5.27.11 What Are We Afraid Of?

“Our minds are loose confederations of parts, but we identify with and pay too much attention to one part: conscious verbal thinking. We are like the proverbial drunken man looking for his car keys under the street light. (“Did you drop them here?” asks the cop. “No,” says the man. “I dropped them back there in the alley, but the light is better over here.”) Because we can see only one little corner of the mind’s vast operation, we are surprised when urges, wishes, and temptations emerge, seemingly from nowhere.”

– Jonathan Haidt
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truths in Ancient Wisdom

It’s dark in there. There being the mind and heart, the underground and woods.

We don’t want to go in there alone. And if we do, we’re rarely sure how to navigate that space. We’re left without markers. We can’t see our compass or read our maps.

Unless we brought candles or flashlights.

What are we afraid of? That we’ll get carried away? Get forever lost? That we’re wasting our time poking around in there?

I visited a friend today. He’s built a yurt out beside the cedar house that he also had built for himself in the 1980s. He built the yurt so he could have designated space solely to write, to practice yoga, and to meditate. He’s 62 and, however one measures these things, content with himself and his life. Worry or grief rarely bogs him. He moves on. And yet he does not ignore the underground or woods. He goes there. He just doesn’t get trapped or stuck there.

For a couple of hours, I sat in his alone room, the spare yurt of his clear mind, and had a chat. We visited many places – the disconnection & connectivity of the Internet, the brain’s rewiring – for better or worse – from technology, the challenge of staying authentic while also providing for a family, the preparation for death.

It’s good to know you can be alone and that you’re not alone and can go those places where the wild things are without getting stuck.

What were your day’s three highlights? Share them below – and let us know where you’re writing from.

See you in the woods,
The 3 Highlights Guy


One response to “5.27.11 What Are We Afraid Of?

  1. I realized today that my deep-seated fear of death extends further than I was previously aware. I’m afraid to commit to a relationship with another person because I’m afraid they will die. Something to work on…
    3 highlights:
    1. Reading my favorite poem, “Desiderata,” to my 5th of 5 writing workshop classes this week.
    2. Wearing my cowboy boots. They always make me feel powerful.
    3. A quiet, solitary night of writing and yoga.
    ~Michelle in Guatemala