The Bothersome Playmate

SplitShire_Playing_Chess

There was a time in my life when many things felt like a struggle. Being myself was the biggest one. There was incessant longing, confusion and restlessness. Life feels so much more different now and I am thankful for that every day.

Although I am now able to tackle most personal challenges positively, there is one loyal comrade that has faithfully stuck around, spicing things up when it gets too comfortable. We meet often, but our encounters have somehow retained the element of the unexpected. We have co-existed through time in a relationship that has shifted from unhealthy co-dependency to a more peaceful, resigned acceptance. FEAR, the one element deeply embedded in the tapestry of my life that will lend a helping hand whenever it is not called upon.

It took me a large portion of my life to figure out that most of what we deem negative stems from fear and from a lack of understanding of how it shapes us.

I used to think judgement was my great sin that needed proper handling and lots of attention. Whenever I became unhappy or started over-analysing those around me, I knew it stemmed from judgement. Judgement got bashed and trashed, and sent to a corner to think about its actions. But there came a point when I had to question where judgement itself originated from.

Although it retains a hopeful message, “Love is the answer” is by now a platitude. But I think it’s important to look at the other side of the coin when things get rough and see that very often fear presents the answer instead. The former asks us to be more without giving us the map, while the latter shows us the way within the intricate labyrinth of our inner reality.

On my own journey, I came to see how fear is a supreme driving factor, yet it lies underneath, disguised in many forms. Most of the time, why certain fears are present in our structure is a mystery and it’s not always possible to get to the bottom of the vast pit. But one thing that undoubtedly works like magic is shining the light of awareness on the secret mechanics of how fear drives us.

All it takes is saying, “Oh, hello, my friend. You are here, I see you.” The intensity of whatever we are feeling decreases instantly and we are able to become more neutral, more objective, more impartial, more detached. Whatever reasons we think drive us, take a new paler shade and we can take a step back to make better choices for each moment.

Fear is not to be hated, denied or put aside. Fear is an ally on our journey through life; a reliable source of personal revelations and purpose.

Today, I invite you to take a gentle step back and start observing how fear shapes your life, and how you can turn it into a valuable, even if bothersome, playmate.

 

Beyond the Appearance of Life

SW_Andrew Smith

My motivation for creating this sharing space was the change that has shifted my perspective on life.

I often talk about happiness because using this word makes it easier to put my point across, but what I’m experiencing now is wider and deeper than happiness.

In fact, I think that when we refer to happiness we talk about an idea. An idea that we hold in our minds – for a time – and that we appreciate – for a while – when it materialises in reality.

Although our mind is a great tool, what I want to share here goes beyond ideas – and beyond happiness, in this sense.

When I woke up this morning, I was at peace. My mind started being flooded with thoughts about what I was going to do and I just lay there observing all of them. There was noise, excitement, worry, denial, wishful thinking – everything crammed up, waiting for me to choose one or more.

I chose none, while telling my mind, “We’ll see.” I prepared breakfast and, once more, I stopped and told myself, “This is it.”

THIS is life.

It wouldn’t be easy to define what “This” means.

The closest I always get is when I refer to Awareness. I prefer Awareness to happiness or peace, because Awareness can encompass both, as well as all the other things all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum.

Awareness is what guides me to observe my thoughts, to put them away for a moment, to focus on what I am doing now, to know that whatever I choose for each moment is equally significant in a myriad of different ways.

Along this path of change that I travelled on, I slowly learned to let go of looking forward to a future moment because, although that future moment came, my awareness of it never did. Not until I chose to stay aware, in awareness.

As I’ve mentioned before in my previous post, life might not always offer highs and I stopped looking for them – they were all in my mind and my mind’s thirst was never quenched. There were too many variables and a never-ending search.

Life was waiting for me to notice it, from a space beyond my mind, my ideas, my needs and wants; beyond joy and sadness; beyond the appearance of “life”.

Beyond the appearance of life is where we are, seeing and experiencing, always present, undying and aware.