Is fear the same as awe? I know they sometimes feel the same, but I find fear to be paralyzing and awe to empower me. Both take my breath away when I initially encounter them, but fear causes me to want to fight or flee. Awe inspires me to incorporate the energy that it presents into my own spirit. I bring this up because the nuances in word meanings differ among cultures and languages, and how we translate and interpret the words can make the difference between war and peace.
Little boys are taught, from very early in life, not to show fear. They are pulled from their mothers' arms and from behind their mothers' skirts to spar with men who often bully them. They learn to turn all emotion into energy to fight. Little girls often start out as tough warriors, but are told that they must allow the men to protect them, even when the men who are to protect them are actually those who are their greatest danger. Women are taught that it is not womanly to be unafraid of the men in our midst.
These traditions have caused men to seek more and more power through control of excess energy and imposing fear on us that they will unleash it if we displease them. Our earthly manifestations of Sacred Spirit (energy) are shackled by imposed fear and the belief that only a few can control it. I think much of this comes from either a wrong translation or a misinterpretation of "sacred" scriptures.
We, in my culture of Judeo-Christianity, are taught to "fear" God, and to repeatedly offer sacrifices to appease "Him." My experience with fear is that, when we are no match for those that we fear, we hide ourselves from the one feared. What if we substitute the word "awe" for the word "fear"? Wouldn't we be more prone to opening ourselves to incorporating light and love than to hiding ourselves and our sins in a dark hiding place where we lose the ability to face even ourselves honestly?
I have been both cooled and warmed by the winds and water.This same wind and water power can be harvested to create energy for appliances that take the burdens of my work off of me. I am in awe of the power of this wind and water that soothes, saves me from back-breaking labor, and destroyed my home and neighborhood in Hurricane Katrina. This does not take away my desire to live in the lap of the lake that took my home. Though I have taken measures to accommodate to the greatest force of this power, I do not live in fear of it. I am still in awe of its beauty and power.
I pray that we stop fighting our awe and convert it to Spiritual energy that will lighten the load of pain and promote peace.