Just a little something I crossed while trying to better myself. FANGGGGGGG!!!! Peep!

Free Yourself From Fear(Courtesy of dancewithshadows.com):

BY SUMA VARUGHESE

Picture this: You are waiting at the hospital while your wife gives birth in the operating theatre. Huge gusts of fear arise and overwhelm you. What if something were to go wrong? What if the electricity were to give out? What if the doctor turned out to be incompetent? What if she were to die? By now, you are perspiring freely and your heart is beating furiously. Your courage fails you and you sink into despair. Oh, God, you pray, please let everything go off well.

How does fear arise? Can we ever hope to be free of it? What is the way out? Fear is such a powerful and universal emotion that when we study it deeply, it actually becomes a gateway to spiritual understanding.

Few of us are quite free of fear. Yet even fewer have probably understood how deeply we are enslaved by it and how much it influences our attitude, behaviour and personality.

Fear is closely connected with the human tendency to pursue pleasure and eschew pain. This is our basic drive, as you will agree if you will study your own inclination for a few minutes. When we like someone or something, we are naturally drawn towards them. Whether it is a person or a particular dress, desire fires us powerfully in their direction. We long to possess them, and thinking about them gives us pleasure. If it is a person, being in their company makes us feel good. Wearing that dress makes us feel attractive.

But with every pleasure comes its polar opposite, pain. We quarrel with a friend and we feel terrible about it. We travel in a crowded train and all the time our attention is given to worrying about whether we will damage the dress or not. Behind almost all pain lurks fear. The more we love someone, the more we fear being abandoned by them. The more we love life, the more we fear death.

And almost all fear arises out of an anticipation of pain. We cannot bear the pain of abandonment and so we fear it. We cannot bear the pain of extinction and so we fear death.

So what is the way out?

One effective way to draw out the fangs of fear is to look at it steadily. When we become quite clear that fear is always an anticipation of future pain and has no basis in the present, we can get somewhat close to mastering it.

What I have found to be particularly effective is the understanding that fear generates so much present pain out of anticipation of future pain that it’s simply not worth it. One might as well stop trying to protect oneself and embrace pain when and if it comes. If one’s fear is of being abandoned by one’s loved one, why not accept that fact rather than stew in a welter of jealousy, insecurity and trauma? If one fears having a terminal illness, why not face the fact and have a medical examination that will settle the matter? The more we try to avoid pain, the more painful is our actual existence.

Carl Jung once said that all neuroses were the result of avoiding legitimate suffering. Yes, we cannot control other people’s behaviour or the circumstances life gives us. Our swain just might decide to up and leave us, and there is nothing we can do about it. Death is surely going to get us and again there is nothing we can do about it. We might lose our jobs tomorrow and there is nothing we can do about that, either. The trick is to understand the existential uncertainty of life. Life has no guarantees, period.

Once we accept these facts of life and the legitimate suffering they entail, a miraculous thing happens. We are freed from fear. As long as we seek to avoid pain it will pursue us. Hold out your hands to it, and behold, it transforms into inner strength and even insight.

For instance, awareness as an absolute fact of life that a relationship, like a dress, only has its existence in the present, may incline us to experience it fully here and now. Tomorrow we might find someone new, or may be transferred out of the city or develop amnesia or die and so might she. But you still have the moment. Thus you learn to love fully without wanting anything in return.

Through the mastery of fear we can live in total consonance with reality. We can learn to let go of all expectations, for they are illusory. And we will live in the joy that comes from realizing how precious life is simply because it is impermanent.

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