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I would like to suggest a serious hypothesis

Hi John and Carla,

I would like to suggest as a serious hypothesis that the fear of life is not created at the moment of birth (this is merely the "practical", healthy fear) but is (almost?) entirely a product of socialization beginning at an early age. In my experience, the fear of life consists e.g. of concerns about not having enough or good friends, not having a partner, being lonely (what is wrong with it except for society's condemnation of it?), not getting attention, not being successful, not living up to others' expectations etc.--this is all related to social standards.

My "practical" fears have not changed that much, as far as I see, in fact I seem to be more sensitive to them. However, it is also true that these "practical" fears have lost their foundation and hence their neurotic component, since I know that I cannot die (or: what is death exactly? And who or what is dying?).

A.

I cannot prove the idea that the fear of life strikes at the moment of birth, and that idea is not at all necessary for success in the looking, but I strongly believe it to be the case.

Actually, nothing in the way of understanding or belief about these matters is needed for success in the looking. The effectiveness of the looking is found in the naked act itself, which requires nothing -- no understanding or abandonment of understanding, no new belief or abandonment of old belief, no insights, no special postures or meditation objects, or any other thing. Just look, and wait -- patiently if possible. All will be taken care of and resolved in time. It is just the case that instantaneous transformation is absurd.

As to the idea that the fear of life I speak of is actually the multiplicity of things that I am neurotically afraid of, consider this:

The fear of life that I speak of is ever present, and actually forms the context of the life itself. Because of this, it has long since faded and become just the background experience of life. This context of fear and distrust shapes my understanding and relationship to the events of life from the moment of their appearance.

The departure of the fear which is the background of it all is barely noticed if at all; it is, after all, something absent, rather than an appearance of new experience. But when it goes, the context, the background of the relationship with life begins to relax into the sanity that is the natural state of human consciousness, and all the tools and viewpoints that depended on the assumption that I am at stake in this life begin to die off and fail to rise to the occasions that would formerly have triggered them.

All of this happens outside of conscious awareness, deeper down in the ocean of cause and effect that is existence, and it is often the case that the time of recovery from the disease of fear includes considerable confusion and even a heightening of the experience of everything, including the experience of neurotic remnants of the symptoms, such as a greater sensitivity to the neurotic fears you speak of.

Be patient with yourself. All will be right in the end, with or without patience, but if you can cultivate patience with the process you will have an easier time of it.

I read this post and talked about it at the Open House Meeting on June 8, 2011.

You can listen to the entire recording in our podcast. Please let me know if more is needed.

In love,

John

 

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