We have a choice
A friend was talking to me today about how he is looking for something he can be passionate about at this point in his life, and he was concerned that he wouldn’t find it. I replied that his concern was his passion and that his act of searching was something not to be judged in terms of whether he found or didn’t find, but rather his creative process which he could embrace along with his fear of not finding anything. The two can co-exist. The trick is allowing them to co-exist.
Imagine you are standing on the top of a double black diamond ski run. Are you scared? You bet. Do you ski down it? When you choose to do so, you are acknowledging your fear and your ability to co-exist with it. Your mind would have you believe that you have defeated your fear, over come it. Rather, your choice to acknowledge it and choose to ski down that slope with that fear, is your integrity; your sense of worth. ‘Who’ you are.
I find fear to be a very allusive thing. Often we don’t want to acknowledge it. We call it anger, or depression, (anger at ourselves for being powerless), or boredom, (a form of depression), or obsession, ( a grasping at control with the subconscious belief that what if we’re in control there will be no fear). Our minds/egos go to great lengths to deny the existence of fear for fear that fear will destroy us. Why? Because there is a real fear: that we have no control over our mortality. We have no power over the fact that we are going to die, (read: change). Actually, this is the only fear and it is an anathema to our mind which believes it should and has to be avoided at all costs.
‘The only thing to fear is fear itself,’ we tell ourselves. There is another reality.
When we can acknowledge this primal fear and the fact that there is nothing we can do to get rid of it, we then are given the opportunity to discover its purpose. Why is it in our lives? What did we do to deserve this? Have we been ‘bad?’ Are we being punished with this hellish feeling? Is there something we can take(food, drugs, alcohol) ? Someone who can make it go away, (Daddy, Mommy, religion, a lot of money, success, fame, power)? Is there a mantra, a prayer that we can say over and over?
If we are able to acknowledge the existence of our fear in all its subtle and not so subtle manifestations, and acknowledge that we are powerless to affect our mortality…if we are able to see that a part of us is scared, but just as with the ski run, that there’s another part of us that can choose to act, not in spite of our fear but in recognition of it,then from that same place of ‘knowing,’ we can honor our struggle as human beings, honor our courage and find compassion for ourselves in this seemingly irreconcilable predicament. We can find compassion for ourselves in our fear and by extension, compassion for others. We can find our hearts. We can find our capacity for love.
The purpose of our fear is to lead us to our hearts. It gives us the power to love. It’s what makes us human. It is not the anathema that our minds/egos and our conditioning would have us believe. It won’t kill us. It makes us stronger in our act of acknowledgment and our ‘knowing’ that we are all afraid, we all have courage, we all want love, we all are love.
By Raffy, January 5, 2010 @ 11:27 am
“there’s another part of us that can choose to act, not in spite of our fear but in recognition of it”
I think this would make a real difference. Instead we generally, however conscious of our fear, don’t accept it, and often we act only in order to eradicate this unpleasant feeling from our heart …maybe while “remembering” and longing for our state of “freedom” from fear we feel as spiritual beings, or most times instead because of the needs of our ego, refusing to feel out of control, refusing impermanence and change.
But in this earthly life we will always find something of which to be afraid, be it fear of death or all is coming from it…it is our human nature. But it is also a life where the opposites create the whole. And where passions are our pure expression of love, of unity with the whole Universe, manifesting itself through us.
As you said many times that effort to deny our fear can only build barriers, those barriers to our heart, and our love, between us. True love lives in our consciousness I think, in that part of us able to see and accept our fear.
When we experience a common fear, something that overcomes us all at the same moment, for example a natural disaster affecting our lives, we feel what we are…despite the tragedy we experience the other side, our strong feeling of “oneness”, to be all the same, maybe an unknown or only dreamed feeling till that moment…a sudden light that can help awake our hearts. Yet most times it is just a moment, maybe a “need” for survival of our ego. However, even in this case, I think we can become aware of that long process, a lifetime process, leading us to “detach” from the way we feel our fear, just in the act of embracing it. Compassion for our weakness is a great step towards our capacity for love, love for ourselves and others, and for sure love is not that word we are so attracted to, or worse that feeling we think we already know, give and accept. I think we can find out what it is day by day, along our path to simply “being”, just walking hand in hand with our fears. Especially with fear of death, the one we “have” to deny within ourselves and collectively, even through some more manageable fears we apparently feel throughout our life. The more we hide it the more it is there, but till it is not accepted maybe we can’t really see “beyond” or learn what death itself really is… from that point of our consciousness, of our light…in the “now”.
Thank you, Paul, for your brightening message.
By Rach1970, January 5, 2010 @ 11:58 am
Thank you so much for sharing! Your shared thoughts help others and that’s what it is all about! Working through our fear and going straight through it is hard, but it teaches us some of life’s most valuable lessons. It teaches us compassion in ourselves and in others. A kinder more compassionate, forgiving, non judgmental world is something we can all strive for one step at a time. I really enjoy your wisdom and I find your compassion and kindness in others very inspiring. Thank you for teaching along the way!!
Have a wonderful day!!
By Christine, January 5, 2010 @ 12:45 pm
Hi Paul, I tried to leave a comment on ‘we are all love’ but it wouldn’t let me, now its appearing on ‘Its that time of year again’ so here goes again! Hope this doesn’t appear twice!. I read with interest your thoughts on fear and love. I have often tried to push fear out of my mind, find ways to ‘take my mind off’ fear. I think to a certain degree we are as children conditioned that ‘fear’ is a bad thing. Something to be overcome, sometimes even seen as weakness by other’s. I personally think that worry and fear are there to remind us that we are human. If one ever reaches a point where nothing worried or caused us fear would we be capable of being compassionate and caring? We need a more caring and compassionate world. I have often wondered why me? yes, you do wonder what have I done to deserve this? but, then again why not me? I am an ordinary everyday person there is nothing special about me, not so special that bad things can’t happen to me. You hear it said that some of the most genuine caring and compassionate people are dealt terrible blows in their life. Life does at times seem unfair. Having said that, problems and yes that awful fear does eventually make us stronger and hopefully better people. I feel I can always strive to be a better person everyday. We need a more caring and compassionate world. Thank you Paul for your thoughts and caring. You are as ever my inspiration. All the very best for this year. Good luck with your books. Can’t wait to buy them. Love as always Christine xx
By Softly, January 5, 2010 @ 4:04 pm
Dear Mr. Glaser,
Thank you for these words. English not being my native tong I need to read your words extra carefully. After reading it a few times and letting the words sink in I got stuck at the word “anathema” The dictionary didn’t offer any solace so I looked for the meaning on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anathema.
That left me more confused, for on the one hand it used to mean “offered up to God” but changed over time and under the influence of different languages became “set aside” and “banished”.
Although I understand that you set aside that which you offer up to God, I’m not sure were banished comes in to play.
All this still left me guessing about the full meaning of your words.
But the idea of offering up you fear to the Gods reminded me of something.
When I was eighteen I got my driver’s license. But having either no money or no need for a car, it was years and years later that I started driving again. Traffic had changed considerably, and I conveniently had forgotten about high bridges and long tunnels. Safe to say I was scared to drive and I needed some way to let fear not explode into panic. For weeks I was driving around with a jaw and bum in permanent muscle ache. Than one day I took my nephew to a swimming pool with huge water slides, we had loads of fun and he kept challenging me to go on bigger and bigger slides. The biggest I went on and had fun with is called Barracuda, it’s long and full of twists and turns and in the end it spits you out into a deep pool and you’re safe. From then on, whenever I needed to cross a high bridge or dive deep into a tunnel, instead of clenching my jaw and bum, I would try to relax and I’d yell with a booming voice ”BARRACUDA” and offered my fear up to the Gods. I think they took my offer.
