Saturday, February 26, 2005

Fear and the Future

I was inspired this morning by a brief email that Mary sent to a friend of ours. It was simply a quote by Rudolf Steiner:

"We must root out of the soul all fear and dread regarding what approaches us from the future. We must acquire serenity with regard to all feelings about it. We must look with absolute calmness upon all that comes to us. Whatever happens, we must think only that it comes to us through the wisest guidance."

How much of our time do we spend worrying about the future? I know that I spend a fair amount of my time in such senseless pursuits, and it's a constant battle to wean myself of this utterly unproductive activity. What does it prove? Where does it bring me? It brings me to fear, to worry, to purposeless perseveration about things over which I have little or no control.

Part of the meaning for me of entering my forties last year is that my life is ostensibly half over--- more than half over, based on actuarial tables, in fact. How do I wish to spend these precious years? The half-time show is over, the confetti is cleared away, and now what's left is the business of living. Do I spend it in worry, or do I spend it in living, loving, and learning to live and love even more?

When our friend Woody was murdered by the police (see previous posts or, I realized that honesty with those we love is the only thing we have. I am so happy that the last time I saw Woody, I told him that I loved him, as did Mary and Rene. We always told one another that in parting. I understand now on a visceral level that each goodbye could be the last, each encounter the final encounter with any individual. If we spend our time in fear, we miss such golden opportunities to express and receive love. This doesn't mean that we shirk our responsibilities and allow our bills to pile up unpaid as we "live in the moment". No---we work and pay our bills, savoring that we have the gift of breath which allows us that chance to work and pay bills. How many people around the world would give anything for that freedom and opportunity?

I continue to attempt to tame my mind's poor habits of careening into the past or future with either regret or worry. The past is beyond my reach now, the future no closer. This reptilian mind---or "monkey mind" in some Buddhist teachings---can so easily lead me astray. It's a daily task to keep its tentacles at bay. If I can release my fears, that which I fear will no longer be fearful. Any insight from you, dear readers, is more than welcome.
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