“Fear seems to have many causes. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, and so on, but ultimately all fear is the ego’s fear of death, of annihilation.”
Sounds intense right?
But I barely have to check myself and I know it’s true. I just recently started reading “The Power of Now” which was strongly recommended to me by soulsistah4real and it’s really hitting home for me with a lot of the issues I’ve been confronting lately. It’s not to say that I’m not familiar with the philosophy of present minded living but it’s amazing how you can read something familiar put a different way, from a different source at certain time in your life and that’s all it takes to have an impact.
I’ve had to really be honest with myself in understanding that though I was raised with a lot of access to “healthy” living, literature and spiritual practice it doesn’t mean I am better, more progressive or smarter than anyone else, or rather that that comparative kind of mindset is no more the goal of enlightenment than attaining wealth was to Buddha.
My instinct is to make excuses and explanations but none of that is really relevant. The fact is, I’ve come up against so many barriers to a connection to what I thought was my real self that I’ve started to wonder often if there is any real there, there. And reading PON has begun to crack open some things I’d strongly suspected but never had confirmed until now.
The “pain body” which we all identify with as ourselves is a sick and sad way to define what it means to be alive. The pain body is a reactive manifestation of the ego and we habitually mistake it for our actual self. “The accumulated pain is a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind.” I think there was a time when, because I was so isolated and sheltered, I was minimally effected by the pain bodies I came in contact with. I was able to bounce back easier and to have a better sense of who I might be apart from the illusion of pain. I remember my dad telling me how I used to cling tightly to him whenever he would carry me to take me out into the Brooklyn neighborhood. He could feel the fear in the tightness of my body. He was right. People scared me. They still do. But I couldn’t live like that. And I still can’t. It’s not living.
As I inevitably became more absorbed by society, the pain I once witnessed seemingly from the outside made it’s home inside of me and I began the practice of division and subdivision to navigate fears that were not even mine. I could no longer tell the difference. I doubt many of us can. I feel like in the last five years or so, I have allowed it to really possess me in ways I find nearly impossible to untangle from, not just because of the difficulty, but because it has been a choice. I have looked to the past and projected into the future as a form of escape.
Tolle says: Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to the past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation.
I think the last time i lived like that was when I was a girl and that was only because my family was very intentional about creating the kind of home life that made this kind of existence possible. I also understand that for many of us that time was never. At least not yet, because as long as you are breathing, you can attain bliss. I always long to go back to that time, that feeling but I understand now that finding the peace of mind I seek is not about going back but settling in to where I am and making my home in the present.
I know I’m sounding all self helpie and I promise to not break out into rounds of Om but hey, don’t knock Om until you try it.
I think Tolle is one of only two people I have ever read who says the experience you need to have in order to detach your self from your ego and attain the ability to function from a place of presence is one that you have to have on your own. No one can have the experience for you. J. Krishnamurti is the other. He said that truth is a pathless land. But there are guides.
They appear when you walk towards the unknown. And they often write books.