Sum of All Fears

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 74

Our true nature does not fear death.
Our conditioned mind creates this fear
in a futile attempt to control events
and keep people in line.

Death is a natural part of this path.
An unnatural fear of death leads only to killing.
It is like trying to use the intricate tools of a master craftsman.
We will surely cut ourselves.



When I think about it, it really is an unnatural fear of death that gives our destructive economy and dysfunctional government its power. It finances our trillion dollar insurance/health/pharmaceutical industry. It fuels our wars. (Kill them before they kill us!) It keeps us buying our toys and diversions. My conditioned mind is filled with anxieties that have their origin in this fundamental fear. It really is the “sum of all fears” isn’t it? If I didn’t fear death, what power would anyone have over me? What reason would I have to hate or to separate myself from others? If this fear were removed from our psyches, our economy and culture would collapse and transform.

It’s not that I seek death. That’s just the other side of the coin. The natural integration of death into life allows me to see the beauty and mystery more clearly. The days dawn in precious wonder and cycle through their rhythms without clinging. There is no need to turn my head away, thus I get to see real life rather than the imitation my culture offers me. This is true freedom, authentic joy.

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