Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fear, Faith And Flying

Yesterday I wrote about fear in relationship mostly to health and the body.  Someone left a comment that our allopathic medical system is "fear" based and that seems a pretty accurate description of it in many ways.  We are afraid of pain and suffering and illness, and ultimately death. And strangely we are often most afraid of our fear.  So much of this bubbles below the surface like toxic ground water that it's no wonder we easily participate in a fear based health care system.

This morning I was thinking about fear from a slightly different angle.  As I sat, a conversation I had with Bunny the cat's owner, popped into my head.  Bunny lives here for now and the discussion revolved around would Bunny stay or go elsewhere at the end of the agreed on 9 month cat sit.  Bunny's owner said she didn't want to make a decision about Bunny's future from a place of lack or fear.  I had said Bunny could stay here permanently as I don't think Bunny would be happy to make another move.  Bunny's owner felt this was not the place to be coming from.  She went away to ponder this and Bunny's fate has not been decided at this point.  But the more I think about it, the more I agree with this wise young woman who has spent the last 8 months in a Buddhist monastery.

This morning I could somehow really appreciate this "not coming from fear" position.  It reminded me that the opposite of fear is really faith.  Faith that  things will bring us what we need, not necessarily what we want, but what we need.  And what could make more sense in the grand scheme of things than getting what we need.  It is a position that asks, "what do we know, really?" and reminds us that there is always a bigger picture than our little selves can see.  And those of us who have spent a lot of our lives waiting for the proverbial "other shoe to drop" need to be reminded every now and then "that the universe is not out to get us."  (and it doesn't wear size 12 army boots)

This morning I was thinking about some life changes we want to make and how the uncertain economic times keep coming up in our conversations with people.  And so this morning I was thinking not so much about Bunny's future and fear based choices but how we will approach a potential relocation.  I thought I want to try that "not fear thing", kinda like, oh yeah I'll try that new ice cream flavour, over there.  I want to try and do this without caving in to the predominant thinking that's fouling the air these days, a fear based, doom and gloom flavour (I'll have a double scoop of grim reaper, with plague sprinkles, please).  

Approaching things with faith and confidence doesn't mean you throw caution overboard, or send your rational mind on vacation.  As my friend, the monk would say, you do things "whole heartedly".  She herself has demonstrated this through a number of moves over the last few years.  Even though some choices defied cautious logic, she said, this seems good to do (after listening for that inner direction), let's have faith and act and see what happens.  In one instance we found her the most fabulous house, with a lake view, and lovely neighbours where the landlord's agent agreed to lower the rent.  What happened was truly beyond belief.

So, to have faith takes courage; to keep remembering through all the small acts of the day takes awareness and vigilance.  It is so easy to slop into those comfy old fear slippers, they may have a few holes but they are always waiting for us by the bed.  To just be open and present and take action, that is our job.  And no small one.  It is our practice.  There is a quote to the effect that there is an energy, a momentum created by our taking the first step.  Without that first step, we just sit around and overthink things, tell ourselves all the reasons why our plans won't work.  We offer ourselves the opposite of hope and call it rational and sensible thinking.  Man we can be bad company for ourselves, sometimes!

I will end with this quote that I love by Guillaume Apollinaire:  "Come to the edge," he said.    They said, "we are afraid."  "Come to the edge," he said.  They came.  He pushed them and they flew.  So get out the wax and feathers, we've got some flyin' to do.

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