Falling Through Fear and Surrendering

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Once upon a time, I had major control issues.  Well really, for most of my life.  Let’s take, for example, 1991, which was a fertile year for panic attacks, anxiety, and agoraphobia with a near meltdown. Around that time, a friend and I watched the movie Silence of the Lambs which of course, triggered all my repressed control issues with my father, so between daily life, and all the crap showing up in my head, I was a mess…yet still high functioning at work, which seemed odd at the time.

During the 1990s just the thought of surrendering, losing control, and being vulnerable was so disturbing to me that I knew I needed to see a psychologist and dig around in my head for a few years about why this movie, along with single parenting and broken relationships, shook my control issues to the core.  Perhaps now I can say I am well acquainted with all forms of anxiety, especially agoraphobia and panic attacks.

If you’ve been reading these nonduality posts for a while you know I’ve written at length about our human attempts to better our selves, enhance what we are, and make our selves more spiritual, more humble, less angry, more devoted, and generally polish our selves into a bright shiny probability that awakening will seize us. We seem to get so carried away on the spiritual quest with releasing all our identities, stories, and beliefs, well I did, that we fail to understand we cannot erase the viewer, the point of where we are seeing from, the senses, the eyes, and the impersonal me that seems to be seeing and sensing. Besides, what is is the perfection appearing each moment within and through our sensory perceptions, our dear body.  Yet we name, claim, and label these intense and unsettling perceptions and body feelings as fearful, awful, and unthinkable.  Again, I did this habitually until I finally saw clearly what was happening in the body and how our beliefs shape our biology.

In 1991, I had no idea the tendencies towards panic, anxiety, agoraphobia, and OCD were natural energetic and biochemical expressions of a body hijacked by a brain to see a screenplay of fear.  I had labeled these body sensations as terrible and awful because I was living in the land of thoughts and not noticing and allowing the body to naturally dissipate these chemicals (as the body quickly does) if we don’t create or resurrect a story about what we are feeling and what is seeming to appear.

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

And here was the shocker for me…I could not fathom the biology and body chemistry of anxiety and panic would remain wired within this body after realizing that there is no lasting personal self.  Erasing anxiety, panic, and agoraphobia were the reasons I crawled down the path to awakening…so all my suffering would go away and never return.  I perceive differently now and see all thoughts, feelings, and appearances as momentary expressions of impersonal awareness though it still feels like there is a me here, now, at the center of this aliveness though now “the me” feels impersonal.

When we can gently, thoroughly, and curiously notice and practice seeing what is appearing without adding the old habitual storyline about of how this affects a lasting and solid me, suffering begins to drop away, and we begin to see all appearances as this fleeting Mystery, this Paradox, seeming playing as a dream of itself.  And though I know I am not lasting as the woman in the body, it sure feels like there is a continuity of perceiving from this momentary vantage point. Is truth stranger than fiction?  Are truth and fiction the same momentary play of light, vaporous water, and magnetism? 

Truly, we as selves, as momentary and fleeting vapors of appearance cannot gain, claim, or achieve any spiritual state of mind, if that is what we are seeking.  Again, we don’t exist the way we believe we do and all we can do is seemingly surrender, let go, (our characters have no ability to initiate or make changes) and question all the mental junk blocking our perceptions of this that we are this very moment.  Suffering is simply appearing…to no one in particular…and yet we claim it as our suffering since it feels located close to or within the body.  We believe the body is our personal territory and self-contained.  Nope.  There are no edges. Close your eyes and tell me where you believe the body ends.  See, no edges. You will only find edges if you use thinking about the past. Even the present is now the past since it dissolves so very quickly…poof it’s gone!

And believing we can direct this pathless path of inquiry and discovery is also a trap as it perpetuates that we have free will and free wont to make these “decisions.”

If you are inquiring or meditating there is no you who initiates this. 

The silly ego claims beingness as personal and wants very much for you to listen to the steam of commentary and reason to perpetuate its illusory existence.  As long as you listen and believe that the voices in your head are personal and important to your wellbeing these voices will continue to impress and frighten you.  Once you see all the inner voices and perspectives are not personal to a specific you, tension fades.  Stress begins to abate and the body seems to let go and relax.  Isn’t relaxation and ease what you are after? 

