Posted by: birdmaddgirl | 18 October 2012

fear is the mindkiller

ok, i don’t know that i actually believe that, but i did watch dune recently.

i find that i am spending a huge amount of time this year contemplating fear.  sometimes for positive reasons: it’s wonderful but also terrifying to travel alone in south america for over two months. sometimes for awful reasons: losing a relative who i was close to brings me to a quiet sad fear. sometimes for sort of neutral reasons: my roommate leaving, or the mess that is my personal life (best expressed as F=m*a, as i was able to determine today during an exchange with a dear friend). also, a blogger whom i follow has been doing a fear meditation workshop and her writings have been really insightful. plus watching the debates makes me vomitous with the amount of fear-mongering that poses as political discourse.

i am afraid of some stupid obvious things like the dark and cockroaches. (seriously, you go spend some time down in south florida with giant evil roaches that can fly and then you let me know how you feel about it.) i am scared of more subtle but still obvious things like how i am perceived by others.

when i step aside and observe, even briefly, i can trace fear in nearly everything i do. i’m afraid of doing something wrong and wrecking a work project, so i waste time on facebook. this is totally irrational; i have never badly screwed up a project at work and this distraction technique could eventually set me up for actual problems. but i do it. i am afraid that i am not particularly interesting or creative or articulate and so i dribble and drab my investment in my writing. i am afraid of responsibility and that actually i am sort of an idiot and so i stay in dead-end situations and don’t take risks. i am so deeply terrified that i am wholly undateable that it passes through fear to complete self-sabotaging certainty. often i am afraid of coming across as demanding or crazy or boring or any of a thousand other things and so i try not to interact with strangers (or friends), especially at parties but even in mundane and totally forgettable normal social exchanges. most of my time in south america was one long exercise in being afraid of how i would be treated for talking in my semi-fluent spanish. i don’t make any effort to seek out the many social activities in boston where i can use my spanish (and i almost never use it when i’m home either) because i am afraid. i am afraid of what to do when i finish with my master’s degree. i am afraid to stay in boston and even more afraid to move away.

all of this is completely normal and, frankly, not very interesting outside my own head. all of it is a whole lot of avidya (ignorance or delusion is the usual translation). my life is some kind of 5,000 layer avidya nacho bean dip. with zero layers of guacamole.

when i think about what this might actually mean, all i can come up with is a desire to say i am sorry. to my family and my friends for all my self-absorbed and thoughtless fear-driven acts and words. to all the opportunities and people i have allowed to pass out of my life through fear. to myself and to everything everywhere all the time for leading a life rooted in fear rather than kindness.

it won’t change today. it won’t change tomorrow. not measurably. and even if it does change, i will still live with all the fears i have felt for these 32 years – time doesn’t just march on; it stays. i can’t see past fear right now. i can acknowledge it. and work to imagine a day when “only i will remain.”

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