Just because we don’t like fear doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, it’s just there, like rain and thunder storms and like rain and thunder storms it has its purpose. I know I’m just repeating you in my own words. But here’s me, I think it’s okay to hold on to a mantra or someone’s hand as a way to focus or gather some strength. It’s perfectly fine to cuddle up to a loved one and let the fear wash through you and rattle your core. But then you need to let go of the mantra, the hand, the beloved, stand up tall, be grateful, offer whatever it is up to the Gods, relax and move.
With the utmost respect I remain, forever learning.
By sknash, January 5, 2010 @ 4:17 pm
Thanks so very much for this very thought provoking piece. Fear and Love, two small words but with great effect. I wish it was as easy as you make it sound to let go of fear. I am sure most of use have had fearful times in our lives, some worse than others, and sometimes it is not that easy to let that fear go. Now that being said, I have learned not to let the fear control my life. I have learned from that and hopefully making sure no one has to live with that fear. I have learned by admitting I was afraid, I could then open my mind, my heart and my life up to love again, to be love and give love. And that alone is priceless. You don’t know this, but 30 years ago, during the bleakest period of my life, you appeared (rather you as Starsky, sorry) and made that period more tolerable and to come out from under the fear and see the world for the first time in 15 years without any fear. As your life progressed and as mine did, you were an example to me. For that, no words will ever say thanks enough. I enjoy your postings and look forward to many more and to your novel. I too enjoy writing and hopefully will see my third attempt at writing actually be completed and published. Someting pretty good for a girl who over 35 years ago was at rock bottom with no where to go but up. Thanks again! Susan
By moncanzuba, January 5, 2010 @ 5:06 pm
Dear Mr. Glaser,
After reading your post, don’t ask me why but the first memory that came to my mind was your movie “Phobia” and I don’t think it is necessary to explain it here but mentioning that a phobia is a kind of fear.
In my modest opinion, there are two kind of fear: the moving one and the paralyzing one.
The first one is that one you are talking about, “the productive (or proactive) one” as the Kabbalah calls it.
When we are able to face our worse fear being aware that only doing that we will get the acknowledgment that makes it worth the struggle, then we’ve achieved the balance. After all, we are human beings with our gifts and defects and – as you said it – the trick is allowing them to co-exist.
And these words remind me Hermann Hesse who says: “The man has a beast and a child within. The secret is to whom we give the command”
Therefore, I Do agree with you that fear is a good thing when it becomes productive (proactive) because it puts us in motion, which is the other way round that happends with the second fear. The first one means “being alive and consious of ourselves as we are”. The other one just leads us to darkness and death.
You really are an inspiration. (with my apologies for my rusty english, that I hope it makes any sense).
Monica (from Argentina)
By Nee, January 5, 2010 @ 5:53 pm
I am amazed you wrote and posted this right now. I have had the same conversation three times this past week. All four of us have been trying to figure out our passions. I have spent this week unable to make a decision because of the fear I am experiencing. If I knew my passion the fear would be easily tamed because I would know which direction to head.
Before I read this blog, I thought it was easy to set aside the fear during the aftermath of Katrina because I had no choice. But now I see there was an option and I chose to co-exist with that fear and move forward.
Thank you and Pam for expanding the picture for me and adding the love.
By Raffy, January 5, 2010 @ 9:04 pm
How many meditations your words inspire, Paul…thanks.
Fear is living inside us, and we all experience it on many occasions, or always, if we only “listen” to our heart. Fear in the anticipation of something we figure in our mind, fear of the unknown, of losing someone or something, fear of not finding our way, and many more…fear in the end of what we can’t control,our mortality.
However, sometimes I asked myself whether fear is really necessary in our lives in order to know our capacity for love, our heart.
I think love is not so an “easy” thing to feel or even “innate” in our human nature. Otherwise it would be simpler to love, and to love unconditionally. However we are all similar, in our body and many other things, the same many times it seems we
don’t “recognize” each other. And it seems that only compassion has this power to help us see better ourselves in others, in
the “strangers”. And fear leads to compassion, when we decide to forgive ourselves for our powerlessness. So I think that fear is really important to us, both to people who have breathed enough love and maybe are afraid to lose it, so they have to find their heart for not to cling to this feeling that sometimes is in reality a need of the ego, and to people who instead didn’t know enough love, maybe what most of us experience in this life. It becomes then a sort of challenge, where the lack of love makes the path rougher, and it is more difficult to slide into life, to feel “connected”. But the same there is a chance here as well, a possible way leading to our heart, to its sweetness, its music, its compassion, and to beauty and harmony, to the essence of life, however hard it is to find that strength to embrace only fear.
Maybe fear itself comes from our consciousness. It speaks to our heart. It wants us to come back “home”, where we can experience love, free from our ego, which separates us from the Universe, where all is one through love, where we can find true peace.
By helly19619, January 5, 2010 @ 9:23 pm
I find that fear both motivates and challenges me. For example, when I present a new lesson to my first grade class, I can sense when the lesson is not going well. However, I use this knowledge to redesign my lesson and turn it into a refreshing, fun lesson. This energy and passion comes from the loving safe environment that I create within the classroom. I can present the same lesson to the Board of Directors and somehow I dont feel the same feeling of love and forgiveness. I feel judged and regretful. Its funny how the two different stages create fear and very different responses from me.
Even on the first day of school, I am afraid to meet my new class but I know over the course of the year I will learn to love my students and they will love and accept me. I suppose the difference between the two stages is in a classroom of students there is the warm relationship that I have established with my students, the board of directors, we meet once a year and so much hinges on that meeting. With my students I feel safe to go out on the limb to make things fun; I dont among my peers. Sad isn’t it?
By mechelle, January 5, 2010 @ 10:50 pm
Until recently I was very brave. I was raised to ignore and dismiss fear- to walk into the face of whatever fire I faced. Born just in time for the expectation of bravery, I faced the threats, name calling and isolation of being the first, the only.
That was easy compared to now. My sons are raised and mostly on their own. I’m a really good teacher at a small, safe, comfortable school. I know- what do I have to complain about or what do I fear?
My fear: I do not know what I am here for anymore. What is my purpose? Who needs me? Until now I had very specific compelling passions. Firebrand. Wife. Mother. Teacher. My husband and I were strong and sure. Now he is falling apart and …
I am afraid. I don’t want to be. It is a new sensation to explore because I was taught to ignore that sensation or at least to be ashamed of the weakness that fear implies. Mom, Dad, I guess I was an obedient daughter after all.
I have been struggling with: Is there something we can take (food, drugs, alcohol)? Someone who can make it go away, (power),(anger at ourselves for being powerless).
I once was able to embrace each moment. But currently I take the next drink, argue when the opportunity arises. Not always but too often. How can I forgive myself? I want to get back on the ski slope but I don’t know how to find it.
How do I get back to my heart?
I have been moved and inspired by this blog. Thank you Paul, Pam and fellow respondents.
By melmel724, January 5, 2010 @ 11:41 pm
Fear can be a multi-layered creature. Searching for what we can not explain. I have no magic words or profound phrases to ease fear.
I have my faith,common sense and a lifetime of expriences to try and understand what I might fear.
Wishing everyone a great 2010 and may your heart get all the blessings you desire.
Final thought: You gotta love,can’t go to heaven if you hate.
By lady800cc, January 6, 2010 @ 12:00 am
Hi Paul and blog fam,
I love this post because it is so now for me at this time in my life; my passions are many and my fear is that my passions may not be understood. How can you move forward freely when you are constantly challenged to explain your “new” growth, interest and dreams… your transformation. You not only have to deal with Your fears, but the fears of others as they witness your drive toward the impossible heights and goals you set for yourself; they fear losing you, and you fear alienating them with change. Yet I can still see the tie in of the fear of immortality because these passions have come about as half my life is behind me… the fear that time is running out. I have been presented recently, with the opportunity at another “15min” on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s been over twenty years and they have not forgot…now I can stay in the safety net, or go for it and look the fear of failure in the face, acknowledge it, respect it, and even let it walk on stage with me… but then, passion, love and appreciation will take over and I’ll be ok with me
By lady800cc, January 6, 2010 @ 12:06 am
melmel724 “Final thought: You gotta love; can’t go to heaven if you hate”
I love it when just a few word are written which have profound meaning. Thanks melmel724!
