buddhism, fear, mind, Personal Reflections

On Fear and the Inclination of the Mind

As I sit in a once elegant but now abused and rundown upholstered chair in the waiting-room of a dirty and dark mechanics shop I have the opportunity to consider my recent experience of fear.

“My car has passed away!”… Or so my mind has flung me. “My car has passed away,  or will shortly. I will never be able to afford the repairs it needs.” Often at night, more often while driving, the attraction of this dark and hopeless future would seduce me.

Next my head skips from living in this most likely to be realized and despair infused future to its preferred mode of Judge of all things moral.

“I’m a decent person, hardworking, sincere. Heck,  I’m a Buddhist for heavens sake! Not captured by materialism and filled with metta for all creatures. Don’t I deserve a running car? Perhaps not one with a heated seat, but at least one that doesn’t overheat at every stop sign!”

The absurdity of these thoughts does not escape me, but neither can I seem to escape them. I know it’s ridiculous but somehow allowing myself to indulge in this way of thinking seems to temporarily relieve the pain of the fear. But, even this relief is fleeting,  and so I fling myself a new way, a new relief to be found.

“No, it my fault. I deserve this. I don’t take care of my car as I should. I don’t get regular oil changes, and I wait til the last possible moment to get repairs done. What has befallen me is my own doing. I am reaping what I have sown. Karma is true, my suffering is it’s validation. ”

Just like one naturally prods a toothache, causing pain but curiously also causing relief, my mind takesme here again and again.

Always, by reacting to the fear in these ways, by living in a future of my minds making and by trying to create a narrative which casts me as saintly victim or self-destructive fool I make a fetish object of my fear. I do not simply live with the fear. I do not have dinner with the fear and come to peace with it. I dress it up in theses ornate clothes of future doom or moral and cosmic karmic justice.

This is the inclination of mind.



One thought on “On Fear and the Inclination of the Mind

  1. I’ve been there too — fear of loss of possessions leads to self-righteous indignation of the most base kind. I took care of my old van but it died two years ago and the year prior to its demise I worrried and feared what was inevitable. When it broke down I wept buckets of tears — why me? I’m a nice person. I give hitchkiers rides, I don’t use the van unless I really need to. I walk most places. Why can’t this happen soneone else who has savings and can replace their vehicle? Why can’t this happen to someone who lives in a city and has access to public transit? spin … spin … spin

    Posted by timethief | May 4, 2012, 2:48 pm

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