Let the Fear Expand

Let the Fear Expand

By Eric Baret  •  Opening to the Unknown in the Kashmiri Tradition, Eric Baret 2018

Q: Do you have any thoughts to share about practicing in the middle of a very charged emotional situation?

A: Of course. You know, when you learn to drive, first you drive slow, then you drive fast. So I'll show you how we function in this yoga. And I will transpose. I raise my arm. The nature of the body is to feel nothing. If I feel my body, I'm sick. If I feel my heart, I go see a cardiologist, if I feel my tooth, I go see a dentist, and so on. When I'm in a normal state, I feel nothing, nothing to think and nothing to feel.

When your body feels nothing, it is open to its environment, you feel the environment, which is the normal state. When your mind thinks nothing, you feel the environment. So, let's say we raise our arm. I slowly raise my arm, I feel nothing, there is no arm. And then, after some time, maybe now I feel the shoulder. That's the tension. When I feel something there is a tension. What do I do? I do nothing, I feel this tension. By the way, I don't criticize the tension, I don't think I should not feel the tension, I don't justify it, I don't say it is normal to feel tension, I say nothing, I shut up. I feel the tension, and then I slowly lower my arm, and I keep feeling. When my arm is fully lowered, the tension goes away. And I feel—it's very important—I feel the tension go away, this becomes imprinted in my brain.

So again, I raise my arm, and maybe I go a little further. No tension, no tension, no tension, I keep raising my arm. Now maybe I feel a tension, I stop. I feel the tension. No psychological element, I don't relax, relaxing is not part of this yoga. I progressively lower my arm, and perhaps before it’s totally lowered, I stop feeling my shoulder. There is no more shoulder, so I can start again.

I raise my arm. The arm is free, no arm, no arm, I keep raising it. Maybe here, higher than before, I feel the tension in the shoulder. I stop, I feel it, I lower just a little, ah, the shoulder is free. Then I can go up again. I go up, up, up. I feel the tension in the shoulder about to come as it did before, but it doesn't come, and then I can go further. Now, I forefeel the tension coming, but I don't stop; the mere act of feeling makes the tension melt.

This transposes to daily life. You are in a situation. Let's say you're afraid of black dogs. You see a black dog. It's too much for you. Okay, but the black dog will not stay forever. Maybe you kill him, maybe his master will take him away, whatever, the black dog is gone, but you still feel the fear. So again, let this fear expand, in your throat, your heart, your belly. No more black dog, don't worry, you can really relax and let this feeling of fear unravel.

Then again you see the black dog. Maybe instead of having the fear for three hours, it will last two hours. The next time, one hour. Then, 15 minutes. Then, maybe as soon as the black dog is gone, the fear is gone. One day, you see the black dog, you feel the fear, and the fear goes away. Ultimately you see the black dog, you come back home and your cat asks you, "What did you do tonight?" You describe the day, and you say you saw a black dog, and you realize that before, seeing a black dog would've made you completely mad, or depressed, or terrified. And today, nothing happened, because you didn't add anything to the situation.

So in practicing bodywork with no intention, we learn to become extremely sensitive to the micro-tensions in the body. Micro-tensions in the body are emotions. When you learn all the levels of tension possible in the shoulder, actually you learn on the level of tension, of fear and other emotions. And so later on, what is important in everyday life is not to practice for one hour in the morning. What's important is every moment. But if, in the morning, you explore the body in a total nonviolent way, not to do asanas, not to do pranayama, just to explore what is there, this sensitivity will very soon transpose to everyday life.

Of course, it will first be accessible in an already clear situation. The most complex part of yourself—because we all have a complex part, maybe it is sex, maybe it is fame, maybe it is money, maybe it is beauty, maybe it is politics, maybe it is your car, I don't know—the more complex part will take longer to unravel. But I can promise that if you approach the body in this total nonviolent way, it will transpose, and then you'll see that you can stand a difficult situation faster and faster, according to your own abilities. And what would have traumatized you two years ago maybe now doesn’t traumatize you anymore. And what traumatizes you now maybe soon will not traumatize you anymore.

So open to the exploration. No violence. We're not trying to stand in front of the difficult situation. You're afraid, you go away, no problem. Maybe something you were afraid of 20 years ago, it's fine, your body is still living with it now, maybe you can live it now. The past is now. So, you go away from the situation, you go very far first, you go less far, less far, and then you don't go away. And then the situation will reveal itself as what it is. Everything is neutral. It is your mind which makes it horrible or beautiful. Weddings are not beautiful and divorces horrible, they’re exactly the same thing. It is our limited bourgeois mind which decides this is happy, this is sad. It's the same thing. We don't accept that because our ego is so strong, we think this is right, that is wrong. There's no such thing, it is our ideology which thinks that way. Life is neutral. So the intensity of this neutrality will cover the tears and smiles little by little. But for many of us who don't have, let's say, this incredible power of intelligence that the nondual people have, it is bodywork, exploring the body, which can provide the direct experience that nothing can attack us but our prejudice, but our defenses. The only thing which can affect me in my life is my own fantasy. Without fantasy there is no more aggression.

Things out there, when a dog bites me, it is not an aggression, it is what it is. When a lion eats a zebra, it is not an aggression, it is life. So, if you're a zebra, if you take yourself for a zebra, you're seeing it as aggressive. But for the lion, if the lion doesn’t kill the zebra, it is very aggressive to the lion family which needs to eat. There is no aggression when the lion eats the zebra, it is what it is. There's never aggression in life if you don't take it personally. This is what you discover directly with exploring the body as we do in the Kashmiri tradition.

Q: Thank you. And I think I follow what you said. A quick follow-on. Is it just fine to trust that life will provide the appropriate encounters with the black dog? I mean, is it worth being more directive in exploring the places where one is stuck emotionally, or just trust that ...

A: Don't worry, your wife, your lover, your dog, your health, your boss, will help you to discover what you need to discover. Just be more and more intensely open just to feel what comes to you. Everything is given to you, but we constantly refuse it, because we want something else. We want a car, we want a wife, we want a more beautiful wife, we want the health of a child, we want more money, we want to be more, we want to be realized, we want, we want, we want. No, we should shut up, and let come what is given to us at every moment.