Finding Ease: A Buddhist Perspective on Transforming Fear
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
Serious energy can be the largest obstacle to transformation and connecting with your spirit. There. I said it. But hold on, hold on. Hear me out with this - I know what you’re thinking: “How is right now a time to not take things seriously? Thousands of acres of land are on fire, it’s a super important election year, you can only see half of peoples’ faces in public gatherings, and people are dying from some sort of virus while the entire world is arguing about what it is or how to treat it. And you’re telling me to not take this seriously? What kind of disconnected person ARE you?” First off, yes, there are incredibly stressful events happening right now. And yes, it is so important to be engaged with what is going on and also come together to support one another.
But I want to slow down for a second. I want to take a couple steps back from looking at the events happening on the outside of us and reflect more on what is happening on the inside of us (as we go through these events) and consider these questions: - When you are thinking really seriously about something, are you able to be calm, grounded and compassionate?
- Are you able to feel relaxed and stay open to creativity?
- Can you stay present, mindful, and breathe deeply into trusting yourself? Truly, most people have difficulty with these pieces, and here’s why: Oftentimes, people think they can “feel” serious, but the definition of seriousness in itself is classified in terms of “how” we are thinking about something. When we are serious, this is actually a reflection of the texture of our thoughts and how we are narrating our internal and external experiences. When we think about things seriously, our emotional response is to usually feel fear, concern, worry, and frustration. We cannot “feel” serious because serious is not an emotion. Emotions elicit certain physiological responses in our body, one of them being stress. Likely, if you are thinking about most things in your life in a serious way, and your emotional response to this is to feel fearful or concerned, your body is also likely to experience these cues as stress. Stress makes it incredibly difficult to stay present in our lives because our body might be operating in fight, flight, or freeze mode, ultimately making it tricky to be grounded, present, and calm. There are, admittedly, some pretty deep Buddhist philosophies behind these statements. Put simply, a core belief in Buddhism centers on mindfulness, which is much different than seriousness. Mindfulness contains an aspect of focus, and is intertwined with relaxation through experiencing the present moment. The present moment literally contains limitless new potential; each moment is always brand new! When we are grounded into the present moment, trust naturally arises. Despite the hurricane of things that might be happening around us or within us, we realize through mindfulness the goodness that has graced our lives, and continues to do so in each moment. And with that we circle back to gratitude. We come back to the true realization that we are souls all trying to grow and learn. Seriousness carries the texture of rigidity and strictness. Think of it this way: seriousness is a lens that you can choose to color the events in your life with. And often, if you staple serious energy to most of your thoughts and your interpretations of the world, you stop yourself from being able to see the spacious, open, and miraculous potential in each moment. You actually disconnect yourself from the bright healing energy that comes from your core essence. So, what’s the antidote to serious energy? Enter: Ease. Most of us have very specific pictures that pop up in our minds when we hear the word “ease,” and a lot of those pictures might elicit the thought that being soft and gentle instead of serious about something is a strategy to spiritually bypass. But I would argue that ease is actually a way to live authentically in a panoramic, light-hearted way within the realm of neutrality. And why is neutrality important? Neutrality has often been perceived as a means to stay passive or naïve. In actuality, neutrality is a way to give freedom and understanding to the people around us rather than applying judgement or creating a dichotomous way of thinking where we demonize certain things and worship others. In the simplest form, allowing our thoughts to hold a texture of ease as we move through our lives snaps us out of a rigid framework and also validates that our souls are here to learn, explore, and grow. When difficult things come up, we can choose to bring ease and breath to the experience. This allows us to stay creative and open without getting stuck in overwhelm or fear.
Truly, ease is such a powerful frequency to bring into our lives. When we allow ourselves to experience ease, rather than taking things seriously, we avoid stapling ourselves to overthinking and falling into the spiral of trying to “figure it out.” Living in ease is an everyday tool to transform fear and uncertainty because the state of ease has an underlying belief that we are enough and that we can continue to trust ourselves, despite the chaos that might be ensuing around us. Getting super serious about ourselves and our healing process can actually cause MORE shame and difficulty in moving through our transitions. Oftentimes, serious energy does not allow room for play and compassion. When we have a “grit” and “grind it out” mentality to changing things in our lives, we actually manifest that it can’t be easy and fun.
Again, trying to view our internal and external lives with more ease and gentleness does not mean we bypass sadness, or anger, or the full dimension of what we experience. Choosing to feel at ease does not mean we make our experience shallower or cut ourselves off from truth.
When we choose being easeful over hardening, we stay open to the present moment. When we feel ease, we are able to see light and dark, knowing they each have their place, and hold a higher frequency of trust in ourselves. Often, when we are serious, we are actually holding onto the energy of fear, and fear closes us off from our true nature. Being at ease does not mean misunderstanding or bypassing the weight and depth of what is happening around us and within us. Applying ease to our thoughts and softening ourselves actually allows us to depersonalize things and better see how becoming rigid about our lives disempowers our brighter soul nature.