Series on Fear-III: Fear As Allymarty kleva
February 13, 2008
About 10 years ago I read a news account of a very savvy elementary school teacher in Boulder, Colorado who taught a science lesson to his class involving the planets and their place in the galaxy. He had the students make mock-up planets in scale and then took them to a large outside yard to demonstrate the lesson where he had the students set up our heliocentric galaxy and figure where each of the planets would be accordingly located within the parameters of the yard.
When the planet positions were all in place, and the students discussed the different aspects, there was one overwhelming point that came to the forefront. The teacher said that what he could vividly realize by this elementary yet inspired demonstration is how little of our entire galaxy is made up of hard physical matter— both seeable and touchable. The flip side of that is that he, and eventually his students, also realized how much of our galaxy world is made up of something else which seems to be purely non-tangible empty space.
Given this model it could be said that in the entire universe of all matter, the percentage we usually believe to be reality can be represented by a number of infinite (0.00000’s+1%) — I’ll call this Reality #1 — and the remaining reality by the number 99. + an infinite number of 9’s (99.99999+%) which may actually be reality — but regardless of that near unbelievable statement, I’ll call this Reality #2.
Almost the entire amount of the Reality #1 is concentrated upon how one person/group can overpower another and impinge their beliefs and value systems upon the other, including the so-called religious righteous.
Out of Reality #1, in what we now call America, over 85% of the $2.7 trillion 2006 federal budget was allotted to 1) War: $580.5 billion; 2) Disease: $614.1 billion; & 3) Debt held against the American people: 1,115.4 billion.
These three top expenditures make a gigantic statement within the infinitesimal Reality #1; they are all founded upon FEAR—FEAR of other nations and people, FEAR of dying, the FEAR of not being able to make enough money if one is poor or struggling, and in the case of the wealthy, the FEAR is of a) not being able to manage their money, and b) of someone else taking it away.
Not to be simplistic, but this is Reality #1 in a nutshell, and if it is anywhere near the Truth of things, then one must wonder about the make-up of the remaining 99.999+%!
What is Reality #2, the 99.999+% of all that is, in relationship to Reality #1, the infinite number of 0.00000’s+1%? The comparison between the two is startling.
Now think of all that is in Reality #1 that we believe is important; those physical so-called needs we spend the majority of our energy in the form of time, money and worry, trying to acquire, or create. Think of the 2.7 trillion dollars within this context, and think of the FEAR that is related to that 2.7 trillion.
Stop reading and get the entire picture clear in your mind before continuing. Get the galaxy model set up in a large park and cordon it off as if it is the entire galaxy and work within this framework. All that you see of the physical planetary models is the only hard matter that exists. All the rest of the space around and between the planets in three dimension is empty — at least it appears so to our untrained eyes and senses. Science calls this remaining empty space ‘dark matter’. (See article here)
What we are concerned with here for the purposes of this article is what we call Reality #1, and its make-up of FEAR.
In today’s culture we are taught to not be afraid as we bluster through scenarios that appear to be dangerous. We are cosseted and kept safe by laws, ordinances, and decrees that are only the cover for the reality that escapes most of us.
We live in the Piscean Age that has its own repercussions by its Neptunian nature that translates to watery, and at its best, is illusory. This is the reality that we live in and the challenge is to understand that this is what we deal with daily — an illusion of the reality #1—so that even the print on the newspaper can be an illusion, as can the sounds of speech that we hear from those who represent the financial/political scene and those that report for them to us. The problem comes from believing without question that it is all-true.
Those who are familiar with this site know that my one stipulation to bottom-line thinking is that it leads to a quest toward the next one. Perfectly okay to reach bottom lines — it is in believing that they are the end of the road that shuts down all further inquiry.
Certainly we can take rests to enjoy the destination that we have reached, to explore it further and become familiar with the terrain there, but to live out the belief that this is all there is truly bespeaks of fear that is stuck where it first erupted — in the Root Chakra.
We depend on our survival-based root chakra to invoke our fear for good reason. This is an innate system of warning for us to be alert about what endangers our living, which can be anything, to knowing that we cannot simply walk out onto a busy highway, to someone holding a dangerous weapon on us, or that our health is threatened by the misuse of chemicals.
