What is that choice?
FEAR . . .
Them’s the choices, folks, contraction or expansion, cowering or courage, catatonia or creation. Which just goes to show: whatever “difficult issue” we are facing now — and there’s always something, eh? and damn! it feels impossible, and yet necessary! — let us observe the self standing at yet another crossroads. Which road to take?
Well, which choice feels expansive, which contractive? Which invites more of you to surface, show up, rather than relying on habit, custom, reputation, your hard work to fit inside some frame that, no matter how small or large, is over time guaranteed to feel like a cage, and you want out! So you bang your head, scoot your crib across the room. Or cry yourself to sleep. Or smile and pretend. Or feel like a martyr to the cause. Or eat, drink, do drugs, too much, too much, sleep it off, do more drugs to wake up, even more to fight off depression, and again to help you sleep. On and on, like a mouse on a treadmill, huffing and puffing to get that carrot dangling from somebody else’s stick.
So many ways we try to cram our burgeoning selves inside our little boxes!
So many ways to feel alone, rather than all-one!
In my long life, I remember a number of nodal intersections, when I chose fear, and worse: when I noticed myself choosing fear, noticed that I was being a coward for doing so, and doing it anyway. And from then on, until I snapped myself awake again, the memory of that conscious choice to feel afraid of consequences should I instead choose love, drained my world of aliveness. I hated myself, and projected that out onto the world, thinking I hated the world. But no. It was just me I was judging against, rigidly refusing to recognize that I was no longer in integrity. I had chosen the path that constrained freedom, that did not allow me to grow. I had made my bed, and now I was lying in it. And lying to myself in order to keep me there. Miserable.
In existentialism we used to call that state of mind “false consciousness.” When I google that phrase now, this comes up. Okay. “Bad faith.” Same idea.
The point is, as long as each of our decisions are not made with total integrity, we are in false consciousness, sliding along, doing the same thing we’ve always done, habit-bound, stuck. Because we’re afraid of the unknown! Afraid of what might happen should we choose love! At bottom, we’re afraid to die. Afraid to die to that old self, to let that old, false used-up persona go. So we contract, strive to stay the same, face frozen into frown or smile or smirk or worry, mind jerking aimlessly, anxious. We think we can know the future, can control it. Which of course, we don’t, and we can’t. We only know what’s happened before, and, no matter how “good” or “bad” it was, are striving to repeat! Because at least it was familiar! As if nothing’s changed meanwhile. As if we are little robots, acting out programs put into us by unseen hands. Which we are! Little robots, acting out societal programs that we ourselves have agreed to, either unconsciously (the usual case) or consciously, which makes it worse, far worse. That’s when we really end up hating ourselves. That’s what I mean by “false consciousness.” The actual knowledge that I have fucked up royally; and that the only way for me to get back on track, is to step off the path I’m on, because it’s a treadmill, going nowhere.
During my first marriage, the one that I agreed to in full false consciousness, “choosing,” by tossing a coin (can you believe!), to marry the wrong man, the one I admired but did not love, and knew it, thus lapsing into false consciousness “until death do us part” — finally, after a few years, I began to have incessant repeating dreams, of being on a treadmill, laboring, laboring, no end to it. And that’s ultimately, what helped me get off the treadmill. My soul spoke through my dreams, and finally, I listened.
To choose courage, opening, expansion, LOVE, is to move into the present moment fully, biting off way more than we can chew, engaging with our soul, indeed activating soul, which then, in turn ignites the world around us. It’s as if the world is an orchestra, and the conductor, your soul, has just arrived on the podium. He nods his head, raises his hand; the atmosphere is charged, electric! We begin, our soul and our world, to conspire, to breathe together, in unison, as one. Rising and falling together, endless waves upon the shore of eternity.
When we move into love, love makes the world go round, spiral into infinity! Truly! Magically. No stopping it. Doors open that were closed before. New doors appear that our authentic choices carve into being.
When we move into love the world applauds, meets us there, in full-on creation. Nothing stays static. All is in motion, charged, alive. A symphony of forms and colors and emergence, endlessly meaningful, opening into the vastness.
I began to reflect, once again, on our continuous human choice between love and fear this morning, thanks to Fred Burks, his latest newsletter. Two pieces he pointed to. First:
And a story of love that illustrates this principle. While it may seem bittersweet, pay attention to the larger significance. Unfortunately, the video does not seem to be downloadable here. You have to be on fb to view it.