Podcast Episode 33: Naked & Afraid

In this episode, we discuss how the fear arises, how it manifests in our life, and how it can be eliminated, opening the way to the development of a sane, fearless mind.

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One thought on “Podcast Episode 33: Naked & Afraid

  1. Take two. My reply seems on point with the topic, but for some reason my response didn’t show up. I thoroughly consider any posts I make, and I spend a lot of time writing them. Hopefully, intelligent questioning is encouraged here, and my inability to comment is just a technical problem with the site. Anyway, trying again …

    I don’t remember my birth. I can’t say if it was pleasant or unpleasant. I would like to offer another theory on the development of fear that I’ve heard, though, that I think is more likely. This theory attributes our fear to the natural implication of perception, and goes something like this … After we’ve gained a little experience with this place, we begin to notice that this body always seems to follow us around. The natural implication of perception is that we are this body, and that this body can suffer. This is learned through experience, though. I’ve noticed young babies who seem confused, for example, when they hit their arm on something … as if they don’t even know where the pain is coming from. I think it takes time to develop the idea that “oh, this is MY arm … I am this thing … and I can suffer”. It also takes time to notice that when YOU hurt yourself, that I’m not in any pain. These observations and deductions aren’t a given at birth. Perception implies them, but it seems obvious that connecting the dots (identifying as a body) takes time, and life experience. We know that a baby doesn’t even have depth perception until about the 5th month, so it’s even harder to differentiate itself from what it sees. But once the idea is set that I am a body, and that the body can suffer and die, fear and the idea of protecting oneself seems almost inevitable. And then language develops, and our sense of self becomes much more complex, giving the fear endless avenues to express itself. I’ve read more than one teacher who has explained the development of fear in this way, and they say that the fear normally hits a child around the age of two. Some of them claim to remember the moment when it happened to them … not that this should be blindly accepted, but the theory itself seems very reasonable, and we can all attest to how fearful it is to identify with something we know is destined for pain. Before identification, as in the momemt of birth, there’s just the experience of pain and unpleasantness … if, in fact, the birth was unpleasant. It seems to me, though, that the fear is an avoidance, and that the avoidance depends on identification. You can’t try to avoid an experience if you aren’t projecting that you are something which is trying to get away from something else. So, the idea that our trauma is rooted in birth implies that identification with the body happens at birth, which seems unlikely to me. The baby hasn’t even seen itself, doesn’t know what it is looking at (even if it’s eyes are open), and can’t really even “look” until the 5th month … and as I’ve already explained, it takes time to notice that the body seems to be a constant in our experience … it takes time to draw the conclusion that pain is coming from the body, and to notice that you don’t feel pain when someone else hurts themselves. It takes time to put everything together into the presumption that “I am this body”. So, yeah, it seems very reasonable to believe that identification as a body happens much later than the instant of birth. Or, to say this differently, the fear of life happens later on, once we’ve concluded that we are a body … a presumption that our perception seems to support.

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