The grass is covered in frost this morning. The Summer plants and flowers have begun to wilt and die this past week. The leaves have begun to fall. We see a frosty morning and learn to accept things that we cannot control, like the weather. Viewing life in this manner is skilful, because we see the wisdom in the continual change around us.
However, it is not always easy to calmly observe the changes around us and within us and they can give rise to fear. Fear has dominated the ecomonic and work climate this past year and the challenge is to find a way not to be consumed and corrupted by it. Learning to work skilfully with fear is essental to finding freedom and happiness.
As we persevere in practice we can see more clearly all our fears, some of which we may not even have known were within us. This may make us feel that we are getting worse not better, and uncertain about our strength and direction.
What the frost and falling leaves tell us is that even though we can never be absolutely safe, some difficult things are just part of the cycle of growth. We try to sit with these fears in a mindful way and not try to deny or avoid what is true. We try to simply observe its immediate and obvious manifestation. We don’t immediatel analyze it, try to figure out what the layers are, or what lies at its root. Our job as mindfulness practitioners is to meet, directly and gently, what is in front of us. We also try not to exaggerate the negative and judgmental thoughts which can arise when we are afraid.
The fearful situation, like the frost, can soon pass. Seasons come and go.
“We cannot be in the present moment and run our story lines at the same time. Impermanence becomes vivid in the present moment; so do compassion and wonder and courage. And so does fear. In fact, anyone who stands on the edge of the unknown, fully in the present, without a reference point, experiences some fear. That’s when our understanding goes deeper, when we find that the present moment can be completely unnerving and completely tender at the same time”.
Pema Chodrun Comfortable with Uncertainty