Healthy fear is when we can get angry enough to move the 1st chakra fear into our 2nd chakra and onward to engage our power in the 3rd chakra to action. Then over time, unless we move this raw unconscious knee-jerk reaction into the 4th heart chakra we remain forever on the wheel of karma, perfectly oblivious to everything else that the universe represents except for that one day when we wake up to find that we are powerless to have any say in our lives.
In order to be conscious, Fear moved forward by Anger and engaged in action of our Power center must also be ingested and integrated with the 4th chakra element of Love — the Universal Dispassionate Love for both ourselves and others where decisions are not made based on anger, hatred, etc., but upon an unbiased equanimity simply because we can also see ourselves standing in the other person’s position. We can recognize the hologram that reflects the raw unbiased Truth that we are no more, no less than that person we face, whether it is in an embrace or with a difference of opinion.
The point that our total health may rest upon is the foundation of balance. Fear is an extreme — so is bliss! We are meant to find the point of positive balance between them. They both will become negative influences if we stay on the exponential curve of either one too long without seeking the remedy. The remedy of balance is brought about not by simply tossing aside our fear or bliss, but learning to recognize them and giving them our conscious awareness.
Both fight & flight can be productive as there is a time to engage in each. The key is to know when we are engaged in either one that we are in an exponential curve to pull together and heighten our body’s defenses. It is important to not stay on that exponential curve, for if our body continually stays at full alert we are like a loaded dump truck going down the interstate with the engines at full throttle but in first gear.
The negative aspect is getting stuck in the upward curve and not coming off the mountain. Here is where Mindfulness practice is a way to rock the stressors by using breath awareness — observing the breath as it moves in and out of our body, feeling the air as it rushes past our nostrils, sense its temperature and velocity, then notice how that action coincides with the movement of our chest, how it expands and stretches the spaces between the ribs, and the fact that it also expands the belly as the diaphragm drops to accommodate our expanded lungs. Using these awareness practices allows the body’s wisdom to take over — and it will — to bring the hormones of fight or flight back to a normal reading.
Accumulated stress is a product of our reaction to fear that never finds resolve.
In the Buddha of Fear, in the time before I realized that my black haze was my fear, I was on that curve; so was the year that I spent every Sunday at the Cathedral in the throes of bliss. Once I acknowledged my fear and began to work with it using Mindfulness practice I began to ameliorate the exponential curve of negativity. I used the same practice with my ecstatic experiences in the Cathedral, but I neglected to monitor the amount of time there and thus became addicted to the bliss without realizing the pitfalls and possible dangers to the amount and power of Light I ingested.
Fear is such a complex emotion. I learned that my anger was fueled by my fear and that beneath that fear was also excitement, but most of all impacting upon me was to discover that by slowly walking step-by-step through and with my fear, I walked in to pure Love. Never before in all my life when I walked away from fear, or denied it, or got over it, or put it aside, or conquered it, did I encounter love like I felt and experienced when I walked with my Buddha of Fear.
Fear is out of the base chakra; bliss is from the 7th and beyond. The most powerful use of either is when they meet in the middle 4th, or heart chakra. This is where the most powerful experience of the love orgasm springs from, the union of these two extreme chakras at the heart.
Were we to push away all fear in our lives we would also miss out on excitement and a good healthy adrenalin rush, like that which occurs in the ultimate expression of sexual orgasm where our entire being — all our physical and energy bodies are thoroughly engaged. This does not necessarily need to be experienced with another person or with one of the opposite gender, but I do believe that if solo then we will also have had to do a lot of masculine/feminine integration of our subtle energy bodies.
This brings us closest to what the experience of death can be. Petite mort is simply an experience we achieve with all things in balance at the moment. It is a signpost for us to follow and explore in greater observation. For when a person fully surrenders to their own true self — the will of the soul — then life becomes centered in the heart chakra — not alone by itself, but with the streams of all emotions from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rising up to meet the downward streams from the 5th, 6th, and above chakras. When they meet and mingle in the heart chakra, then a wisdom arises out of the mix to determine our actions, not out of fear alone, nor from bliss alone, but connected and integrated in what we know as Universal Love or Non-Conditional Love.
To reach Love one must also come to know Fear.
Love is the full spectrum of emotions that streams through the center of the apex to merge into the Light. Fear may be the emotional spectrum that mirrors Love, similar to the phenomena of the mirrored light spectrum being reflected in a double rainbow.
