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Friday, November 12, 2010

Meeting Fear in "The Cave..."

I knew this is why I entered “The Cave.” I keep getting chased down by anxiety and fear. And so I knew - it is time to stop running, get still, listen and meet this debilitating fear – again. I have carried it all my life and I am exhausted from carrying it. I have tried many times over the years to lay this fear down, to trick it, to manage it, to numb it, to be aware of it… But awareness of it is not enough. It must be faced full on – in all of its disguises. But first, I had to experience the Silence of deep Rest in “The Cave” to prepare the way, to be open to meet Fear, and allow myself to experience it all the way through. I am not yet “through” the fear, but the journey has begun - with trepidation – but no longer resistant…

“The Cave” serves several purposes. It provides the physical space, like a holding space, and is the inner space of deep Silence that is the foundation for seeing with clarity, for entering into the exploration and investigation of the hidden shadows of the self in the safety of the deeper space of Awareness.

The first night that I sat with fear in the “The Cave” I was amazed that Awareness curiously moved towards it, entered it, and experienced it. It was not afraid of fear, but was compassionate towards it. A small opening of light came through. I began to relax and allow the fear to be.

The second night I sat with fear I became aware that I am somehow invested in it, although I don’t understand why or the dynamics of how that happened. But I realized that there is an attachment and a familiarity with fear that makes it hard to just “let go of” despite the pain that it creates. It is such an ingrained, habituated pattern that in a sense it has become the default position in my psyche.

In sitting with fear I became aware that fear is the mind’s view of things. It’s the view through the lens of fear that I am somehow attached to… I “know” intellectually that fear is based on a belief in a separate “self” – but that knowledge is also not enough. Something needs to be seen more deeply here, but at this point I am still blind to it.

The third night I realized that anxiety traumatizes the body. Fear is very visceral, releasing all kinds of fear hormones and bodily symptoms that wear out the body… There was the understanding, once again, that fear is triggered by thoughts believed to be true, to be real, creating this physical trigger – the body-mind’s response to a mental state of mind – a biological response to the mind’s view. The body-mind mechanism automatically defaults to anxiety with its resulting physical felt experience of trauma. Even the *thought* of facing the fear creates fear. It is so uncomfortable physically that is it hard to face this construct of fear without spiraling into panic.

And I realized - once again - that despite many “awakenings”, much of the time my life is fear driven by this underground electrical current – short circuiting everything in its path. Anxiety has become an entrapment, a prison - a private self-torture of the mind…

I have seen all these insights before and yet there is still “fearing.”

What is the remedy then I asked…

These words emerged from within: Follow the Fear. Let it take you deeper. Deeply attend to it. Explore the tendrils of it. Allow yourself to *fully* experience it. Watch how it plays itself out; where it goes, what it tells you, where it leads the mind and body. Trust where it takes you.

Oh sure, I thought… Easy for you to say – whoever “you” are! And yet I know this is “right.”

And so in the depths of Inner Silence I continue to meet Fear again and again. This time I am willing to stay with it, to see it through, to walk hand and hand with it deeper into “The Cave.”


~*~


“In order to transform our fears
we must be willing to enter the cave
of the Blue Dragon.
There we come face to face
with our despair
and all aspects of the mind…

Standing at the mouth of the cave
of the Blue Dragon
and yelling ‘I’m not afraid’
is not the same as entering it
with compassion for who (what) we will find.”

Genju – 108zenbooks


*


“It takes exhaustion to stop running…
to surrender and be led within,
deeper and deeper into this journey,
the dazzling dark journey into ourselves…”

Ameeta – Self discovering self


~*~

photo - scrapbook paper




13 comments:

  1. lovely post. not much to say as it all is so true, what you write. and it seems fear continues to arise as long as we are alive, it's just somehow we know how to meet it. Thanks for sharing this deep exploration so lucidly.

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  2. Well thank you ZDS ~ :)

    Yes, "fear" et al never really "go away" - I know this to be true - and yet, I want to get to a place where I don't become fearful when it arises!

