Thursday, October 3, 2013

Your October Meditation: Halloween and Other Fears

The first Thursday of each month I will offer you a meditation to use during that month. Here is the meditation for October. 

If you are afraid of something, you give it power.
                                        Moroccan Proverb

October is the month of ghosts and goblins. This is the month in which being scared is supposed to be fun, and opportunities to scare someone else are expected.  

I remember my toddler daughter or son holding on to my pant leg when I answered the door on Halloween night. I would move forward with the big graniteware bowl overflowing with candy in my arms, and Kate perhaps in her Wonder Woman pajamas or Geof in his Superman ones would peek around the door. They wanted to see what or who was on the front porch, but did they really? They were fearful, but also, fascinated and attracted to the realm of the scary at the same time. I think they knew real people, perhaps even people they knew, were behind the vampire mask or underneath the flowing white sheet, but at the moment they wanted to experience it from a safe distance. 

The next year, however, they started talking about Halloween costumes in the summer and eventually, they were the ones ringing the doorbell and dashing off to the next house laughing and teasing each other about "being so scared!" 

What happened to their fear? When did the fear become something to conquer? How did they know that being scared need not prevent them from moving forward? 

Fear and You
What about you? When have you been afraid? What have you done to conquer that fear? And was it worth it? 

At some time or another we are all afraid. After all, the human condition is scary. The question is, however, what do we do with the fear we experience? Is it possible to replace fear with faith? What would that look like in your life? 

A Meditation on the Role of Fear In Your Life
I invite you to sit in a quiet place and close your eyes, lightly, not tightly. Take a couple deep cleansing breaths and allow your body to relax into slow, even breathing. 

In this quiet, sacred, and safe place you create for yourself, invite a memory of when you were afraid as a child to appear. That memory is in the distance, outside of your safe place. 

Note the feelings you experienced then without feeling them now. That was then, this is now. You are safe, and there is no need to relive any fear you experienced as a child. Instead, that long ago fear can be your teacher. 

If you feel your body tense, especially in your shoulders, hands, or belly, remember to breathe deeply and fully and remember you are in a sacred and safe place. Remember, too, that you can open your eyes whenever you choose. 

As you continue to breathe steadily and evenly, look at the fear. If that fear is no longer in your life, how did you conquer it? How did conquering that fear teach you to respond to other fears in your life?

As you continue to breathe steadily and evenly, ask your heart to open to the possibility of releasing any fear that has room in your life now. What would that feel like? Be with that awareness and the feelings that surround the desire to live life with less fear. 

What do you need to move beyond and through fear? Imagine yourself with the courage to unlearn fears and the ability to seek help.  Imagine trusting your own inner wisdom. Open to these possibilities. 

Once again, take a couple deep cleansing, breaths and open your eyes, feeling safe and free. 

Take a few minutes to note, perhaps in a journal or by whispering to yourself, what you felt or learned during this brief time of meditation. What will you now bring into your life? 

A Blessing
May you trust your inner courage and wisdom. 

May fears be your teacher and lead you to a life in which you achieve your highest vision of yourself. 

May you feel surrounded by a spirit of growth and mindfulness, recognizing fear as a basic human emotion, which can lead us to the miracle of faith and love. 

Resources For Further Exploration
1.      Radical Acceptance, Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach, Ph.D, especially chapter seven, "Opening Our Heart in the Face of Fear." 

2.      The Right Questions, Ten Essential Questions to Guide You to an Extraordinary Life by Debbie Ford, especially chapter twelve, "Is This an Act of Faith or Is It an Act of Fear?"

3.      Healing Through the Dark Emotions, The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair by Miriam Greenspan, especially chapter seven "From Fear to Joy."

4.      Fear and Other Uninvited Guests, Tackling the Anxiety, Fear, and Shame That Keep us from Optimal Living and Loving by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.  

An Invitation
I welcome your thoughts about the role of fears in your life and also your comments about the meditation.     

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