I know enough now to not ignore my fear, not to allow my critical ego-self to say “I’ve been there, done that.”, because I’ve also learned that fear is not some linear emotion that picks that same criteria or set of circumstances to express itself — the next time. Fear is not a two-dimensional or even possibly a three dimensional emotion. I find it to be the mother/father of all emotions within the lower three chakras and find it to have a multidimensional spectrum that could appear to be spherical or holographic. It is connected to the root of our very existence and therefore may also be the connection to the transcendent.
Fear is no wimp to ignore or try to put off because being imprinted into our DNA, it is always present, at least for as long as mankind exists. So we must learn to ID it and then to acknowledge that it is ours and not project it onto others. Until we shift our relationship toward fear, it will rule our lives as it now does in this modern world of 2008.
We have devoted all science and technology to creating a world that appears to make us safe and protected from everything under the sun. We have lawyers and insurance to protect us from lawsuits. There is a medical world that has developed ways to artificially alter the body with implants and machines so that we achieve longevity.
We have gone so far in all our developed external technological systems of safety and progress that we are at the ultimate stretch of use/misuse of technology, and it has now turned in on us and instead of protecting us its use has become the very danger it was initially designed to protect us against.
We may in actuality be no further ahead in any form of enlightenment. Instead, we may be in decline since we have signed over all our power out of the 3rd chakra to something that exists outside of ourselves. We are no longer safe. All that which we believe to be in place to keep us safe is an illusion that’s been created and paid for dearly from our own pockets and with our own lives. We have no one else to blame for it as we take the hook every time the issue of safety arises and have given someone else the power to deal with it. We no longer believe that we ourselves can keep us safe. We look to buy our safety on the merits of someone else’s say so.
Fear has become the world’s greatest commodity. The sale of everything from war to identification is based on how much fear can be induced into the public to buy the product that promises protection or security. The irony of it all is that the very thing that was sold as protection has led to a massive invasion of further technology that threatens our safety and ability to lead a private, independent, and self-advised life.
The products that demand us to provide further information and disclose deeper layers of our unique features such as fingerprints and iris scans are the very ones that are now attached to our birth records, work history, medical history, our purchasing preferences, places we have visited and lived, and with the use of cell phones our exact physical location within fifty feet.
These safety features have turned a free country into a prison all under the auspices of wars waged on our multiple fears. As a collective we find ourselves acting out when we buy insurance of all kinds including life insurance, renter’s insurance and travel insurance to name the obvious. Then there are the more subtle products like cell phones for children and our elderly parents. These very systems that we believe and rely upon to keep us safe have failed to do so, and what ensues is that these systems go further to convince us that we now need to inject an ID module under the skin so we can keep track of our children and pets in case they are taken. The move is always to up the ante with the onus on us.
GPS features in the more recent vehicles are commercialized as the latest gadget to acquire, and we are sold the Madison Avenue line that they will also help anyone who is stranded on the road. All you need to do is call the GPS monitoring system and they can tell exactly where you are. Whatever happened to the good Samaritans along the road? Whatever happened to us taking care of us?
Our entire infrastructure of community has been infiltrated by the discount brokering of fear.
The foundation of our entire monetary system is also run on the emotion of fear. The stock market totally exudes fear — watch as moment by moment the NASDAQ & DOW figures go up and down according to what the President, the head of the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Secretary, or CEO of the largest bank and brokerage house happen to mention out loud or write about or hint about to be announced in the next two days time.
Religions of the world — I can speak to the Judeo-Christian religions in particular — are based on the fear of God and all actions are geared toward acting the perfect Christian because if a person does not, he/she will go to hell and Christians are taught to fear hell.
No matter where we go fear is used to sell us on whatever product the commercial world wishes us to buy. Remember too that our government here in America is no longer a republic, nor is it a constitutional democracy; now it is a commercial corporation just like ENRON, HALIBURTON, CITIBANK, MORGAN STANLEY, WALMART, etc.
It is this unconscious collective fear that adds to the collective stress that activates the fight or flight syndrome and refuses to let go. Fear does not need to be eradicated from our life, that’s impossible to do. What needs to happen to turn this entire package of fear that is being sold to an entire culture is for us to shift our perspective and attitudes toward fear itself.
Fear is a true teacher of values. To recognize it in all its subtle aspects demands savage honesty, and to face it demands an intrepid heart. To deny it is like turning our back on a cobra, a position much more dangerous than facing it, even as that might be terrifying.
