I smiled at my fear

My daughter Meisha is fearless. She is only 20 months old. She is not even speaking yet. But if you look into her eyes, you can see her jet black eyes piercing straight into your soul. When I look into her eyes I see those deep eyes, and I also see love just oozing out of them. Me and my wife keep jokingly telling everyone that this girl is going to have us all wrapped around her little finger.

Fear just doesn’t seem to be present in her. She is willing to jump from high places. She wants to be held up in my arms and turned and twisted and swung around the place. She has the gumption to snatch up her elder brothers toys when he is totally engrossed in his play. And when he bursts out in tears, she will look at him with a half smile and go back and give his toy back to him. She puts up a solid fight when he attempts to snatch away her things. She knows her mind. Once she has decided what she wants, there is no turning away.

The most amazing thing is that when she calls out to us, she does it in a very special sing-song way. When she is saying ‘papa’, the word will be spoken in two tones - the first syllable ‘pa’ will be spoken a little louder and very rapidly, and the second ‘pa’ will follow much softer and elongated. It is extremely endearing. She does this for everyone in the family.

The question I ask myself is that what will it take me to be fearless like her?
It reminds me of my favourite quote - love and fear are opposites of each other, they cannot co-exist.
So, the question really is what will it take me to truly feel love?

We just returned from a lovely weekend at my family’s farmhouse in Mulshi. As we were driving back to Pune, the slanting rays of the evening sun were lighting up the fields and trees on both sides of the road. Nature was glowing. It an amazing sight. The trip had been a much needed break and I was able to completely relax.

In that state of mind, I had an interesting experience. One part of me was completely relaxed. Yet, there was another side me that I could also clearly feel. It was fear. It was like a hairy, thorny, and heavy ball that seemed to be lurking somewhere inside me. The interesting thing was that I could clearly experience it. I could almost see it as though it were a separate part of me. Immediately I knew it had always been there. Always. Right from the time I came out from my mother’s womb, it was there. And slowly as the events of my childhood unfurled, the ball kept gathering more and more mass and kept getting bigger and bigger.

The ball is made up of random fears I have accumulated.
What will they think of me?
What if my partner, my friend, my parents, stop liking me?
What if my decision is wrong?
What if I fail?
What if I lose all these things and people that I love?
What if I am alone?

These fears are like a background noise, like the hum of the generator in the building. They keep running in the background. We have to speak louder or almost shout to get our point across. It feels like a struggle. Its tiring and drains our energy. When we are completely relaxed and silent, can we hear the background noise clearly. When we understand that the noise is there, we may choose to communicate differently, maybe using our hands to make gestures. And the job gets done with a fraction of the effort!

That evening, as I was driving back, I could look at the ball clearly. Just looking at it gave me a sense of fearlessness. Mind you, the fear was still there. It had not gone away. But I could clearly see that it was there. Seeing it so clearly gave me a sense of power over it.

I realised that most of the time I had lived my life unconscious of the background noise. I had allowed it to become a part of me. Often I had resisted it and shouted and struggled. My fears and past experiences were unconsciously driving and controlling every thing I did, every decision I made. It was like a heavy weight tied to my and prevented me from experiencing freedom, from truly feeling love and caring.

Awareness of the presence of the ball of fear gave me a sense of freedom. I could see it, know that it’s there, accept it, and yet understand that it is separate from me. The real me. The me that is fearless.

Yes, its true. We are all born fearless. In our core being, we are fearless. We are a part of nature, and nature is fearless. Cautious at times, but fearless.

You too can try. Take some time to relax. Completely unwind. And see if you become aware of that furry ball. Just look at it. See if you can smile at it.

And let me know what happens….