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Bees in my bonnet


I am hoping this question will make it through as it is genuinely concerning me, but is both practical and philosophical in nature.

So, here is the situation. This weekend I found one of my beehives has a deep layer of dead bees in the bottom box. For various reasons, this box on the type of hive I use is not easily accessible, so the situation can't be dealt with immediately. The smell of dead bees is bad and it is due to get hotter here this week. Despite being a beekeeper, I have a fair bit of anxiety about bees: being stung and an intense connection to their welfare (for example, I couldn't sleep last night thinking about them). Since coming across John's work, I see that this is fear of life in one of its forms.

I lay in bed this morning and asked, 'For whom is this anxiety around the bees a problem?'. The answer was clearly that it was only a problem for the wiring in the brain - I think John called it 'algorithms'. That is, the problem is conjured from thoughts, memories, beliefs running through the synapses etc, just a kind of bodily function. My existence or 'here-ness' is untouched by this. Is this untouched thing 'me' then? And, this is the question that is also buzzing in head worse than the 1,000 dead bees, does that mean I am my body or I have a body? I know, I know, a philosophical sideroad, but I have to say it is important to me and I would really appreciate some feedback...

With thanks,

Emma ~

Actually, my sense of it is that your body is you, along with everything else in your consciousness, which is much different from saying that you are your body.

But that question is not even very interesting. What is more interesting is to see how it is that when the fog of fearfulness lifts everything is seen with greater clarity and intelligence.

There is a rational basis for fear of bees - bees do, after all, sting - and there is an intelligent response to that rational fear. Better understanding of bee behavior, backed up by effective protective gear goes a long way toward prevention of attack, and even if the preparation fails, understanding of effective emergency treatment of bee sting should bring (or return) confidence to your relationship with them. And, of course, you know all this and more. (I love bees, but know next to nothing about beekeeping.)

The twisting together of your rational cautiousness around bees with your deep empathy with these magical creatures is the work of the fear of life, and the feeling of the tightness of that twisting is perceived as a problem. That will fall away in time, and when it goes, you may not even notice its absence, but you will surely notice the deepening of your satisfaction with life in general and bees in particular.

I would also advise you to look into the idea that the problem presented by the ever vigilant defensive and reactive thought-forms that serve the fear are matters of wiring in your brain. They are just thought conditioned by the fear of life. Nothing more, nothing less.

Please let me know if this is of any help to you.

I feel sure that you are on the right track, and everything will be perfectly clear to you soon enough.

Thank you for your good participation here Emma.



Dear John,

Thank you very much for your reply. There is a lot in there for me to digest. I seem to think more slowly these days...What you say is clear and helpful, and I would like to reply in more detail when I have had a chance to reflect on it. In the meantime, the bees are all cleaned up and have even found the energy to swarm!

With thanks and best wishes to all,


Dear John and everyone,

Yes! I mean, yes, what you say is absolutely clear to me. I can see, just as you say, that the fear of life twists itself around the logical fear of bee stings and combines with my empathy into a neurotic soup of fears. That 'soup' appears overwhelming and unfixable until I see it for what it is - the work of the fear of life. So I have some decisions to make about the siting of the hives in my garden in order to be able to continue to enjoy the connection and pleasure I feel around them.

I have a report to make that relates to this. Since the first looking last year, I have experienced a 'falling away'. It is quite disorienting. It feels as if I have no skin on. Life feels very close and very vivid. It is gorgeous and amazing but also 'raw'. People seem noisy and life seems, well, people, seem somewhat 'violent'. I am not a soap-box moralist or tub-thumper nor much given to causes, but what we do to animals and our world has become more vivid too, to the point where it feels painful. This is not how I was a year ago. When I look for the feel of me now and me as a child, there is a 'nothing' there (I really can't quite find the words for this). It is not emptiness or any such thing...hmmm...struggling to put this...All I can describe it as, is a kind of alive background. What is left is just the point of contact with life. Not sure this makes any sense. OK, it is like there was a thick mattress between me and everything now there is just nothing, which is everything, just me. Yeah...lol...that description did not quite get it. Think I better give up there!

My partner has commented that I seem 'absent'. But I feel that the ongoing panorama of natural life is utterly absorbing and it hardly leaves room to speak or get involved in opinions. My memory is different (functionally fine but it just doesn't seem important). My day to day life still runs and the kids get fed. I don't know which bit of the recovery this is, but it is quite a ride! Raw, vivid, gorgeous, violent, and easy to mix some of that with the fear of life and have it turn into a neurotic thought pattern. But when pointed out, easier to see it for what it is.

Thank you for the opportunity to be incoherent here!

Best wishes to all,

Emma ~

So beautiful

Dear Emma,

I just love your description of your experience....

You have very successfully put into words this experience which is wordless.

Thank you so very much.

With love,


Hello Dawn,

Thanks for your kind words. I feel pretty half-cooked at the moment. Sort of in and out at the same time. It is easier to see the fear of life at work in my life yet I am not free of it. This seems to be accompanied by a hyper-sensitivity to people, noise, emotions. I am guessing this is just the process working itself out. If my inarticulate words are any help in the future to others on the same path then I am pleased - they can see just how googly it gets along the way! smily I just hope John and Carla make those 'Random Questions' at the top here a little easier given the current state of my brain!

It's all good...

Best wishes,

Emma ~

Bees in my Bonnet


it is quite a ride! Raw, vivid, gorgeous, violent, and easy to mix some of that with the fear of life and have it turn into a neurotic thought pattern. But when pointed out, easier to see it for what it is... Emma ~

Yes. Alive and here.

I suggest that the fear of life, being a small thing as John says, has already left you and it is the neurotic thought pattern that is still running and trying to mold your experience into its own image. The pointing-out part will get quicker and easier. Lera Jane


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