Sunday, July 11, 2010
To be free from fear is a great relief and one usually doesn't realize the weight that was being carried until it is gone. Being fearless does not mean that the response of anxiety or primal responses of physiology cease, but rather that one meets those responses without fear. Moreover, when the subject in the experiential equation is realized to be transparent, any phenomenon which arises lacks a place to "land". It is also realized that any object that arises is also transparent, and it is the transcendence of the subject and object relation which opens the pathway of true fearlessness. This does not make one ignorant nor naive to the workings of material existence, nor beholden to the semantic boxes (as dogmas) which express this wisdom. So there remains a pragmatic relationship to the rules and realities (i.e. laws) of this manifest life.
The beauty of fully engaging with the Tantra Vidya is that everything falls into place. There are tons of challenges on the path and a sadhak takes his/her lumps, but if one is persistent in the sadhana then certain "qualities" such as fearlessness arise. This means that fearlessness arises without contemplating, contrivance, or any aspiring towards. Often, the more psychological approach just leads to a dog chasing its tail or never ending "complexity" (which may be mistaken for subtlety). So the tantric approach is much more interested in result then in belaboring reasons, whys, and wherefores. Never the less, it can be instructive and lead to transmutation to meet fear (or other emotion, trauma, etc.) in the light of naked awareness. In this sadhana, one does not engage in the "story" surrounding a reaction but only the energy undefined. If this "meeting" takes place fully then the energy may reveal itself to be liberated (or continually liberated as it arises).
Fear can either be approached via the meditation which transcends subject/object or via naked engagement with the energy of the root fears. The root fears can take many conceptual images, but they seem to mainly boil down to two aspects which encompass many tangents. Firstly and most obviously is issues surrounding Death, Impermanence, and the many implications inherent in these Truths. (One can read the blog post entitled "Yama's Gate" for more on this subject). There is also a root fear which may be related to Death and Impermanence, but is sort of has its "own place" and is difficult to pin down. It can best be described as a deep and fundamental feeling/anxiety that "something is wrong" or "I've done something wrong". The feeling/anxiety is "prior" to any specific "wrong" or specific something "I've done wrong", so it is a nagging suspicion. It is a useful exercise to see if this lurks and to bring it to the light of Reality. If it remains uncovered, then one will never have full confidence, will continue to harbor doubt, and may sabotage the highest aims of the heart. The undifferentiated consciousness which is the undivided true awareness assumes kilakas (nail/pins) in order to manifest as apparent individuated entity and getting in touch with these root "issues" lets one "see" where these nails "reside". Meeting these "places" in pure awareness acts as an utkilak (utkilana)which releases the trapped energy/awareness. Those who have encountered this kind of grace feel the release of burden and a wave of joy.
While the root fears remain implicit in the various manifestations of other fears, a large percentage (of "other fears") can be labeled social fears. Of course there are many different elements (situational or otherwise) which can be pointed to, but fundamentally they boil down to the need to be liked or being concerned how others view you (or a particular aspect/action). Most people claim that they don't care how other view them, but it usually contains the hint of a defensive affirmation. To truly be fearless in this regard is to open the potential for skillful action, so it is a mature realization rather then that of a hurt pouting fourteen year old. While this type of social fearlessness cannot just be affirmed, there is a level of deep intention which can certainly have effect. It is particularly instructive to pay attention to ones own projections, as one who doesn't project toward others is not inclined to assume or be fearful of others projections toward themselves. Mainly, people are too busy thinking about themselves and how other view them to be thinking much on you anyway. One should also examine thought to the degree that it is recognized to be transient and without substance. One cannot remain afraid of thought ("theirs" or "others") when this awareness becomes firm. Aghoris sometimes go to the extremes when defeating the impulse by intentionally courting disfavor, yet the actuality of the view matters more than any means. Not caring how others view you does not mean that you cannot care about them, nor does it impede compassionate action. Indeed, compassionate action is limited by concern over appearance. Is one willing to take skillful action which will make them look bad?
To engage fearlessly in this life is to engage with humor. One cannot engage with the magnitude of Reality without coming to humor, nor can one just engaged with that vastness without realizing the humor of peoples hang ups and pettiness (including their "own" when it presents). To move on this earth in fearless humor is to move with suppleness and skill. To embody the Ishta Devata is to become fearless and to engage with the pitha of life expression is humor. To succeed in the Vidya one must be deadly serious, and to be deadly serious one must have a sense of humor. The humor of Tantrics has an edge like a razor blade, and the fearless demonstration of it is a display of innate victory.