Once you’ve seen your reality honestly and ruthlessly, the second step in being a lover of real life is to feel the feelings exactly as they are. Now this may seem simple… but it takes tremendous courage! And it’s extremely uncommon.
You see, this approach is very contrary to popular belief… but as stated, it takes tremendous courage to just sit with your true feelings. Not change them, suppress them, deny them, ignore them, reframe them… just be with them, fully and completely. This is particularly difficult, especially when they’re painful.
There’s no such thing as “no fear.” To be “fearless” means
That you’re not afraid to allow fear to exist.
Please consider memorizing that one!
In the West we’re so action oriented, and so often disconnected from our heart (particularly in the male population), that we reach for the TV remote, a book, a magazine, the stereo, social media, conversation, work, sex, drugs, alcohol or anything else we can use to avoid being with our self and our own thoughts and feelings.
The fact is that most people don’t enjoy their own company. When I arrived in “the hole” (solitary confinement which was right next to death row), I was still in shock, but I thought “Well at least I’m safe from the others and I’ll be able to contemplate life and meditate in peace.”
This lasted all of about 15 seconds.
The guys who surrounded me in the cells to the left, right, and above continued to banter non-stop through the vents of their cells. I thought the banter was just about the arrival of a “new fish,” but quickly realized that it would continue 24/7.
To escape their own company, their own thoughts and feelings, they had devised an intricate communication system (and a prison banter) that never ended.
So much for quiet contemplation and meditation.
No books, no paper, no pen, no peace and definitely no quiet. Just a sulfur crusted toilet and sink; a cell that had never been cleaned and smelled of urine; and non-stop cursing and banal chatter. It was time for true courage.
You see, true courage is not bold bravado. While there’s a time and a place for bold… often bold is just a mask attempting to cover fear. True courage is the willingness to be raw and open and real with self. It’s the willingness and ability to be completely present and honest with your own feelings. Particularly when those feelings are despair, pain, suffering… and yes fear. No running. No positive reframing. No attempting to change them, suppress or deny them. Just allowing what exists to exist.
This takes more real courage than many of the things we typically define as courage in our society…
Stay awake, Love Life and be courageous,