We fear that this moment will end, that we won’t get what we need, that we will lose what we love, or that we will not be safe. Often, our biggest fear is the knowledge that one day our bodies will cease functioning. So even when we are surrounded by all the conditions for happiness, our joy is not complete.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Fear can be defined as the gap between our projected expectations of a ‘negative’ future outcome and of our perceived ability to handle that outcome.

Fear is always of the unknown. We fear death unless we’ve experienced it. There are many, many people in this world who have done just that. They have died and then, often through superb medical intervention, they have returned to live again. These people no longer fear death, they remember it and they embrace it. They may live life fully, but they also pleasantly anticipate the time when they will leave this world and the life they are living now.

In a sense we can say that fear is forgetting and love is remembering.

If a person fears cats, one way to overcome this fear is to get a kitten. As they raise this small creature they come to know it and to love it. When it grows to be an adult cat they no longer fear that which they earlier did. The formerly fearful person has become intimately familiar with that which they earlier feared. They have transformed fear into love.

Surfers daring to ride huge waves don’t begin with waves of such magnitude. They begin on baby waves and in time build familiarity with waves of increasing size and strength.

We know we have mastered the fear of something when we can truly embrace it. The person who formerly feared the feline is now able to love and cuddle their cat. In the case of the surfer, he or she learns to metaphorically embrace the water and become one with the wave.

Similarly, as we become more familiar with illness we learn to fear it less. Illness loses its grip on us and we learn to embrace it as an opportunity to learn about ourselves. We can use illness as a vehicle to transport us to a place where we understand that part of us – our thoughts, emotions, actions and/or the environment – which has created it. In understanding its creation, we can re-create it; we can heal it.

My wish is that you will learn to see illness as the great opportunity that it is, as a clarion call to slow down and dive deep within; to be introspective and to gain understanding of yourself. Then illness, like everything and everyone in your life, becomes something to be embraced – as a teacher and a friend.

My wish is that you will learn to trust in the body’s innate ability to heal and regenerate itself when you give it the appropriate conditions to do so.

In becoming liberated from our own fears of illness, our very presence automatically liberates those around us. That which you learn and personally apply toward your own wellbeing automatically positively influences those around you. In embodying your new understanding of health and wellbeing you will simultaneously help your children and your parents, your colleagues and your friends.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives andBeyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See  In Search of Simplicity is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101