2022-07-19 Fear (2 of 5) Helping Fear Feel Safe
3:09PM Jul 19, 2022
What I said at the beginning of the meditation is quite important, or quite useful, said that way that meditation is a time to experience our life ourselves in a new way, in a different way than is usual in everyday life. And so in everyday life, kind of the maybe a generic version of it is we're doing things, thinking about things, taking care of things, fixing things, avoiding things, concerned about things. And, and many of that stuff is purposeful is sometimes thinking about the future, thinking about the past, trying to change something. In meditation, the idea is to have a very different way of respecting our life as it's being lived. It's not to deny anything, but in a sense to be present for it in a new way, and maybe a radically new way. And so, as we learn this new way of being present for experience, we have available to us all kinds of new possibilities, new possibilities of understanding of wisdom, of investigation, of questioning our life in new ways. And new ways of allowing a deep, deep, much deeper processes within us, to heal us to unfold us to grow us in new ways. So the new way, which is an ancient way, I think it can be represented by this idea of meeting our experience, with a quiet mind, maybe a silent mind, meeting our experience to be present for it in a full way, with a quietness of a, of a clean window, and a dirty window, you maybe can't even see out. But when the window has been cleaned, then the window itself is silent. But the window enables us to really then see clearly what's outside the window. So as the awareness becomes quieter, it also it is becomes clearer, and we can see more fully what's here. So in relationship to fear, to be to really be able to find a wise way and creative way to be with fear and find our way through fear. And this kind of new way of seeing is really useful and important. The so when we sit to meditate. Ideally, we're sitting in a place where here and now is safe. So we don't we're not the building is not burning down. People are not attacking us. It's just nothing's going to happen within reason. Now sitting here, it's relatively safe. And the reason to have that clarity about the safety of here and now, it might not be safe, if you leave your place where you're sitting in might not be safe in an hour what you're going to do, but in the way you're sitting. And it's you become clear, oh, this is safe right now, here. And now. The advantage of that is then you can see notice that if there is fear, it's not about here and now. And so in a sense, it doesn't have to be figured out. Rather, we want to meet it. Fear is something that is we want to respect with our mindfulness, something we want to be present for, not avoid, not fix, not try to attack, but to it's very worthy focus of Mindfulness for living a deeper life a fuller life. And so we want to be able to turn our attention. And when fear is salient fears, the main is a strong facade experience are important enough to learn to bring the attention, mindfulness to feel the fear. And it might be that you're sitting in a safe place, but for 30 minutes, you're doing mindfulness of fear. And that might be time very well spent. Many people don't really stop and look at fear. The bumper sticker now would be I break for fear I stopped for fear. really stop and take a good look at it. What what is this here
and The principle that I think is very powerful, or the practice were very powerful we're trying to do with fear is when we're able to stop and really feel our fear, feel it in an embodied way that we're trying to help our fear, feel safe. So there might be real cause for the fear, it might be real fear out in the world, and half an hour, there might be something happening that's dangerous. But here now in this safe place that we're in, how can we help the fear feel safe? How can we allow it to be there, and not. So it doesn't have the sense that it's wrong, or it's bad, or we're trying to run away from it or trying to attack it and fix it, like we're doing the practice in order to get rid of it. The, if you're, if you're doing the practice to get rid of it, if you kind of anthropomorphize your fear a little bit, the fear is not going to be happy, it's not going to be comfortable, it's not going to feel like it's has a place, it's going to feel unwanted is going to feel unrespected. And so the idea to help the fear, feel safe, means to allow it to be there. As if it now has time, time in the sun of awareness. As if it's someone's never lived in the sun, it's always been in the dark, and they finally able to come out in the sun, then, you know, you're just like, Oh, now let me take it in, let me you know, receive it. And so the sun of awareness, so that as if the fear has never been seen, really, really not gotten to know, that task is to get to know the fear, to recognize it, to see it. Help the fear, feel seen, help the fear, feel like it's being known. Just like maybe for you, if you're really anxious, one day are really afraid, a friend might come sit next to you and see and say, I see that you're really afraid. I'll sit here with you, would you like a companion, I'll just you know, and you're clear, the friend is not fixing you or judging you for being afraid. But they recognize it and they're gonna sit and be a safe person for you, we there just be there with you, and can accompany you. And having that company makes a world of difference. So this new way is to accompany the fear to be with it for a while. And what this does is it allows the fear room to do what it needs to do to unfold to relax, something begins to shift and change, when we give that kind of permission to for the fear to be there. And, and to give that kind of permission for the fear to be there and be known to be accompanied. It does help. If we have a quiet, quieter mind, it doesn't have to be completely silent. But a quieter mind that's not ruminating and repeating stories and judging and criticizing and all kinds of things that the extra things the mind doing. The thinking mind is just almost like saying they're there, I'm here with you. I see you weak, I'll be your companion here. Now let me feel you are the thinking mind is very gently saying, Where do I feel this in my body? Where does the fear lived. Because one of the ways to help the fear feel safe and really be seen, is to recognize where it's being most activated in the body. Is it in the bellies and the chest and the hands, you know, in the jaw, where it might be and, and then bring a careful loving attention to that area. And the image that I like to use for that is cupping the hands together and holding something for underneath, just holding. So holding the fear. So sometimes I'll imagine my mindfulness, my awareness is like this two hands that are coming together underneath wherever the fear is located in the body, and holding it being with it.
As if it is allowed to be there forever. And so this is a radical different way of being with fear than most people know. If in doing that, we start to panic, it gets very uncomfortable to fear, then it's not a useful thing to do. And then maybe we need to do something to settle the fear to quiet the theory be stopped meditating, and do something else. But if that you're able to do that, to come and sit and be with a fear. This allows us now to, as I said, allows the fear to process itself, which is often wiser than us processing it. More often than not, the thinking mind is reactivating the fear and perpetuating the fear. So for the mind to be quiet, to allows a fear to process itself. And then it also then begins helping us to do deeper mindfulness into the ecology of fear, the different elements of it, that are important to also pay attention to, besides just the direct experience of the fear. And that'll be the topic for the next couple of days. And I'm hoping that this will also give you kind of a new angle, a new perspective in which to look at fear, because the old perspectives often keep us trapped, keep us caught in fear. And, in fear, anxiety, can follow someone along for decades. And, and so to learn a new way, is a can be phenomenally useful. So you might try over this next day, if you if you have some anxiety or fear, pay attention look for it, if it's easy to find great than you're on track. If it's not easy to recognize, then maybe you have to be extra sensitive, see and recognize where it might appear. And, and so too, and then see if it serves their situation allows for it to just stop and pause for a while and maybe sit down and close your eyes. And, and see if you can spend some time helping the fear feel safe. You have to find where it is in the body, you have to bring attention to it carefully. And then maybe almost like you're breathing through the fear with the fear as a way of accompanying yet and helping it feel safe. Almost like the breathing with it this kind of like it's okay, now you're safe now You're safe here with me and then see what happens to it with this kind of helping the fear feel safe practice. So, thank you. And now with that as a foundation, I look forward to what we'll be doing the next couple of days.