Leaving Fear Behind
by Michael Braunstein
Too often I find myself writing a clever anecdote to open a Heartland Healing column. I believe I see it as a sort of literary device to create rapport with the reader. Today, no anecdote to bury the lede, so here it is.
The only reason any human being ever feels fearful is because at that moment, he or she believes that they are a body.
It’s a common argument that as a human we are more than a body, as if we are some kind of composite being that incorporates a body and a spirit. Well, in fact, you cannot incorporate a spirit. A body and a spirit are two diametrically opposed entities. You may as well attempt to combine fire and water. (Okay, okay — you can do that if all you want is steam. No analogy is ever going to be 100 percent. That’s why it’s called an analog.) But spirit is so intrinsically different from body that it’s easy to see they could not combine. There is no human being who has lived or ever will live that can convince that a body is all that they are, even if that added part is simply consciousness. And we know consciousness exists because one cannot even argue the question without it!
Time won’t let me. Naturally, if I identify as a body, I have plenty of evidence that it’s a temporary state. That evidence attempts to be convincing because it is so loud. No argument there. If something can be vaporized out of existence, that is a pretty powerful threat.
But if I identify as a spirit or consciousness, what then? Does the spirit or consciousness depend on the body to exist or not? Body dwellers cite evidence both ways. So we get to choose what to believe and choosing which becomes the key to releasing fear.
Ah, yes, “We can buy them books and send them to school but…” I love that cliché. It goes straight to the core of how teaching works… or doesn’t. Throughout human existence on this planet and the historical record, we’ve had plenty of teachers who invite us to recognize the dyad of body and spirit and acquit one as real and persistent (spirit) and the other simply as a temporal tool or even an illusion of thought. These teachers have been seen sometimes as religious leaders and just as often as literary figures of film, folklore and even science. Throughout, we are being told the same lesson: You are not a body.
Who are some of these teachers and examples? Well, with the Star Wars saga being a never-ending franchise since 1977, who can escape the teaching of Yoda, the Jedi Master and some would argue, Jedi saint. Plainly, Yoda asks Luke Skywalker if he actually believes that he is a body. “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter,” Yoda informs. The Star Wars canon is filled with the teaching that we are not a body.
Cross Eyed No doubt the most well known of teachers who went to great lengths to demonstrate that we are not a body is Jesus. Whether one sees Jesus as myth, legend or savior, there is no denying what it all teaches. The very idea of his crucifixion teaches that the body is not real, that Jesus was so aware of being a consciousness, a spirit, that he could submit to apparent death and then as spirit enable his seemingly destroyed body to be used even after that.
Talk to me. In an odd sort of way, we are all teaching that we are not a body. We do it all the time just by the way we speak about it. How often, politically correct or not, do we say or hear someone say something like, “Kourtney Kardashian has a great body.” (Pick your celebrity body of the month.) In any case, it will always be so-and-so has a great body. We never say so-and-so “is” a great body. It may seem like simple semantics but words matter and we speak our mind so our words declare that some entity has a great body. So who is that entity? If a body is pointed out as a possession and not the being who possesses it, then we are not a body based on our own use of English. What we are is that entity that possesses that body.
Poetry in notion. Then there’s William Blake, the metaphysical poet, who cautioned us to see through the charade of the physical eye and admit the soul is the carry of our existence.
Take me home. Last week, a pal said, “Yeah, but it’s really hard to think we’re not a body.” Well, words have power as they are the physical manifestation of thought. So I counseled, “The way is not difficult. But it is different.” If we call it hard we make it hard.
If we will but choose to believe any of the teachings that remind us we are not at all a temporary body but a persistent, yea, eternal spirit using a body and that who we really are is not threatened by any physical harm, then how can we be fearful? If we can step outside the perception of our senses and realize that our body is nothing more than a communication device — a very useful one, of course — then we can remember who we are.
Oh, yeah, that’s another one. The Lion King. I got a million of them. And we haven’t even gotten into quantum physics yet.
Merry Christmas and Happy, Fearless New Year.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.