It was easy for me to relate to my Buddha of Fear after the fact of discovering what it was — but prior to that moment of discovery, I had no idea what I was facing and it was terrifying.
It is never my recommendation to approach fear head on or with hubris. To approach with gentle caution is much more workable and is more likely to produce positive effects. It is also more preferable to approach without the usual ego-driven agenda of specific results; here I could almost guarantee that at its best this will backfire and at the worst it will look like a cure that later manifests to a discovery that our fear has only been buried deeper than before, and down the line apiece it will act up and act out in our personality and even in the form of dis-ease.
All of this I am describing is inside of Reality #1! Can you even fathom what Reality #2 is about? If anything we can use just the comparison of magnitude and size to help us keep a perspective.
Collective Addiction To Hype
In this culture of more is better and best, where our today’s performance is never enough and we are forced in our jobs and thinking to constantly strive for a higher level of everything — we have become addicted to the feeling of hype — the sound media especially bombards us with commercials that are too loud, where overtly brash actors must yell at each other and us at a speed that defies nature, to get it all in a 30 second sound bite.
TV news shows look and sound more like a shouting match in a bar. This is violence at its most subtle execution that serves as a model for collective behavior. These same high profile talk show hosts display abominable behavior denigrating guests who may disagree with the host’s views.
The level of stress on such shows is at the extreme — guests must not only compete with each other for their points of view, they must also compete with the host for the time to speak it. This type of display on public TV bleeds into the collective angst and raises the stress curve around the world. It incites higher levels of stress in both the the participants and the viewers alike. Evidently this is the intent of the producers because it seems that this is what gets the attention of the masses that watch TV. Little do the masses seem to understand what they are participating in and how it ultimately is affecting their health.
Stress: The Phantom Menace
Around my Buddha of fear there was this shroud of darkness. I could have tried to ignore it, wished it to go away, to get over it and get on with life. I decided rather to further investigate it. I knew it was a cloud of energy that had been opened by the accident fracturing my aura — unleashing all the past fears I had so well ignored and gotten over. This time it would have to be different.
Those other times when I have known fear and climbed over it to act fearless, I am aware that my actions were truly fueled by the very fear I denied, and those actions were like a man running from a tiger oblivious to all that is in front of him, only knowing the fear of being hunted, chased, to be outrun and caught by the tiger. That is the purest form of 1st chakra ‘survival’ energy in action.
One of the underlying causes for collective stress is that we do not know how to protect ourselves from those who convince us that they have jurisdiction over us. When we give over personal information to people we are not even acquainted with, it is at great cost to the subtle systems of our physical body. The cost over time may be much greater than the advertised rewards. This is an insidious element in our world today that on one hand promises protection and security, yet on the other erodes the very protection and security we thought we were buying.
The body’s systems when constantly barraged by such attacks go into the exponential stress curve, and without relief begin to break down creating greater number of dis-orders and dis-eases.
What to do about it?
First notice there is always 1) a cost up-front & center — the cost that we pay for our base desires — like the latest car model, latest designer jeans, newest computer, cell-phone electronic gadget, or the bars, clubs and memberships that promise exciting yet impersonal sexual encounters.
Behind all the merchandising of these base products is also 2) a hidden cost to our present and future existence.
We know and feel something is not quite so when “Energy In” is NOT EQUAL to or greater than “Energy Out!”
When we figure out what that cost is, not only in dollars, but also in the decreasing quality of life, then we can see that the disparate equation of energy is a negative cost to us personally and/or our family and community.
It is the complexity of fear that makes it difficult to understand, difficult to distinguish which end of the spectrum one is experiencing and knowing which feature of fear is the true catalyst behind our actions.
Different degrees and layers of fear evoke degrees and intensity of the emotion. There are also the different sources of it that incorporate different degrees of risk and danger with varying degrees of consequences.
All the symptoms of fight or flight can also be evoked by meeting someone of attraction, ratcheting up the pulse & heartbeat with blood rushing through our vessels, or merely by the anticipation of skydiving, preparing to go onstage, or entering into a sporting contest.
Like people, emotions are never what they seem — especially fear. Emotions can be so powerful that we are afraid of experiencing and expressing them. When our emotions are buried we act tired, dull, bored, sophisticated and politically correct. We feel dead and weak inside. We are empty, insensible, feel hopeless, and have no direction from within. Hidden feelings can be described in words such as afraid, scared, terrorized, raw, having a feral need to survive, and find us sucking in air with desperate pants.
