Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Throwdown with Fear

Just beyond the pools of light, the wall of black began and continued on for eternity. Fanged wolves and slithering snakes lurked just beyond my vision.

At night in my room when the night swallowed up the world, just outside the window could be a thief. A murderer could be tiptoeing just beyond the bushes, a curved knife in hand.

The dark.

The dark - fear would strike my heart and course through my veins when I needed to go to sleep at night, or dash through a dark patch from one building to another, or walk through the woods on a moonless night. Horror movies and news stories had taught me that the greatest fear was not some twisted monster, but an evil-hearted human. Someone who killed without reason, someone with hatred in his or her heart.

So my fear grew and grew beyond my childhood, and as I got older, the scheme of just WHO was waiting out there in the darkness became even more twisted and terrifying.

One night when I was fifteen, I had to run an errand from one building to another. My destination was down the hill, through a lawn, beyond a row of trees. A sea of total and complete pitch black stood between me and my goal. I had no flashlight. I had to go. Now.

My heart pounded, adrenaline coursing through my veins.

I took a deep breath.

I ran.

I ran down the hill, past the trees, and suddenly I halted and knelt down on the grass and fell over my legs, my arms outstretched in some kind of strange obeisance. I took deep breaths, the scent of grass filling my nostrils. The world seemed to whirl unsteadily beneath me.

I'm fed up with you, fear of the dark. 

So sick of you. 

I'm done. 

I sang the Nrisimhadeva Prayers in my mind, which call out to the Lord for protection in body and heart from evil.

I lay there, the seconds growing to minutes. The breeze rustled by and caused the banana leaves to chatter and murmur. Crickets hummed. The wind sighed. The grass was cool beneath my fingers, arms, body.

No one attacked me.



And if anyone DID, I was still protected, for even if my body was hurt, my spirit never would be.

In one breath, I rose to my feet and dusted off the blades of grass stuck to my palms. I looked around at the pitch black, determined where I needed to go, and strode in that direction.

I never feared the dark again.

Even when I went to a haunted house for Halloween. Kind of a bummer. 

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