August 24, 2005

Fears

One of the challenges of the spiritual journey seems to be that of facing fears, of looking squarely into the unknown. Sitting in the safe pew of the grandfather, and superficially accepting religion without questioning leaves an inquiring mind and heart spiritually hungry. Yet to venture out to the area of the unknown, into deeper waters is like taking that first ride on two thin wheels of the bicycle – it makes us tremble a bit. But really - where is there to fall? Would the waves of the spiritual sea truly overtake us? Could we actually make a mistake here from which there would be no return? What fears dominate or censor our exploration, and cause us to desperately cling to an imagined safe and secure life ring?

I'm reminded of an experience of flying in a very small plane, and feeling very uneasy in the turbulence and rattling noise of the small engine. Fear kept coming over me, while I gripped, white knuckled, to the seat in front of me. And then, in a lucid moment laced with fatalistic humor, I realized that clinging to anything on that plane would be futile in a real emergency. There was nothing solid to hold on to. Finally, I just let my grip go, and relaxed back into the seat, and for the first time, noticed the amazing view. Aptly, it was the Grand Canyon!

Experience tells me that we are all gifted with a natural ability to swim in these spiritual waters, to let go into the majesty, and breathe deeply the same wondrous divinity that inspired Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and so many others.

9 comments:

Anna said...

Yes,fear may be ovewhelming and binding, from my experience it is usually also inhibiting our free thinking and acting. And most often it is unjustified and unnecessary. To love is to be fearless; approaching what or who is to come gently and free of judgements, stepping into deep water much before it moves apart...

Twyla said...

I don't remember who said it --- but I read a wonderful quote that said something like, "the phychotic (or was it atheist?) person drowns in the water that the mystic swims gloriously in." While it seems that so often the religious person stands on the shoreline in fear.

If you will forgive a longish comment, may I share a picture (vision?) I received in a time of meditation? I saw myself in a hallway, having left a room and standing at a door I stood at before, but had been afraid to open. Opening it, I was astonished to see nothing but black night, swirling stars and planets, as if the door led to deep space, and I was very afraid. I stood there for some time before I ventured my first step out. Then, oh wonder of wonders, my foot hit the ground and I saw that I had nothing to fear at all. The path was lit brightly and all was well.

This seemed to me to be a picture of just what you have been speaking of.

gratefulbear said...

Having just come back from floating (and meditating) in the ocean, I find your comments about "swimming in these spiritual waters" to be especially meaningful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"There was nothing solid to hold on to. Finally, I just let my grip go, and relaxed..."

I just let my grip go...

I just let go...

Just let go...

Let go...

The drawing accompanying twyla's comment gives an exhilarating taste.

isaiah said...

"But really - where is there to fall?"

If only we were willing to fall into the arms of Love more often.

Yes-

Larry said...

Meredith, God has been dealing with my fears for sixty/seventy years. He rarely puts anything scary in my way. But once in a while he shows me something not-so-fearful that I might do, some small step that I might take, and those few times when I do it, there comes a tremendous reward.

Meredith said...

Thank you to the many wonderful responses here.

Anna, (Welcome here!)

As you write, fear seems to inhibit our thinking and acting, and in my experience, I am not always even aware of the ways this may be true. I am uncovering this daily, it seems. I agree with you, to love in this way is to be fearless – a true gift of letting go of the grip. This involves a great measure of becoming free of judgment, and being willing to just take that first step.


Twyla,
What a wonderful vision you shared with us – it is so descriptive of exactly what I am referring to here. It feels so free to know that we can open this door, and venture into this night, view these swirling stars and planets and deep space without needing the security of an imagined life line.


Darrell,

Ahh, you have me visioning floating in warm ocean waters. So free, so peaceful, so in touch with the majesty.


Dearest Anonymous,

You, too, have just let your grip go? And what, dear one, did you find? Did you find the face of a Friend? Did you find divine love? Did you find the most exquisite world vibrating at your fingertips?

Beloved Isaiah,

I love that you are willing to fall into the arms of Love. Love invariably cradles you, and you speak with the voice of the beloved.


Larry,
Your experience echoes my own. Even when I thought what was put in front of me was unbearable, I realized I had never felt closer to God than that moment. And those small steps of doing something not-so-fearful – such as risking to love, or being willing to listen with an open heart, or daring to sit in the silence – oh my, tremendous reward!

dag said...

I love fruit salad! I mean...it's all different kinds of fruit all mixed up together. Some people like to sprinkle it with refined sugar, but I generally do not. The unadulterated fruit is just fine. Really. Thank you for your kind and interesting words.

Jon said...

Wow, Thanks, Meredith. That story about realizing there's nothing to hang on to, and letting it go really resonated with me.