By moncanzuba, January 6, 2010 @ 10:01 am
To melmel724: “AMEN!” (so be it!)
By PamT, January 6, 2010 @ 10:13 am
I have a particular interest in your thoughts on humankind’s common fear of mortality. Many thanks for sharing them.
I absolutely agree that our fear, and the associated pain of experiencing it, can dramatically influence our behaviour. Our natural animal instinct is avoid ‘hurt’ if we can and our response to fear can indeed cause us to pursue objectives which give us the illusion of substance and maybe a little ‘invincibility’. Perhaps our fear also plays a part in our apparently insatiable addiction to film and TV scenarios where our ‘hero(ine)’ is in mortal danger, yet miraculously manages to emerge alive, albeit wounded and bloodied. If he/she can ‘cheat death’ against the odds, maybe sub-consciously we feel that there’s somehow an infinitesimal chance that we might too?
I found your analogy of a moment spent at the top of a precipitous ski slope to be very apt. In truth, I don’t think we can even always find it within ourselves to take the plunge over the edge at all. Sometimes I have, but there have also been occasions when, consumed by my own fear, I’ve not taken that step (and my sense of worth has consequently taken a battering). But I’m not going to get caught up in ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’.
Having thus far fallen into the camp of those who acknowledge their fear but who have sought a way to minimise or even eliminate it, I can recognise the good sense of accepting it as ‘a part’ of me, but not ‘the whole’ of me. Actually embracing it and allowing it to lead me down other paths will take more work, but it’s something I’m very keen to explore. Thank you for a ‘sign-post’ in what I consider to be an extremely worthwhile direction for me. Incidentally, I disagree with another poster who, if I interpret their words correctly (currently sitting under your December entry), implied that your thoughts on fear are romantic. To the contrary, I find your philosophy to be fundamentally a realistic one (and much as I might sometimes wish I had a more spiritual approach, I’m a pragmatist by nature). But I very much like the fact that people feel comfortable expressing their sometimes differing views. For me, as long as it’s done with mutual respect, that’s the essence of an honest and healthy discussion.
Finally, off topic, I spent time today viewing your photography in the Stills Gallery. Well, not entirely off topic because, of course, ‘Fear’ can be found there too in menacing form. There are some very striking, compelling and even quirky images. I particularly like those that explore texture, abstract shape and shadow (far from being an exhaustive list, but a few favourites: Pin, Ascension, Blindfold, Stone, Mask, Seagull, Grainbow, Petal_Place, Intake, Ore, Blue_Crocodile and, of course, Bubblegum!). The cropping is really effective and, or so it seems to me, central to your work. Some of the titles also made me smile and I can imagine that the images will make even more of an impact once integrated into large light box installations. Do you also plan to exhibit them in a ‘terrestrial’ gallery? Incidentally, at my first glimpse of Red_Dress, the contrast of strong colour and virtual monochrome fleetingly reminded me of the girl in a red coat from Schindler’s List – just the way my mind worked. Then I looked in a little more detail. I’m aware it’s a different medium, but is there by any chance a ‘Hitchcock moment’ going on there? Anyway, I wish you every success.
Thanks again for taking time out to communicate your thoughts – sometimes complex, sometimes challenging; but thought-provoking and illuminating without fail.
By hilly, January 6, 2010 @ 3:11 pm
thank you Paul for yet another thought provoking reflection.
Is it perhaps the idea of a ‘new’ year that makes out minds turn to fear? And perhaps it is because traditionally we resolve to do something… to find new interests (that may become passions)
Fear is a driving element in the complexity of emotions that drives every human being – yes even those who say they have no fear. It would be difficult, nigh impossible, to not occasionally have a moment of doubt before walking into a room of strangers; opening the door of the office where the interview (or audition) will take place (aaargh!) Even if it is only ‘butterflies’ it is fear. Fear stimulates your reactions – fight or flight. To fight, by facing that fear if only by stepping into the room. Or to flee; to say ‘I can’t handle this right now’.
Fear has to drive us forward – if we go back we turn to fear for comfort – the stock in trade of the gloom mongers who want us to see the world as a black and dangerous place. But in allowing it to push us forward; we challenge it. We say ‘hey you I’m not giving in? I’m going to make my own way to what I am aiming for and if I mess up then Ok I try again. See? I’m not going to be scared out of trying.’
And is it not a kind of fear – a fear of not achieving those great chimeras of our age ‘satisfaction’ ‘fulfillment’ – that makes us want to have a ‘passion’? Something on which we can concentrate our energies of concentration, imagination and creativity. Something on which we can focus our being; our ‘raison d’être’. Something that gives us a justification for following a chosen path. Something that…dare we imagine it…helps us confront that old friend/enemy; the driving force that makes us continue to strive for what we hope to achieve…FEAR?
And to actively seek a ‘passion’…should there be something I am passionate about? Is that not a sign of fear too? A response to a little voice in our consciousness saying ‘is that all there is?’ A voice that is expressing a fear that we have somehow come to a dead end in our lives? Our ego saying ‘how do i make my mark before I go?’
Last night I was at a meeting; we were discussing the actions that our group would be taking this year – working with women in Tunisia to get a drainage system to their village (last year we financed the work that brought water to the village); working to raise funds for the local Altzheimer’s support group, and many other projects aimed at helping make this world an easier place for all to live in by helping other women achieve. Some of our group members have adult children and they were discussing the way that many young people feel disempowered, they don’t know where to turn to be of support to others. They are full of fear about their future and that of the planet but they are unable to find a ‘passion’ to work with in order to confront the problems that threaten them. And someone said ‘the trouble is that they no longer understand the thrill of taking a risk.’ How true; these young people are up there at the top of your double diamond black run, Paul, fighting back fear and wondering what to do ‘with a passion’ in order to deal with it all.
I guess it is up to our generation to help them rediscover the ‘thrill’ of fear. Pasionately!
By hilly, January 6, 2010 @ 3:12 pm
wooooo thank you Pam you disabled those awful icons. I fear I hated them with a passion (oops!)
By xtexan86, January 6, 2010 @ 6:46 pm
On the topic of fear of the unknown and dying…it makes me think of a well-known agnostic (don’t recall the name) who was on his death bed. His last comment before he died was
“Well, this should be interesting.”
I hope when that moment comes for me, I can face my fear of death with as much courage and anticipation.
By Josie, January 7, 2010 @ 10:29 am
Dear Mr. Glaser.
I practice judo since I was a child. because I wanted to run, jump, fight like Starsky and Hutch and so I became an athlete. Then I learned that those who fear losing is already defeated.
I had a dream, like all athletes to go to the Olympic Games, then I would be famous and could know Mr. Glaser and Mr. Soul.
But I had a lesion big and after a few months in hospital I was afraid to return to competition. I came back after a long time, but still remains a fear inside me that I can not erase.
Even with all the teachings. I can’t dominate it.
But the important is that I learned that we have some limits and I can continue.
I will say always. What is love? “to love” is to wish the best for the person in every sense.
I love you.
PS: Sorry, I don’t speak english very well.
By pulcino, January 7, 2010 @ 2:22 pm
Suicide is the extreme act of fear.
Lots of love
By stonealbatross, January 7, 2010 @ 4:03 pm
Suicide may be an extreme act of fear for some, but speaking from first hand experience it can also be an extreme act of courage. Please folks, with all this talk of “love” don’t be so quick to condem, there are stories out there that we can’t begin to imagine.
That aside, this website is in a strange way helping through some long dark days of the soul, so thank you as well.
