How to Be Secure in An Insecure World
Most of us believe that our happiness and security are dependent upon our relationships, work, income and the external events that take place in our lives.
When things are going well there is a sense of well-being and safety.
We sleep well at night, wake up feeling refreshed and have the sense that the world can be managed - that we are in control.
However, this kind of security is fleeting, not grounded in the deepest truth. As people and events are constantly changing, we are often edgy about what's coming down the road.
We then spend our precious time and energy trying to manage and control ourselves, others, the whole world. This craze to control takes many forms, it turns into addictions, compulsions, catastrophic thinking.
It leads to strange, unhappy relationships and produces anxiety that never seems to dissolve. No matter how much we attempt to plan and organize, the larger force of life itself, often has its own ideas. Our life then soon becomes an endless struggle, rather than a source of joy.
A deeper question then arises - if not I, then who or what is in control? How can I feel secure in an insecure world? Where can I place my trust?
These questions have been asked and answered for centuries and different responses have been made, both from the world of psychology and spirituality. Particularly when we live a world full of upheaval, the answer to these questions needs to be known.
The answer is actually simple. It lies in our deep need to develop Authentic Faith, faith in life, oneself, or a higher power - the kind of faith that becomes our flesh and bones.
Hand-me-down beliefs, structures, words, habits and behaviors no longer fill the bill.
As the old Zen saying goes, "Painted cakes do not satisfy hunger." We urgently crave the real thing.
Authentic Faith is not based upon hearsay or old worn out habits. It allows us to release stress, stay centered, and develop a new source of support and worth.
Authentic Faith restores our original strength to us, opens new ways of responding and shows where our real treasure lies. As we become able to live from this basis, our life takes a completely different turn.
There is a process involved in developing this faith. We have to start by un-learning much of what we've based our lives upon. There are steps to be taken. They are directed to letting go of that which is in the way of our intrinsic balance and good-will.
Different individuals will warm to different parts of the process. That is fine. Each step when done completely can take a person just where they need to be. Some basic, initial principles and steps will be offered here.
Beginning Steps for Developing Authentic Faith - Returning Home
To begin, rather than racing forward, we stop and turn around. Some call this returning to our original nature. We describe this step as Returning Home.
Rather than continue our frantic search for pleasure, wealth, love, well-being in the external world, this step suggests that we return home to ourselves.
We take back our attention from all events and people and return it to who, what, and where we are at this moment. As we do this a centeredness, balance and simplicity takes the place of the upheaval we live with most of the time.
This step is based upon the principle that difficulties we encounter do not arise from that which is going on outside of us, but from the way we react and respond.
As we return home and we become aware of these reactions, we receive a strong glimpse of where our true security lies.
Returning home can include times of walking, meditation, centering, focusing, journaling. All of these have the common denominator of placing our attention back upon ourselves, our breath, feelings, thoughts, sensations - of becoming acquainted with who we truly are, making, friends, becoming intimate.
This not only restores our energy, but significantly reduces the endless spin of catastrophic thinking most of us engage in. As we do this we notice it is the catastrophic thinking itself that makes us uneasy, creates scenarios we react to as though they have already taken place.
Unless we can recognize and control this thinking and know who we are, true faith is impossible. Otherwise we are often grasping at straws to calm the storm within.
Step Two - Letting Go Of False Expectations
Our lack of trust in life, God, ourselves is often fueled by the disappointments we suffer over and over again. When our hopes, dreams and expectations are not met, insecurity arises, not knowing where to turn.
We may not see however, that many of these dashed expectations which cause us so much pain are simply fantasies, dreams, hopes and demands we have placed upon the world.
They are all self created. We've dreamt them up, or they have been dreamt up by others and put on our shoulders. Often they have little or nothing to do with what is real - about ourselves, other people or the world we live in.
These false expectations must be made conscious and released, day by day. As we do this and are able to see and accept the world as it is, we find a new basis for living in it.
Much anger and stress dissolves easily. We find who we are, where we belong and where our true security lay. Many then become amazed at how light, joyous and at ease they feel - and at beauty and goodness that has always been available to them, day by day.
Step Three - Removing Masks and Games
We wear a mask to greet the masks of others and then wonder why we feel so alone.
Though we feel masks provide security, the opposite is true.
These masks hide our sense of inadequacy and shame. They keep us separate and unknown, unable to let the light of true warmth and friendship in. Not only does this cause loneliness it takes our original power and strength away.
In the process of developing Authentic Faith, little by little, we take off our masks.
As we risk being and accepting who we are, a miraculous thing happens - our sense of fear and unworthiness vanishes, and our natural inner balance, security and wisdom appear.
"The world is a womb, not a tomb, a place where everything is engendered and brought to life."