    In a way this "fearing" is like lucid dreaming. I realize I am dreaming the fear, but I can't wake up from the dream... Until I do.

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  3. Hello Dear Christine,
    Thank you for this beautiful post...what you, Genju and Ameeta so beautifully write goes deep in to this heart. I pray I will be able to follow the feeling and meaning deeply.
    With deep gratitude.
    XOXO
    -Leslie

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  4. At the risk of being repetitious here: WoW!

    I lie down each night filled with the fear of what I cannot get done in this lifetime. For me anyway, that fear is really about my greed and my need to become "real" through my accomplishments. Sometimes, I think I will only learn how to be truly real when I've lost everything - or when I am willing to lose everything. Until then, I'm just play-acting at the edge of the Blue Dragon's cave.

    You have so much courage. Amazing!

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  5. Thank you Genju!

    It seems there are many of us who still grapple with fear issues no matter what our "spiritual practice" - facing what we need to face in order to *recognize* our wholeness.

    I definitely don't see you as "play acting" at the edge of the cave! - with all that you've been through and all that you deal with now. I see you as honest and real about your practice, being true to who you are. That is courage too.

    The "courage" here is really just wanting to see the Truth more than wanting to live in the shadow of fear everyday. Even though I know that those fear shadows on the cave walls are just mental projections,the boogie man still lurks :) C

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  6. Dear Christine,

    You are a shining example of courage and truth and strength. Your fear belongs to all of us...and so does your love in the face of it.

    Much gratitude and hugs!

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  7. Maria - What can I say... I am humbled... And I thank you for your friendship on the journey!

    Heart Hugs - Christine

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  8. Ahhh Christine...what can I say? Everything you've shared is true.

    One thing I do when I go into my Cave is I look around at what I have stored there in my many baskets, on my altar, near my fire, and in one of those baskets fear sits. Sometimes I have to pick it up to recognize it for what it is and to remind it that it cannot have power and dominion over me? It is as you've shared exhausting to carry it and that is why I made a basket just for it. When I feel it coming up and out I can walk into that Cave at any time and leave it there. The Cave is my safe and sacred place as I'm sure it is for you and that is where I store all of the illusions that don't serve me. I store them because at times I need to remind myself why I've put them there to begin with?

    What a wonderful sharing, these Cave writings. This time of year you will find me in the Cave more often than not as it is where I go to listen to my heart, sit by my fire and ponder this crazy thing called Life!
    Wishing for you a Fearless Day!
    Walking in Beauty with You!

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  9. Hello Akasa! I like your idea of having a "basket for fear" - having someplace to put it! :) Pema Chodron - a Buddhist teacher - gives the image of putting things in a cradle - which I also love. It is the place for bringing compassion to those fearful parts of ourselves, to hold them as you would a loving child... I think THN speaks to this as well, although he doesn't use the cradle image. But the idea is to bring loving compassion to our fearful "orphaned" aspects. I need to remember to do this as well - obviously :)

    Heart Hugs for all our fearful places!

    Blessings of Peace! Christine

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  10. I am so glad that you stopped over to visit following the moon so that I made my way here to sit in your cave with you and tap your drum with you and feel how magnificent and far away those memories are for me...I once sat in the cave and tapped the heart beat of my drum for hours...then my drum wore through and I moved away from the cave and didn't remember to create a new space...I do go among trees and sit still however being here and sitting with you has opened a sacred memory and I bow in your direction.
    You may not say that you are not an artist...a writer, a drummer, a cave sitter these are the works of an artist at life.

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  11. both November 12 and November 16 touch my heart deeply.
    thank you.

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  12. Thank you too Iona for coming to visit my "cave" :) Glad it was meaningful, raising some heart memories...

    And thank you for your wonderful last sentence in your first comment! I take that to Heart. I see exactly what you are saying! We are all artists at life - yes - that resonates and inspires! Humble Bows - Christine

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