Snapshots of Life

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Village

Wow. I just noticed that I haven't posted in well over a month. I guess the demands of school have kept me busy. Things are beginning to wind down a bit now, which is very nice.

The other night my roommate bought like 10 movies from Walmart because apparently they were cheap. One of the films was a movie I had never even heard of called "The Village". My roommate told me that I had to see it. I am not one for the scary movies, I'm too darn jumpy for them, but last night he wanted to put it on and so I decided, "what the heck!"

For the sake of those who have not seen it I won't give away the plot. It is an "okay" movie, a bit far fetched, but I'm not too picky. I was mostly impressed with the symbolism and underlying message. In life it seems that we often experience things that at worst hurt us deeply and at best make us rather vulnerable. Inherently we have extraordinary mechanisms to protect ourselves. There are a number of them really: denial, compulsive behavior, pride, conceit, isolation, dishonesty, etc. It's all rather Freudian, but there is truth to it. I have come to realize that for many of us our primary mechanism of choice, though I don't think deliberately, is fear. At its foundation fear is really just self-protection. We desire to be safe, secure, and at peace, so we construct intricate borders of fear to keep us out of harm's way. We are convinced of dire consequences if the borders are breached. Occasionally we may take courage and "call on" our fear, venturing a foot or two beyond the boundary, only to be jolted back to our place of refuge. Yet another proof that the fear is ligitimate and we are better off inside the fence.

Life has a way of teaching us. We have additional experiences that allow us to see how much the borders of fear are not helping us, they are hurting us. In our attempt to make ourself strong we have only made ourself weak. In our desire for freedom from pain we have only found slavery. If we are honest with ourself we begin to see that fear is counterproductive and above all - NOT REAL! It is our perception that has made us so afraid, not reality. Do I mean to say that the intense feelings of anxiety or dread really don't exist? No, of course not, the feelings are real but the fear itself is of our own creation. If we are always running from it, hiding from it, cowaring from it, we will never know what the truth is. So, I assume that we must face it. I am learning that courage is not an absence of fear. No, courage is acting despite fear. So, we step outside the boundaries of safety and all the forces of our perceived universe it seems, push to legitimize the fear and send us running - but we can't! We simply put one foot in front of the other, we force ourself if we must, until we have overcome. The intensity of feeling and experience will surely be almost more than we can bear, but before long reality is on the horizon and we discover that it is not so bad after all. Sometimes baby steps are required.