By Suma Varughese September 2013 When one ceases to fear the loss of the ephemeral moment of joy, we come into the present, says Suma Varughese Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, seeker, latentcrusader and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive.Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org In my cover story of the August issue, Opening to Life, I had written about a tentative movement that was enabling me to move beyond what Brené Brown calls foreboding joy. She is referring to the human instinct that reacts to any experience of joy, love or achievement, with fear and worry. For instance, you have finally moved into the house of your dreams; amidst the euphoria that you justifiably feel, runs the fear of losing your job and therefore not being able to pay your EMIs, or of an earthquake reducing your precious home to rubble. It happens to all of us and it happens not just in our milestone moments but in almost every moment. You bid goodbye to your spouse/child as they leave for work or school and suddenly arises the fear of an accident that may prevent you from ever seeing them again. Or you meet some old friends and have an uproarious time, until the warning that has been planted in all our heads raises its flag – laugh too much and you will have occasion to cry. How quickly the laughter dries up after that thought! I have been working on my own tendency to shortcircuit happy moments by immediately fastforwarding to a doom-ridden future. Of late though, I am increasingly realising the folly of destroying the precious moments of joy that life throws at you by fearing its end. I am increasingly realising the folly of destroying the precious moments of joy that life throws at you by fearing its end. I was travelling last Sunday for a shopping spree and found the road clogged with traffic. Finally, we found ourselves in a relatively easy stretch when the traffic at least was not halting. I peeked ahead and saw a pile-up of vehicles and my heart sank. Oh, it was going to be really bad in just a few moments, I thought. But this time, I flicked away the thought deftly. Right now, there was no traffic, so why not enjoy that rather than fear the jam lying ahead? The thought immediately brought me back to the moment. Recently, I was going down my building lift which was making sinister sounds. Having a lift phobia to begin with, I began to tense up in the fear that something might happen. Immediately, I pulled myself back to the moment with the thought that right now nothing was wrong, and why could I not be in experience of that rather than fear what might happen? What I am finding is that if I permit myself to enjoy the present, it gives me the strength to cope with its passage, as and when it does. On account of suffering Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I have lost enormous quantities of weight, which has left me looking wan and drawn. For someone accustomed to considering herself reasonably good looking, it is rather shattering to experience not being that. There are periods though when I put on a little weight and I find my face looking fuller and brighter. Earlier, those moments were always poisoned by my fear that they would not last. Now, though, I enjoy them thoroughly, and when they pass, the pang is no longer as sharp. What’s happening, I infer, is that there is greater acceptance of the impermanence of the moment, and because of that, there is a reduction of the fear of loss. Yes, change is inevitable, but all the more reason to enjoy the present moment. These are early days as yet, but am planning on enjoying the ride. And if this insight goes the way others have, well, all the more reason to enjoy it while it lasts!
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