In my practice and study I often reflect on how my personal experience informs my advisory role as primary author and founder of this spiritual website. The title for this website implies an advisory role. I take this role seriously. Recently I noticed a pattern in my own behavior that is very common. I offer this article to help others deal with a very ordinary 21 century problem.
Perhaps one of the most important lessons the I Ching or sage offers us is to be more aware how our habitual minds influence our behaviors. Becoming aware is the first step towards opening up to the spaciousness, always present, inside each of us. This opening is the opposite to the contractions of habitual fight or flight.
Fear and anxiety are constant companions to most of us in this modern, seemingly chaotic 24 hour news cycle . Is it the continuos coverage or are we experiencing an age of more terrorism and strife than our parents? Either way the coverage does add to our sense of fragility with certainty and general lack of comfort with uncertainty. Think, for a moment, how our rush away from uncertainty and fear lead us to even more suffering. Imagine an alternative, where abiding with fear might provide us an avenue towards healing and states of sublime compassion.
I have not always abided my own advice to others. Most of us are guilty of this. The oracle or sage in each of the 64 I Ching Hexagrams advises us to abide with fear (expansion) rather than contract to the fight or flight reflexive response. It is an important first step to recognize the fight or flight response when we are triggered. Noticing fear and anxiety and the triggers when they arise provides us an opportunity to respond with a measured response rather than the reflexive FIGHT or FLIGHT response.
Tara Brach – Attend and Befriend: Healing the Fear Body – 3/30/12
Our fear management strategies–versions of fight/flight– contract our body and mind, and separate us from others. As we learn to pause and contact the bodily fear with a gentle, mindful awareness, our sense of being enlarges. We rediscover our belonging to presence, love and life.
To learn more about Tara Brach, go to www.tarabrach.com