There is restlessness, a certain uneasiness about being human. It is there, just under the surface, bubbling away.
We don’t like the feel of it. There is a discomfort. Something is amiss.
We know it is there, but we choose to ignore it. In fact, we have created endless varieties of entertainment for our minds just to ensure we don’t need to sit with it. More than anything else, we create “pastimes” in order to while away the hours in any pursuit possible, even though we know that time is the most precious commodity of all.
We don’t want to be aware of this feeling. It is almost an emptiness that we want to fill with….with…whatever we can get our hands on to fill it with.
Can you feel this discomfort? Become aware of it for a moment. Just let it come to the surface as you read this and give it your gentle attention. Close your eyes and look within.
You will notice the feeling and then immediately after the mind wants to snap shut against it. Then the mind will throw something into your awareness and you will soon be following the meandering mind again, having forgotten the feeling you were attempting to become aware of.
The mental response is automatic and is designed to distract our awareness from this feeling. It’s like throwing a chewy toy at a dog, our attention is immediately drawn into the distraction (the chewy toy) and away from what we were bringing into awareness.
And much of what we surround ourselves in life is just this, a bunch of distraction created by our minds which do not like to let us look within. The discomfort we feel is a trigger, which automatically tells our mind to capture our attention and pull us into whatever “story”, we have going on at that time.
But why are we so uncomfortable with actually taking a look within?
What is surprising is that, while we all have this capability to look inside ourselves and to deeply examine our inner World, few of us actually do. We spend our whole lives carrying around our inner self with us at all times, yet we only ever look at our internal make up for a fraction of that time.
This is not accidental. We don’t want to look inside because we have this intuitive knowledge that what resides there is a little bit scary. We easily succumb to the seduction of our minds and the endless distractions that have been created for us upon this World by other minds, so that we can avoid this inner self.
If you are able to bring your attention back to this feeling, and start to look at it deeply over time, and even start to watch as the mind jumps here and there to distract and seduce attention away from the feeling itself, something surprising happens.
We get an answer as to why we don’t want to feel that feeling – because that feeling is fear.
It is not the kind of active, palpitating fear you get from watching a horror movie, but a more subtle underlying fear surrounded by a layer of uneasiness and discomfort – almost as if this feeling has barricaded itself with barbed wire and “Keep Out” signs.
We only know that it is fear when we get past the discomfort, once we pick the lock on the gate and negotiate the minefield of mental distractions.
I call this my primal fear, for it is the fear that defines and allows all other fears in my life to exist. It is heavily guarded so getting there takes some work, but the effort is quite rewarding – this fear protects an ancient secret.
This fear showed me why we as humanity lead the kind of lives we do, why we do not pay as much attention to inner growth and development as we do to outer achievements of materialistic and ego driven goals. It allowed me to see how we create a World where so little thought is given to global harmony, and so much focus is placed on the accumulation of wealth and power.
It is a simple little fear, and I believe majority of us have it and due to our reluctance to face it, we live unfulfilled lives full of sub-conscious desperation. We are caught in a cycle of quenching our desires, and when each is snuffed out it has within it the seed of renewal. We can spend our entire life looking to satiate our needs, only to have new needs crop up as soon as one is satisfied.
This is the cycle of mind, as soon as we get something, we want the next bigger or better version; As soon as we eat a great meal, the seed of hunger for the next is planted; As soon as we achieve something in life (such as in our careers) the next rung of the ladder awaits. In this cycle, our satisfaction always lies in the next step, and when we get to the next step, there is another one waiting.
Like Lemmings we go on following this drive for “outer” success, accomplishment, achievement or satisfaction until death, without realizing that we can never be satisfied in this manner because that satisfaction is always in the future and not here and not now. We fail to realize that nothing we achieve or accomplish or own or conquer can ever give us eternal satisfaction, because we will encounter the desire for the next thing.
Fortunate are those who realize that this manner of living is as foolhardy as trying to still the passage of time, and they get off the Hamster wheel. If they are really lucky, they will even get out of the cage.
The Buddha did this, when he saw clearly beyond doubt that the attachment to desire (or rather mind) kept us in a perpetual state of suffering. The only answer to this is to transcend mind, and it is not a “mental” answer.
For the rest of us, we choose to ignore the signs and carry on, one step after another, following the footsteps of the one in front of us to our impending and inevitable deathbed regrets. One thought after another until we cannot think anymore.
While we are alive, we serve the global agenda which is also driven by the same values of progress, fear and greed and thus we carry on creating the World we see around us as an outer manifestation of our inner drive for the next thing that will satisfy us, which by its very nature will never materialize.
We, therefore, collectively create this World due to a primal fear that we all have inside us – a fear that we do not want to face – a fear that we are in denial of. Our drive for progress, for more development, for more riches, for economic growth – for pretty much everything in the modern World, is a reflection of this primal fear we are trying to avoid.
Those that look at this fear squarely will see the truth of what this fear reveals – for the fear is simply a belief we hold which stops us from resting as we are, and keeps us on the march for more, for the next thing, for tomorrow.
And as a fear, it has only the strength over us that we choose to give it.
As I sit and ask that fear to name itself, to tell me who it is and what it is about, it reveals it’s secret. The answer is simple, but stunning.
It says “I am not enough”.
When I am not enough, nothing can ever be enough – there will always be an endless search for the next dissatisfaction.
The next post will examine how this fear manifests in our lives and what implications come with believing it.