“Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.” ~Hāfez
It is possible that the most universal emotion is fear. Animals, even small insects, have a fight or flight response built in to save their lives. Having the courage to not run and to not defend when fear invades is a form of prayer. Going through the discomfort of uncertainty and not looking for a way out brings a surprising clarity to a situation. Staying in the present with fear eliminates the storylines that complicate and distract us from dealing with what is actually happening.
It is easy to not even see yourself slip into the narratives that emerge in your mind without beckoning. Allowing the empty place of not knowing to occupy the mind is a moment to moment practice. Impermanence and change are very vivid and visceral experiences when we pay attention to them and don’t try to fill them up with narratives of how or why or whom to blame. It is not a comfortable recognition, the groundlessness that is the truth of our lives. There is no escaping the vulnerability, which is unnerving and tender all at once.
Living through challenging times with a vulnerable heart is a mysterious path. When we give up the fear of having fear and settle into the discomfort of not knowing, how we experience the world changes. I am trying to find this humbling and awake place as I think about the sweeping changes that are going to happen in my business. Pema Chodron, my go-to writer at the most unstable times in life reminds me that, “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”
The truth in most situations is that the majority of life is not what we thought it would be. Our expectations about how things are going to play out rarely reflect what happens. This is one reason that I have always resisted planning, because I have seen time and again the truth that life is what happens when you are making other plans. The best plan is the one that allows you to see what is and adapt.
The worst that happens is often what we do with reality in our own mind and heart. Relating positively to fear just requires showing up.