Findings on the road to self transformation-Walk towards your ghost.
Finding 13: Whenever confronted with a ghost, walk straight into it and it will disappear- Alan Watts
“The only way to handle danger is to face it. If you start getting frightened of it then you make it worse because you project onto it all kinds of threats which don’t exist in it at all. When ever you meet a ghost don’t run away. Because the ghost will capture the substance of your fears and materialse itself out of your own substance and will kill you eventually. Because it will take over all your own vitality” — Alan Watts.
What is fear? i think most of the times its a wish unfulfilled ?
If that is so then why does it cause fear to rise as a thought in our minds? Why does a wish unfulfilled not feel exciting — like the anticipation of meeting your lover or friend after a long hiatus ? I think the feeling of fear is a powerful emotion that is misunderstood and misused.
We let our old mind (the default mind that has grown habituated to fear being the default emotion of a wish unfulfilled) take over and manifest.
It’s a bit like running away from fire every time someone lights a match instead of seeing the power of fire to warm or cook or put to good use that helps nurture growth like in a fireplace or a cooking flame.
What if we tried a new thought experiment.
Where every time we feel fear we are able to switch it with excitement of a new realisation on its way. The uncertainness of the future is replaced with the excitement of an arrival.
This way we can look fear in the eyes and switch the emotion from dread or anxiety to hope and excitement.
This way of thinking also chimes well with the famous Stoic wisdom of `What stands in the way is the way’. What stands in the way if seen as an obstacle can cause suffering and fear and anxiety but if seen `as the way’ then opens us up to looking at it as an opportunity and new creative options flowing out.
In my case my latest obstacle has been my lack of decision on where I should take my career after leaving my last corporate job.
I have been vacillating between a career of becoming a professional blogger and author or building my new brand consultancy practice or staying in the corporate world and getting another job. I am sure you have your own uncertain roundabouts…
The new tributaries that have emerged have left me feeling confused and anxious.
I have been gripped with self-doubt and procrastination.
My old mind rebukes me and reminds me of how unfit I am to undertake any of these new paths. This translates often to a knotted feeling in my solar plexus. I have been carrying this feeling around for a while and last week it come to a head when a few unwelcome things happened.
In March I faced a real anxiety decision as the stock market went into a tail spin due to the corona virus spread in the world. I felt real anxiety about losing our financial wealth that we had in our investments. I was so restless. I felt this knot in my solar plexus. It’s the feeling where you feel low on self-esteem and generally lethargic.
I spent the day researching the internet on the future projections and prognosis of the pundits. I also checked my own pulse for risk and what was my limits. I openly shared my worries with my wife, shared my doubts and simply listed our options. She thought I should leave the funds as they were and not worry about it and play the long game.
I also called the bank and got clarity on all the ins and outs of my investment options that I could choose from. Satisfied with my level of inquiry and knowledge I then made my decision. I was going to reduce the risk levels on our portfolio and go defensive for a few months.
The minute I acted on the thought and made the switch the knot was gone.
I felt calm and at peace. Even though the stock market position got worse and we lost some more money but that did not affect my ease. I felt calm and I surrendered to the universe.
I felt I had done my best. And i was ready to face the rest .
I think this is the secret to being at peace when I feel unsure.
I do my best in the circumstances and surrender the rest. This is my way of walking towards my ghost.
It’s the combination of courage to face my fear through the lens of opportunity; taking confident absorbed action and then total surrender to the unseen force of nature.
But I need to do all three to feel the peace.
On reflection this has been my method to move forward when faced with obstacles and doubt and turn the obstacle into an opportunity.