Fear and being fearful, being absorbed with fear, is the great disconnect, keeping us from what we truly want, and keeping what we truly want from us. It is often said on these pages that love and fear are opposite sides of the same coin. From being absorbed in fear, you let it go, turn your attention, and you can have love instead. One obscures the other.
By love of course I also mean contentment, joy, enthusiasm, positive passion and any one of the different ways our heart-centred connection manifests itself, if we put aside that oft-felt discomfort at saying “love”. Interesting that it is often a discomfort. It can be embarrassing to say the word, so much is it associated with passions we can be uncomfortable with and stay separate from. Perhaps it is really a source of pain for us.
Fear can seem like the other polarity, also manifesting let’s say with anxiety, worry, a vague unease, or just not feeling quite right with the world. Some say fear lies behind anger and upset too, a bottom-line, deep-seated emotion that helps hold in place our ego’s survival behaviour and drives the flight-fight-freeze stress response. Fear lurks in the shadows of the seeker, plaguing our meditations and our sleep, and keeps us from the joy we long for.
The function of polarity is interesting, light and dark, black and white, positivity and negativity, faith and despair, wellbeing and illness, upliftment and depression. I could go on. As humans we flip between one polarity and another. In Gestalt we say there’s a lack of middle ground, which could in these examples be balance, equilibrium, equipoise, centredness. When you are centred, there is calm, peace, contentment, evenness of spirit. You aren’t “caught up” in the flings of emotion. Your mind doesn’t go off to places you don’t want to go. You aren’t stuck but have freedom. Things are easy. Anything is possible. Nothing “matters”. Life is, you are, I am.
A key outcome, many would say, of the cultivation of the mindful state is that centredness. When you let go of attachment to polarities, and being stuck in, say, a negative, fearful spiral, become mindful of it, the witness of it, and return to your alert awareness, you are no longer the victim to fluctuations of thoughts and feelings.
Letting go is of course a practice all of its own, and very vital. You can, for example learn to dissolve negative emotion and release yourself from your thought/feeling cycles. We teach this on our upcoming retreat, by the way. It is liberating when you find you are no longer the prisoner of your stuff in this way.
Then in the centred state you can make contact with a far more profound love, if you so choose, one not prone to “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (Hamlet ,Shakespeare). It is always available, round every corner. But we ignore it and fly on to the next bout of negativity. That’s one reason why having a regular mindfulness practice is so important, to help you re-connect on a regular basis with who you really are.
If you struggle with gaining and retaining this equipoise, then that’s a very good reason for coming on our retreat and finding your inner state of balance, and then, when you authentically know that state, you can bring yourself back there again and again.