fear

Invictus, by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears,
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years,
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

“Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing”

“Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing.”

I keep running into various versions of this quote (from sources like the Tao, Ram Dass, and Zen books), so I thought I’d share it here. All sayings like this mean that if you become like a clear mirror and view the world exactly as it is — not how your desires (and fears) want it to be — you’ll see the truth.

Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume

I’m surprised that nobody I know knows the story Tiger Eyes, either the book by Judy Blume or the movie based on the book.

Probably the main theme of the book is about people who are afraid. Presumably they’re afraid of dying, and the result is that they’re afraid of living. Meanwhile, a teenage girl who has good reason to be afraid encounters these people who are afraid of life, and eventually realizes that a fear of life is no way to live. Despite a horrific thing that has happened in her recent past, she makes a conscious decision to live her life.

The Soul Game

[This is a chapter from a currently-unpublished book I’m writing on meditation and mindfulness.]

As a spiritual being, one possible way to think of life here on Earth is as a “game” that serves as a training ground for the soul. It’s a game like other games, so it has many levels, and they get harder and harder as you progress. So in this case, the better you become at the game of spirituality — the Soul Game — the harder the levels become.

To help set some rules for the game, let’s say that it has fifty levels. The first time you play the game you’re born here on Earth in Level 1. Hopefully you score some points and move up, so maybe by the time it’s “game over” for your first lifetime, you’ve passed Level 9 and you’re playing on Level 10. Maybe you get a brief break in between lifetimes, but the next time you’re born you start right where you left off, at Level 10.

This brings me to a very important rule: Once you start playing the Soul Game, you’re strapped in for eternity. (That was clearly mentioned on page 52 of the End User License Agreement.) Once you’re in the game there are only two ways out:

Quotes from Trump and the Dalai Lama

Just days after two domestic terror attacks, here are two quotes I saw today:

Donald Trump: “There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame...”

Dalai Lama: “Violence derives from anger and anger clouds our ability to think straight and properly assess what is happening. Anger in turn is related to fear and anxiety. What we need to learn is how to cultivate the positive emotions that counter destructive emotions like anger and fear. Compassion, for example, brings self-confidence and the ability to act transparently. It strengthens trust which is the ground for friendship.”

Jack Kornfield on karma related to speech, and intention

I’m not a huge believer in certain types of karma in this world, but Jack Kornfield offers this discussion about karma related to speech, and intention:

“Speech is one area in which karma can be seen in an easy and direct way. For this exercise, resolve to take two or three days to carefully notice the intentions that motivate your speech. Direct your attention to the state of mind that precedes talking, the motivation for your comments, responses, and observations. Try to be particularly aware of whether your speech is even subtly motivated by boredom, concern, irritation, loneliness, compassion, fear, love, competitiveness, greed, or whatever state you observe ... Simply notice the various motivations in the mind and the speech that flows from them.”

“Then, after discovering which motivation is present as you speak, notice the effect of the speech. If there is competitiveness or grasping or pride or irritation behind the speech, what response does it elicit from the world around you? If there is compassion or love, what is the response? If your speech is mindless, as if you were on automatic pilot, what is the response? If there is clarity and concern, how is this received and responded to?”

It brings up an excellent point: What motivates your speech?

David Lynch on fear, depression, and anger

When I started meditating I was filled with anxieties, I was filled with fears ... kind of a depression and anger. And I took this anger out on my first wife, and after two weeks of meditation she asked, “What’s going on?”

I said, “What do you mean?”

She said, “This anger, where did it go?”

And I didn’t even realize it had lifted.

~ David Lynch, in this video

Today I escaped anxiety

“Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions — not outside.”

~ Marcus Aurelius