“Listen to what you know instead of what you fear” – Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
“Most human beings are psychotic. They know what they want but they do the very thing that is guaranteed to prevent them from getting it.” Such was the observation offered by a wise and dear friend who, after spending years in silence and meditation, is in a better position than most of us to witness what we as human beings do to sabotage our own happiness.
Most of us seem to exist perpetually in one of two states: either we are so preoccupied with our idea of how things are meant to be that we often miss the very thing we have been yearning for even when it is right in front of us; or we recognise it when we see it, panic and flee in fear to protect our egoic story, stay in our safety zone and convince ourselves that maybe its not what we really wanted anyway. Its madness!
Somewhere along the way, we’ve conditioned ourselves to look first for what’s wrong with a person, a situation or an event rather than what’s right and as the stakes get higher our attachment to our head-based resistance gets deeper – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Nowhere is this polarity more pronounced than in the relationship between Love and Fear. The more we expose our heart, the greater the fear of rejection. Fear is Love’s dance partner, and the dance is an elusive tango of foreplay, seduction and shadow. I know this dance so well…
For me, a big part of this year has been about stepping out of my comfort zone and into fear, or in the very least discomfort and anxiety – keeping my heart open and trusting and acting on what I feel – with parched mouth, palms sweating and heart pounding… It is not easy! What’s easy is to stay in our heads and allow limiting beliefs, excuses and/or details of our day-to-day busy lives to justify our decisions. But when I look back, it is the times I rationalised, analysed and second-guessed my feelings that are the decisions I later regretted. I have never once regretted one spontaneous decision made from my heart and my initial gut instinct has never led me astray. And neither has yours. When it comes from the heart, it is never wrong.
And though it requires vigilance to keep our hearts open so that we may determine our lives from an outcome based on deep, rich, long-term fulfilment as opposed to instant daily gratification, it is only when we lead our lives from our hearts instead of our heads that we discover the true riches that life offers. As Henry David Thoreau said, “… I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…to put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Earlier this year, I was asked to identify what I valued above all else. My answer was freedom. In that same exercise I was asked to identify what I desired more than anything else. My answer was love. At the time, I was challenged that perhaps the reason I had been out of a relationship for so long was that I was overvaluing freedom and the two values were in conflict. I considered that argument for some time – to the point that I even took freedom off my list completely – but I have now come to realise that freedom and love, at their deepest levels, are one and the same.
We can only experience the deep and profound love, joy and fulfilment that is within our capacity as human beings when we surrender to our hearts longing and let go of all of our presuppositions that predicate a “no” before a “yes!” When the fear of rejection, or failure, or not being enough or not knowing the outcome start screaming in your ear and telling you to run, and you respond by holding your ground, staying present and opening your heart even wider still, that is when deep unfettered joy, peace and love can pierce through our many masks of defence and allow our spirit to truly soar.
When your heart invites you in, say YES! And trust the ‘how?’ will work itself out. You don’t need to know ‘how’. Just say yes. And have faith.
When you think you don’t know, that is when you do know. And when you fear, you must.