“we do not have a fear of the unknown,what we fear is giving up the known”
~~~~ Anthony de Mello~~~( Jesuit priest,psychotherapist,spiritual teacher and writer)
What is this unknown that we as humans have a tendency to fear?
We seem to go on in life thinking that we are fearless, we carry out our duties and respsonsibilities with brazenness,we are doing or think we have done the best we can in our daily living,eg.we think we made through a divorce or two,took on a few heartaches,survived cancer or other health ailments/treatments for ourselves or loved ones,we have a job,we work hard,we might have lost a job we liked,we are successful, invested our monies in the bank,we take care of our family’s present and future welfare,we dared secure ourselves a property, maybe two,enjoyed ourselves partying,travelling and socialising,we maybe living in a ‘happy’/’unhappy’ family situation,coped with difficult family dysfunctionalities and faced many life changing challenges,weathered a few storms,followed through our religious practices and beliefs or even disbeliefs……..etc.etc………………
And we learn to go on simply pursuing the same traits over and over,thinking thats all in life we do or did and thats good enough and we go on as usual trying to be the same,trying to enjoy and cling onto the same feelings,sensations, escapades and coping mechanisms to survive day to day living.While all of the above are living conditions that we as human beings go through and face on a what seemingly ‘normal’ circumstance…..yes, life can become unsatisfactory and feel meaningless after a short/long while……………..
Then sometime,sooner or later we find that life situations are changing or had changed, we suddenly feel like we’ve been hit by a truck,so hard hit,we say to ourselves, we don’t feel the same anymore and the things and people don’t seem the same anymore.We find that we are losing friends,loved ones,people whom we thought were good to us are behaving adversely,we suddenly feel like they don’t like us or we don’t like them,our children leave the home,we no longer can tolerate doing the same things we used to enjoy before.
It feels like we are dying?And yes in truth this is a real ‘dying’ sensation within,no more vitality in life,a big void and empty feeling within…..some may resort to suicidal ideation and plans because this feeling of death is poignantly overwhelming!Depression sets in……..drained of energy to function,no motivation to deal or face day to day activities,life becomes moody,volatile and irritable…no matter how much people try to help and be of cheer…there is an ache deep within that cannot seem to be appeased.The call for self attention is dismissed……we keep looking externally for answers,happiness and temporary ephemeral ‘comforts’.
What is this dying feeling about? Deep down in our core….we know we need a change but yet have no idea how to change or grow from this ‘deathly’feeling.In truth,we are being called to die to the ego(falseness,past conditions)….the still small voice within is beckoning,the voice of Truth is being stifled and wants to be heard and Love wants to come forth to be nurtured and flourish and utilised and lived openly to its full capacity.The frozen heart wants to be thawed and become warm and beat alive again!But will we let the ice thaw and allow the heart to love fully?When the heart is so frozen,its only natural we feel a death-like sensation,an unable to live feeling!
Very often we can get carried away with fear,in the knowing that we need to do something to open up a space in order to be filled with better positive things but that fear freezes us…the fear of change, of letting go of the ‘old’way of living,of dying to stale and unhealthy habitual patterns,of toxic people,of opening new doors to a healthier lifestyle and environment.It feels frightening like jumping into a raging river and swimming against the strong current………..we fear challenges and we fear we don’t have the energy to handle new situations,we fear of the ‘what ifs’,fear of failures and of being ridiculed…..so we continue living in the ‘old skin’…it feels ‘safer’and familiar,although we don’t like it anymore!
Yet, we keep coping and struggling and battling our own soul sickness………….Some can go on all their lives pretending and playing martyr and biting their tongues,while others will go on making others lives miserable together with their own.And yet there will be others who will be wise and courageous to acknowledge their dissatisfactions and venture out into the unknown to seek help, change and spiritual growth.
We have known all of our lives to run away,to hide from,to escape when things go wrong or when we cannot deal with physical,emotional and life changing dilemmas.So when it becomes difficult we have learned expertly to bury our feelings,numb the mind/emotions,yes we have heard and been told to not cry,to not show our feelings,to get on with life(move on)…so all our buried energies are embedded within us,trapped like a caged animal! We therefore unconsciously learned to put a shield around our hearts,we become colder and colder as the ‘ice’ thickens. We think that by numbing the heart its a way to not feel hurt or be made unhappy or see the guilts and past shames and mistakes?