By Diane, January 7, 2010 @ 4:50 pm
Like Pam, I understand your message too. Please send me a personal message on Multiply so I can send you my personal email address.
Love Diane X
By sknash, January 7, 2010 @ 4:54 pm
I am not sure who wrote this, but I received it today and wanted to share it. How much different changing a simple statement can make. I hope you all enjoy it as well.
“A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: ‘I am blind, please help.’ There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, ‘Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?’
The man said, ‘I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.’
What he had written was: ‘Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.’
Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing?
Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?
Invite others towards good with wisdom. Live life with no excuse and love with no regrets. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear.
‘Life has to be an incessant process of repair and reconstruction, of discarding evil and developing goodness In the journey of life, if you want to travel without fear, you must have the ticket of a good conscience.’
The most beautiful thing is to see a person smiling!!
And even more beautiful is, knowing that you are the reason behind it!!!”
I know sometimes it is difficult to live that way all the time, but if we lived that way even part of the time, think how great it would be.
By Softly, January 7, 2010 @ 5:35 pm
Dear Mr. Glaser,
I have been thinking on your last paragraph, I sat on my safu and stared at the wall. I asked myself three questions
1. Does fear lead me to my heart?
2. Does fear give me the power to love?
3. Is it fear that makes me human?
I had to answer all three with a resounding “no”.
Fear keeps me away from my heart, my love and my nature.
It’s the acknowledgment that I am a mere mortal and my death will come at its proper time which leads me to my heart and love.
I’m still thinking about what it is that makes me human. It’s not fear of my mortality, mice are aware of their mortality, that’s why they run from the cat, and avoid the trap you’ve laid, when that trap killed another mouse. They can smell death and know to keep away.
Recent studies show that what we take as human qualities, are qualities that are shared by our fellow beings, things like self awareness and compassion are not mere human trades. I’m no longer sure that I need to know what being human means, my search has taken me on another quest.
By acknowledging my death as a force to be reckoned with, as a friend, as a worthy opponent, it opened up a whole new level of calm, freedom and strength. Having found this level only recently I’m still exploring this strength, freedom and love that is not mere human but universal.
With gratitude I remain, forever learning,
By Raffy, January 7, 2010 @ 7:40 pm
I think that to feel death like something affecting us from “outside” at a certain point in our future can put us in that emotional condition of feeling it an “entity” we can and must “fight”, that it is worth our struggle, and this for sure empowers us someway, and gives us a sort of excitation, a sense of freedom from our powerlessness.
After all that is how humanity has always chosen to live. The risk in my opinion is to find ourselves living something untrue. Death, if we look from another angle, is a lifetime process. All is changing, moment by moment, every single cell. At the end of this process all of us is “ready” for a change, and we “die”. We see only the final moment, that final change, but it is the last one of infinite changes that we “missed”. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we see death like a tragic event, if not our death for sure the one of other people we love, and so we don’t accept it. Our ego can’t accept impermanence, change, loss of mind and body. I for sure need a big effort to let myself go sometimes and try hardly to explore a different dimension of the spirit.
It is not only fear of death itself which can make us human, but our search for “integrity”, as Paul says. I think that when we are able to re-member all the parts of ourselves, then we become one in ourselves, really human, and can be one with others and with all…and new spaces of our consciousness can be unveiled, spaces of love.
By Christine, January 8, 2010 @ 6:38 am
On the sad subject of suicide, it devastates lives, not only the fact that it is such a sad waste of a life, but it leaves the family and friends constantly asking Why? Sadly this question may never have an answer only the person knows why? All we can do is give our love, support and compassion while we have those we love. I agree with the comment that we should not condemn those who have done this as do we truly ever know what desperate situations they may be in. Treasure those you love, and others you can help. I speak from personal experience.
By Softly, January 8, 2010 @ 8:11 am
Thank you Raffy for adding the thought.
There is no inside you, no outside you; you are already one with the universe and everything in it and always were. If we just could realize and acknowledge that there is no separate you, no separation between you and all that exists in the universe, that it’s not the search for our integrity that makes us human, but human condition is the illusion that we lost our integrity.
We are not shattered, we are integritas. Integrity, from the Latin integritas means whole or complete. The trick is to acknowledge this. Life, death, love, “the other”, you, change and even fear is “you” and nothing to be feared, judged or frowned upon but to be experienced with abandon.
With gratitude I remain, forever learning,
By hilly, January 8, 2010 @ 8:12 am
suicide is a personal choice. I believe that it is a final act to ‘make it happen’. I would never ‘save’ someone who had made that choice – but I am the child of a suicide and I understand what is left behind.
By Paul M. Glaser, January 8, 2010 @ 8:21 am
Suicide is an extreme act TO fear when you feel that your whole being is afraid and you are helpless to do anything about it. If you allow yourself to see the fear as happening to a part of you, when you can find some part of you that isn’t afraid, be it the back of your ear, your little finger…then you are observing not only your fear, but the distinction between the part of you that is afraid and the part that isn’t. Inherent in that act of observation is the employment of your awareness…your ‘place’ of consciousness, and from that place you have the choice, the opportunity to acknowledge your struggle with that fear, your courage, and in doing so, you have the opportunity to choose to love yourself for your courage and yearning and experience some empowerment in the face of your perception of helplessness. (Suicide is a reaction to fear and the resulting pain of that helplessness which is perceived by your mind as completely smothering you…when, again that feeling is only happening to a part of you, not all of you, (ie the back of your ear). Acknowledging that perception is the first step in acknowledging that place of awareness wherein you have the POWER to choose compassion for your struggle and love for yourself instead of your mind’s anger at being helpless: self-destruction,
By Softly, January 8, 2010 @ 8:46 am
Beautiful and true.
By Paul M. Glaser, January 8, 2010 @ 9:04 am
I would propose that it is not fear of one’s mortality…but fear of one’s HELPLESSNESS in the face of that mortality. I would also propose that what makes us human is our ability to perceive ourselves experiencing fear. The mouse has may have no such perception, but rather only its experience of fear, to which it reacts by running from the cat.
The perception that your fear is happening to a part of you and that there is a part of you that is not afraid, awakens the same awareness/consciousness that is able to see yourself reading this right now. (that same place of awareness that allows you to listen to all that you hear in the moment…and then be able to see/watch yourself hearing.) From that place of consciousness you then have the opportunity to choose to acknowledge your mind/ego’s struggle with the seemingly incomprehensible powerlessness to impact mortality, honor your courage…and find compassion for yourself in that struggle.
Being human is one’s ability to see one’s struggle with the fear of powerlessness in the face of death and love ourselves in that struggle,
and by extension, love others. I don’t think it is fear of death. It is fear of powerlessness which is an anathema to the mind/ego which experiences itself in the qualitative and quantitative act of judgment. The animal reacts to fear in order to survive. The animal in us does the same. The ‘human’ ego/mind defends itself against the fear of helplessness by creating the illusion of power in its creation of systems of belief, acts of ownership, control, indulgence, construction, destruction, etc.. Human consciousness gives us the ability to see ourselves doing all that and to see and make the distinction between the part of us that is afraid,(not of fear but of powerlessness in the face of that fear), and the part that isn’t. Through our human consciousness we have the opportunity of choice to love ourselves in our ‘animal’ reaction to fear and our mind/ego’s struggle to impact or deny our helplessness. Our consciousness of our fear gives us the ability to empower ourselves through choice and experience compassion/love for ourselves in our journey, and by extension, others.
Your ‘acknowledging my death as a force to be reckoned with, as a friend, as a worthy opponent…’ is just such a conscious act. As is your choice to deal with your fear…of powerlessness.
On one hand, it may just be semantics. On the other, the distinction between the fear of death and the mind/ego’s fear of powerlessness, (and the ability to experience our consciousness) may be a further lesson.