Fear can be painful as it forces us to feel something — to feel alive— and gives us purpose. However, if we do not understand what is driving our actions then we are no longer at the reins, but are now in the harness.
What is it like to seize the reins and learn to handle them for our benefit? To do so in the face of fear, we need to get down into the base chakra and root out the information of what is running the fear. We need to learn how to pay attention to the emotions that are in reality in perpetual motion. The executive function of our brain is only the receptor and perceptive identifier of the rush of emotions through this gateway.
Emotions, specifically fear in this context, that initiate from the mind of the body, are the molecules of communication between that and the mind of the brain. They are like the wellspring of a river’s source. It is up to us to investigate, locate and begin to know them for the sustenance they provide.
Like our attention caught upon a colorful, flamboyant silk scarf being drawn out by a sleight-of-hand artist at a magic show — all the while reality is hidden elsewhere.
Sending the LOVE of 'hayam’ to illuminate the way.
Labels: Addiction To Fear, American Debt, Bliss, Brokering Fear, Chakras, Fear As Ally, Illusion, Love, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Reality, Root Chakra, Stress Syndrom, Stress: The Phantom Menace
Series on Fear-ll:The Buddha of Fear
marty is scheduled to present @ the July 10-15, Dallas Texas Before I relay the story of the Buddha of Fear, there is some background information important to the context. It has to do with Mindfulness, and how this word is used and heard.
For the purpose of this story, and for that matter of this site, the source of the word Mindfulness is from an ancient Buddhist practice of training the mind to be fully awake to all its activities as a means to know oneself. From this place we can then recognize all thoughts, feelings, sensations, and sounds without the need to overlay additional meaning to them or to deny their source. First hand, with this practice we can discover that most of our reality, if not all, is but a mind construct. Knowing this point can be very helpful as we live in a consensus reality that the collective mind of our modern world has created.
Like the thresher’s screen, the practice of Mindfulness helps to separate the wheat from the chaff. It is not used for us as a means to live in another world—it is used for us to be fully awake to this one and to provide further access to what also lies beyond.
A person need not be a Buddhist to practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness can be applied to everything without distorting the origin. Therefore it can be practiced throughout all religions, philosophies, and belief systems without concession.
In Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, this practice is highly successful in lowering the effects of stress. Medical doctors recommend this to their patients, and research studies show that its use is highly effective in reducing the symptoms of numerous illnesses and conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and anxiety, naming but a few. As this New York Times article reports, Mindfulness has also been instrumental in assisting children to lead a balanced life.
After over ten years of regular Mindfulness practice with the use of additional tools I acquired in the area of subtle energy practices, and given that my training also included the applied psychology of phenomenology and somatics, I felt that this background would allow me to further explore the phenomena around my accident trauma using Mindfulness as a center pole and anchor point.
In all my years of Mindfulness practice and training I learned that no matter what aspects of doubt or fear I experienced, there was one thing that remained true—that being the knowledge that however awful I thought I was or that things were, I understood that none of it was the sum total of my life, but that this too was a mind construct passing on its way through my awareness.
Many times the darker doubts and fears overwhelm the lighter aspects of our being. What I have also learned from my observations is that if I ride only on the light, it can be a very shallow body of energy to surf. For at its edge and below it all resides a depth that by its very nature is dark. The point is to not give a different set of values to either one, but instead to see each as part of the total picture and acknowledge them for the valuable contribution they make to the whole. Simply put, it is the Tao, the yin-yang symbol in real-time.
To further describe the practice of Mindfulness in as clear and concise a way as I can, it consists of sitting quietly and paying acute attention to the breath in all its aspects. Once that is established, then the practitioner moves on to recognize thoughts as thinking, noises as sound, and different inclinations of the body and eruptions of emotions as feelings.
Despite the brevity and apparent simplicity of this explanation, it is a lifetime of work. When a person undertakes this challenge, he/she soon learns that the mind has a will of unbridled energy that resists being trained to pay attention because it believes that it already does pay attention, and that it needs no one else to teach it anything. So this person is surprised to learn that while they believe they are paying attention to their breath, they suddenly discover their mind has wandered off to other pleasant pastures of remembering the party last evening or some item in their appointment book set for next week. In this practice, the training is to then very gently turn the wandering mind back to the attention of the breath and begin all over again.
This is Mindfulness practice, both at its most rudimentary and it highest form. I have often remarked to myself that this practice is fueled by a lot of beginnings!
