Not too tight, not too loose

[Once] the Buddha asked a musician how he tuned his instrument before playing. The musician said “If I tune the strings too tight they break. If I tune them too loose, no sound will come out. So not too tight and not too loose works best” To which the Buddha replied “This is how you should hold your mind in meditation”. It works the same way with fear. If we immediately begin busying ourselves with explanations, solutions and rationalizations, then we haven’ t allowed space for perspective to develop – we’ve responded with too much tightness. If we fail to look at what frightens us, if we blow it off or continually procrastinate about acknowledging our fears, we’re missing an opportunity for self-knowledge and skilful action.  This is too loose. Fear invariably makes us do one of two things in response to this uncertainty and unpredictability: Either we tighten up around it too quickly, and begin imposing structure and rules on something not as yet fully defined, or we pretend that what frightens us is no big deal. We stop paying attention and space out.

Susan Piver, How not to be Afraid of your Life

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