Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Moving past our fears

One of my friends posted on facebook that she was “practicing contentment in the ambiguity of the unknown.”  I started to think about her statement. A lot of times rather than contentment, anxiety comes over us in the face of the unknown. That anxiety is generated from fears that our imagination dreams up. I think a lot of us express our fear as anxiety. I’m anxious about X, Y, Z but actually we are anxious because we are fearful. We are fearful of our futures, of loss, rejection, failure, pain, what people will think. If we fear failure, we won’t take any chances to succeed in life.

I’m reading the book ‘The Third Eye’ by Giani Sant Singh Ji Maskin (English translated version). In it he says, “Only man is such a living creature who always remains frightened. There is no fear. But by an imagination of fear, he remains fearful and fear becomes a burden of life and takes away all the flavor of life…In this manner after infusing fears of many types in his life, a person makes his life a hell.” I think he very concisely expressed how negatively fears affect us, and how it’s all about our mind and how we wire our minds. Maybe a lot of us don’t think about our minds, but the whole game of life is based on the mind. We should try to understand it. We should realize that we are letting our mind run around generating all kinds of fears and it is damaging. No one else can stop that process on the outside- it’s up to us to understand how our minds are tricking us.

Maskeen Ji gives this example. “An accident of railway train or bus has taken place. Now one is so much more frightened that it is difficult to sit in the train. Death takes place even at home, rather more people die at home than in train accidents. Then should we refuse to go inside the house?” The reason why this is such a good example is because almost all of us would justify such a fear of trains after an accident. We would support others in justifying it, building it, and therefore it would worsen and take over the mind. Most of us will have something big happen in our lives that will challenge our mind. Sometimes many times, sometimes once, but even once is enough to let the fear take over our life. Perhaps we don’t realize how controlling our fears are. Maskeen Ji says “To remain frightened all the time is a hindrance to the development of life. Those who do not embrace dangers, cannot undertake any big development.” So our fears must be challenged in order for us to grow.

The thing about fears is that sometimes the worst does come true. Maybe there was another train accident after that. Sometimes you do fail, or get rejected, or experience pain and loss. I think this is where resiliency comes into play. If we live in chardi kala, and understand the will of God, our pains and our fears will dissipate. In order to be okay with accepting that risk when we face a fear, we have to have faith. Guru Ji tells us “He Himself acts; unto whom should we complain? No one else does anything. Go ahead and complain to Him, if He makes a mistake. If He makes a mistake, go ahead and complain to Him; but how can the Creator Himself make a mistake? He sees, He hears, and without our asking, without our begging, He gives His gifts. The Great Giver, the Architect of the Universe, gives His gifts. O Nanak, He is the True Lord. He Himself acts; unto whom should we complain? No one else does anything.” (Ang 766 SGG Ji). 

Our mind will trick us into thinking that we have limitations and that we should be afraid, and that we should never try anything in life. Sometimes it’s necessary for us to just believe and trust that no matter what it’ll be okay and to go for our dreams. Giani Ji tells us that “fear of God can liberate us from other fears.”

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