Also with gratitude I remain, forever learning,
By Paul M. Glaser, January 8, 2010 @ 9:10 am
Perhaps in your act of returning to competition you are experiencing an acknowledgment from your conscious state that there is a choice you can make. Instead of trying to ‘erase’ your fear, try the perception that the presence of your fear gives you the opportunity to renew that choice over and over…(which perhaps your mind/ego wants to avoid..ergo the desire to ‘erase’ your fear.)
I would also suggest that ‘love’ is something we experience as a result of our choices in the face of our fear of powerlessness….ie. wish the best for ourselves and by extension all others.
By Paul M. Glaser, January 8, 2010 @ 9:13 am
That is also the ‘heroism’ with which Bhuddists revere their masters in their journey into death: A non-judgmental act of witnessing one’s journey with helplessness.
By Softly, January 8, 2010 @ 2:03 pm
Dear Mr. Glaser,
Grateful for the lesson you’ve put in front of me,
I happily remain, forever learning,
By hilly, January 8, 2010 @ 2:28 pm
Suicide is an extreme act TO fear when you feel that your whole being is afraid and you are helpless to do anything about it. If you allow yourself to see the fear as happening to a part of you, when you can find some part of you that isn’t afraid, be it the back of your ear, your little finger…then you are observing not only your fear, but the distinction between the part of you that is afraid and the part that isn’t. Inherent in that act of observation is the employment of your awareness…your ‘place’ of consciousness, and from that place you have the choice, the opportunity to acknowledge your struggle with that fear, your courage, and in doing so, you have the opportunity to choose to love yourself for your courage and yearning and experience some empowerment in the face of your perception of helplessness.
absolutely. to use the flip term: ‘been there, seen it, touched it, smelt it’
Been there…three times in my life when for different reasons I was in a deep depression and wondering if dad was right.
Saw it….saw the fear and the hope ahead if only I could reach out.
Touched it…learnt to see that I could reach out – I touched the future by taking hold of it and stepping forward
Smelt it….the sweet smell of success – I made it!
I was counselled once by a wise friend (and my psychology teacher) who took me to one side and, after handing me a glass of scotch and lighting my joint,(we did that kind of thing in ’76!) said ‘Ok if you want to commit suicide how would you do it?’
We went through all the ‘obvious’ routes and weighed up the pros and cons. Each option had it’s attraction – the end! and each had a factor that made it impossible – the means. By making a game of confronting that fear and lack of hope – and lack of compassion for myself that had allowed me to arrive at that moment – I learnt to step forward. I’m still learning – how can we ever stop learning if we are interested in the world around us? – but I hold that crazy hour in my head. I know that I have confronted all the fears more than once since that stoned and drunken seminar and that in doing so I learnt to step back into this wild elevator we call life.
A french politician once said “when you hit the bottom of the pool, the only way is up”
I learnt to swim!
By stonealbatross, January 8, 2010 @ 3:24 pm
Probably a bit late in the day to get much response, but are you guys distinguishing suicide as a choice over a future (as assured as we ever can be that we have one) and taking one’s life as an act of voluntary euthanasia because years of fighting against a deblitating, painful and incurable illness has left the person too exhausted to carry on fighting through those last few bitter months before a natural death?
By Saskia, January 8, 2010 @ 3:52 pm
If you allow yourself to see the fear as happening to a part of you, when you can find some part of you that isn’t afraid, be it the back of your ear, your little finger…then you are observing not only your fear, but the distinction between the part of you that is afraid and the part that isn’t. Inherent in that act of observation is the employment of your awareness…your ‘place’ of consciousness, and from that place you have the choice, the opportunity to acknowledge your struggle with that fear, your courage, and in doing so, you have the opportunity to choose to love yourself for your courage and yearning and experience some empowerment in the face of your perception of helplessness.
I have to disagree deeply. I know everyone has their own opinion and outlook on life, but in my opinion if someone is sucicidal, looking at their little finger or behind their ear, and knowing that – that part of their body is not hurting or lacking fear would in the slightest stop them from committing suicide.
If someone is in that state of mind, they will not be thinking about the little things (such as a finger) they won’t be thinking at all! They will be wanting to end their lives for whatever reason and once that decision is made, I fear there is no going back, unless someone can reach out to them in time. Someone can help them, show them there doesn’t need to be fear.
If they have made up their mind to end their life, or are even condoling it, then their is something deeply wrong.
Life is a very precious thing. It can be lived fully and happily, it can be destroyed, but it can also be mended. If someone feels so alone that they want to take their lives, then looking at themselves, their body parts, or the little things in their lives that isn’t consumed with fear is not going to help. They need people to care, they need love.
That is my opinion on the matter, I have a viewpoint due to my brothers choices, and I do not think him looking at the little things would have stopped him, if he had talked to his loved ones, me or my Mam, or if we, somehow could have seen or let him open up, then maybe his decision could have been reversed. But that is a whole different subject. That is the what if’s. And no one likes to go there.
By Josie, January 8, 2010 @ 10:22 pm
I like Japanese philosophy.
My “Sensei” say : – When you realize that you don’t know nothing, have will made your first step in learning.
Thanks so much Mr. Glaser.
By Josie, January 8, 2010 @ 10:23 pm
Suicide is one thing that really hurts, it hurts very much. I mean, for us, than stay alive
When my boyfriend killed himself. I had a lot of anger him.
Didn’t ask help? Didn’t love me, didn’t love your family, didn’t love anybody
The question Why?
For a long time I was blaming me. Because I felt something at that time, a need to talk with him, but I didn’t do. I left alone he.
Maybe everything had been different.
I thought at that time, a lot of courage to kill himself.
Not true, he was a coward. He had no courage to face life. Really a extreme fear.
So, it is need to love the people as if there were no tomorrow.
By lady800cc, January 9, 2010 @ 12:29 am
Wow… this thread took a turn hmmm. Can you really fear powerlessness? Or do you FEEL it? I believe you can fear immortality; but that fear takes on a different dynamic in the face of imminent death – no matter how close or far off ; and either of these can push one to the FEELING of powerlessness; which is often accompanied by helplessness; which can lead to other desperate feelings; which can lead to desperate actions; positive or negative, uplifting or destructive.
By hilly, January 9, 2010 @ 3:42 am
“Life is a very precious thing. It can be lived fully and happily, it can be destroyed, but it can also be mended. If someone feels so alone that they want to take their lives, then looking at themselves, their body parts, or the little things in their lives that isn’t consumed with fear is not going to help. They need people to care, they need love.
I agree life is precious but it is ours to dispose of as we wish. Our bodies to control and our futures to face.
The cruelest thing you can do is ‘save’ a suicide who doesn’t want to live. If however you can save their spirit before they get to that stage of desperation there is a big difference. But fear and a feeling of helplessness are often so internalised that it is hard to share it and to seek help. That is where it is so important to find reasons for hope.
Perhaps it is a failing of our society that has become so egocentric that this is the case. Instead of reaching out to help someone for their sake too many offer ‘help’ in order to advance their own security of spirit – to attain ‘salvation’. Isn’t it in one of the Epistles of Paul that the phrase ‘faith hope and …and the greatest of these is ’ appears? It seems to me that too many forget that or, more accurately compassion, is an act to help those around them and not just a means of seeking their own idea of ‘paradise’. They give in order to get what they hope for. If we can have faith in one another and hope for our future (spiritual or physical) then we have compassion for ourselves and those around us. And so we need to ask ourselves “did I do that for me or for the general good?” “do I give to this cause or that cause to get my ‘brownie points’ for heaven or because I truly believe that something needs to be done?”
I know that my decisions come from a belief that I can only work to help the here and now,not in the hope of ‘paradise’.
