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Exiting Conditioned Fear, Anxiety, and Worry That’s Hijacked Our Life

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche once shared, "We have all kinds of situations that we have to handle in ordinary life, even states that we are not aware of. However, we are not particularly concerned about our existence; we are more concerned with our neurosis and our games."

Due to our culture's conditioning towards fearful thinking and fantasizing, we can spend an excessive amount of time on defensive thinking, 'What if-ing', trying to protect ourselves from making mistakes, being scammed, taken advantage of, or manipulated by others.

It's noticeable that many of us harbor and carry massive anxiety and worry about the potential consequences that could impact us if something went "wrong."

Over the last 10 to 15 years, I've watched crippling anxiety spread like a cancer metastasizing. That's part of the reason our gun problem has proliferated exponentially. People have conditioned paranoia. You don't buy weapons when you feel safe… You run out and buy weapons when you're scared. That's just one example out of many that could point to the fact that something has gone tragically wrong in our individual and collective development.

But what happens when we suddenly notice or realize that the id aspect of our mind, the part of us that is rooted and programmed to focus only on survival, promotes itself from its bottom position to the very top? What can happen to us when we finally understand that it behaves like a skilled con artist, capable of robbing us of our freedom, joy, and ability to fully engage with the present moment with confidence and love? What happens when we drop out of the mind's game that's turned us into its puppet or slave?

If we intentionally make the time, on a regular basis to sit, breathe, observe and notice the ceaseless stream of thoughts, attentively monitoring our internal landscape, we will eventually become aware of the deceptive tactics employed by the mind.

We can begin to see through the game of illusion, the game of perfect safety where we never have to experience a single second of physical, mental, emotional or spiritual discomfort.

It's the game of empty promises that lures us into believing that somewhere other than where we currently are, the grass is greener on the other side, leaving us in a perpetual state of poverty-minded wanting, craving, and seeking.

This newfound awareness, that comes from having a consistent mindfulness practice, grants us the opportunity... a chance... to reduce the influence of our fearful, confused, self-centered, and self-obsessed ego that so many of us have allowed to dominate our lives, having abdicated responsibility for managing the relationship with our mind in a healthy way.

Through intentional and consistent mindfulness practice, we can truly embrace our immediate circumstances and reality, instead of being lost in the id's hall of mirrors. Rather than being led astray by the games of con artist mind, we can be free. It just requires doing our work. In this way, our tendency toward procrastination in taking care of our mind is not an ally. The sincere invitation of Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, is to exit the game.

一We Are the Practice Itself

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