We spend a lot of our attention day in and day out, knowingly and unknowingly trying to be somewhere else than where we are. You may have had this thought before, but still the same process continues. It’s as if our mind is in the business of constantly trying to evade life as it is.
On the subtle end it’s when we’re in the shower and planning what needs to get done at work, on the more blatant end it’s when we have a fear of heights and we stay away from getting on anything that’s taller than us. What would life be like in the days, weeks and months ahead if you truly believed the following thought?
No matter where I am, especially if I am facing a fear or pain, I am exactly where I need to be.
The truth is we cannot gain freedom in this life or even in this moment if we cannot learn the skills of being with life as it is.
The moment we recognize that we can “be with” what’s here and the moment we especially realize that with fear is the beginning of a fundamental awakening. It’s when we see that we have much more freedom in this world than we ever knew.
It’s also the moment when we start being on the lookout for fear, but in an entirely different way. We’re not anxiously afraid of fear where we walk around like a blanket of gasoline ready to erupt with any spark. We’re actually looking for the fear so we can continue to show ourselves that everything is going to be okay.
What would the days, weeks and months be like in your life if you had a credible voice inside that was saying “everything is going to be okay?”
That is the voice we begin to cultivate as we practice mindfulness of fear in our lives.
It doesn’t happen overnight for most of us, it isn’t an enlightenment that changes the face of our lives forever as has seemed to happen to very few people. It is a gradual shifting that continues to be practiced, nourished and grown over time.
The truth is you are exactly where you need to be, even in the face of fear and pain. Be gentle with yourself and what it’s like to hold this with a heart of compassion. You can say to yourself, “Breathing in I recognize this fear or pain, breathing out, holding it with a heart of compassion.” At the same time, know your limits. It be a source of wisdom to turn away from pain at times in the face of deep trauma and it can be skillful to get the support of a professional.
Take this with you today.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Photo by Corey Leopold, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.
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Last reviewed: 20 Sep 2011