I want to talk about fear, fears that drive us all. The source of “negative” energy.
Why would you want to read about negative things? Aren’t there enough worries in your life already? Yes, and that’s the point.
We all have too many worries. So we choose to ignore them. There are just too many fears to deal with in a day. We have worries over money, work, health, relationships. It’s endless.
And that is why I’m writing this. Fear is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.
Our western culture is built around running from it. We tell ourselves just “be positive.” Don’t focus on the negative. Things will turn out okay. Put a happy face on. Smile!
It’s the western ideal. The quick fix. If I stay positive, I won’t have to deal with the negative. I can just shove my fears aside and pretend they aren’t there.
Of course not everyone is running from fear. The Type A’s in the world fully acknowledge all the fear in the world. In fact they see it so clearly, it’s what drives them. So their way of dealing with fear is not to ignore it, but to “control” it.
It’s why so many Type A’s roll their eyes at the “be positive” new agey, spiritual crowd. They recognize you can’t just ignore fear.
So Type A’s do everything they can to change their environment in order to minimize fear as much as possible. They are on an endless pursuit to control what life brings, both good and bad.
Type A’s believe by “controlling” their environment they can feel more secure. It gives them a sense of power and strength. It helps protect them and their loved ones from an uncertain world.
So what happens? They put up walls. Both literal and figurative. Walls to keep the boogey man of uncertainty out.
That’s why so many Type A’s live in idealized well-manicured affluent gated suburbs. They live surrounded by other rich and wealthy Type A neighbors, which provides a sense of order and comfort.
However, these physical walls are just a symptom of the emotional and intellectual walls they put up which in many ways, are more important to them. With these walls, Type A’s can segregate “good” from “bad”. People, things, even ideas become objects to be manipulated and controlled. Anything threatening is kept out. Only things which reinforce their own security and comfort are allowed in.
In the west we idealize the idea of control. We worship the successful Type A entrepreneur, politician, athlete, entertainer because they give us a false sense of control.
But trying to put walls up to “control” fear is an illusion just as futile as ignoring it.
In the eastern philosophical thought, it’s only by confronting our fears head on that we can truly stand up to them and find the freedom from fear that we all desire.
In the east there is reverence for those that have purposefully chosen to confront fear. Who have chosen to turn away from trying to “control” it. In doing so they have found a liberation from fear that few of us can understand, but so many of us want.
These “zen” masters are revered for their peace of mind and profound joy. They live without the need for possessions and comfort that keep the rest of us trapped.
In zen, by confronting fear, eventually all fears are revealed to come from the same source, the fear of uncertainty. Put simply it’s the fear of our own mortality. The big “uncontrollable.” When all is said and done, we are just trying to control our own mortality.
So is that the answer? Should you give your money and possessions away as a way to confront fear, to prepare yourself for the uncertainty of death?
Of course just because one is poor doesn’t mean you are free from fear. In fact, many in poverty are even more desperate to escape the fear they live in. It’s even more profound for them because the fear is immediate.
But what is very different in eastern philosophy is the reverence for those that choose poverty as a means to confront the fear of uncertainty.
In the east, it is understood that by seeking “negative” energy, one can emerge from the other side. Rather running from it, ignoring it or trying to control it, liberation can be found in surrounding yourself in “negative” energy.
It can be “positive” for you. It can cleanse you. It can offer peace, joy. It can free you from the need to “control” things.
It can bring zen,
That is the Type Zen way.