Reflections On The Tao: Fear

Andre Philippe Laisney
4 min readJan 3, 2022
Photo by M.T ElGassier on Unsplash

Life can be lived, but truly cannot be survived.

This must be accepted for life to be well lived.

One does not survive any moment. One lives every moment. This is the great misunderstanding. Clinging to life, we loose life. This is not the way.

Living mastered by one’s own fear is not truly living, but merely surviving.

Fear is a primal survival drive which is supposed to serve the preservation of life, but when we loose control of the emotion it can do the opposite. When the emotion controls us for more than a quickly passing moment it turns living into mere survival.

Survival alone is pointless. Survival is neither graceful, nor beautiful. A life must be worthwhile to be worth preserving, and so life must be lived and not merely survived. Life can be lived, but truly cannot be survived. A life dominated by fear is not worth living. Life must be spent. Life cannot be saved. Life can be spent well. Life cannot be both saved and spent. Survival is saving life, but is not living life.

If fear permeates our lives we spend our lives trying to survive, and we fail because nobody survives life.

If fear does not permeate our lives we spend our lives living, and we succeed in living because living is not surviving.

Living is doing things, and then those things are done and we continue to do other things.

One who cannot let go of finished things cannot and does not live.

Fear belongs in the moment one nearly falls to ones death, but only in that moment. If one cannot let go of the fear of the rare moment then fear turns the state of living into a constant state of trying to survive. There is no real harm in being startled, but great harm in becoming mastered by fear. That is the dangerous fall which does not end. If one falls into slavery of one’s own fear, only then does life truly end. Fear, not death, is the end of life.

One must the master of one’s own fear, or will become it’s servant.

The most vital part of self mastery is to live free of the enslavement of one’s own emotions, fear, first and foremost. This is the foundation of living well.