I have spent many hours over the last year watching my year old son interact with the world. In the last 6 months he has developed, as all babies do, a fascination with: people, objects, food, the elements, her own body.. everything. He not only stares at it but she reaches out for things, he examines things, he meticulously feels the texture of things with his little fingers, he tries talking to things - plants, the printer - he’ll chat to anything. He interacts fearlessly, openly, innocently with insatiable curiosity.
Tara Brach who is a wonderful Buddhist mindfulness teacher, often refers to the question ‘What are you afraid to feel?’
As older beings who have had a lot more experience of this challenging human existence, we all too easily lose our sense of fascination with the world, our sense of curiosity, intrigue. Somethings we even block out or actively try not to feel.. because we are afraid. We have developed fear. And this is perfectly natural, fear exists to protect us. But the problem is that fear can also detach itself from what is actually posing a real threat to us and start to become exaggerated/distorted, leaking into aspects of our life that are not posing any real danger to us. Manifesting itself in anxiety or a tendency to numb out, to avoid, to live a half life. And this prevents us from the potential we have for experiencing fulfilment and joy. Fear is, for each of us adults, in someway, holding us back.
The last line of Mary Olivier’s brilliant poem ‘When Death Comes’ is:
‘I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world’
We all want to make the most out of our time on this earth. We should all study babies and take a leaf out of their book. For now, let’s consider Tara Brach’s question again: What are you afraid to feel? Take a few moments to let this question sink in. You don’t have to answer it, just hold it in your heart during this week and see.. Perhaps you will find the answer in your singing.
Samhain wishes to all!