We are so habituated by the known….things we are familiar living with and doing all our lives…..we don’t want to know anything beyond that familiarity and mindset patterns……..we therefore cannot see our own full potential human capacity to live with the open compassionate heart unafraid to love and face any kind of unknown possibilities that might lead to full awakening to self realization and enlightenment…therefore peace and joy to self and others…………..
So what is this voice that calls…where does it call from…who is it calling to?Can we hear this voice?
This voice is our innate true original being,the truth that sits within,the pure conscience and consciousness that has not been marred by external distractions and worldly seductions/ disturbances.It is the unfragmented self,untouched by the duality of mind and heart conditions…in other words it is the One Universal Consciousness also called The Soul force, God, Atman,Brahman,Allah,Jehovah,Love and various other names according to religious traditions.
It is the voice of Love that calls us to come home Within ourselves,journey inside ourselves,to come taste and experience its wondrous everlasting beauty and brilliance that cannot be compared to the fleeting pleasures of the world….to be not afraid…it is only love, the gentle,tender,commpassionate,understanding and benevolent energies that is inherently waiting for us to utilise and open up to its full potential…..so it already knows us….there is nothing to be afraid of that unknown door within ourselves……………….
How do we access that door and listen closely to the call?
We come to a quiet,when we can learn to take courage and effort to rest our minds, our bodies and senses.When we can focus on the breath and be aware of our thoughts,our actions, our speech,our feelings/emotions and our intentions……..are they all well meaning for goodness and the betterment of ourselves and others or do we carry resentments,ill-wills, anger and selfishness,greed,lust and subtle hatred for self and others……we don’t need to judge ourselves and think anything bad of ourselves(there is Love in-built already within us,how can we be terrible)….but we can make it better if we strive to change the negative affictive mental,emotional,spiritual and physical outlook into positive attitudes and self growth….we can only nurture and nourish ourselves so Love can flourish!
Negative affictions are toxic and wasteful and heavy and burdensome on the psyche,why are we ever so ‘happy’ to hold onto to them?
How can Love be the voice we are frightened of…it calls sweetly…yet we resist, we defend,we fight against and deny….yet contradictory,we say we love?
How can we learn to be unafraid to enter the unknown door?
We can open the door to benevolence,we can make a move to step out of our mundane ordinary lives and living and be attentive to the happenings within and without ourselves,we can do something extra-ordinary for a friend, a stranger,a loved one perhaps even an ‘enemy’and do something ‘radical’ to make them happy for the sake of happiness and not for a selfish motive.
We can open the door of courage to make amends,we can make a call to someone we have been estranged for a long time and say sorry or to forgive or to simply say and see how they are doing.
We can visit the sick, donate to the poor, do some charitable act,we open the door of kindness.
When we have the tendency to jealousy and pride, we can open the door to being humble and receptive to being friendly and creating healthy friendships.
We can open the door to changes by doing something we were hesitant doing,we could join a spiritual group for meditation and prayer to enrich our inner life.We can also take interests and be open to listening to talks and reading books which we never thought we could/would understand, we could also stay open and versatile to others’ religious teachings.
When we have the tendency to anger and hatred,we could open the door to being understanding and respectful of life and to feel compassionate tenderness towards self and others.
When we have fears of doing things on our own and dependent on others for help,we could venture out on our own reach out to others and give ourselves access to new ideas and creativity of the heart.
In other words, we can open any door that we have always had an inclination to be afraid of….we can give ourselves a chance to act with courage and not be afraid of failures,or taking less or losing or what others might think/feel/do.Thus it helps us jump hurdles and blockages along the path of life and evolve positively forward to healthier lifestyles and spiritual growth.We can learn to simplify our lives in order to find peace and contentment in our daily lives.
Opening the door of the unknown helps us overcome our fears and insecurities and pushes us into another step to test, acknowledge and to witness our potential inner strength,fortitude,forbearance,courage and positive capabilities.Of course there is a difference in opening the door to testing ourselves foolishly in childish,reckless and dangerous activities….this is only what we call tempting fate!
I remember years and years ago when I was involved in a car accident I was driving involving family and friends being not too seriously injured….yes initially, I was afraid to be in the driver’s seat…but was told that in order to overcome the fear…I had to hold the wheel and drive again…which I did and regained self confidence.
We need to keep opening unknown doors in order to see, listen and walk into ourselves to find our true potential so that we can make a positive difference in this human life to be a living testimony to benefit ourselves and others….to be ambassadors of Peace and Love!
All it takes is one small candle to light up a darkened room! Love is the lighted candle we take into the dark unknown room…………..then the unknown will become the known…..fear will leave!