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Smiles: Fearless Chocolate

Smiles: Fearless Chocolate July 24, 2008
Chocolate by mail!
A couple months ago I blogged about a breakthrough I had had on retreat: bringing up some unconscious fears I had been holding onto (or that had been holding onto me). It was a difficult process for me, though deeply freeing at the same time.

I commented then, but can’t say often enough that a meditation retreat can be a very powerful experience. On my first long retreat I really wasn’t dealing with any fears/issues of my own, but witnessed many people around me bringing up and working through some of the most horrific pains in their lives. This time it was my turn – not very fun in one sense (I could barely touch the meditative absorptions known as jhanas/dhyanas which are so blissful), but there were things to be dealt with, and they were.

Buddha in Abhaya Mudra, Fearless Posture. Image from exoticindiaart.com.

That isn’t to say there isn’t more there to be dealt with (there certainly is!). Reading the abhaya sutta we can see that true fearlessness requires four conditions:
  1. The abandonment of sensual craving/thirst; not to be equated with giving up all sensual joys or even a healthy sex life, but more specifically the underlying psychological condition of need for that object in order to be happy.
  2. The abandonment of cling/passion for one’s own body; coming to terms with its impermanence and ultimate dissolution and not fighting this, though still protecting the body with a healthy lifestyle.
  3. The doing of good acts, protecting the fearful, and abandoning malice.
  4. Overcoming doubt and perplexity with regard to reality, meaning understanding fully the selflessness, unsatisfactoriness, and impermanence of all things in life. It also means understanding processes of causes and conditions, and cultivating clarity in one’s own mind about one’s actions and their consequences.

So, I still certainly have a great deal of work to do (baby steps), as do most of us.

Anywho… one of my actions was that blog post and one rather wonderful consequence was to get a chocolate bar from Fearless Chocolate today. (Thanks Brian!) So, as I continue to meditate on, research, and attempt to practice fearlessness in my life, I have some of the best fuel I could ask for. And, as we all know, one of the best things we can do when good fortune comes into our lives is to share it. So, I’ll be gladly sharing this with my good friends at dinner tonight.

Be grateful, pay it forward.

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