Regarding the previous (Dec 20, 2022 "What Are We to Do?") blog, one serious meditator wrote that he found it "challenging" when he was aware of both small self and Self, and had to remind himself of equanimity, to help accept the need for both.
Another serious meditator, wrote that she's aware of (negative, fear-motivated) self-talk, and how it's destructive to that ‘silent, still, peaceful Self,’ She can, at times, stay in touch with that still Self. And then fear rises up and is so loud it causes a rushing sound in her head.
Both of these are very insightful - the fruit of growing levels of mindfulness.
It's fascinating how fear activates, tries to bring us back into, & keep us in FEAR-based, narrowly self-focused, left-hemisphere-dominant, self-preservation doing mode ('self'), whenever we shift into our true, authentic, LOVE-based, 'Self': spacious, broadly-connected, right-hemisphere-dominant being mode.
"... the only thing we have to fear is ... fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 inaugural address
We habitually get anxious about the anxiety we experience, depressed about depression, AND afraid of fear! We tend to have an automatic fight, flight or freeze reaction to fear itself. This creates a LOT of unnecessary ('discretionary') suffering.
But mindfulness teaches us to intentionally shift from "fight, flight, freeze" to "tend & befriend" ie to be curious, accept, work skillfully, and thus eventually become intimate with EVERYTHING we experience, which naturally includes "difficult emotions."
This is a shift in identity from completely identifying with our mistaken identity of being ONLY a "hurt child" to our true identity of being a "wise elder" who is spacious enough to accept & nurture a hurt child "part" (or subpersonality - see: Richard C. Schwartz. "No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model." Sounds True, 2021.)
"Essential well-being is not found by calming our minds or by changing our thoughts or attitudes, but actually by shifting out of our chattering minds and into a freedom that is already available." Loch Kelly
“Here are the best two things I’ve learned about fear – and this is really going to scramble your brain:
If you try to conquer & overcome fear, that effort will either run, or ultimately ruin your life.
But if you embrace fear, that effort will turn fear into one of the greatest experiences you have here on planet earth."
Kristen Ulmer, for 12 years the best female big mountain extreme skier in the world; the outdoor industry voted her the most extreme “fearless” woman athlete in North America; mogul specialist on the US Ski Team; US Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame inductee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGSuA80A7YQ
"To be enlightened is to be intimate with all things." Zen Master Dogen
"I was born
when all I once feared
I could love.” Rabia Basri
"Nothing in life is to be feared,
it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that
we may fear less."
Marie Curie, Nobel Prizes in Physics, & Chemistry
“Sometimes we need a gentle shift to continue our journey in the right direction that supports our growth. Ending the un-winnable war with fear and making friends with it instead, is one of those shifts.”
Kristen Ulmer. “The Art of Fear: Why Conquering Fear Won’t Work and What to Do Instead.” Harper Wave, 2018.
"... relax, allow life to be as it is, & open your heart to yourself. It’s
easier than you might think, and it could change your life.”
Kristin Neff. “Self-Compassion. The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.” HarperCollins, 2011.