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The thing that most of us want to avoid. The thing we try to gloss over, get so busy with our to-do list that we numb it out, do all we can to ignore.
Yup, that’s where we are going today. That is what we are looking at head-on.
In order to deepen our connection with ourselves and our connection to life itself, we must be willing to see where fear has disconnected us from life-giving energy. As the late Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote, “Our fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasures.” Our fears can actually lead us deep into our healing if we are willing to face them with honesty and compassion.
In the face of fear, we really have two options:
F*ck everything and run or face everything and rise.
According to Lion’s Roar, a Buddhist blog, “The essential cause of our suffering and anxiety is ignorance of the nature of reality, and craving and clinging to something illusory. That is referred to as ego, and the gasoline in the vehicle of ego is fear. Ego thrives on fear, so unless we figure out the problem of fear, we will never understand or embody any sense of egolessness or selflessness.”
The article goes on to teach that fear can cause fight or flight. Of course, our goal is to avoid these dichotomies. They are responses to what we see as emergencies—and yet, both are counterintuitive to any real-life calamity. We’re not out in the jungle hunting lions, after all.
Are there any real solutions to evading emergency responses to fear? Well, the blog states that you can take what the author terms “the narrow path.” Here, you will be able to face the situation head-on. You take a slightly distanced stance as you unpack the problem.
First, you begin by simply witnessing where exactly in your body you are getting the feelings from and what is triggering them. You can then be a bit like your own psychologist—you can unpack these thoughts. This is not unlike the modern practice of mindfulness. But you go beyond just observation with the goal in recognizing your response patterns in relation to fear. Do you want to run? Do you want to fight? Do you want to avoid?
In checking in with yourself, you see then how you actually respond to fear.
Some people hustle and bustle attempting to rectify the scenario. Still, others find a way to become infuriated. But, ultimately, when you take this narrow road, you are simply an observer. First you recognize the sensations. Then you investigate where they are coming from. Finally, you see exactly how you react to the fear trigger.
For this, we will refer to the kōan’s capping verse—its poetic expression:
“The cave of the blue dragon is ominous.
Only the fearless dare to enter.
It is here that the forest of patterns is clearly revealed.
It is here that the one ripe pearl is hidden.”
Many ripe pearls are hidden and discovered in the explorations of our fear. Is this fear real and absolutely true? Is this fear based on my past? Is this fear keeping me in my comfort zone? If so, why? What is it that I am really afraid of?
When fear comes up.
True courage means living life from the French word “cœur”—as an open living space. It is living with an open heart. An open heart is not one that is unafraid, but one that meets fear with tenderness, mercy, and compassion.
Imagine for a moment that the thing you are most afraid of is gone. It has been transmuted and uprooted. What does that feel like? Where do you feel it? What would your life look like if you transcended this fear? If you actually were able to use this limiting belief, relationship, phobia, as a way to rise? Who would you have to become to do this? What would you have to let go of?
When we are committed to freedom and to sovereignty, in this process, we must be so brave and meet what Buddha called the armies of Mara—the forces of fear, hate, and delusion—with the tender touch of compassion.
My life’s work is to be here supporting you and witnessing you with compassion as you break through the illusions that keep you hostage.
I am here to support you to feel at home in your body and being, and to ignite the fullness of your power and purpose. I am here to walk side by side with you as you face everything and rise.
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