I have been thinking about the kerfuffle over a recent post at this blog. The responses were diverse and fascinating. Of course, sometimes I wonder what possesses me to write so openly. It has crossed my mind that perhaps writing comes from the same subconscious corner that led us to the idea of using leeches as a curative.
My friend Mona shared with me a lovely little book called Awakening Loving-Kindness, by Pema Chodron. I started reading it, and came quickly to some passages that bear on the subject of the importance of facing fears or sadness and I thought I would share it.
"Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness. If we look into our fear, if we look beneath its veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness... [Sadness] ...discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart."
I'm taken with the idea of softening one's heart. We've all felt that wonderful, lilting melt, at one time or other and it intrigues me to think, that we can actually learn to be in that heart state, rather than have it happen by accident. Charles said rather impatiently, in response to the comment about my post, "Relax, Ms. Edna” thinking about it, that's really part of this same message. Relax. Sit with it. Sharing it, of course, can help, and help others, too. Writing is often about not pretending (when it isn't about completely pretending!) There's no point, I think, if you aren't reaching for honesty.
My friend Mona shared a conversation she had with a grandfather who was worried about how harshly his daughter disciplined her young son. Mona told him what her mother had once told her, "Anxiety makes people stupid." Such a profound observation, so many traditions of thinking get to the same place, no? In our fearfulness, we lash out at others.
But it is easier to be calm, self aware, and at peace, when one is in solitude. Sometimes that may be avoidance. It takes going out into the world, tangling with other people, with life's messiness and the world's problems, to really get somewhere. We need both: self center, and centered self in the world.
Friday meditation, as we said goodbye to an old friend. Thanks to all for your kind thoughts...
Satie, Gnossiennes for piano No 4 Lent/Ciccolini/EMI