The Path of fearlessness
When we want something.
The magic of the thing, the possibility of it is sparking and shiny but as “it becomes just life” it loses its someday luster.
It becomes marriage problems between cinderella and prince charming.
The stuff they never tell you about.
We think this thing we want will solve everything. Lets call it the “the fairytale factor”, the happily ever after idea of it makes us happy as long as we know it is coming or makes us sad if we feel like we cannot ever have it.
We experience feelings NOW about something in the future.
Then, IF we get it, we realize life keeps going on and we assimilate that thing into life and once again it’s just life. We used the future possibility to escape the mundane presence of NOW only to have its reality be just as mundane.
We feel like earned it (happy) or we didn’t get it so we don’t deserve it(sad)
OR maybe we get it but we can’t enjoy it because now we FEAR we are gonna lose it (anxious).
Are you starting to catch my drift?
These are all stories we tell ourselves.
Our narration of how it will become, how it is, how it was, why it is or isn’t there.
These are the things that determine our feeling about it: past, future, and present.
When we live outside of reality we may be happy, excited, depressed, sad.
These are all things we chase or run from as away to avoid reality.
When we live in meaning we are not living in “what is” because “what is” can be boring.
Our brain needs to create story around it. We are meaning making machines.
I am reading a book called Smile At Fear by Chogyam Trungpa and he talks about the ways of the warrior. A warrior in this sense is someone who is fearless, not courageous or aggressive but at peace with fear. Who smiles at fear. (Listen to the podcast with notes from the book HERE)
When we stop numbing ourselves with someday or yesterday or meanings and we become present to what just is, it is an odd and slightly uncomfortable place if you don’t understand it. I have been experiencing this A LOT since I arrived in Cyprus.
Starting to learn from this book has been profound for me because, in the past, whenever I have found myself really present in the world, I always thought I felt sad, like at the bottom of it all is nothing and inside of nothing there is sadness.
And so i would find ways to distract or numb myself with excitement, food, joy, my phone, finding problems to worry about etc to run from this gentle sadness. It is not a depressed feeling, just sort of…raw.
This tinge of sadness, according to the book, is part of being in reality. We are unaccustomed to being open and vulnerable to the now and we misinterpret that sadness as badness.
It comes from our fundamental realization that in the present moment, if there is nothing, if there is just now and now and now, if we let go of the past and some day and just fall into the void that we actually do not exist.
Well, the ego ceases to exist. And the ego doesn’t like that.
The sadness is almost like a gentle acceptance of our own non existence.
Since reading this book I have taken on allowing the gentle sadness, allowing that present moment, allowing myself to be raw and open. To welcome it.
Allowing that this is it.
All we have is now and now and now.
Many of us will knee jerk our way out of it and our ego will kick in and take over. We will worry or make meaning or find something to distract ourselves.
Here is the thing. Consider we were put on this planet to experience life but at the end of the day, we don’t really mean anything.
I feel it when I drive through a city of Los Angeles and see not my idea of the city all sparkling and Hollywood but the reality of it, a dirty sidewalk, a falling apart building, the homeless people. I am seeing that in reality everything is not shiny and new.
Things fall apart. And in that decay is peace. Peace in the simple unfeeling process of birth and decay. Peace in a rusting old truck. Realizing that there is just a constant flow of creation and destruction. Birth and death.
In “The Denial of Death” Earnest Becker talks about the terrifying reality that this planet is just a birth and death machine. Things are crated. They exist. They rot back into the earth.
As humans this is terrifying so we make up hero stories to make out lives make sense. “I am a mom!” “I am a teacher” “I am, I am, I am.” To make meaning worth living for but they are just stories made up by the ego to prove that it exists.
We don’t really exist.
This thing you call “your body” is made up of so many individual organisms living and dying. Which part of it is really you?
Where does “you’ end and everything else begin?
We think we exist because we have created explanations called time and space but these are man made interpretations of the universe.
Think about it, time is measured by revolutions of the earth, so outside the earth there is only time relative to our planet. Time doesn’t exist outside of the Earth. There is just now and now and now and now. Ne before, no after. Just now.
We live our whole lives like we are so sure which direction is UP but UP is relative too.
Think about it. On the other side of the plant UP is really down but they also call it UP.
Our whole life is made up. Fabricated intricately out of a long weaved story of perspective falsely accepted as reality.
Now just os you know, I am not high right now. I am awake. I am not meaning to get all woo woo but, this is actually a fucking beautiful thing.
Because if you don’t exist and nothing means anything and all reality is subjective and all we have is now and our interpretation of now, then we can literally create anything we want.
It turns life into a beautiful game. What story do I want to tell myself?
We take on life as a warrior would, as a challenge with outcomes of success for failure. Plant the seed and the seed either grows or it doesn’t. Then use that information to learn better fo next time. This allows us to be without story about it and to just go for it.
Choose, execute, learn, repeat.
Now, if the fairytale factor, the happily every after cannot exist because it lives in the future and once the future becomes now it just becomes what is…not over whelming joy. Just what is. Either it happened or didn’t happen life becomes full lessons not judgements.
If all we have is now, we can never have a happily ever after.
But what we can have is a present and grateful NOW.
We do that by allowing that gentle sadness. By having gratitude for anything we can see or feel or touch or be right in this moment exactly as it is (hard or easy, soft or sharp) these are all teachers.
That is the whole point inside of this pointlessness we call life.
TO be a tender nerve, feeling rather than hiding from each moment.
And so, if you are like me and you have been hiding from or making wrong this gentle sadness, this tenderness, maybe try opening up to it.
Perhaps try allowing it to be.
Spend more time in the now and less time escaping from it.
Have more trust in the information and the process.
Life is going to happen as it happens.
Suffering is optional.
And none of it really matters because you, my friend, don’t exist anyways.