By hilly, January 9, 2010 @ 2:54 pm
I can understand your anger at your boyfriend Josie – you feel let down by him – betrayed. I still rage against my father for leaving me before I could get to know him; but as I learn to forgive him I learn to understand my own anger and fear…that same fear that brought me ‘counting the ways’. that is a first step in learning compassion; when I was able to have compassion for my father I could allow myself the hope that I could go on beyond where he gave up.
By Josie, January 9, 2010 @ 3:15 pm
That’s right Christine.
I pray that he has found the peace he sought.
By BeckyB, January 9, 2010 @ 11:20 pm
I can remember a time (or two) when I felt really helpless, but I prayed that things would eventually get better, or that I would eventually have the strength to deal with the situation. One “near death experience” that I had when I was in my late 20′s, I had found a lump in one of my breasts. I got a second and third opinion and found out that it wasn’t anything to worry about. I remember feeling helpless and fearful of dying, but also angry at the possible hand that might be dealt to me. Under no circumstances was I ready to go that way. It changed my perception of death. Sometimes young people have a sense of immortality, and it’s an experience like that (fear and helplessness) that will change a person. In the case of the mouse that my cat caught, I was impressed that the mouse pretended to be dead, and while the cat was distracted, made it’s exit. The mouse had a built-in survival technique. Facing one’s fears doesn’t make the fear less… fearful. (That’s my experience, anyway).
I would also like to add that suicide should never be an option, and in some religions, it is condemmed. If you believe in God, God created you and your life is already planned out, including your demise.
It is “an extreme act to fear”, as Paul said.
Suicide is an irrational thought or action, and usually an impulsive reaction to an extreme situation of fear and helplessness.
By BeckyB, January 10, 2010 @ 12:04 am
I learned when I was younger that I am a lot braver than I ever thought I would be, and as I have gotten older, I have more faith than I thought I had.
Remembering what I was like as a teenager and not having much fear of anything, but as I have gotten older, I am a little more fearful of losing my loved ones, or maybe a limb.
Fear and helplessness is something that I have tried to avoid. I was powerless when I lost my job over a year ago, but one adapts and sees the positive in the situation. I would think that a person would have some survival instincts to overcome fear and helplessness, and a little optimism that the powerlessness and helplessness is temporary.
Staring down death while wielding a samurai sword or “going quietly into the night”. Or somewhere in between.
By PamT, January 10, 2010 @ 4:59 am
I find it fascinating that some posters profess to have no fear of helplessness in the face of death and/or death itself. Is this always as a consequence of a faith where mortality does not constitute ‘the end’ – whether the belief in what follows is heaven, reincarnation, some kind of changed consciousness/being or something else, depending on the belief system? Or is it sometimes because their egos are in a state of complete acceptance with what is to come?
I don’t necessarily equate the role of the ego with a fear of not being missed or my very existence being forgotten. I don’t think I have any illusions about my insignificance in the overall scheme of things and that doesn’t bother me in the least. Do I want to have made a difference? Well, yes, but not in a grandiose sense – just to some of those I encounter along the way. The manner of passing does concern me because I’m aware that sadly not everyone is afforded dignity and respect in this process. But for me, the essence of my fear is my mind facing the prospect of non-existence – not in a physical sense but in a thinking sense. The fear, if you like, of not having any kind of consciousness. I can’t distinguish between that and the fear of being powerless to avoid this inevitability.
“I would also like to add that suicide should never be an option, and in some religions, it is condemmed. If you believe in God, God created you and your life is already planned out, including your demise.”
I have no wish to be controversial here. I don’t happen to believe in a supreme being but I do try to respect the religious faith of others, so no offence Becky, but … really? … always? All other issues aside (free-will being just one of the many), what about the individual who has endured pain over a long period and whose lifespan has already been ‘artificially’ extended by dint of medical intervention beyond what God may have originally intended? You may say that God acts through others, including the medical profession, to express his will and prolonging life is part of the plan. But then couldn’t he equally be acting through the person who decides to take their own life? Couldn’t that be part of the plan also? Black or white judgments on certain situations can unnerve me – I feel there are often so many shades of grey in between. And condemnation is a word I’m very uncomfortable with.
Mechelle, I’ve hesitated to respond to your post, but I think that when things are spinning out of our control; where we are unable to ‘make everything OK’ (especially if we are accustomed to being ‘strong’ and when the expectations of others weigh down heavily on us too), it’s very easy to blame ourselves for our inability to control and deny ourselves our own compassion. I could be completely wrong because I’m not in your shoes – just an outsider’s perspective. I also recognise that it’s incredibly difficult to be present, when the present is a painful place to be. That’s the best I can make of it, but I sincerely hope things improve for you.
By hilly, January 10, 2010 @ 2:47 pm
I agree with Pam here.
I mean no offense to anyone’s beliefs but surely the idea of predestination is the greatest get out clause of all time. To me it is akin to ‘I was only obeying orders’.
It would be too easy to say that when we have made wrong decisions or wrong moves ‘it wasn’t my fault, it was meant to be’.
If we don’t question our existence what is the point of existing?
I often twist that wonderful Robert Frost poem about the paths through the woods (at the same time that I joke that my built-in natural ‘GPS sense of direction’ that helps me find my way out of any strange town totally fails me when it comes to guiding my life)…I have stood at the junction so often and marched boldly along the wrong path. The mistakes were myfault – my stubborn, determined and independent fault and no-one else’s. Yes, I may have had bad advice but I chose to take it. My decisions, my goof ups….my life to live as best I can.
By fee, January 10, 2010 @ 5:02 pm
Heheh Hilly!! Natural built in GPS??? Remember the tour of the south circular in London we did a couple of years ago trying to get to Bromley!!!
Seriously though I agree with what you say there. We all have choices as to which direction to take and like you I have often taken the wrong path. Too often in fact but it was my choice and I lived with my decisions right or wrong.
By lady800cc, January 10, 2010 @ 8:41 pm
Hmmm…. just because God knows the path we will take; doesn’t mean he planned that path… because.. well… uh… he gave us free-will Religion is so limited; I’m so glad that God, as I understand him, is beyond my total comprehension; his love, the love that I strive to be open to receive and free to give, is without boundaries.
By hilly, January 11, 2010 @ 5:45 am
I don’t think ‘god’ our anyone knows which oath we will take. What would be the point unless ‘s/he’ is just using us as a source of amusement?
By jools, January 11, 2010 @ 3:23 pm
PamT; I agree with what you’ve said, and thought I’d add a poem I wrote a few years ago, which sums it up for me:
Where do I go?
When I have no more tomorrows
Whenever that may be
As my spirit leaves my body
Then what becomes of me?
Never heard of by the many
Missed briefly by a few
What happens to my consciousness
The person whom they knew?
Does part of me stay with my soul
Retain my id, my ego
Or if life’s a once and only time
Then where, oh where do I go?
answers on a postcard, please..
(the final ‘I’ should be italicised for emphasis…)
It was the first thing I read out when I joined a writing class. One of the other people asked why the line about the postcard. I had to admit that I needed to use humour to diffuse my ‘fear’ of no longer being alive; wondering why, if after all we go through in our current beings, there is nothing more. And if we reincarnate at any point, why don’t we remember our former selves? (though some claim to do just that, I believe.)
Ain’t life ~ and death therefore ~ a condundrum.
By BeckyB, January 11, 2010 @ 4:23 pm
I wasn’t intending to force my religious beliefs on anyone. However, I cannot condone suicide or euthanasia with humans(Except in the cases of my 2 cats, who were dying. I am still struggling with the whether animals have souls)
I’ve had brushes with death, and wonderful doctors have kept me going for this long. I have a wonderful rheumatologist who has a wonderful gift of intellegence in the medical field, and almost a sixth sense when it comes to me.
Since Paul was talking about “helplessness”, I have been in that situation, but my only coping mechanism is my faith and maybe Taoism.
