5 Ways to Freedom with Fear & Anxiety
Here are 5 guidelines to generate compassion in these times, and in this, avoiding falling into the hell zone of pure dread.
1. Compassion for Compassion
Compassion is about what is here, now. If you experience fear, disgust, rage or a sense of despair, then the first and most clear object of your compassion must be these feelings. Relaxing the body, you can even give these feeling a voice like the growl of a dog or the cry of an animal in pain. Let your own, free awareness be the source of compassion. Let the feelings move through your awareness, without trying to grasp them, fix them, or repress them.
2. Compassion Moves
Compassion is a movement of energy through the source of all you are and the rest of all you are. Let the compassion flow, into the steering wheel of your car as you drive, through your feet into the ground as you walk, towards the trees and the living nature that is everywhere around, unnoticed by the human field, even in the densest urban precincts. Let the care move through your hands as you touch an animal or even touch the edge of your chair. Fear and anger shrinks you into a body, compassion returns you to the whole physical environment.
3. Disinvesting Negativity
There’s a good chance that if there is someone that embodies a major threat to you, that there are many others that remind you of him. Ugliness is everywhere and in our pain, we can begin to create a whole perceptive landscape filled with ugly behaviors, people, architecture and other evidences of the ugliness of the whole. In no time, we begin to look and behave pretty ugly ourselves. Next time you catch yourself in the grip of these fields of negativity, try noticing the beauty. Even the most horrible person has an innocence in their little finger. Even the most powerful tyrant is breathing in and out, like a helpless baby. There is always a detail to keep the window of compassion open. Compassion is your birth-right, don’t let it be hijacked by horror.
4. True Nature
The greatest threat by all parties of humankind right now is towards the planet itself. In the rift between humanity and the whole, we find the greatest dread and the most horrific structure of arrogance and power. A good way to step out of the insanity of human is to honor nature both inside and outside of ourselves – the water, the earth element, the air element and the fire (heat). Nature is alive all around and through us, yet we are programmed to ignore it.
If you find yourself caught in our woeful human entanglements, try just three mindful breaths. Breath in all that is human right now, and breath out nature. Breath in what is here, in you, as human, and slowly breath out all that is nature – the trees, rivers, clouds, sky, mountains, animals, fish and distant galaxies.
5. Be 4 Real
Last and perhaps most importantly, remember that compassion is always out of the and-and. It’s about togetherness, being ‘with’ whatever is anyway already here. Compassion is not a means to escape, a means to defeat or a means to confront. It’s as important to our physical and psycho-spiritual well-being as oxygen and regardless of any conflict we’re engaged in, it can be in the picture as well. It doesn’t take sides, but rather, it’s a paradigm shift which is possible inwardly, behind every fight.
*Featured image from the wonderful Tenzin Dhondup, who photographs and shares the beauty of the natural environment of Tibet. Bird images: Bart ten Berge.
“Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”― Albert Einstein