“Some sages say we should leave fear behind but I’d rather have it right out there in front of me where I can keep an eye on it” ~Two-bit Guru~
About a year ago, I wrote about Japanese beetles among the raspberries and contemplated making peace with them by accepting their existence as being as valid as my own. The year before that I was quite mad at them, the shiny little metallic-looking iridescent Invaders. What gave these little jackasses the right to gnaw on the leaves of my plants?
This year I wasn’t mad at them at all, even in the face of a large number of severely ravaged leaves and a couple of beetles I found munching on the fruit itself. I feel relieved that my attitude toward these beautiful little bugs has changed. I am intrigued about the why.
I seldom get angry about anything these days, and that was pretty much true of me for years before, too. I doubt that the “why” has anything to do with my becoming mellow with age. What then, I ask myself, is the difference?
Two years ago I put in the raspberries after a hiatus of a few decades without them. I felt as though I’d never raised raspberries before in my life. Since I take my gardening seriously, I was edgy in anticipation of a possible failure in growing them. That apprehension seems silly now, when I look at the healthy canes producing raspberries galore.
I have long believed, and proclaimed, that fear is the progenitor of anger, and here was a perfect example. When we feel fear we are in panic mode, to a greater or lesser degree. We are likely to react to the fear with outward anger as the only resort, just like when we were five years old. That all seemed to make sense to me for a long time, but now it seems like an incomplete analysis. Why would we have the fear in the first place?
The answer came to me in meditation when I wasn’t thinking about it at all. Fear comes from a feeling of helplessness. When we learned fear as children we learned it because we felt helpless. As we grew older we lost touch with the true feeling, helplessness, and the symptom of perceived helplessness, fear. As adults we release anger with the mistaken assumption that somebody or something else is causing it.
Two years ago, feeling helpless when confronted with a bunch of little beetles, I got mad at them. How limited we are when we are unable to remain adults and instead resort to being five year-old children. How free we become when we learn to release ourselves from the prison of helplessness, fear, and anger.