There are two basic “emotions” Love and fear. We all know what Love feels like. Of course, I’m not talking about “in love” – that goofy high feeling we get when meet someone to which we are attracted. I’m talking about that warm feeling that comes over you when you open your heart and Love unconditionally. Perhaps you’ve felt it at the time of a birth of a child or adopting a pet. It feels very good. It feels like home. If it doesn’t feel like that then it’s a form of fear.
Fear comes in many forms. Some code words for fear are anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, loneliness, aggravation and so on. We don’t immediately recognize these things as fear based but, we can see that none of these things feel like Love so the only thing left is fear.
Fear can be obvious and fear can be subtle. If large dog is growling and threatening you, your fear is obvious. That kind of fear comes and goes quickly. The fear that we are going to focus on is that persistent, low grade fear that I call, “Mailbox Fear”. Mailbox fear is that tiny little “Ut Oh” you feel on your way to the mailbox. Sometimes you even take a deep breath before opening it. In that moment, that persistent, low grade fear is present.
Mailbox Fear happens often throughout the day. A boss may look at you funny or ignore you, your significant other doesn’t call when they are supposed to or you feel a funny pain in your body … There are a myriad of triggers for these fears. What’s important is to begin to recognize when subtle fear is present. For many of us it’s there so often it’s just “normal” and we don’t notice it. Nonetheless, it does effect our thinking, choices and behavior covertly.
Most often our fears come from past experiences. We start off early in life cruise along fine until one day something happens. Our goldfish dies. It’s shocking and scary. I was in kindergarten when it happened and I was so sad. I didn’t know things could die. It was my first “Ut Oh”. If Rusty could die, what else could?
Without digging up any scars, we have all had scary experiences and sometimes traumatic ones. They get in our meat. What I mean by that is we find ourselves having visceral responses to certain stimuli of which we may or may not be aware. Sometimes it just envelopes us and we get jumpy. We begin to move more quickly and become hyper vigilant. Think of when you approach a deer. But most times we are uncertain of the cause of our fear. We’re to busy ignoring it and trying to push it away. We don’t want it. We don’t really want to revisit from where it comes. We just want it gone as quickly as possible.
That can lead to some troubling behaviors like addictions or a myriad of acting out behaviors. We are running from the discomfort that fear creates inside us – and boy is it uncomfortable. It’s also sticky. It sticks to us. We can get it off of us and all we want is it off of us. It’s like quicksand. The more we struggle against it the more is sucks us in. Living in fear is a difficult and uncomfortable way to live – even it it’s subtle.
Fortunately (aren’t you glad there’s a fortunately after all that!), I can reveal you the root of fear and your practice will help you eventually end it. The root of fear is attachment. If you look at your fears they are always based around losing something. Losing your home, pet, job, money, partner and even your own life. Fear is always connected to a loss of some kind.
The easiest way to see this is to turn it around. If you were not concerned about losing your home, pet, job, money, partner and even your own life, what’s to fear? Now, I’m not taking some nihilistic point of view that nothing matters. I’m saying when you lose your attachment to these things fear can no longer touch you.
“If I handed you an ice cube and it began to melt, would you be upset? Would you be afraid? Of course not because the nature of ice cubes is that they melt. You are an ice cube, I am and ice cube, everyone we love and our pets are ice cubes, everything we think we own is ice cubes, our jobs and our money are ice cubes. When you realize that impermanence is the nature of this existence all reasons to fear leave you.”
Fear hides in the shadows and feeds on your resistance. The moment you shine the light of your consciousness upon it, it begins to evaporate like a puddle on a hot sidewalk in the sun. Your practice is to be aware that fear is lurking in your mind, shine the flashlight of your attention and consciousness on it and let go of that to which your are attached.
With Love & Kindness,