Saturday, November 19, 2016

sitting with fear

The recent election has me very afraid. I am scared that we are headed in a dark direction, and that many people will suffer as a result. I am also, frankly, frightened of change for the first time in my life. I have always sought change out, and drawn energy from it. Now I see an element of risk with it, that change could involve loss and diminishment and even pain.

When I sit in meditation, the fear is palpable. I have been exploring it, trying to not run, not let distraction pull me from that feeling. But is is hard. So much harder than sitting with racing thoughts, with distraction, with pleasure. Because fear feels imperative -- I should DO SOMETHING. RIGHT NOW. It is so uncomfortable, and so primal. RUN. ATTACK. TAKE CONTROL. 

I feel an urgency that doesn't exist, except in my own mind. There is time to breathe, to pause, to reflect, to decide. I can take thoughtful action, or take no action at all. I know that intellectually, but it hasn't yet sunk in to my core. My body still doesn't recognize any sort of space for . I feel all the places that are tight, tense, the fast paced breath, the quickened pulse. Breathe it in, breathe it out. Try again.

There is also an energy there, with the fear,  an undercurrent. Like it could be transformed into something positive, if I could just understand how to tap it in a skillful way. 

Fear is in the driver's seat right now, for many many people, on both sides of the current divide. People voted for Trump because they feared loss, they feared change, they feared the OTHER. People voted against Trump out of fear of hatred, of bigotry of violence, of what it would mean for each other. We have fear in common, and we need to understand it, and to master it. 

Our challenge is this - fear is a teacher, but we have to be willing to sit and listen and learn.


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