At the end of that post I said, “Not being enlightened, I will need to repeat this meditation on a regular basis, for my ego habit-energy is so strong, so ingrained, that I know my fear will not stop rising. Hopefully though, each time it does I will be aware of it rising and thus be able to not engage it and not react to it. But given my nature as a human being walking the path, that is probably too much to expect.”
Recently, the truth of that last comment was revealed. We had come to a resolution of the question of where to move, but then that resolution was also upended by various doubts and issues. I became fearful and anxious again, was not aware, and trapped in the vortex of my mind. Only an observation by my friend brought me back to the present.
When I meditated the next day, I knew I had to go deeper and I had to practice what I stated in my post, “12 Steps on the Buddhist Path.” In particular, after naming each fear or craving, I had to be aware that each was just a product of my mind and that I needed to be ready to have my true Buddha nature free me from these fears and cravings, that is to let go of these attachments.
When I wrote that earlier post, I had addressed my fear of the unknown. What I acknowledged now is that other fears and attachments were involved. Bottom line, I feared not being happy, either because we could not find a place to live which met our needs or because we were not financially able to live where we wanted to live.
When I meditated on these fears and on my attachment, both to these fears as well as to living a certain lifestyle, I confirmed my awareness that these fears and attachments were a creature of my mind, that they were empty of any intrinsic existence. There was no reason to fear not being happy because I knew that all I needed to be happy was to offer others joy, to be in the company of loved ones and friends, to respect my mind, to respect my body, to be in touch with nature, and to live within my means. All else was ego, all else was in my mind, a product of what our culture taught me.
Likewise, there was no reason to fear that we wouldn’t find someplace to live that would meet our needs, because our “needs” were also a creature of my mind. And there was no reason to fear that we couldn’t afford to live where we wanted to live, because that “want” is also a creature of the mind. Each of these attachments and fears were a function of my ego thinking-mind. Further, needs and wants are like all things, impermanent and changeable. One would thus be foolish making such things the basis of one’s happiness or security. I know that if I am present, free of the intervention of my ego thinking-mind, I can experience happiness and security any place under any circumstance.
As FDR said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” How true. I know that I have nothing to fear for regardless what the world throws my way the future will take care of itself, all will be well, because I will always return to my true Buddha nature and be at peace, finding happiness in each moment.
The key to freeing oneself from fear is for the mind to rest undisturbed. And how does one do that? By focusing on one’s breathing, being present and knowing that the present is the only reality, all else is thought, is mind. And knowing that all five skandhas, all my thoughts, are empty of intrinsic existence. My fears, my attachments, my cravings are all just a function of my mind.
Yes, the facts that cause these fears and attachments may be reality, but the fear and attachment are a product of the mind. For example, it may be true that we will live someplace where certain things are not readily available. So what? The attachment and fear of not being happy as a result of that is a product of the mind.
And so, with this awareness, I was able to experience the situation directly ... with dispassion, free of labels, free of the intervention of my ego thinking-mind ... knowing that things are the way they are because it’s just the way it is. And thus my mind rested undisturbed.
And when my mind rests undisturbed, nothing in the world offends. And when no thing can give offense, all obstructions cease to be. All doubt and confusion, fear and anxiety, anger and negativity, attachments and expectations, cease to be because things are things because of mind as mind is mind because of things. Both at source are emptiness.
And so I became open to receiving all that the present moment has to offer, embracing the moment, and finding happiness in each moment. And I was free.
But again, I know that as with any addiction, it will take more than this one meditation to free myself from these fears and cravings. I will need to practice these steps repeatedly until I am finally free of these fears and cravings arising and trapping me in their vortex.
Postscript: I have now from within realized that fear and all skandhas are just a product of the mind and so their power has all but disappeared. See my post, "Proof of the Nature of Mind - Fear, Ego, and Buddha Mind,"