Sometimes, when we come up against something that challenges us, the first thing that we do is put up a spot of resistance.
It’s as if we’re super keen to hold onto our own personal belief structure…our pride (ego) stepping in and saying, ‘hold on a minute, don’t question what I believe…!’
I’ll give you an example:
I recently spent a good spot of time in ‘spiritual immersion’. There were talks and discussions and all sorts, and one day the topic of fear came up.
Every emotion, other than love and joy, is fear, they suggested.
Every other emotion? Really? Really??
Yes, they said – anger is fear, depression is fear, sadness is fear…
Really, I thought? Anger as fear? What about grief?, I thought. What about honouring the process of grief, and the practices that we deem essential to dealing with grief… What about really feeling the feelings in order to let them go…?
So my barriers went up (not impenetrable, hardcore metal girders, you realise, but more, bamboo versions – which were able to sway gently in the breeze…).
So I swallowed that forming piece of pride, and I looked further into the conjecture (and my pre-existing beliefs).
And here’s is what I saw:
I saw that fear forms to keep us separated from feeling love. Anger is a kind of fear – a fear of finding forgiveness and showing love (either towards ourselves or someone else). Fear is the barrier to transcend to get to the side where love can be allowed to flow again.
The fear shows itself as anger…but it may be fear of being vulnerable, of being alone or fear of needing help. And yes, when we say that we have to fully experience the anger to release it, yes, we have to fully feel the emotion to purge it from our cells…to allow it be replenished with love, via forgiveness.
It’s the only way to set us free from the pain of anger.
Sadness as fear? What are we sad about? Sad about a lost love, or friendship, or family member. Or perhaps sadness about a lost material object, or a job, or a situation, or an injustice…
And where can the fear be here?! Sadness doesn’t appear to be fear in disguise, I thought…
And then I thought, maybe the fear in sadness is about attachment. When we attach to a person, an object, or an expectation…we demonstrate the fear in sadness when we fear separation, when we fear believing that we are all truly connected (in our energetic universe, our ‘one song’). We get sad about losing the attachment; the fear sits in a space where we’re afraid to be comforted and supported in our universal connection. Attachment fuels our belief in our separateness…(when really there is no belonging to someone….we all belong to everyone, everything belongs to everyone, and no one at the same time…).
And what of grief? All of the animals experience grief, I thought. The elephants, the cows, the birds. If all animals experience grief, and if all animals live in a harmony with nature and the world, why would they experience the fear of grief…?
Maybe we’re back at attachment? Maybe the pain of grief is the starkness of believing that we’re alone and separate from that (or from whom) we have loved.
Grief really seems to be a process. It’s most definitely painful, in my experience. Maybe the fear is in letting the heart strings of physical attachment be cut….(maybe?). And maybe we do have to go through that process. Us, and the animals too.
Perhaps the difference is that we find ourselves stuck on the grief cycle much longer than the animals…reticent as we are to allow the energetic heart-strings be released…
Ultimately, and further along the path of grief, we maybe realise that the person is still close by…just in a different form. Maybe the fear is really believing that…? (When we can no longer see, hear or touch our loved one…).
Depression as fear?
Oh, yes, I could see this one. Now clearly there are many instruments at play with depression – nutrition is a huge player, exposure to sunlight is another…but so is allowing ourselves to be fully expressed. Keeping ourselves in a restricted, limited, small version of ourselves can lead us into an ever diminishing circle of depression. A fear of fully being ourselves, perhaps? A fear of what we might unveil if we’re able to open ourselves to our full truth. Fear of not committing to a path, fear of committing to a path (!?), not allowing ourselves to unveil a purpose and to self-validate it (that’s put me diving down to the depths at times…fortunately fleeting times, I might add).
Depression as a fear? Depression as a habit? Depression as a feeling that’s more comfortable to go to, than to make a change from rather that to rise up from? Yes, maybe all of those.
Fear or love.
It seems so clear cut, so simple when it’s put that way.
And maybe it is?
But maybe it’s a little esoteric as well.
But just maybe we need some help to negotiate the gulf of going from fear and pain, to love and joy. Maybe it isn’t one fell swoop from one to the other, that’s for sure…when we need to cross a river, it’s one stepping stone at a time.
Perhaps we do need help to understand how to negotiate the current, the learn how to rise up and step on the stones that lie above the surface, rather than on those that are submerged beneath the rip of the white water.
Because on the other side of the fear, lies love. Once we’ve known the fear (the pain and the isolation), we can open back up to the love (and the joy and connection), that we were all born knowing and being.
Esoteric it might be, but when I allowed my own barriers to soften, and to step into the resistance of my pre-determined models with an inquisitiveness, I could see that maybe, yes, perhaps the teaching had legs…!
And then I was able to grow. (Which is what always happens when we lay down our resistance).
Fear or love. How’s that playing out in your life?