Beyond fear lies the zone

When all the context is stripped off everything we want to and should do but don't boils down to fear. That is the only block to overcome.

You remember the feeling of finishing your exams where you slogged your butt off till the last moment and you are finally done with it. The time when you are in a run and it seems you couldn't possibly finish it and yet you do. The time, when you go for trekking and fight all the temptations of stopping mid way eventually to finish your trek. The satisfaction that you experience is not because of some kind of external achievement but something you experience within when you really gave your 100% percent to something and clear the hump without letting weaker emotions take over.

David Allen, the great productivity coach, in his ted talk, talks about how crisis evokes serenity. This is the serenity that comes from appropriately engaging with what you are doing, you really being present in the moment. Crisis demands it as he said it. I think in all our lives that’s precisely what we are looking for it, whether we know it or not. We are looking to appropriately engage with our current moment and that is the art of being present, the simple yet almost impossible thing to achieve.

You can take any of your ambitions and external parameters of a good life and you can eventually boil it down to being comfortable in your current moment as the only lasting invariant. You can look for successes in your professional life and more often than not those will be about doing a little better than the next person, but then in totality, you will have someone else ahead of you on that path. The tendency of all the external parameters to be relative and competitive strips off any possibility that it can give you lasting happiness and peace. It turns into a race. Momentarily, some of them lead to wins that may elate you but then it withers off. It is when you get your focus to the absolute; you will find a way out. That absolute, that invariant of this universe is being content in the current moment despite your circumstances is the cell on which a life of lasting peace can be built.

What are the stumbling blocks to reach the state we have above, because we run a race, we play by its rules and when we are in a race, there is fear of losing. In different areas in our life, we don’t break free because of fear of looking an oddball, fear of living in poverty, fear of getting ridiculed in public, fear of disapproval from the family, fear of failure! Going back to David Allen’s Ted talk, in a moment of life threatening crisis, none of these fears matter, you go beyond them. That’s when clarity hits and you realize what it means to be free. That’s the freedom, the zone we seek, and as David said we often stumble upon it but are we living in it?

The moment of greatest pain and discomfort is the moment of discovery. That moment of fear is the moment that will make or break. When you are doing a difficult pose in yoga, it is often hardest when the discomfort begins, you allow your body to take a few more breaths in the same pose and the pain eases and in some more time, it actually builds the capacity to reach there with ease. Same holds true for our lives, we have to learn to go beyond the fear the moment it strikes. Fear is the prime distract-er, that’s the first step that de-rails you. The moment you start second guessing, the flow is gone, the intense presence is no longer there. You have lost the zone.

All our lives, we are constrained by our fear. If you can only go beyond that, you will find freedom, peace and serenity. So find the fear, seek it, go trekking, push yourself to a seemingly impossible feat, challenge yourself, face your fear, you will know yourself a lot better at the end of it, and then go over the hump, it will be beautiful on the other side. Like goes the motto of Mountain Dew - “Darr ke aage jeet hai”!

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