March 27, 2022

 My goodness but my self-preservation instinct is strong! I’ve been watching for a number of years now how it has been getting triggered, probably because I’m middle-aged now and I am watching the inevitable physical decline and death of many people I’ve known for years. Inevitably, this brings out my superego and triggers my self-pres instinct. It’s a pain in the ass and also pretty amazing how much the combination of superego and fear can warp my sense of reality. They are a powerful combination and I get why so many people are on antidepressants and antianxiety meds. Fortunately, I have my spiritual practice because without the three legs of the stool (meditation, inquiry and sensing), I would be old before my time and heavily medicated.

At its worst, the fear/superego combo can be paralyzing and make me doubt everything I’ve learned and experienced over the years. Again, thanks to my practice, I can recognize it and counteract the effects. I am still amazed by how powerful the warping effect of the combo is - it really distorts reality in such a believable way. It spurs the question: How do I know what is real and what is distortion? After sitting with this question, I come to this answer: Openness v. Closedness. When I’m in the grips of a fear spiral, I am closed. When I am in touch with reality, my inner state is open. My mind and heart are open. Also, I have a sense of humor. In the fear spiral, the world shrinks and becomes darker, more menacing. When I’m open, the world is bright and light, there is possibility. Another thing: When I’m open, I welcome whatever Reality is offering as a gift, even if it’s difficult, painful or unpleasant. There is a confidence that a path will be revealed. In the fear spiral, everything feels like a dead end that leads deeper into despair. It is smothering, choking. A morass.

These are good discriminations to make and are very useful. Again, I have my practice to thank for this. Simply doing the sitting practice is usually enough to awaken me to the ground of Being. Being is fundamentally benevolent and it’s not passive. Invariably, when I’m in need of a good kick in the pants, Being is there. It always acts with compassion…and force when necessary. This ability to rely on the support and benevolence of Being has a deep impact on me and helps to realign me to the Truth. It’s like recalibrating a compass.

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