Deep peace within the body will continue to be fleeting until you see the inner voices as the momentary expressions of this edgeless perfection, this dreamy fleeting illusion, playing in its dream of itself as itself. Nothing is lasting.  There is not one shred of personal energy involved in this play of vibrations, electrical energy, and biochemical body responses.  Panic just appears and disappears as quickly as it arrives.  Two good books I recommend to learn about the biology of the brain are Dr. Bruce Lipton’s – The Biology of Belief, and Dr. Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion.  

I am sure I am not in control of this body. I can only verify that the body seems to be appearing here and now, and there is no belief in a sequential time concept anymore.  I am not now, and never have been, driving this human body bus.  How and why any thing at all seems to be appearing is a Mystery.

Life twinkles in and out as appearances and our brains make these energy bits into a solid and sequential story of a me where none exists. 

Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

We suffer because we believe we are linear across a horizontal timeline of past present and future. All I can report is that what is appearing this moment seems more a vertical twinkling of fleeting appearance, ever fresh, ever spontaneous, ever momentary, and incredibly mysterious. It surely blew up the horizontal time line of life.  Best we can do, from my perspective, is to be very quiet, still, and notice what is seeming to appear with openness, innocence, and without any beliefs and preconceived knowings.  

Notice now what is only a momentary fleeting appearance…as an edgeless mystery…from the only perspective you and I ever have, as a me, here, now, an impersonal me, as this fleeting impermanent body. 

When all assumptions and beliefs and concepts fall way, including the belief of being a personal identity with a linear storyline living in time and space, what is appearing is known as simply a Mystery with no solid ground upon which to linger.  And this lack of time, stability, and structures makes most of us bat-shit crazy realizing we must fall into infinite not-knowing while welcoming what is showing up in front of us as fleeting appearances.  

anita

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. grateful

    Love the article, and know these things to be true, although not on the deeper level the writer does.

    For over a decade I have practiced being with feelings in the body; dropping the story and feeling physical sensations that arose in the body, with no need to change them. However, not only had I gotten away from that, I don’t recall practicing it consistently until this week.

    What I mean by consistent, is every time unpleasant feelings arose. But for over a week now so many things are happening in one day that triggered really unpleasant feelings that I just couldn’t avoid them in the usual ways, or in any way other ways, so something within just stopping trying to avoid and began dropping the story (over and over) and just surrendered to what has been occurring in the body. It IS unpleasant to feel; however, it’s MUCH, MUCH less unpleasant to just pay attention to, and feel them than it is to continue trying to deny, avoid, and pretend I’m blind.

    The ONLY reason something shifted from avoidance to a willingness to witness what’s present, as far as I can tell, and as usual, is because of overwhelming fear and pain. I believe that all of what I have been labeling as, crap or garbage lately is exactly what I need and is only blessing after blessing. If overwhelming fear and pain is what I need to help me learn how to stay present to what actually IS, then that’s genuinely what I want.

    This article is timely, for me. Thanks for posting.

    • Grateful: Thanks for taking the time to write a comment. It seems that what we most wish to avoid is often the sacred key to the lock that holds the gold of our hearts. For me anxiety, panic and agoraphobia were the keys to unlock the vulnerable place in the body that shields from being harmed or annihilated, and this is, in my opinion, the center-point for the location of panic and surrender.

      When I finally leaned into the anxiety and panic instead of attempting to push it away, it quickly faded and I could see how the resistance to the uncomfortable feelings only sustained the anxiety and created a deeper “groove” or pattern in the brain.

      I think most of us who are quite sensitive in the body are likely the ones who have these deep and protracted issues with anxiety and fears. As sensitives, we are so porous that we pick up all the energies around us and believe them to be our energy. I also feel that sensitives also are more likely spiritual pilgrims as we tend to be more intuitive and open to the energies that we cannot see with our eyes. My friend Mary M. tells me says that anxiety and panic are manifestations of a very powerful spiritual energy which many cultures call kundalini energy. But that’s for another post.

      Again, Grateful, thanks for posting and sharing with all of us how the path looks and feels from your vantage point. Hugs!

  2. Jan

    Always appreciate and look forward to what you share, Anita. Thank you!

    • Thanks for posting a comment and reading these words. If there is resonance with these posts that too is the Mystery playing as life! I’d be happy to hear of specific topics or areas you’d like to read.
      xo,
      anita

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