The only thing we really “win” in any temporary victory over life, that’s paid for by agreeing to be angry, aggressive, or otherwise ache, is this dark and unseen guarantee: We will live to fight another day but, for this personal “prize,” lose — little by little — the possibility of ever knowing a true and eternal peace.
There is no “preparing” to be fearless. Fearless actions don’t mean one acts without fear. Becoming fearless requires challenging fear’s right to rule one’s heart… until one sees, for oneself, that while the feel is real, the why of fear is (always) a lie (based on negative imagination). And once one sees this truth, then one realizes one’s former complicity with fear. This marks the beginning of the end of fear’s hold because, slowly but surely, more and more, one sees that fear is a creation of one’s own mind; one sees how it first makes up some horrible image about a time to come — and then resists its own dark imagining. The only thing left to do with some fear once one sees these truths is to consciously walk through it…much as a stage actor walks, without fear, through the dancing images of flames being projected on stage to create a fearful effect.
It is our own narrow mind, with its narrow view of life, that pressurizes our events and their moments. This small mind, which can’t be separated from the narrow world it perceives, tends to see life’s events not as they are, but as what they are not according to its own unconscious demands.
In other words, the punishing pressure we feel in this life is not because of what life is but because of what we perceive life isn’t — a judgment that could neither be reached nor sustained were it not for there being within us an unseen “board of governors” that had already concluded what “best” serves us and what won’t. But see the contradiction in this discovery and you will free yourself of the pressure created in its undetected presence.
Whenever you “serve” this painful pressure within you, to somehow release yourself from it by doing the dance it prescribes, it is not your interests you serve, but the hidden interests of some small self — the one that has been “telling” you all along what your real pleasures are by punishing you when they seem out of reach!
The next time some pressure starts to build within you, learn to use it to shake yourself awake. Rouse yourself to the pure fact that whatever stress you are starting to feel doesn’t really belong to you. Stand back from yourself long enough to see that pressurized thoughts and feelings can only arise from a narrow view of life that belongs to a narrow self — a false self that you had momentarily and mistakenly taken as your own. Then just quietly drop this formerly unconscious conclusion. This same moment of letting go releases you from this restricted sense of self and the narrow life it creates.
Question: I have been working with the non-resistant approach to a troubling habit. As I work, it seems that every time temptation attacks, it lasts for shorter durations of time and doesn’t attack as often. Will the temptation eventually cease attacking altogether?
Answer: All things move through life, and through us, in a kind of special bell curve with predictable durations. Temptations will have times of being easy to disavow, and then turn around and be, seemingly surprisingly, almost impossible to handle. All this is to say that yes, the “attacking” forces will diminish if not fed, but stay awake and don’t fall prey to the idea that you are now “stronger” than the habit. The only real way to be free of any problem is to outgrow the self that finds some value in it. While the following ideas aren’t the whole answer, within them is some higher help you may use to win this inner war: Bad habits have the hold they do, in part, because when we challenge their right to wreck our lives, their “response” is suddenly to seem more powerful. The key here is that this habit has not grown stronger in these moments, only that we have become more conscious of its dictatorship. This new awareness is the seed of our gaining the strength we need to overthrow this tyrant. For when we are tired enough of living beneath its dark domination, we will drop both this habit and the defeat it engenders.