Last week I felt fear, in reaction to a life event.
Anxiety, or any other negative emotion, does not have the same gripping power as it used to, but nevertheless I found it curious that fear should come up at all.
I notice it first as body sensations, usually a butterfly feeling in the belly. This is the trick to releasing. Once you can see that emotions are just an association between thought and body-sensations, it’s pretty easy to release.
A feeling is an intuitive message in the body; feelings serve a purpose and when we are present, feelings come and go quickly. An emotion is different.
A thought happens and if it has enough energy it will be reflected in the body as some sort of sensation. The thoughts and body-sensations energize one another in a feed-back loop, and this is what we experience as emotions.
When you look and see this structure, you can easily notice the beginnings of an emotion, and you notice that they are just thoughts and body sensations, and you fully allow without any resistance, and it’s pretty easy to let them go.
I didn’t let go right away. I was curious. I can release easily, and I’ve seen through the delusion of “me”, so why would there be any fear at all?
What’s going on here?
I think one of two, or both things are happening.
Conditioned structures remain. Even after seeing through a basic delusion, there is momentum and memory of fear-bodies, and so these will still come up. They are unmoored, yes, unhinged, and they no longer grip in the same scary way that they did before, and they belong to the delusional “me” which never existed, but nevertheless they come up.
The delusion of “you” is pretty basic. It seems to hold together all of our other delusions, and seeing through the false “me” is big, but it doesn’t clean up already-embodied patterns. Perhaps it takes time and releasing to clean up.
The other thing is that there is possibly a more basic mechanism at work in us. Maybe this basic thing is surrender, and many of the fully awakened talk about this, but I haven’t explored it fully yet.
Here’s the deal with humanity. We’re insane. We’ve lost our way. You’d have to be very deluded to believe that the state of humanity is anywhere close to natural. In extreme cases it shows up as genocide and the horror we see on the news and in history. In everyday life it shows up as the resigned, confused sort of uneasiness with being. Human beings don’t know how to just be. In ten thousand years of civilization, we haven’t figured out how to just be.
It seems that we have millions of problems. Everyone I’ve known and know believes that his or her unhappiness is unique. It is because of lack. Half the world lacks adequate food and water, but beyond that, the other half which does not have to worry about basic needs, believe they lack money or a relationship or certainty or a full life or peace-of-mind or better looks or whatever it is. It’s a strange thing that everyone seems to believe that he or she is unhappy in some unique way, while the rest of world is generally happy.
Well, here’s the good news. We don’t have millions of different problems.
We have one.
And the answer is always to look. Allow and look, look inside, with patience and honesty.
As Jed Mckenna says: Further. Keep looking.
And be honest. That’s critical.
These are some simple ways of looking:
1. Observe thought. As a witness, as a watcher, without trying to change or stop thoughts, just observe.
2. Observe emotions. Emotions are an association between an energetic thought and body-sensations. Step back and allow and observe emotion. Make space for them in the body. When you observe them in this way, you can let them go.
3. Observe fear-bodies. Whenever fear or any sort of negativity or resistance comes up, observe. See how fast they come up and seem to take over. With practice you see these reactions are just fast-habit-reactions of embodied patterns.
4. Observe the idea of you. See that the you which you think you are does not refer to anything.
Now you might notice that this is pretty simple and straightforward. And yet it is the nature of the mind to get caught up in questions and answers about knowledge and spirituality and seeking and so on. The mind does not want to look.
If you look there most likely will be some frustration and confusion. Probably a lot of it. This is good. Wisdom comes when we can allow the frustration and confusion and recognize they are a natural part of the process.