Before these experiences happened I would have told you that I had very little fear. And what I discovered through this experience was just how good I had gotten at stuffing the fear down and trying to ignore it. Like the story about how if you try to push a ballon under water you can hold it under for awhile but it is always trying to push its way back up to the surface. This fear I hold is the same. I can push it down but eventually it will pop back up.
I became aware of a pilot light of fear I hold inside me. I call it a pilot light because it is a very small, unnoticeable flame. A pilot light is used in the world for things like gas stoves and fireplaces. It is a tiny flame you light once so that it is at the ready for when ever you want to use your stove top or your fireplace. The flame is lit already so when you want to use the stove you don’t have to relight it you simply add more gas.
When I have thoughts of fear I can feel the pilot light getting fed so that the flame is very large. You know this flame of fear. Either you still have it or you can remember back to what it felt like when you did.
I became very attuned to this pilot light of fear while I was at day six of a 10 day silent meditation retreat. I had completed about 50 hours of meditation in 5 days. During this sixth day I was going through a scanning technique where I scanned every inch of my body. This day I was sitting with my arms crossed over my body. As I scanned my left arm I was moving my attention down my lower arm to my hand. As I got almost to the hand I felt this fear feeling. I backed up and the fear feeling went away. Hmm I thought that was weird? So I started back doing the scanning down the lower arm toward the hand and again, there it is! that fear feeling. Hmm ok let’s just continue the scanning. So I got to the other arm and as I scan towards the right hand again, the fear feeling. So I repeated the backing up and continuing and again the fear feeling. I continued to observe the feelings, sensations in the body and discovered the feeling of fear wasn’t in my arms but in my solar plexus, my lower chest and it was always there. I couldn’t find any thought in the mind at the time that was causing it. It was just always on.
I was much more attune to the pilot light of fear during that time then I am during my normal life. I find that spending so much time in silent meditation tends to amplify my awareness to the present, to the sensations in the body, to the thoughts in the mind.
During Day 7 I noticed something that seemed odd to me that fed that flame. What I noticed was when I walked by my car during that day I felt the pilot light be fed. Really? My car feeds the pilot light of fear? I stopped and recalled what my thoughts were at the time. I had thought about how the car would take me home once the retreat was over. I found that I thought of my car as security, Then there was the thought “what if the car doesn’t start after 2 weeks of sitting here?” there goes the way home I had planned and the security I felt with my plan working out. And those were the thoughts that fed the pilot light of fear.
Weeks later, after I was back to life as usual, I needed to drive to the next town on business. I noticed that I held fear about my car breaking down during the trip home. My car was in perfect shape and there was no imminent reason to think it would breakdown, and it didn’t. But I started to look at why I feared the possibility of that happening. I saw that I had in my mind already decided what was supposed to happen. My car was supposed to work perfectly. And I saw that when I thought about my plan not working out, any derivation from what my plan was supposed to be was bad. I felt the pilot light of fear grow in me when I thought about my plan not working out.
It wasn’t until I read something in The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament (NTI) that I realized what the root of this fear was from. Why did I feel so much fear when I thought about my plan not working out? I saw my security and safety being destroyed. I would no longer be safe and secure.
What I read in NTI was Luke12. In (v 29-32) I came to paragraph 5 “Let Me lead you to both safety and security, which [security] is known through the knowledge of your safety. Safety comes from the guarantee of who you are. The knowledge of your safety takes away all images of fear. In knowing your Self you can know no fear.”
Ahhh yes, it clicked for me! I had been confused. I was believing my security comes from the outside world. I was believing my plan working out brings me security. I was believing my car working perfectly brings me security. But what Jesus is teaching me is that my security comes from knowing in my heart, knowing the truth to be, that my security comes from knowing who I am. That I am always safe. Only in my illusions of being something that I am not can I erroneously think I am not safe. That in truth no harm can come to me because I am the Son of God. I rest safely and gently in God’s mind.
I do believe that as I accept this truth, that my safety and security comes from my knowing and accepting and believing without a doubt that my safety and security are guaranteed in who I am that the pilot light of fear will be extinguished forever.
When I am aware of the pilot light of fear being fed I willingly remember my Self, that knowing of who I truly am brings me relief and squelches the pilot light of fear.
Here’s to living fearlessly!