Armed with these tools I allowed myself to further explore the regions of trauma-induced emotions, taking my lifeline of Mindfulness with me. So there is no misunderstanding, I must also say that some of what I did is counter to the practice of Mindfulness as described above.
By this time, my breath awareness was well ingrained and I used Mindfulness to dwell longer and deeper in these states of emotions that overtook me in order to observe and study them as they swept through my body. In the pure practice of Mindfulness, a person would let go of the emotion on an outbreath and immediately return to pay attention to just the breath, thinking, etc.
As a phenomenologist, I took advantage of my long-term practice to move through the immense amount of trauma my body endured from the accident and to also investigate deeper into the darker realms of the psyche to those places where the most recent trauma event cracks open old wounds that have been scarred over and armored so that we can no longer feel them. Old wounds, for all their armoring continue to effect our lives because regardless of all the armor, they remain unhealed.
If I ever doubted the power of unhealed wounds of the psyche, my encounter with the angel soon dissuaded me of that belief as in one single swipe of the blade the angel unleashed all my past unhealed wounds. It was so apparent that as I saw them come forth I did not need to be given an explanation.
I knew then that if this is what was happening to me then according to the statistics, there were millions of other people who were experiencing similar phenomena in their lives; the difference being that I had a unique set of tools to work with to identify and sort through the terrifying aftermath of such trauma.
This then is what I set out to do; determined to learn the substance and structure of my own trauma, to map it like an explorer maps new territory using the practice of Mindfulness as my compass.
Be forewarned that I am not recommending this for anyone without a well-trained guide in Mindfulness practice, just as I would not even consider going into the dessert without the presence of a seasoned tracker who has not been there before. In my observations, the mindscapes of trauma present difficult ground to navigate. The landscape of the desert, much like the mind is forever changing as the winds shift the sands across the terrain, and illusions appear as myriads of mirages that can fool even the veteran tracker.
In my attempt to map out this environment, I do not profess that all I saw and learned is all there is to learn—it is only my experience of it. I have tried to document it as accurately as I am capable of so that those who come after may recognize themselves and know a way through the desert of the mind.
For a person who has had a recent trauma event, it is important to know that there are both appropriate and inappropriate times in which to initiate the practice of Mindfulness. A person who is in combination both a long-term practitioner and one who is trained in experiential psychology can determine this. This may or may not include credentialed professionals. Not every licensed professional is qualified to undertake the position of guide. The individual who has experienced recent trauma must recognize this and choose as wisely as they can.
I have laid out the criteria for making the choice to begin. This said, I know there is something I have left out—that will come in due time. Let me get on now with the Buddha of Fear.
The Buddha of Fear
Beginning the year 2001, six months after my accident, I began to come to terms with the trauma that was buried so deeply that I had yet to truly acknowledge it. Instead, I had hid in the recesses of the safer more palatable thinking that my accident had been an opportunity for spiritual awakening. Society listens more to those who turn a tragedy into an inspiration. It is easier to look only at the successful outcome of a tragic event than to dwell in the agony it took to get there.
Friends, and family seemed to withdraw and not want to be around me if I appeared wounded, sad, and depressed. They acted guarded, as if sadness might be catching. There is some bitterness that comes with the territory, especially once I realized that this would be a lonely path to travel. Except for one friend long distance, I could not count on company. It is not that I blamed anyone for it, it is only that I was not in any position to ask for that kind of steady commitment for support, and that I realized how much others were trying to deal with their own lives and had to appear to be doing so successfully. My senses were very open to detecting others’ emotions.
Reflecting on the accident and the ensuing result I began to recede from the experience of living. I had no verve for it. I was afraid to experience anything that resembled passion, or enjoyment. Not only was I afraid to be alive, I also feared to let it show — terrified that if I were to do so, that it would again be taken away. The effects of the accident had robbed me of my professional dreams and aspirations just as I was at the take-off mark.
More and more my life reflected the aura of fear. Soon, I could sense and also see a dark cloud around my head. I was reminded of the Charles Schultz character of Linus in the Snoopy cartoon. Linus is always depicted holding onto his security blanket, sucking his thumb, and having what looks like a cloud of dust swirling around his head. My cloud was dark and I desperately wanted a security blanket. I did not appear with my thumb in my mouth — I was too traumatized to put it there. It might have had some benefit.