All things change, when one door is closed, another opens. I am in a transitional period in my life right now. I am unemployed and there are very few jobs, but I don’t want to think in terms of being “helpless”, but rather “acceptance” and hope. Fear can be a wonderful motivator in ones life, but then, it’s up to us to try and overcome that fear and helplessness, whether through our own strength and willpower or with our faith.
“But for the grace of God, I go”.
By fee, January 12, 2010 @ 6:27 am
Becky, hang in there gal, your time will come and you have the right attitude.
Jools, lovely to see you posting here and just want to say that I love that poem. You write some good poems.
I agree with you too that “Life” IS a conundrum
By PamT, January 12, 2010 @ 10:16 am
Becky: you were expressing your views and discussing your faith and beliefs, much as everyone else here has been doing. I disagreed with you on that particular issue, but I certainly didn’t take your words as an attempt to force your beliefs on anyone.
I agree with you that all things change; that’s the one constant in life, isn’t it. Sometimes that’s a positive experience, because it means that regardless of age we have the chance to learn and discover, but it can also bring events that are both difficult and frightening. I wish you all the best.
Jools: a conundrum indeed. I thought your verse was very apt. Can you imagine if we did receive the answer on a postcard through the letterbox? In Douglas Adams style, would it also give ‘42’ as the answer to the question ‘What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?’ Which leads me into saying that I think you’re absolutely right about the use of humour in these matters (interesting that it’s referred to as ‘black humour’); very often a defence mechanism when things are getting a little too close too home.
By jools, January 12, 2010 @ 12:48 pm
Thank you Fee; I’ve found that allowing myself to write down feelings, thoughts ~ good, bad and indifferent ~ helps me to rationalise all those things. If they come out in a cogent form such as poetry or stories, so much the better, given my desire to be a writer!
PamT ~ given the postal service these days, I’m not holding my breath waiting for the postcards to arrive.
And yes, (black and self-deprecating) humour is a defense mechanism; to deflect and protect. Perhaps it shouldn’t be used instead of dealing with situations, but I’m thankful that I can eventually shrug off dark days by finding something silly to laugh at.
For the meanwhile ~ roll on springtime!
By hilly, January 12, 2010 @ 2:17 pm
waves to Jools (nice to see you here kiddo)
By Softly, January 12, 2010 @ 4:40 pm
About having a choice.
Maybe way of topic but I felt I needed to share this;
Yesterday Miep Gies past away at the age of 100. In the 2th world war she chose to help people to hide from the Germans. She is the woman who found Anne Frank’s diary and kept it save. How a seemingly simple act of hiding a little book can have such an impacted. And I wonder, would I be that thoughtful, would I be that brave, would I make that choice? Would you?
By Paul M. Glaser, January 14, 2010 @ 2:13 am
I’m sorry for your loss and anger at not having been able to save your brother. I would like to humbly suggest that what I’m sharing is my truth. If it doesn’t resonate with you, I doesn’t. Simple. I would also offer that some people’s journeys have too much pain to be able to access their consciousness. (witness the amount of war on this planet). However, because some can’t, or won’t, doesn’t invalidate the innocence of the search for peace and love.
So I ask, if that ‘yearning’ is universal, aren’t there other ‘universals; ‘things we share with our fellow man? We all know of love and peace and oneness because we have experienced it in one form or another, and despite the difficulty in accessing them, we still yearn, still try, often confused and frustrated by the complexities that arise from our minds’ need to judge and evaluate, control if you will, the likely-hood of achieving this heaven.
You had no control over your brother’s suicide. We all think we should…and our fear of helplessness makes us angry and resentful toward ourselves and others.
We do have the choice to forgive ourselves…and them for leaving us and making us feel so helpless.
Wishing you well.
By Laertes, January 17, 2010 @ 1:00 pm
I can identify with your friend and those concerns. We don’t live in a world of such rigid
absolutes anymore. Its easy to get so caught up in life that you wake up one day and realize you didn’t actually LIVE. I don’t know. Priorities get lost, I guess. When you are little yor dreams are clear. Their real. As responsibilities and reality consume you the dreams seem less real. Maybe that’s what your friend was talking about “finding your heart.” The things that really matter deep down inside get buried deeper and deeper until one day you just can’t get to them even though you can tell something is missing from your life. The jump from that point to helplessness in the face of death or change is a confusing one to me, though. I suppose I don’t see human beings as helpless so much as ignorant. We stumble around this big world with more questions than answers, and in a relatively short amount of time, we die. Before we die though we try to learn as much as possible and pass that knowledge “down” to those that step in after us in the hope of helping them begin with a few more tools and tricks than we had. I notice the word fear in so many of the posts. Sometimes I think the biggest problems human beings have is overexamining things. Fear is just the natural instinct that gives us the heads-up about danger. It could be physical danger. Or emotional danger. It could be life threatning or just inconvenient. Things get complicated because we spend so much time trying to analyze it. Put fear into boxes, good or bad. Fear just IS, like pain or hunger or exhaustion. The interpretation of it is what gets us into trouble. Everybody’s different. Different things have different meanings to everybody. Fear and death don’t go hand-in-hand for everybody. An fer doesn’t mean helplessness to everyone. Fear for me means choices. Some feeling (or instinct) sends out a warning. Then you meet that danger it warned you babout how ever feels best to you. And according to who you are. What your strengths and weaknesses are. I mean, different people have got different talents. Noteverybodys good at the same things, but we all take what we are good at and use it to help us make the best decisions we can. And I don’t see that as helplessness. If we knew more we would have knowkedge of more choices. The less we know the harder it can be to chose. So some people are better at some parts of life than others. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept yourself as powerless. You just have to remind yourself of how much you don’t know and how much there still is out there to learn. Like children do. Kids seem fearless because all they want to do is learn in spite of the dangers in life. They want to know why. They want to touch and taste every thing. They want to KNOW, and that’s what I think is the secret to finding yor heart. You have to remember what it is to just want to know things and learn things. Human beings only start obsessing over fears and death and changing when they get to the point of thinking they ought to know it all. Yes, children get scared, but being afraid doesn’t really stop them. Their too busy swept up in their imagination to stop reaching for new things. And maybe that’s what yor friend needed to hear. Stop focusing on what you think you DO know and get out there and try to find out more about the millions and billions of things you DON’T know. That’s what makes life worth living and every day a brand new adventure. Learning, asking, searching, and learning some more. I think those are the keys you need to find your heart at any age, not examining all the ways you are ignorant (untaught/unlearned, I mean) or “helpless”
By Sammy, February 11, 2010 @ 7:28 pm
As a teenager living in a country thousands of miles away from US I still had the opportunity to watch you (and David) twenty-some years ago. I watched all episodes… every one of it… until it was all gone.. faded into the past… I came to this country eight years ago and never thought for a minute that I could follow what became of you… that’s until a few months ago. I saw you, a much older Michael, in some show (which I cannot remember because I was not watching the show but was preparing dinner and glanced at the TV for few seconds) .. I saw you and I thought to myself.. well… he looks familiar… and then I knew…. ‘you see the light when you least expect it!’
You think you know who you are .. you think you do not like the same things you loved when you are a kid… and then you realize how wrong you can be and how much you still adore and cherish what you liked as a kid. I am at the moment watching all episodes all over again and enjoying every minute just as much.. or maybe more than I did the first time.
I searched and found…
I have not read all the blogs or all the comments… but this : “We have a choice” struck a chord.
I had considered suicide when I was 12 years old. I can remember each and every minute of events that lead to that moment. I wanted to get away from the pain I was feeling in my heart. The pain my family (with the exception of my father) had caused. I knew exactly what to do to end my life and was going to do it when this person came to me and asked “what are you doing in the garden without getting ready to go to school? Go and get dressed”. I looked at him and was wondering whether he knew what I was up to because he didn’t move from where he was standing. I walked back to the house… and after a few minutes came back to end what I started but he was still there waiting until I walked to our school bus. I couldn’t do what I wanted to when he was watching me. My heart was heavy.. and I felt as if my head was going to burst because I had not thought of living that day and simply didn’t know what to do because I had not thought of living the rest of the day. It scared me… it scared me to think of living.. Today.. I am still shocked as I feel how strong those feelings were at that time.
