Learning fearlessness is like applying just the right amount of pressure to the handle of a leaky faucet spout, trial and error. All things (and people) wear out, which may just be the root of all fear as well as the source of fearlessness.
Being fearless is experiencing the moment fully, regardless. We are told to face our fears for they are all we have to fear (Franklin Roosevelt), or we can consider the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: “If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay.”
Once again, I hear the Cherokee story about attending my two inner wolves, dark and light. In order for the light to break through, I must see into the dark, attend it, which is not the same as appeasing it. Of late, my inner wolves have been as insistent as the drip of my faucet, all awaiting attention.
The longer I live the more I believe the key to fear is acknowledging that it never goes away—it lives within the dark wolf—and requires a lifetime of attention. One remains a fearless witness to one’s life:
“When we practice inviting all our fears up, we become aware that we are still alive, that we still have many things to treasure and enjoy. If we are not pushing down and managing our fear, we can enjoy the sunshine, the fog, the air, and the water. If you can look deep into your fear and have a clear vision of it, then you really can live a life that is worthwhile” (Fearlessness, Thich Nhat Hanh).
As in Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, one does not engage the fear by creating a future scenario or by visiting a past moment and tweaking it a bit—no to both. The moment is the only reality there ever is, and if one works with and faces that reality, then one’s life unfolds before one’s eyes, fearlessly.
That is the heart of my practice these days: transforming my fears so that they are attended to, rather like the persistent drip of my aged faucet with its spout and base leaks. I am mindful of the pressure I apply to its worn handle. It has a bit more time left and is worth my attention.
“Nobody can give you fearlessness. Even if the Buddha were sitting right here next to you, he couldn’t give it to you. You have to practice it and realize it yourself. If you make a habit of mindfulness practice, when difficulties arise, you will already know what to do” (Thich Nhat Hanh)
Tomas at Heartflow 2013 offers another perspective on experiencing the moment for what it is. My favorite quote from the post is “don’t pacify yourself with platitudes.”
Thursday Tidbits are weekly posts that offer choice bits of information to celebrate our oneness with one another through our unique perspectives. It is how we connect, how we have always connected but in the 21st century, the connection is a global one.
As this is Valentine’s Day, here is Eva Cassidy singing “The Water is Wide.”