Posts From Memory Lane: Fear, Sorrow, Anger, Hate - Unpeeling the Layers

Thursday, April 25, 2013

These posts were written during the summer while I was in Bangladesh, in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Long story short: when I looked back at the archive, I didn't have the desire or the time to put them up. But now, since I'm coming back to the blog, I decided that some of them aren't half bad. Read on!

One of the most important lessons that I took away from yoga class was the idea of layers. At that time in my life, I was angry a lot - misguided anger, unlike the kind I prize today that can generate change. I asked my yoga instructor about ways to deal with that anger, and she gave me a parable, as well as a lesson on where anger comes from.

She said that much like an egg or an onion or anything with layers going deep to the core, anger was just another layer of fear. Fear is at the core, then sorrow, then anger, then hate. We build on our fears by putting these emotions in front of them, so that we can protect ourselves and get away from it. Because facing your fears isn't one of those things they teach you about doing. Your parents may mumble the maxim, but that doesn't give you strategies on how to actually go about it.

The parable that my yoga teacher gave me was called "The Little Soul and the Sun" and it's about a soul asking God to put it up against its opposite so that it could really recognize what it meant to be the Light. It's an easy read on the surface, but it took me a very long time to come to what I now understand of it. It tells us that we have all of the necessary materials to be ourselves right there inside us, but sometimes conflict and other negative things teach us how to fully see that.

The point is, however, that you are always made up of those good things, of those traits that make you essentially you. And that allows you to peel back the layers of hate, anger, and sorrow, to get at fear.

I cannot make a general statement about fear, but I do know that the best way to handle it is to acknowledge it and appreciate it for teaching you more about yourself. It is there so that you can see in yourself what is good and useful and best to be shown to the world. And it need not control you.

That's the good news. The less-than-savory news is that it will be a lifelong struggle; new fears come, you build up emotion, you break them down, you learn... But all along, you have at your essence the ability to do these things. And that ability to change is the most valuable one of them all.