“You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move. So when we said the revolution will not be televised, we were saying...that the thing that’s going to change people is something that no one will ever be able to capture on film. It will just be something that you see and all of a sudden you realize...I’m on the wrong page...or I’m on the right page, but I’m on the wrong note”- Gil Scott-Heron
Changing your mind can be a frightening ordeal. There’s always a brief moment where you abide nowhere. The space between letting go of one belief, and grabbing hold of the next. That gap, the in-between, is what we fear. Yet we spend far more time agonizing about it than actually living and experiencing it.
“Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions” - Hafiz
The problem is such, that if we fail to confront these tiny moments of groundlessness, the fear of letting go, life will shape itself and you will have nothing to say about it.
“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance” - Hunter S. Thompson
So what to do when fear enters your bones? Eckhart Tolle suggests not to let it enter into your mind as a thought, but simply
“Feel it, and shine the light of awareness on it”
When you are fearful, instead of naming it, can you sit with it in the body? Can you find the sensations that are the cause of your thoughts, and sit with them lovingly? Are you anxious, or is it a pain in your chest? Are you sad, or is it a heaviness in your heart? When you sit with pure sensation devoid of thought, you are on the path of the yogi. Vipassana master Sunlun Vinaya says
“The aim is to make direct and immediate contact with reality”
And what is more direct than the way you feel?
Once you confront your internal landscape, you can learn to go deeper. Fear can be dissolved through the methods of Dream Yoga. What’s the difference between right now and a dream? Perhaps a bit more stability, a bit more coherence, and a few other people to corroborate the experience. But similar to a dream, are you really aware of how you arrived at this moment - reading this newsletter right now? How far back does your memory truly stretch? How ephemeral do all moments leading up to now feel?
Once you see the dreamlike character of the waking world, it’s easier to let go and abide in the groundless state without being scared. Towards the end of his book on Dream Yoga, Namkhai Norbu writes:
“The result, the diminishing of attachment, is due to attachment being based on a strong belief that the phenomena of this life are important and real”
The aim is to notice that all phenomena are equally dreamlike, equally mysterious, and equally impermanent. In this regard, phenomena lose their realness and importance in an ultimate sense, but they regain their conventional dignity. You notice that what really matters is how you and the people around are feeling. How are they enjoying this short earth-bound journey? And how can you help?
The more you abide in that spaceless space, where you’re neither here-nor-there, in between thoughts and feelings - the more you can align yourself with what’s righteous and true. When you’re not living in a state of fear and reactivity, life regains its vigour and purpose. Your actions hold weight, and you confront the challenges of life willingly and with a smile. With fearless awareness, it’s much easier to assess whether you’re on the right page, wrong page, or reading the book upside-down.
“Stay together, friends. Don’t scatter and sleep. Our friendship is made, of being awake” - Rumi
It is as it is.