Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What You Fear Most: A Spiritual Jab to the Heart

When I was a child, I was afraid of the dark. But when I grew up, I, like St. Paul, put away childish things. Or at least I thought I did. What I discovered on my way to 'adulthood' was that I had put on the habit of fear so tightly, it had become as an old friend, watching out for me, keeping me safe, saying, "There, there. You don't have to do anything. I will will keep you safe and hidden." I got tired of that. But like my cigarettes, it was a hard habit to break.

I got rid of the cigarettes. Fear has taken a bit longer.

Turns out, the real challenge is not in being afraid of the dark, but of the light. Everything shows up in the light; all the spots and wrinkles and warts. All the stuff that was easily hidden in the dark. Turning on the light can make me very vulnerable indeed. No thanks, most say. But not me.

I have chosen to step into the light. It doesn't make me holy or enlightened or a guru. It makes me small; it humbles me; it reveals me. And at times, I turn away from the light. There is so much to be revealed that I have chosen to avoid for many years.

Still, I am curious. What is really hidden down there in those dark recesses of mind, heart, and habit? Let's look...

Ah, regret. And worry. Oh, and a sense of rejection. A little, maybe a lot, of self hatred. And more self pity than I can get my mind around. Some anger, unforgiveness, judgment, a little prejudice. Some nasty scars from childhood and even later. A few lies I've told, a cheat here and there.

My stuff shows itself in the light. In all its raging color, its shock, its reality, its bumpiness.

No wonder most people don't let their light shine. It reveals too much. It opens them up to ridicule, to more rejection. And that's just from themselves. No telling how all that revelation will affect the others in my life, eh? Nope, can't--won't--do it, they say. I'm in the dark.

In spite of myself, I will step into that light. I will face it all. I have to. No one can face it for me. And something tells me I will be better for it in the long run, if I just step into the light.

And yet, the darkness hides me. It's rather comfy here. Maybe I'll wait a little longer.

I'm too frightening to face right now.

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