It is difficult to believe that I left Mysore, Karnataka, India and am back in Orlando, FL, USA. The trip was really been a personal journey; a true life-altering experience. India has a way of bringing up your deep dark stuff and shining the light on it; whether that is what you seek there or not.
Which brings me back to my sadhana, or spiritual practice, and the focus this trip on overcoming fear of death. It is my belief that all fear is really a fear of death – whether that is physical death, death of old habits, or just change in general. This life is full of death, in that nothing ever stays the same. “This too, shall pass” is an apt philosophy, reminding us that nothing is permanent, so there is no benefit to lamenting change.
It is only natural to have fear; the issue most of us have is that we aren’t even aware how often we buy into our fears. My fears often center around being afraid of being a bad mother and can be silly at times:
It is the voice in my head that says,
“you told E that ducks go “quack” and now here he is, at the lake, and the ducks are making a noise that sounds more like “rahk, rahk” so… now he will either turn out resentful to you for lying to him… orrrr… …stupid.”
There are more serious fears too: fears for his safety – like when he was one of four passengers on a motor scooter – something very common in India.
Fears aren’t necessarily negative thing, if you simply watch them arise, take action if necessary, and then let them pass.
The unhealthy, self-limiting fears are the ones we play and over again in our minds and which keep us from fully realizing all the gifts we are bestowed with from birth. These gifts are apparent when we act from out true self; our soul center. These gifts can be hidden due to our fears, which manifest as the voices in our heads which tell us something can’t be done, that we don’t deserve a certain thing, that we should have done something differently, etc.
Overcoming those fears sounds simple enough, but how do we really do it? I don’t think sheer force is the way, though will power and determination are helpful. It is the determination to see the truth, to fully realize there is divinity around us all the time. If we are always feeling and seeing divinity in every person, every animal, every rock, every tree, every man-made object, every word, and every thought, then how can there be any fear of anything? We start to realize that even though death and change are inevitable, there is an immutable, immortal, unchanging essence at the heart of every form. That essence cannot die or change, so what is the point of fear?
Some pain is inevitable in this life on earth, but suffering is not. Suffering comes when we believe the fearful voices in our heads, rather than seeing through to the divine essence in everything.India makes it easier to connect with that essence, because it is a culture of belief in the divine. Everyone believes regardless of caste or place in life. In America, I’d say at least half of us are alienated because of the failings of organized religion. It makes it more difficult to see the divine every day when you are surrounded by disbelief. It is still possible, and necessary if we are to transcend all the different problems we are creating for life on earth.
As more and more people start to bring that divine essence into their every day lives, everyone will naturally begin to shed self-limiting beliefs and rise above.
I brought some of India back with me to America to help the cause.
Om Shanti, everyone. 😉