Once a Sufi Master was asked: "Who guided you in the Path?"
He said: "A dog. One day I saw a dog, almost dead with thirst, standing by the river's edge. Every time he looked at his reflection in the water he was frightened, and withdrew, because he thought there was another dog.
"Finally, such was his necessity, he cast away fear and leapt into the water. At that very moment, the other dog vanished. The barrier between him and what he sought--which was himself--melted away.
"In this same way my obstacle--my own self--vanished."
This past week I’ve been talking to one friend after another in Iran and Italy listening to their fears and their new reality, as I assess how mentally far behind we are.
People have called me that I haven't spoken with in a long time. The conversations flow for an hour or two at a time because no one has to leave to work or go to bed. We laugh, some bring out old pictures, we talk about our families, our lives pre- and post-all hell breaking loose. In those conversations the feeling of gratitude for the technology to sit and speak face-to-face is sometimes overwhelming.
The most interesting thing is that we are contacting each other to make sure we and our families are ok, but by the time I hang up the fear that led to the call is long forgotten. Having suffered from panic attacks and anxiety most of my life, how can I ever feel ok with what is going on around us?
A patient once told me she saw Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher, give a talk. There was a big crowd and he sat in a chair speaking until at one point he just stopped and silently looked at the crowd and said, “Do you want to know, what is my secret?” She said you could hear a needle drop as the crowd waited in anticipation for the answer. He continued, “My secret is, that I am ok with whatever happens.”
It doesn’t mean to push away fear or anxiety-- but being OK with it at that moment. The fact that fear is able to disappear means it is not permanent-- just like the state the world is in now. It will pass. Only you will remain.
Please re-read the Sufi story and keep it with you throughout your day. Sometimes it needs to percolate in you for a bit...that way you may feel its spirit instead of my explanations.
I am very grateful to all of you that I usually get to see in the clinic. I miss speaking with all of you. Hoping to see all of you soon.
(By Paolo Propato, LAc)