a paperclip from a baby seconds before she shoved it into an electrical socket. They have no fear. They explore the world as if it is a playground. They learn fear throughout their journey. If a child falls down a few steps, he might decide that stairs aren’t something that you run towards full-speed. If a child’s parents freak-out over playing near fire, she may figure out that it is something to fear. Pain is a way of learning in our world. Displeasure is similar to pain as a way of learning how to change your actions to keep the balance and flow of love.
It is through life that we learn to fear. Fear is not always a bad thing. It can keep you safe. We have an internal alarm system that cues us from hurting ourselves. However, we can also learn how to fear love and then we end up denying our purpose and natural state. We are meant to love. Pain in relationships can mistakenly create cues that love is painful. It is not love that is painful. It is the story that we tell ourselves of who we are and who we have to be to get love that creates pain. The truth is that you are love. I am love. Every person that we meet is love. We were born of love, with love and in love. Fear is a part of our life, but it doesn’t really have a place in love. Our challenge is to remember and remind ourselves that we are the love we are seeking in the world. You don’t have to find love outside of yourself. You have never been devoid of it. You were born with it.
“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”