Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/27/2014

Fear on the Corner of 14th and 3rd

This morning I set out from my building to the N train with a little more time than I normally have because the last day of school was yesterday and I didn’t have to ferry anyone across the East River. I decided to walk to Union Square and as I breathed in and felt the cool, moist morning air a fammiliar feeling of fear crept up and took residence in my heart. I realized that athough it had its roots in the uncertainty at work and the imbroglio that is everyone’s home life it had now grown into something else. The anxiety had taken on what could almost be described as its own personhood and I watched in horror as it tore asunder each new thought that arose in the mind and levelled everything within its reach until all that was left was a bleak, flattened oblivion devoid of comfort or safety. And all of this on the walk between 1st and 3rd.

By the time I reached the corner of 3rd Ave and 14th St I literally felt like I was in free falll in the abyss. My heart was pounding and I felt weak and nauseous. Clinically, I believe this may have been an anxiety attack but subjectively it was an experience that I knew I had to process. It was as if all that I had been holding back when I was with my kids, working or with my wife was just waiting to be seen and crying out to be heard.

In the end it seems that, rather than simply planning and scheming to avoid the suffering, we really must stand under it and let it speak to us. My meditations have been more about doing than listening and that too needs to change for the time being. May the discomfort I felt today spur me on to understand the nature of suffering and to the fact that only by comprehending it can we put it down. 

Sukhi hotu!

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.