Why? What is missing? We were focused on our goal, and had every intention of completing this work. Why, then, does it not come to fruition?
Epictetus offers that we meet hindrances because of our attachment to the past, and the ego-stories therein. Additionally, he says that, in each moment, over and over, we simply need to begin, and begin again. That is the “real” work. (Discourses, 2.19.29-34)
So… let’s begin.
What attaches us to the past? One thing is: Fear.
Imagine, in your mind’s eye, an unruly child. Imagine yourself, perhaps, as this unruly child, and think of a time when, early in life, you felt fear… the fear of trying something because you were afraid you’d fail. Being afraid of unknown outcomes is natural; however, being controlled by those fears, while “natural”, is a basal response, lacking the nuances of maturity and the heart of a Courage-filled person.
A friend of mine, L. Carlson, long ago told me that, “Fear is an acronym. Fantasy Experienced As Reality.” I’m not sure if he was the one who came up with this phrase, or if he was simply the conduit of this wisdom; however, that’s not important. What IS important is we continually connect to REALITY, not our fears.
Using the example of the unruly child, those fear-based failures aren’t usually related to moments with great consequence. Monkey-bars, tree-climbing, and childish things have less-important consequences… but until we master this fear-of-failure, that fear affects the choices we make (or don’t make) as adults, where consequences are much more costly.
Fear of failing is crippling, sometimes, but while intense, it’s fantasy, not reality.
So… let’s begin again.
Fear is connected to, guess what… that’s right! Our EGOs! (Saw that coming, didn’t ya?)
Ego, like fear is nothing but illusion that steals our power; a gaslit lie of self-anointed poison.
What we need to combat fear is actual confidence, a trait that comes from always getting back to our feet ONE more time that we get knocked down. It doesn’t have to be elegant, easy, or epic… it just has to happen.
The Japanese have a perfectly applicable cultural proverb for this idea. The romaji (Japanese sounds using Latin script) is:
(literally: Seven falls, eight getting up)
It’s that ego-free confidence that lies at the heart of the “real” work.
So… let’s begin again, AGAIN. Shall we?
(See y’all tomorrow)