As I went through my days, I became more and more aware of this dark cloud around me. It went with me everywhere. When I sat in meditation I could feel it more clearly. It became more and more evident to me all the time, not just some of the time. Many days, I pretended that it wasn’t there, but it was not something to be denied.
Finally, I realized that the cloud represented fear, my fear, a dark shadow of myself that was still unknown to me, and that I wanted to keep at bay. Yet it stayed. For months and months, it was my companion. It would not leave me. It would not go away.
Like those acquaintances and friends who withdrew from my sadness, I did not want to get too closely acquainted with this dark presence. It was very intimidating. What terrible secret about myself would I learn if I allowed it to get too close? Just having it hover around me was enough to deal with.
Over time, the dark murkiness began to thin out and I detected a vague form within the dark mist. Positioned in front of me at my forehead level as I sat in meditation, it never moved to threaten me more than to just be there. Using all my previous training, my shifting back and forth in awareness allowed me the freedom to move closer to it; not a lot, by no means, just to the edge of my comfort so that eventually I did not feel quite as fearful of its presence. I began to get used to it and to my feelings about it — after all they were with me twenty-four hours a day. Most comforting was that I could get as close as I wished and it did not move toward me. It seemed to allow me to be as close or as far from it as I chose. This process continued for months.
Then one day, a form began to emerge, and I saw what looked like the shape of a Buddha. It was still vague, but the outline of the body was becoming more defined, the head, shoulders, and apparent figure in a sitting meditation position. Now that I could at least identify what I considered a compassionate being, I did not feel as much fear about it, but I was aware that there was still so much fear present in my life in other ways: fear of going out socially, fear to be with others, fear of being injured again, fear of not knowing who I saw in the morning mirror, fear of having missed the point of my life, and afraid to get too close to the truth of knowing it. Within it all, I began to see the figure as a being willing to embody my fear, to hold my fear for me, and it became my Buddha of Fear.
I was so grateful that something was willing to be with that dark tormented part of me. Whether or not this figure was a made up figment of my tortured mind, I did not care. My observation was that it helped me to relate to my fear and I was not stopping here.
Finally, after almost over a year, one day the darkness cleared, and the Buddha became more and more defined. I began to see the folds of cloth draped across the shoulders and down the still body falling as they did over the bent knees of the meditation posture. I saw hands resting on the thighs, and could feel breath moving in and out of the body with the chest rising and falling. The lips were gently curved and the eyes softly closed against its cheeks.
I explored, getting to know it in greater detail. One day, as if sensing my perusal, it raised its chin a bit higher and slowly opened its eyes. The figure looked at me directly with eyes of infinite love such as I have never felt before. I looked back, our eyes meeting in that way where pure communication is transmitted. Like the refugee rescued from the freezing cold, unabashedly, I soaked up the warmth flowing from those eyes and did not waver from them. We were indelibly linked for an interminable time. Neither of us retracted, there was only an infinite allowing of each other to be as we were without the need to hide anything for fear of being judged or rejected. The mutual acceptance was unequivocal as we were here, now and for all time. There was a mutual exchange of breath and beating of hearts. Its breath was my breath, its heart beat in sync with mine, our thoughts were as one.
Time was not present, it had ended as if a great noise had finally ceased its cacophony. I had stepped into a space that was beyond time, where the figure resided. It had patiently waited for over a year for me to move through my fear, to see through the darkness. Infinite understanding blossomed, and now I realized that the compassion streaming from the Buddha’s heart and love from its eyes was simply a reflection of myself. My Buddha of Fear was not only holding my fear, all my dark shadows as well as the light of me — it was me.
I was overwhelmed by the realization as I looked at myself gazing back at me. The streams of love overtook me as I sobbed in overwhelming comprehension and dawning realization of the infinite love and compassion that some part of myself had for the rest of me.
The fact of how all comfort and security had been wrenched from me by the accident became totally clear. All the repercussions of the absence of feeling loved and secure were made known to me. I had felt like a coward all that time — as I cringed from life and myself. The difference between fear and courage took on new dimensions in my life.
The Buddha of Fear transformed into a benevolent guardian who has stayed with me as a symbolic companion and helped me to advance self-compassion.
Until next time when I will be back with the next part of this series on fear.
May everlasting peace prevail in all our lives.
Labels: Buddha of Fear, children, education, fear, Mindfulness, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, stress reduction, trauma recovery