Our idea of security is a product of our thinking, sewn up in our ambitions that are drawn from memory, from the various ideas that exist in the past as to what the future should hold. The world is uncertain and this uncertain future presents the possibility of losing the people, places, things and ideas that we each find so precious. I may say I fear ‘the unknown’ but what I really fear is losing the various things associated with ‘me’. I seek security to overcome my fear yet I fail to see that it is the prospect of losing of my security that is the actual cause of my fear. We spend our lives accumulating more of what we know – more money, possessions, power, reputation, friendships, relationships, ideas, knowledge and beliefs. We defend ourselves against fear by accumulating more of what is known to us, and then we fear losing whatever we have accumulated. Or we fear being unable to accumulate more. See how strange this is! We accumulate in order to fight off fear yet the more we accumulate the greater our fear of losing. Fear rests within the prospect of losing all we have become so attached to, especially our objectives. It is within the process of accumulation that fear is at its greatest. This fear is painful, it is a source of distress to us. Pain (and the fear of pain) is a by-product of the processes of accumulation and attachment. So our defence against fear is the actual cause of our fear. With awareness and clarity we can see that accumulation does not bring security; it only increases the fear of losing. The more we accumulate the more we become attached and the greater is the potential pain of losing. Attachment is the cause of all suffering. The man who understands no longer accumulates; to him attachment is simply not possible. The very act of relying ever more deeply on what is known to us increases our overall fear. Our desire for security actually increases our insecurity. Our action to prevent pain – the effort to overcome, suppress, control, discipline, conquer – increases our pain.
I have spent my entire life following religions, scientists, governments, leaders, gurus and ideals. I have followed the various promises of freedom that have been given to me by society. I may take comfort in my own little ideas, my own little beliefs, and these serve me for a while. When they are disturbed, as they inevitably will be, it is then that my house is completely shaken; I begin to fall apart. In anticipation of this I avoid those who may come along and shatter my beliefs. I build a wall of resistance around myself and remain enclosed inside my own thinking. This can only increase my sense of isolation and with it, my fear. I may huddle together with others who hold similar views, living in a religious community like a sheep in a field with other lost, frightened sheep. This of course reinforces the pattern that I have created for myself, a pattern that strengthens my idea of ‘me’, though it is sourced from fear because I am always looking for safety.
What is important to understand about living according to a pattern is that any pattern always implies conformity and imitation, both of which are rooted in fear. We have a set of ideals that we wish to live up to, we want to become grander, better, more holy, more successful, we want to be just like our idol and so we imitate. We worship and adore another because inside we feel inadequate. You may look up to the master, the messiah, the president, the celebrity or your so-called God but you only do this because inside you feel that you are not enough. You are always trying to measure up and you do this outwardly. You have not understood your absolute correctness, your complete and utter perfection as you are; which is the true meaning of self-love. Instead you are influenced by society. You are conditioned and this conditioning has convinced you that you are imperfect and that you need to improve; this conditioning has locked you in fear. All comparison is rooted in fear because to fear is to compare. Imitation and conformity are its natural by-products. Comparison implies the desire to adjust, which is the non-acceptance of ‘what is’ – the non-acceptance of who we are. If you fully, deeply, with your whole being effortlessly accept ‘what is’, why adjust? Why conform? If you can live without comparison, you are living freely. Comparison is a cause of fear, fear causes comparison; they exist together.
We all like to be in control because when in control there is safety, there is certainty and we feel secure. The controller within me seeks the security of being in control and wishes to avoid the uncertainty of not being in control. The movement into uncertainty, into losing control, is fear. So the controller naturally seeks to impose patterns of living upon itself, upon its controlled dual aspect. Living in accordance to a pattern creates the illusion of control, which is what most of us are doing. My fear exists because I have been avoiding fear, I have been trying to escape from it following some pattern of living, some form of escape. Being preoccupied with only the escape, living a certain way (adhering to some silly religion, for example), has prevented me from seeing the actual of fear. I do not know what the essence of fear is, and by running away from fear I have only managed to increase it.