Place the fearful mind in the cradle of loving—kindness. Pema Chödrön
This message is a wonderful reminder of the power of mindfulness and a wide-open heart.
It is a reminder that we are held and we are safe. Keep moving forward even in the presence of the fearful mind.
I posted this quote on my Facebook page and asked people to share what it meant to them. You can see all the responses here and add one of your own.
ah………sigh of relief | Acceptance | Surrender into love | When we step out in love, faith, God will not only catch us but cradle us. | Be gentle with yourself. Nurture your needs and the fears will release. | It’s all gonna work out. I got you. | to love oneself and to be kind to oneself | …Foundational bed of compassion | Vibrancy and aliveness – that is the state in which the body truly desires to be. | As you love and do for others you will feel love and peace in your heart and soul | And we have known & believed the love God has to us. God is love. 1John 4:16 | There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear has torment. 1John 4:18 | placing of the brain in a wooden cradle
What does it mean to trust and accept the fear that we inevitably feel?
When I feel the grip of fear, I can lessen the grip by noticing that fear, feeling it. Breathing into it. Yep – I’m talking about getting closer to it. It is a very BRAVE thing to get closer to our fears.
Being mindful means that we are more open to trusting the present moment.
Mindfulness reminders seem to be everywhere these days. And yet SO many friends, family, and clients tell me that they can’t quiet the brain enough to be mindful. Mindfulness doesn’t mean that the mind is empty.
Watch the thoughts and stories about what is happening… The present moment may be full of all kinds of emotions, thoughts, and judgements. It may be full of paralyzing fear.
- Fear that brings out your aggression.
- Fear that distracts you from your goals.
- Fear that leads you to chose behaviors that let you numb out.
When we can be mindful about our fear, we might find that we gain some perspective and we may feel a little less tight and we find some courage.
We might even begin to notice that our limiting beliefs that keep us in fear and anxiety MAY NOT BE TRUE.
In order to feel less rigid and trapped by our fear, it can be very helpful to look at what we DO when we feel fear. Sure, there is the fight-flight-freeze reaction that is programed into our critter brains. Our ancestors needed these reactions to survive. And those survival instincts are important, but the reality is that in our western-living milieu, there typically is NOT a giant BEAR threatening us.
Still, when our first-world fears come up, it can truly feel like a bear is coming after us. So, when we aren’t practiced in being mindful of our fear, we REACT.
What do we often choose in the face of fear?
- Materialism: Do you tend to default to purely materialistic aspects when fear comes up and overrides attempts to be mindful? This looks like overspending, the pursuit of physical comfort, creating a sense of security and over-indulging the desire for pleasure.
- Attach to Rigid Beliefs: This is tricky because we can be fooled into linking our beliefs with our identity. Our beliefs can actually limit ourselves. I am talking about political, religious, pragmatic beliefs. If you find yourself with feelings of self-righteousness or indignation, that tension may be keeping your from letting your fears have less grip on your living your life.
- Escape to special states of mind: It can be easy to use special states of mind to hide behind when we feel fear. These include chemically induced states through drugs or alcohol. Even “spiritual” states brought about through yoga, meditation, prayer, centering practices, can be used as a way to try to skip engaging with our fears head on. We may “feel better” but we haven’t addressed the core – the feeling and root of the fear.
I mention these things only to bring your awareness to what you do when you feel fear. If you are going into judgement about yourself if you see yourself in these choices, I invite you to let that go. There is great personal power in identifying what your patterns are and how they are and are not serving you.
As the fearful mind shows up, notice it – greet it.
Would you consider:
- feeling the fears in your heart with loving-kindness?
- there is nothing inadequate about you for having those fears?
- perhaps beliefs that are keeping you in fear aren’t really TRUE?
- that the fear is an opportunity to evolve? To grow? To learn?
Trust the QUALITY of the experience – stay with the moment. Watching the mind (mindfulness) brings us back to the present moment.
“Place the fearful mind in the cradle of loving kindness…”
Peace be with you.