I approach life from either a place of fear or one that has overcome fear. I am not sure if I ever approach life from a place of Love - yet. Fearlessness is not love but defiance within me. So whatever I undertake has an element of fear in it. The fear is mostly about whether or not I am living my life according to the norms that society, my culture, imposed values, or friends and family agree with. Inherent is this dependence on approval that I am always struggling with. The fear of death is so far away from my mind because the fear of being disapproved is always ahead of every other kind of fear there can be.
I am intellectually and to a certain extent even emotionally aware that I am immortal - that death does not mean non-existence and this motivates me to know the inner me better. Meditating, contemplating and writing helps me walk the path towards that goal. They take me to that spot within that reveals the workings of my mind and my capacity to deal with my thoughts. When I analyze the direction of my thoughts I become aware of the power of fear on them.
A quiet meditative state is the most peaceful for me. Letting my thoughts flow through, or drawing my thoughts back towards a center are both easily attainable. Sometimes I can even let my thoughts wander as I watch over them without getting attached to them. A dangerous game to be playing because slipping and letting them take over is precariously close. The frustration of coming out of a quiet meditative state and finding myself back in mental turmoil is very trying.
Writing is not as peaceful but watching the words as they appear on the screen is very fulfilling. It feels like an agitated meditation. The thoughts flow through me - but now they get expressed rather beautifully. Most times I am not aware which corner of my mind the thoughts are coming from. There is a sense of excited anticipation as I am not always aware of what the writing will be like. The peace comes after I am done with my first draft. In my writing I find many answers to questions I have been asking myself. It is like an exercise of peeling the large cluster of banana flowers. I have now learnt which part of the flowers I should keep and which part to discard and why. Most of the thoughts can be and are destructive to a healthy life. This peeling process is more productive in the sense that the mental turmoil can be kept out for a longer period of time.
It is in contemplation that I am aware of my fears. Analyzing my thoughts is an art I acquired a few years ago. It requires me to hold on to a thought and take it deeper without letting my mind wander to other unrelated thoughts. This is very similar to meditation except that I am now focusing on a series of thoughts and taking an active part in disseminating them.
The direction of my thoughts is dictated by fear. These fears have been derived from years of being a reactive thinker. I never learnt how to make decisions. Most life decisions were made per chance. There was rarely a logical thought process to decisions. It was only a few years ago that I recognized this weakness and have since made a conscious effort to define my own set of principles and values that make it possible for me to make better life decisions. One of the most basic principles is to be open minded and the second is to trust that we humans are inherently good - often unintelligent but good. One of the values I have established for myself is that life is not about being right - it is about being happy. Happiness is whatever I want it to be - it can be very transient if I let the outer world define it for me. Bliss is about choosing to be happy always. Bliss can only be achieved if I know my own permanence. If I busy myself with transient, material, ego defining activities without anchoring myself first happiness eludes me.
Fear of conflict, confrontation, being misunderstood, being misjudged, being disliked has ruled my thoughts for many years. An apparently happy stable childhood, in retrospect, appears to have been filled with events that were unsettling. The capacity to hide feelings from myself and others has made it impossible to even recognize my feelings now. Outward expression of feelings of love, passion, anger, hurt were considered taboo during my childhood. I was a replacement child who was apparently loved deeply - but was I loved for me or was I just an obsession of over protective parents? The unveiling of some childhood events and my reactions to them then and now make me wonder if the manifestation of suppression of emotions and feelings have caused the diabetes and the obesity. Some good friends have often pointed out that the apparent happy persona I project is a facade. I have laughed and emphasised that I have had and still continue to have a blessed life. I believed that too. I was the exception to the rule that repressed emotions cause stress related and immunological health challenges.
As I sit each day contemplating on Truth many relative truths show up on the screen of my mind. Usually they relate to more recent life events. I have to make a concerted effort to go farther back and delve into the depths of my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. Once there a conflict arises between my memories and my feelings. That is when I would stop the process, get up and engage myself in other activities. Not anymore.
A best selling book about self healing has given me the courage to tackle the conflict and still feel safe and secure. It requires me to make affirmations - simple enough - not for me. Making positive affirmations that I can repeat through out the day is impossible when my mind refuses to cooperate. There is a sentence in the book that says " Your mind is a tool you can choose to use any way you wish." It brought a loud AHAA.. from me. Believe me when I say this is not a new concept to me but for some reason I never took control over my mind. Now I am retraining myself. I do a basic exercise each day - albeit a silly one but I do it anyways. There is a game called Scramble on Facebook. It is a grid of 25 letters (5X5) from which you can derive different words. The possibility is often in the hundreds. You can have 3 letter words and you can potentially go to 25 letter words. At first I played just to score as many points as possible and where the maximum score could be more than a thousand I managed to score around 80. NowI use this game to get my mind to look for 7 letter words or more only. This requires my mind to twist itself through the letters in many different directions since it is impossible to get 7 letters in one direction in a 5 by 5 grid. My mind resists even this exercise and refuses to look beyond a unidirectional line. It took more than 40 boards to find five 7+ letter words on a single board - even then these were mostly derivatives of the same word like (finished, finisher, finishes, refinish). Pathetic isn't it? My point is, that controlling my mind to stay open to possibilities requires concentrated effort. I find it easier to create a blank mind than to change a thought.
The world is a cruel place. Hmm.. how do I change that to a positive? For one stop watching the news, definitely do not watch soaps and do not indulge in gossip. Run away from life, I mean. Or I can choose to stop that thought and think, "I am safe and secure where I am and so are many others." After all, the whole world is not a cruel place. There are many kind people doing many kind acts all over the world. I can become one of those people and we can make a difference one person, one act, one moment at a time. I can refrain from joining in on a gossip session and walk away. I must keep my mind in check and watch over it. The fear of a cruel world whether it be the world at large or my immediate circle, whether it be a world of the past or of the now, can only cause more fear. This fear is in the mind. I am in no imminent danger and so I must control my mind and use it to overcome any and all fears. The understanding is evident the implementation needs practice.
I am choosing to spend a lot more time in contemplation because I need to go along this path to find the lasting silence within my mind. The fears must all be tackled before I can touch that inner Stillness in a meaningful way. I have traveled part of the path from fear to defiance. The rest of the journey from fearlessness to love into silence awaits me.