Imagine yourself alone in the middle of a field. The field is surrounded by dense forest and you can’t see beyond the first lines of trees and foliage. You are prepared: you are wearing your favorite boots, resilient pants, flexible top. You brought a good knife to pave a path through the forest and ward off any attackers. You feel strong and attractive. But… where do you go? Just go in blind? No, you need to know where you’re going, lest you spend all your good preparation on a wasteful journey. And worse, it would take twice as much from your resources to turn back around and start cutting a different path if you were to change your mind. No, better to know upfront, so you don’t get stuck with any mistake you may make. Let’s not move until you figure out what destiny awaits. In the meantime, you hear noises coming from the forest and you see some movement in the leaves. What’s that? Friend or foe? If foe, can I ward them off, or perhaps avoid? If friend, is their path a good one to follow also? Perhaps we could journey together. Do I stay or do I go?
This little story is a metaphor for a state of mind that I have endured for many years of my life. It is analysis paralysis, fueled by depression and great angst. It is the ‘freeze’ response to imagined danger, and this imagined danger is, at heart, a fear of the world. A fear that great cannot be fought, it cannot be fled from, and it cannot be waited out. There is no solution to it, as long as we remain fixated on this fear. Faith in the world, in the self, or in any other ‘thing’ is not the solution either, as trying to find a solution is, in itself, the problem, and is still a fixation on fear. Faith is no solution at all; instead it simply is. We are where we are on our journey because it is exactly where we were meant to be. With this understanding, – and it is an understanding one can only experience, not read or be told – you can respect the world, this includes oneself, within its bounds, and lose the egoic need to control the outcome.
Today, I have found that going anywhere at all – as long as I am moving with intent – is the answer to this dilemma. It matters not if I ‘know’ what lies ahead. In all likelihood, I’d be wrong anyway. We cannot predict the future, and attempting to do so is delusional – we are not God, we cannot know – and that is the work of the type 6 devil in each of us. So be afraid, nod at it knowing that it is there to trick you, and step forward anyway.