When I first began learning about meditation and spirituality about nine years ago, I had a mistaken notion of fearlessness, as many of us in this world do. Fearlessness is often associated with a state of ferocity, an amped up state. Or a type of boldness. Ani Pema Chödrön was the first explicitly spiritual thought leader I studied; she taught about a fearlessness which arises from bodhichitta—enlightened heart and mind. I did not get this for a looooooooong time. Before her, I dabbled in great people of history such as Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, and Clara Barton. These people exemplified fearlessness. At nine years of age, I was introduced to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These people also exemplified fearlessness. Friedrich Nietzsche, Simone de Beauvoir, Kahlil Gibran. What is this fearlessness? The audacity to say whatever is on your mind? A radically different character? The ability to produce some great work in the face of a society which refuses to accept it until maybe it’s posthumous? Surviving something traumatic? What is fearlessness to you?
Many people say that I have been fearless for what I have survived in the first two decades of my life. In truth, I did not discover true fearlessness until I reached my third decade—the kind of fearlessness which arises out of clarity. For nearly a decade of attempting to be the kind of person who meditates on a regular basis, my perfectionistic nature called it out as bollocks. It wasn’t until I walked into a group meditation with people much, much older than I, that this grasshopper finally got it. The keywords were: “It’s okay if you get restless, you can get up and walk around.”
I forget which book I found this in, but there was a statement I read somewhere that willingness, not perfection is required. The practice of meditation requires the willingness to keep coming back. It’s okay if you falter, fall, fail, or get up. When you return, you understand that you did nothing wrong.
The space of clarity which has recently opened up to me has come through making an honest effort to connect to people, be present without a cell phone on the dinner table, play more, dare to partake in activities I may feel shy about, give things my best shot, and meditate daily.
In the arena of creating, I previously felt stifled and cramped. Since my day of being an art school drop out, I always blamed it on money and the early circumstances of my life. From there on forth, I always justified everything by the cost of it. How much time, effort, and physical resources will something take? What will it take to get that back? When I first launched my YouTube channel, I was doing it as an expression without any real boundaries or hangups about anything. That was fearless. It was absent of fear of money, what people would think of me, or what I would get out of it and it was purely creative. The moment I ventured to see if I could dare to create as an entrepreneur, I ran into my walls of judgments I had developed around the premise of prosperity.
When I unlatched myself from perfectionistic tendencies and rediscovered what prosperity really meant for me, creating became fun again. Fun. Yes, anyone can burn out on just about anything they give a lot of time and attention to. You can burn out working your dream job, being in a relationship with someone who strews legos all over the floors, being a spouse, being a parent, being spiritual, and nearly anything.
Prosperity to me came in knowing that, if I was dead broke and hanging on to my last $5, I could still drop everything for twenty-minutes, sit with my feelings as-is, and reap the abundant rewards of clarity afterward. With the beautiful benefit of my phone bill being up to date, I could pick up the phone and check up on a dear friend having emotional difficulties facing a bully boss. Rather than being intimidated by student loans and credit card debts, one could be grateful that those debts carried them through those times and make higher education possible. When I felt anxious after having a job interview, I sat with my feelings in meditation amongst the climbing ivy plants, geraniums, peach tree, and other delightful expressions of nature in the garden. When I opened up my eyes, I realized that, regardless of whether I landed it or not, I was grateful for the opportunity that I had.
Fearlessness arises out of presence. When nothing is holding you back from being fully present right where you are, there isn’t an absolute absence of reasons to fear, but a willingness to be here anyway. Can you play with friends at the beach without being afraid of your work performance, what happened throughout your day, what happened before, what might be looming just ahead, or anything? Can you just be there and play?
One of my first very vivid transcendental moments happened when someone gave me my first drumming lesson. They wanted me to count the rhythm aloud and I was so self-conscious about it, I was laughing hysterically. After I took a few breaths and kept bringing my mind from out there back to the drums a few times over, my mind blanked out until I heard a voice exclaiming, “You’re playing the drums!”
If your mind is constantly chattering, thinking about the past or future, and going everywhere else except here, you’re not really going to be as powerful and fearless as you can be. This isn’t the type of power and fearlessness like a silverback gorilla beating its chest. It’s the power and fearlessness of presence. You can access a vast store of energy and potential when you are in this frame of mind, focused on the willingness to constantly return and not the perfection of always being present (which, no human being is capable of, not even Buddhist monks of forty years or seventy). The more you bring yourself back, the stronger your grasp will be, of an ineffable calm and okayness with whatever could possibly happen.
The thing is, you don’t need to be a hermit on a mountaintop to practice being present. You can be present anywhere you are. In a big city, on a farm, on the beach. Anywhere. Any time. Your joyful aliveness and wellbeing are not contingent on any specific amount of money, any way that you need to look or to be, or anything your mind could come up with in the present moment to tell you that you should be anywhere but here, now. In most non-life-threatening cases, the mind is making shit up. Fearlessness is something which arises most naturally without cajoling, coercion, or force when you feel the most free. Free to be who you are, live the way you live, and free to simply be.
What I shared with you yesterday in the Body Wise post and what I am sharing with you today are my way of helping you to clarify your vibrational frequency and call in the prosperity, joy, love, success, and healing you wish to have in life. We all want these things, Beloved. To have them, we must align. This is a part of a little series I was inspired to share with you.