I made a choice that day. A series of thoughts ran through my mind… in a split second… I knew If I ran from what I have to face now I will have to come back to learn this lesson in another time. I made the choice to face what I wanted to avoid that day and found that it was not as bad as I thought afterall. I had true friends that loved me and understood me better than my family ever did. I confided with my best friend about what had happened and she began to cry. I was ashamed of myself for putting my friend through that agony. I was ashamed of myself of what might have happened to the other people who truly loved me. That day strengthened me but also killed something of me.
When you make a choice, no matter what it is, you still lose something. If I had died I would have lost my life, my soul. I decided to live but lost something which cannot be explained. Still… I am glad I didn’t kill myself.
I am sure I must have wished I was dead many times… that is something I believe all of us wish sometime in our lives. But I never thought of suicide again. And I know I never will. The choice I made was for good. I live a good life …
By chavie, April 29, 2010 @ 9:36 am
“The purpose of our fear is to lead us to our hearts. It gives us the power to love. It’s what makes us human. It is not the anathema that our minds/egos and our conditioning would have us believe. It won’t kill us. It makes us stronger in our act of acknowledgment and our ‘knowing’ that we are all afraid, we all have courage, we all want love, we all are love.”
I have been studying this part tonight. We have all been taught that “fear” is negative and that the opposite of fear is “faith”. It’s almost a cliche’ we hear… isn’t faith a destructive force? I’ve fought it all the way and I THINK in many instances, I’ve succeeded… and I hope that doesn’t sound egoistic. There are some places, people and circumstances that I need to fight fear lest people end up nervous wrecks. For instance, my place is called “the ring of fire” so somehow we HAVE to fight fear of earthquakes which happens often but we’re used to it. YES, something like that (I agree)makes us human because we suddenly shut out the danger thoughts and begin to think of family or neighbors near… so THAT is TRUE… but that is also because of our ego. When we care for people, it’s because we have a very personal connection with them isn’t it? Isn’t that kinda egoistic? If I love my father or friend more than anyone in the world, isn’t that my ego too? How is that “anathema” then?
Was reading a simple book by Exupery today… and he wrote about his rose :
“One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass. Since she’s the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three for butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”
You are right in the sense that fear makes us human. It does teach us to love, even to die but I think one has to have “some ego” to do so.
Maybe I have to comprehend what ego is really…but how can one not try and defy fear without that? How can one CHOOSE to love without that? How can one create music, poetry, art and appreciate THE OTHER without that? Don’t we become “responsible” for those we have tamed? (Exupery again) How can we establish ties without an ego.. and why does it have to sound too bad a word?
It gives us the power to love. It’s what makes us human. It is not the anathema that our minds/egos and our conditioning would have us believe. It won’t kill us.
Very true… that part, fear doesn’t kill us. It can make us too tough though which makes us sit down and think of WANTING some sense of balance, which very few people feel, myself included. It makes me eat too much OR too little, attempt to do anything physical ..even physically dangerous stuff all because I know I have no power and I want to prove to myself I have it, even knowing I don’t anyway. All of a sudden I think of climbing the Himalayas or really crazy stuff LIKE that… I even actually manage to survive it. Sometimes, I even see the “love” there too like I am doing this because it would please my father (he was a pilot and jumps planes) or please my friends, neighbors because like.. so that they’d love me more (?) when I perfectly know that they do anyway. Is that the “ego problem”?
I don’t get the we “all have the courage, we all want love, we all are love” part. I get the courage part and yes, we all want to be loved but I also know that I can be a terribly unlovable human being at times which does not give me the “right” to expect to be loved.. I dunno if anyone gets what I mean. I think that you would be a better teacher though than a celebrity because reading your thoughts you dare show you’re so vulnerable which makes me want to either hug you or break your neck for exposing yourself to a world that can pretty be mean and cruel. Now, I have the feeling of wanting to protect you… and you were supposed to be Starsky remember? (that was a joke.. ) But you are such a good teacher. It’s nice listening to you.
I am not in hid latest blog because this entry sounds good and revealing.
By chavie, April 29, 2010 @ 9:42 am
My spelling is terrible and I can’t edit stuff, please forgive me.
By MoriaDole, May 30, 2010 @ 11:32 pm
We may all have courage, we all may even have the power to love, want love; but it can’t be denied that one of the biggest fears in life is finding out that maybe you are incapable (unworthy) of loving…or being loved. Yes, we have choices, but how often does that fear of facing our true selves goad us into choosing wrongly? Choosing to throw away love, hope, joy, and friendship because we fear that they cannot be accepted or trusted without the end result being inevitable pain?
“There is nothing to fear but fear itself?”
Do we really believe that?
Or are we actually convinced “there is nothing to fear but facing myself”?
By michaela804, May 30, 2010 @ 11:56 pm
Quite the night owl you are! Don’t get me wrong,I’ve enjoyed your observations a graet deal. Refreshingly evocative I must say. My minds racing from all you’ve asked, you’ve siad, and I welcome the exhilaration of it. You just seem like a woman on a serious quest for answers?
By MoriaDole, May 31, 2010 @ 12:21 am
Guilty as charged, Michaela. You could say I’m on something of a mission in that regard. (Pretty obvious, huh?) I guess it’s safe to say I’m looking for something at that. Even though a person can know how foolish it is to put too much stock in an Idol/Ideal, it’s is still frighteningly easy to do just that. When we become disillusioned in another, learn disappointing “truths” about someone once admired, the first instinct is to look anywhere and everywhere for hard, undeniable evidence that what you now know is somehow wrong. Or based on some tremendously extenuating circumstances that would explain it all neatly away. And, even after accepting this can’t and won’t happen, something in you still needs to try. To find some tiny grain of the belief or trust you once had. Well, I’ve just learned some pretty damning things about someone I once admired, and it has changed the way I view him, his professed beliefs, and my opinion of what is real and what is just for show. It’s a shame–scary, in fact–how easily people hurt other people. How, having hurt others, they hide from the ramifications of what they did and said.
I guess I just wanted a reason to believe again.
Unfortunately, others are so often not what they claim to be. They just aren’t who they convince us they are.
Maybe even after you’ve come to terms with being disappointed by somebody you still need that little bit of time to convince yourself (once and for all) that it’s time to simply walk away.
By michaela804, May 31, 2010 @ 12:49 am
Pardon me if I’m being a buttinsky but i’ve been following your conversation with Zehpie and its pretty obvious that your disillusionmnet is connected to “this blog,” if you get my meaning. Try not to let it upset you too much to learn your bronze statue’s perched on feet of clay. “People” often aren’t what they seem to be, its true, but they often don’t mean harm by their deceptions. The masks others wear tend to fool them after a while, just as much as they fool others.
Whew! Talking in code is making me feellike a master spy. But for what it’s worth I think I understand and hope things make a little more sense in your world come the morrow.
By MoriaDole, May 31, 2010 @ 1:01 am
Thank you, Michaela. And I don’t feel as if you’re butting in–just uncannily observant. As a master spy you do quite well for yourself. A wise woman you are…and a sensitive one as well. Somehow you’ve not only hit the nail dead on the head but brought comfort through your understanding. I appreciate that. Really.
Maybe I can get some sleep now!
And thank you.
By carol leatherman, June 3, 2010 @ 6:56 am
Hello Paul, Hope you are having a wonderful day. Lost a good friend yesterday. So Sad. However, he is nolonger in pain and I can be thankful for that. Hoping to get to San Fransisco this year. Possibly Oct or Nov. Trying to make it a yearly trip to see Paul Micheal my son. Just wanted to say have a happy summer, my thoughts are always with you.