October 16, 1997

Sharp Points

This fear thing has me by the throat. It does not want me to breathe. It wants to twist and turn me until my eyes bulge and I can no longer see.

I have a meeting coming up soon that is causing this fear. It is a private matter so I cannot give you the details. Frankly, the details are not important. What is important is the effect of fear in my life.

I am not paralyzed. I am working hard to get done what needs to be done, but life is not the same. All of my other emotions are right below the surface. I am ready to cry at any time. Look at me in a funny way and I might bite your head off. What was funny yesterday has completely lost its humor.

Here I am in the middle of the peak of the fall foliage season and I cannot notice the color of the trees. My mind is elsewhere. Even when I think of the trees and force myself to look at them, I cannot sustain my focus. The present is gone for me. This is the biggest loss. I am living in the past and in the future and I am missing the glory of today.

I keep looking for a solution to the way I feel. I keep telling myself that I really am not that scared, that I can handle this. But that is a lie. I tried replacing the fear with the new obsession of painting the basement, but that just gave me a different excuse to feel lousy. Stuffing the fear does not work because it just keeps bubbling up anyway. Eating does not work - well, maybe for a few minutes - but I am quickly back to where I started.

So I am trying something different. I am sitting and going deeper into my fear. I am not looking for a solution, or the reasons for the fear. I am not looking for a way out but for a way in. Chogyan Trungpa Rinpoche said, “lean into the sharp points.” Fear is a big sharp point for me. When I lean into my fear, I end up in the present and I find my heart. I do not change how I feel, but I change how I am. I am no longer running. I am part of the present and I am me. Great joy exists in being my authentic self.

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