Controlling our lives gives us the security that life is “going well” and we are “safe.” There is comfort in what is familiar. But what happens when relationships end, children grow up and move away, loved ones pass on and the once natural order of our lives feels at risk and there is nothing we can do to stop it?
Buddhism teaches us that life is impermeable. And our resistance to this natural cycle brings forth suffering. Suffer we do as we try and elude this concept, with great fear; Fear of what we will feel, fear of what we will discover and fear of what we will need to let go of.
While fear is the impetus to control, it is also the impetus for surrender. This paradox is the trappings for the struggles that we face almost daily in our lives. So I ask, is fear our adversary or ally?
Daunting in nature, fear will challenge us in ways we can never imagine. We make choices that we never thought possible when driven by this seemingly dark companion. It’s a grasp that feels like it will never release. We will fight to loosen its grip but fail, for it’s a contender that never loses.
The instinctive reaction to deny and control its presence is natural; this will always be the initial response. But what if we were to become curious about its presence, and ask, “why are you here and what can you teach me?” It is my understanding that fear has something for us to learn from if we can get past the urges to control it. Control closes the heart leaving no room for change.
What if we were to be with fear differently and see it as an ally? Maybe fear is the watcher of our path, timing its arrivals for our growth through challenges. Encouraging us to reach the greater potential that lies within through the release of control. Perhaps its forceful hand of humility and vulnerability are the attempts to guide and temper the cry of our ego.
For all one knows fear could be the custodian of a new life to come. Its acceptance is our surrender. And what lies beyond in the uncertainty of that surrender is the mystery to be discovered in each of us.