I got an e-mail from my spiritual mentor this morning asking if I’ve put into practice any of the things I learned during the four hours I spent in her cabin last week. ‘Hang on a minute,’ I wanted to say. ‘It’s only been a few days.’
No I haven’t tried being vulnerable instead of masking my true feelings with humour *shudder* I still can’t look at my bank balance without coming out in a cold sweat and I’m not 100% comfortable with the concept of slowing down, although I have got a lot better at it since I started on this spiritual path.
I’ve deduced that part of the reason why I’ve lived in a state of perpetual motion is because it felt like the best way to outrun my fear. As I discovered in Marion’s cabin, fear is a nasty beast. Feeling it is distinctly uncomfortable, especially when it causes heart palpitations and the sensation of a shortness of breath. No wonder I have spent a lifetime going out of my way to avoid it.
A life lived in avoidance of fear though, is a life half-lived and the way forward is surely to feel the force of it, let it pass through and carry on regardless.
I’m reading this great book called The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer which was recommended by the plant man. The author explains that when you do everything to avoid feeling a particular emotion, it causes no end of problems that end up making you feel worse than whatever it is you’ve been trying to avoid.
He writes: “When you are comfortable with pain passing through you, you will be free. This world will never be able to bother you again because the worst the world can do is hit the pain stored within you. If you do not care, if you are no longer afraid of yourself, you are free. You will then be able to walk through this world more vibrant and alive than ever before.”
That makes so much sense, but as I’ve discovered, being comfortable with fear is a tricky business. I’ve been trying to let it flow through me ever since it was sparked by one of Marion’s exercises but it’s stuck on my chest and it won’t budge. Every so often my heart skips a bit and my palms feel a bit clammy. Reading this back, it does sound as if I might be experiencing a cardiac arrest, but I’m sure it’s all fear’s work (at least I hope it is!). Singer says the best thing to do is relax your shoulders and breathe it out…oh if only it were that simple!