Wow, I’m only in week 2 of this “Year without Fear” challenge and already it is changing my life in deep and profound ways. It’s uncovering hidden treasures and lightening my spirit like a bird taking flight. Puzzle pieces are shifting and changing so that the puzzle doesn’t look like it did 2 weeks ago – a kind of magic that is elemental, human and totally in the opening of my heart. All flowery images aside, there is some very real shit happening. I’m starting to realize the parts of fear that are a tool for evolution.
Pema talks about this in the second chapter of “The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times”. (What, you didn’t get it yet? Go now!) She starts to help deepen our understanding of this concept of bodhichitta. One of the elements that is deeply affected by bodhichitta is the ego. In the second chapter, “Tapping into the Spring”, She writes:
Finding the basic goodness of bodhichitta is like that – tapping into a spring of living water that has been temporarily encased in solid rock. when we touch the center of sorrow, when we sit with discomfort without trying to fix it, when we stay present to the pain of disapproval or betrayal and let it soften us, these are the times we connect with bodhichitta.
Tapping into that shaky and tender place has a transformative effect. Being in this place may feel uncertain and edgy but its also a big relief. Just to stay there, even for a moment, feels like a genuine act of kindness to ourselves. Being compassionate enough to accommodate our own fears takes courage, of course, and it definitely feels counterintuitive. But its what we need to do.
Its hard to know whether to laugh or cry at the human predicament. Here we are with so much wisdom and tenderness and – without even knowing it – we cover it over to protect ourselves from insecurity. Although we have the potential to experience the freedom of the butterfly, we mysteriously prefer the small and fearful cocoon of ego.
When those words I could only laugh, deep in my belly, at the absurdity of it all. We fight to stay enclosed in our cocoon of familiarity to ward off the chaos that comes knocking at our door whether we want to deal with it or not. So I thought, why not try a different tactic? Why not sit with it? Sit with fear and see what happens? Hence, this challenge arose in my mind and I thought, why not?
The next concept of bodhichitta we will explore is the three “Shields of the Ego.” These are three ways that the ego tries to keep chaos at bay and create an inner structure of safety.
STAY TUNED for some exciting news next week!!!
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