Am I on the Right Track Here?

an email to my sponsor:

 
I was at a Buddhist meditation group Friday night at the church, and the topic was facing fears so they won’t dominate us. One of the fears mentioned was the fear of alone-ness, and the light came on in my head: that’s why I make such a big deal out of this dating stuff — it triggers that fear, and I get overwhelmed by it. And my whole thing with women is trying to assuage that fear of alone-ness. I approach them saying, “Please don’t reject me and make me be all alone,” and like you say, that ain’t a very attractive trait. Doomed to fail, and the fear (ego) is proven right.

Another fear we talked about was the fear of inadequacy — like what you were saying about the sexual vibe I put out. “I’m not good at it, and I’m afraid to even bring it up.” Again, driven by fear, INTENDED to fail.

Then at an MA meeting the topic was Step 6, and there’s a line in our book that says something like “the difference between a virtue and a defect is its effectiveness in helping us lead clean, spiritual lives.” It also talked about defects being a crutch. Occurred to me that despair is one of my favorite crutches. I mean, if all is hopeless, then (A) I didn’t make it happen and (B) there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m off the hook! A poor victim, showing off his pain to get sympathy. Except that hopelessness is the opposite of a spiritual life, and is the road that leads to using. If all is lost, might as well get loaded.

So, again, it all comes back to facing fears and listening to the tapes in my head, to see what they really are. My fear of alone-ness is driving me because I have never really sat with it and saw it for what it is, evaluated its power over me, given myself the space to make some other decision.

All of this might be wrong, but it feels a lot better than what I was churning out a few days ago.

My question is, how does one do that — face fears? Sit with them? “Breathe them into your heart” as the dharma talk said.

I think I got a hint of an answer. Today I was at a party for a friend, and there were a lot of attractive women there, so I am sitting there being the charming author/joke-maker/friend, and women are digging it. I’m a fun guy. And up comes the voice: Ask ’em out! It’s the fear saying, “We can control this situation, and we have to, because as it is, it won’t suit our needs.” The opposite of being in the present.

So am I right that hearing that voice but not giving in to it, and also not fighting it, just letting it be, and then enjoying the experience of entertaining a bunch of women just for what it is … that maybe that is something like sitting with the fear? Like not scratching an itch while meditating? Just notice the itch, notice the desire to scratch, and then let them both go?

August 25, 2009

Paul Gerald

I am the author of several books on hiking, camping, eating breakfast and chilling out. I am also a freelance travel writer, publisher, hiker, and inveterate traveler.

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